Democracy and the ideology gambit
Political thinkers and theorists are unanimous in their opinion that democracy is the best form of government. Through the ages, no one has been able to dislodge this theory or proffer an alternative to what is popularly referred to as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Indeed, a cross-examination of features of democracy will not but reveal a form of governance that is incomparable to others considering its dominant principle of allowing the majority to have their way and the minority their say. The import then is that democracy takes care of varied interests, ensuring none is left out.
And indeed if played according to the rules, no other form of governance can be preferable to democracy. Yet, if the attitude and comportment of politicians in states purportedly practicing democracy is anything to go by, especially in the developing climes, it is crystal clear that most of the popular ideals of democracy as propounded by political theorists are nothing but mere assumptions and suppositions since it is now an established fact that the success or otherwise of any form of governance depends largely on the attitudes and performance of its key players.
Advocates of democracy have often forgotten to take a lot of important issues into cognizance, and for that reason most of its supposed ideals are continually jettisoned and relegated in many developing nations that pretend to practice it. For instance, those who recommend democracy as the best form of government do not consider it within the two popular ideological framework that rule the world namely capitalism and socialism. Perhaps if this fact is put into careful consideration, it would be easier to know where democracy would thrive well and where it would not.
This obvious oversight by advocates of democracy is the very reason why most developing nations only make a complete caricature and mockery of it, much to the chagrin of their utterly confounded citizens. That many nations ostensibly practicing democracy are encumbered by various problems linked with very low development owing to poor performance of political players should now be understood within the background of a clash of interests occasioned by allowing democracy to run side by side with capitalism as a hidden ideology.
The problem often starts from formation and funding of political parties where capitalists masquerading as welfarists hijack the process, buy over all available elective posts and then present themselves to the masses as having foolproof solutions to national problems by presenting party manifestoes drawn merely to cajole the electorate. Then shortly after the election, the masses wake up to the sudden realization of having been conned by rhetoric and are forced to live with so many unfulfilled promises. Even to start with, the electorate itself is heavily compromised through acceptance of some forms of inducement before voting, something akin to selling one’s birthright.
The wide gap between the rich and the proletariat has always provided a background and an opportunity for the former to continually use and dump the latter at will. This happens because the first consideration of capitalists who have turned politics into a form of investment s self and how to expand private empires and fortune. This is actually the crux of the matter and the very reason why democracy in many climes especially Africa rather than translate into any meaningful development only succeed in making several individuals richer than the state.
Perhaps those who speak so loftly about democracy should from now on begin to emphasize the fact that it would thrive better under some form of socialism even if the state is not ready to adopt any form of state ideology. Where issues of party formation and funding are handled by the state and the means of production also belongs to the state, where individual wealth is not only monitored but curtailed through state policy and legislation, such will give rise to conscientious leadership whose sole aim will be how to move the nation forward most convincingly as well as promote the well-being of all citizens.
Under such atmosphere, everyone works for the benefit of all, and issues relating to barbaric and primitive accumulation of properties and extreme display of greed are put under a permanent check. But sadly, even socialism is not without its own pros and cons. For while capitalism allows everyone to attain their greatest potential through unrestricted access to whatever strategy each individual desires to deploy in achieving the best, socialism on the other hand rather tends to retard and restrict its citizens from attaining or reaching their personal goals. However whatever its inherent flaws, there is no gainsaying that democracy makes more sense under a socialist arrangement or climate. Otherwise democracy is nothing more than a fooling game.
Oyewusi, an Educationist, wrote from Lagos
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