Imagine a race of intelligent plants. They want to form a civilization. They will face roughly the same challenges that humans or any other intelligent species will encounter. Mostly, these involve organizing themselves so that leadership avoids errors, and preserving genetic health.
After all, life is still life, even if one is intelligent and civilized. The species must go on, as must the specific sub-species that is this ethnic group of plants. They have to find some way to feed themselves, protect against threats, and plan for the future.
Intelligent beings by nature tend to be solipsistic. Their big brains tell them lots of things about the world, and tend to reject the thoughts that are disturbing and therefore threaten the stability of the organism. They prefer to feel good thoughts all the time than to look at the scary and bad stuff.
Consequently the risk to them is not obvious threats, but slow and subtle threats like loss of culture, selfish leaders, and loss of the healthier specimens as society tries to subsidize the rest. Most gardens perish from a combination of those.
In theory, intelligent beings would realize the risk of slow threats — and the fast growth that makes them easily overlooked — but in reality, people prefer the tangible, including the mentally tangible like symbols and glaringly obvious problems. Intelligence is programmed to destroy itself.
Instead of focusing on real threats, intelligent beings tend to talk in terms of methods that in theory eliminate all risk and therefore make Utopia. The modern era consists of a focus on methods instead of goals such as having health, leading to a rules-based order:
Here is another example of the substitution of concepts and meanings. For many years, Western ideologists and politicians have been telling the world there was no alternative to democracy. Admittedly, they meant the Western-style, the so-called liberal model of democracy.
So currently, an overwhelming majority of the international community is demanding democracy in international affairs and rejecting all forms of authoritarian dictate by individual countries or groups of countries. What is this if not the direct application of democratic principles to international relations?
What stance has the “civilised” West adopted? If you are democrats, you are supposed to welcome the natural desire for freedom expressed by billions of people, but no. The West is calling it undermining the liberal rules-based order. It is resorting to economic and trade wars, sanctions, boycotts and colour revolutions, and preparing and carrying out all sorts of coups.
Putin draws a simple distinction here: direct democracy versus rules-based democracy, essentially saying that Constitutional systems are ruled by a cadre of experts who in theory know more than the voters. He claims to want international direct democracy.
The first world adopted its rule-based order to work around the insanity of the voters. That kept things at bay for awhile, but as with all meritocratic systems, once the targets that are used as performance metrics are identified, the system is quickly gamed.
Both options are still democracy, a system in which people vote for what they think the group will support, and therefore progressively dumb themselves down. The “rules-based” side simply tries to reduce the worst of democracy where the cheap seats outvote the skyboxes.
The first world finds itself in the skyboxes, seeing many billions of people who want to come in and seize its wealth, including of course Mr Putin. The only option it sees is a subsidy agenda of constant intervention akin to colonialism:
Europe is a garden. We have built a garden. Everything works. It is the best combination of political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion that the humankind has been able to build – the three things together. And here, Bruges is maybe a good representation of beautiful things, intellectual life, wellbeing.
The rest of the world – and you know this very well, Federica – is not exactly a garden. Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden. The gardeners should take care of it, but they will not protect the garden by building walls. A nice small garden surrounded by high walls in order to prevent the jungle from coming in is not going to be a solution. Because the jungle has a strong growth capacity, and the wall will never be high enough in order to protect the garden.
The gardeners have to go to the jungle. Europeans have to be much more engaged with the rest of the world. Otherwise, the rest of the world will invade us, by different ways and means.
Like most great conflicts, this one involves two groups who are advocating basically the same thing with small changes to maximize their position.
The West wants a rule-based order so that it can keep its diverse and self-interested population at bay, and the third world wants pure democracy so that it can use its greater numbers to outvote the people with IQs above 115 (who, ironically, produce all the wealth).
In this we see how democracy is individualistic. Each person wants to get ahead, and uses others as a means to that end, which is why getting collective assent becomes so important. Collective reward systems are individualistic.
Conservatives insist otherwise. They confuse cause and effect like most people, and assume that the method, effect, and process (collective reward) is the goal and cause, when really it is simply a device by which individualists upend rules so that bad behavior can continue.
If we wish to get out of this blighted time, our path begins with rejecting individualism. No garden can exist for one plant; rather, the plants exist to keep the garden healthy, which benefits the plants indirectly because they live in a stronger and more productive garden.
With both the first world and its wannabe conquerors preaching variations on the same system, it seems as if democracy is stronger than ever, but more likely we are seeing a bankrupt system devoid of ideas causing its members to fight over the crumbs.
Tags: democracy, josep borrell, vladimir putin