I read that totalitarian governments are dealing with the coronavirus crisis better than democracies.
This is wrong. It is not possible to know the facts in such countries.
I can’t believe totalitarian regimes on hardly anything. Particularly on anything that has to do with the power and prestige of the regime.
You can believe a totalitarian regime only if whatever they say can be verified by others.
Some say that such regimes can be more effective because when the top guy says; “do this!” everybody complies. It does not work that way. This is how it works;
Before the top guy issues the order someone has to give him the information. In a totalitarian system, those who have the information have to be careful. The boss may not like the bad news. This fear makes people hesitate and wait. “Maybe someone else will give him the bad news…”
Anyone can understand this sort of thinking goes against effectiveness. Effectiveness requires facts, open information up front. The totalitarian frame of mind is in fact a mental handicap, no matter how many share it.
We saw what happened in China to the doctor who first spoke up about the coronavirus. His local “top guy“ told him something like this: “That can not be true, that can not happen here, we control everything. You have to retract what you said”.
The local official thought that way because his own superiors may not like such bad news either. He felt compelled to do the irrational thing. He forced the doctor to say he had made a mistake. He forced the doctor to deny reality, but this seemed logical and rational to him.
This is like what the Church did to Galileo. On February 26, 1616, the “Holy” Inquisition (what a name!), forced Galileo to retract the facts he had found. One would expect that in 2020 this sort of madness could not happen, but it is happening.
I do not know what sort of threats the doctor received, but they had to be scary to force such courageous man to retract.
When the regime finally admitted to the problem, it had lost valuable time. Many people died and are dying around the World because of this huge management mistake.
In a democracy things are very different. The doctor would have attracted media attention. The government would have to act right away. If it did not, the consequences for those in power would be very serious.
Imagine what would happen to officials in a democracy if they forced a doctor to do the same.
It is possible that Trump and other leaders did not react as fast as they should, although it is easy to second guess. Because of the lies and misleading information from China even medical experts in the West were slow to react.
In the US, just for believing he acted too slowly, many people are jumping all over Trump. It may cost him the reelection. Nothing of that is possible in a totalitarian regime.
Even now we do not know what has happened in China, or what is happening. There could be thousands more dead, tens of thousands, we do not know. As consensus emerges in key democracies that the Chinese have been lying and continue to lie, it seems they are “admitting” to more coronavirus cases. Such “admissions” are worthless because nothing they say has credibility.
If things get uncomfortable, the Chinese regime may even execute a few officials in Wuhan. They could be same officials who pressured the doctor; such are the crazy ways of totalitarian regimes.
I read the doctor has already been “rehabilitated”. Those who forced the doctor to recant may be the ones getting nervous now. Unfortunately, the doctor has passed away. They say he became infected with the virus. I do not know if that is true either.
No matter what it does, the regime will not change its ways. It can not. It is not in its nature. Next time the same thing will happen.
Conclusion: totalitarian regimes are far worse than democracies to deal with crisis because they do not face the facts.
In democracies, the people, the elected representatives and the judiciary can punish officials. They will also be criticized by independent media. It is suicidal for a politician in a democracy to do what the Chinese leaders do.
Some people point out that the Chinese regime acted swiftly. It is obvious that it did not. It acted swiftly AFTER wasting valuable time. The delay costed thousands of lives in China and around the World, some swiftness!
But since this is a blog about direct democracy, I want to add a few comments.
In a direct democracy the people have more power to know the truth. The government has fewer “political” calculations than in representative democracy. Such calculations can slow down decision making and lose sight of the common good.
In direct democracy there are no political parties. Elections are to elect ordinary citizens who serve for a time and then go back to their regular jobs. No political organizations behind them. This means there is far less political calculation.
In direct democracy the people could remove anyone from power at any time.
In direct democracy the people are more involved in the running of society. They have more rights and also more responsibilities. If a lockdown is ordered they are more likely to obey, because the institutions have more credibility.
Even to decide if the lockdown is necessary the people directly can decide in a matter of days.
Panels of experts can discuss it on national television, internet video and other media. The people will reflect on what they learned and then vote electronically. In a matter of minutes the results can be known.
If credit cards are secure to buy online, voter ID can also be secure online.
My conclusion is that representative democracy is far better than totalitarian regimes. Direct democracy is better than representative democracy.
Democracy is better than a totalitarian regimen in any country, IF it knows how to make it work. Sadly, the majority of humanity is not prepared for democracy. As a result they “govern themselves” with all sorts of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
But even most of those who have democracy are unstable and corrupt. In spite of that, at least the people have the power and the freedom to change who rules.
For representative democracy to work, people need the education, the values and behaviours that it requires. Direct democracy requires that citizens be even better prepared.
In my opinion, all the stable representative democracies are ready for the transition to semi direct democracy.
It is amazing and surprising that 2800 years later, no country in the World has been able to replicate Ancient Greek direct democracy. But I believe we are ready to catch up with and surpass the Greeks. This modest blog tries to contribute to that goal. I hope you do too, anywhere you are and also here with your input.
See you soon.
Note: Under normal circumstances I will publish a new blog every 2 days.