Another oxymoron …

I have recently read a comment in a blog, about democracies and government system for countries and the possibility of building a Multinational Democracy, in which the resigned opinion of the person commenting was that a “Benevolent dictatorship” turned out to be the most effective one for countries.

To me, a “benevolent dictatorship” is plainly an oxymoron: Dictatorship could eventually include positive actions, but shouldn’t be categorized as “benevolent” for it is intrinsically omitting freedom as a substantial aspect of the individuals, as well as freedom of society itself as a whole. What that assertion might have implicit, is the fact that today democracies in the World do not take individual freedom into account either, so being that the case, it would be much more transparent a dictatorship. Too bad to realize, but the sooner the better.

Therefore, it comes to my mind a new one oxymoron which I would put into words as: “tolerable slavery”.

In a tolerable slavery, you are not totally free, nor totally slave, to the extent that the benefits you get constitute a threshold, a good option against any other possible social structures. You are given a certain range of alternatives from which you can “choose” but you are not completely free to discuss and/or reject them, under the risk of being “tagged” as “anti-systemic”. Even to propose alternatives is banned, for that is the task of politicians and governments.

When I try to discuss with friends and acquaintances about the “big” issues that are nowadays affecting our societies, I usually end up hearing with sarcasm: “well you know, we’ve been fixing the world”, meaning that it’s pointless to discuss global matters that we’ll never be able to solve, to which I answer with a new question on whether we should discuss small scale issues, that are attainable but absolutely useless, instead.

On the other hand, I always believed that your thoughts determine the way you act. So, if you support the statement that the reason for the current crisis is just that common people got mortgages way beyond their possibilities, you are dismissing banks, control and surveillance organisms, governments and central banks from any responsibility. So, when next systemic collapse occurs, you will need to find another factors and causes to explain it, or simply believe the new official story the mass media will sell us.

Opposite to this approach, if you think that in the best case scenario, systemic risk has been underestimated by all the institutions mentioned in the previous paragraph,or that this has been a “designed” crisis, in the worst case scenario, you will probably not have more chances to change things, but at least when the next crisis comes you will already be aware of it, and may be, even make sounder decisions when voting in elections or in referendums.

Our need to believe and make our own lives bearable, make us think that we want the life we have – that’s a way to define “happiness”. We accept “gifts” given to us by civilization, as if we are entitled to them, and under the frame that we, thus, get some satisfaction in exchange for our sacrifices. But the truth is that, by means of getting prizes for our “achievements”, we are actually being bribed more than rewarded. Those prizes are: TV, sports, credit cards, cheap credit (well, not anymore haha), nice vacations, all kinds of gadgets at reach of our hands, even Internet (something that will be adjusted sooner or later, as long as it’s not limited to entertainment/superfluous information).

Try, instead, to demand more  or better education, more or better public health system, more or better cultural channels. We know already what the answer will be.

When slavery was a natural status of Society (we must deal with this fact – that scarcely 200 years ago, there was explicit possession of human beings), I suppose slaves accepted gifts from their owners, but they surely never took that situation as “natural”. They surely knew those gifts didn’t make their freedom to be a single millimeter closer.

There’s a kind of “one-way valve” being installed in the financial system and, thus in the economic one as well, so money flow will  basically move in one only direction. We can therefore expect that “gifts” will be less and smaller each time. By the time we want to react, after realizing that we do not decide our own reward, it will be too late.

We just have to be aware of this slight difference. That one between accepting and choosing.

It shouldn’t come as surprise if in the next years, a new and reinforced outbreak of religion shows up in societies around the world.

3 Responses to “Another oxymoron …”

  1. Well written and well analyzed. I liked the distinction you draw between prizes and demands. As you rightly point out, there cannot be a benevolent dictatorship. The primary reason is that anything short of a democracy entails unbridled power and it is difficult for the dictator to resist the temptation to abuse power. Democracy is still not ideal, and needs to evolve, especially in the era of social networks. But dictatorship can never be considered as an alternative to democracy.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      Besides I appreciate your concepts, I’m glad that we can discuss this matters globally. I absolutely agree with you on Democracy needing a new status. Cannot be maintained in the same terms than 200 years ago.

  2. i am always struck by your optimism in the face of such systemic beasts… perhaps the definition of democracy should be reconstructed, but what structures of it will remain?

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