Saturday, December 11, 2004

Democratic conservatism

Last one for a few days.

Well, like I said, democracy is highly conservative. It held Emperor Napoleon in power for 18 years, in it's own way It has actively voted for discimination against gay people in the United states, etc. etc.

Basically, it is conservative because people don't really change their minds that much, democratic changes tend to come from demographic changes, as one set of voters dies, so another set becomes more prominent in the vote.

Sure, elections do produce dramatic swings, but in first past the post (and even PR elections) a small swing can produce dramatic results when a new party enters the winner(s) take all offices of state. A slight swing of 1% can produce a 100% change in government personel.

Further, deap down many people refuse to change votes. The tories lost heavilly because many of their older voters simply stayed away and didn't vote, or because Labour voters turned up for once, thinking they could win.

Democracy is a source of strength for the status quo, it doesn't promote change, dictatorships can make vast changes because they ride roughshod over people's wishes.

The left need to understand this, and work with it. They need to udnerstand that those people who voted for Bush and Blair really did mean it, and stop the patronising excuse that they were powerless and knew not what they did. See, that way of thinking justifies the secret desire for a revolutionary dictatorship. It all links together.

I'll continue this theme, next, the relatiopnship of hegemony and democracy...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You write: *Democracy is a source of strength for the status quo, it doesn't promote change,...*

I would be interested to know how you sustain that proposition looking back over the last 150 years of British history. True, the changes might not have been as fast, or as radical, as you might have wished - but no change at all?
David Duff

10:10 PM  
Blogger Bill said...


there's a lot of incremental change, a lot of slight of hand - I don't recall votes being used to abolish the death penalty or legalise gay sex, it was back door stuff done by Labour governments ensconced in power.

Much of the change has been economic and demographic, and that produces the political changes, where demogaphy doesn't change much, then you'll have a fairly conservative democracy. Thought you liked conservatism?

8:19 AM  

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