Involution of Democracy in the West
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Countries in the West and their allies are now experiencing the rapid demise of democracy. ‘Soft power’ is becoming more effective than military power and the manipulation of consciousness through the force of the ‘mass media’ has been replacing the armies of the great powers that used to control most territories in the world and of their natural resources, creating a new process of political involution that has been turning bourgeois democracies into sordid plutocracies. There has been an internal struggle between US millionaires in its two political parties for several decades and something similar has happened in Italy with Silvio Berlusconi manipulating the media, Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine, Erdogan in Turkey, the British parliament and numerous countries in Europe and Latin America.
In large part, this is because the ruling classes do not accept that democracy has been the most effective political instrument for building a more just society. As the socialist tradition says, there is an irreconcilable contradiction between capitalism and democracy. This is due to the fact that capitalism was born out of the split between those who were owners of the means of production and who were not, whereby the latter were condemned to depending on the former to be able to survive. The result was a very unequal society that only allows, after major debate, some marginal amendments to the injustice that derives from that pattern of social life, the origins of which date back to the end of the 18th century.
For its part, democracy is a political and social regime based on equality, not only in the Marxist tradition, but also in the conservative, aristocratic liberalism expressed by Alexis de Tocqueville from the time of the Enlightenment in France. As some intellectuals in the world of today say: the tension between capitalism and democracy has disappeared because democracy started being a regime that, instead of leading to the redistribution of wealth, destroyed it. Rather than redistribute wealth, it performs another function, that is, the legitimization of a poor State. Current coup d’états seek to correct the alleged mistakes by the plebeian masses and thanks to the ‘right of universal suffrage’ ultimate power in a country may be given to any demagogue, forgetting that in the real world nothing is obtained for free.
In addition to those endogenous ideological elements that have led to the current ‘military coups’ are those that are exogenous in nature that can be reduced to what is now known as US ‘imperialism’ which translates into constant interference by this great country in the life of other nations through the most varied devices: political, social, ideological, media, military, police, economic and financial. These are complemented by the terrible role played by international financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, the International Development Bank, etc., which are actually extensions of the US Department of the Treasury, backed by the countries where their headquarters are located.
As if this control by international organizations were not enough, there is the so-called “hegemonic presumption” that is a principle deeply rooted in the dominant progressive circles in the US since Theodor Roosevelt delivered his speech on his conception of the State in December, 1904, which can be summarized as follows: ‘Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count on our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social matters, if it maintains order and pays its obligations, it need not fear interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence that results in a general loosening of the internal ties of a civilized society may require intervention by some civilized nation or adherence to the Monroe Doctrine of the United States.’
This was the ideological platform inherited from the racial messianism of the first US settlers or expressed in the Manifest Destiny on which the institutional paraphernalia and political strategy leading to the so-called ‘soft coup’ were built. And this is why each year the US approves huge amounts of money aimed at ‘reviving a civil society’ that is still passive and disorganized, educating social and political leaders to oppose the left, teaching ‘best practices to politicians’ , judges, prosecutors and legislators from backward countries and training journalists in the latest advances in social communication. This is in addition to the money that is concealed in the budget as ‘aid to UNESCO’ (United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture) which really goes to the CIA and other ‘intelligence’ agencies fighting against governments which think differently from them.
Unlike the old ‘coup d’états’, the current ones appear to be the normal, expected running of the democratic institutions of a Legislative Chamber that accuses, a Senate that judges, judges that sentence and a media oligarchy that can control public opinion. But in reality ‘the soft coup’ is a big scam against the popular will and is as bloody as the fight among opposing parties.
Addendum: During the long history of Humanity, although it may not be not recognized, there have always been periods of involution, and right now we are living in one of them, retreating from liberal capitalism into a kind of new feudal epoch, where the elites continue to rule, using the lie that we are now living with freedom, with equity and within a false state of law that is considered a ‘natural right’.