Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, May 16, 2005

Democracy: Egoism or Equality
The Guardian, as is the newspaper's wont, carries an article by Peter Preston postulating on whether democracy has been hijacked by egoistic leaders at the expense of equality and the 'greater good'. He makes particular reference to the "exporting" of democracy by the current world powers under the "beacon of liberty", often with incongruous consequences.
"How do you run a world where every nation, great and small, conforms to the latest definition of democracy, when equality between nations and between their citizens is simply not a realistic part of the equation? Where there are winners and losers by design, one world of permanent inequality? That's a pretty feeble beacon - and some nasty supplementary questions spin out from behind it."
"The democracy we primp for global export may divide the spoils among egoists, as in Baghdad. But it doesn't answer the big questions of survival, equality, peace. It's a concept barely 60 years old, not a torch blazing irresistibly over millenniums, nor the bill of goods George sold Georgia."