Again, apologies for my endless slackitude. I blame a caucasian upper-middle class upbringing.
Also I do have a good excuse, because today I climbed mountains and got lost in the bush with a friend. I kid you not.
So, as you may have inferred from the title, in this post I would like to question modern forms of government. Ironically, "what is the best form of government in modern times?" might not be the best question to ask, for the simple reason that it begs the question of "what is the best?"
For me, the answer is stability, security and freedom. Obviously you can't have a perfect 10 out of 10 for all three however since security and stability often gets in the way of our freedoms. An example of this is laws that condemn murder as a crime; being able to kill someone is a freedom, but only by taking away that freedom can we ensure the security (in this case safety) of citizens' lives. I would happily give up that freedom as would most people. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, unless of course you want to be thrown in prison for thinking the country could be running a tinsy bit better than what it currently is.
So it's more like a triangle diagram. Unfortunately it is quite possible to be quite lacking in all three categories, as citizens of certain african or south american nations would attest.
So what are our options?
Of the forms of governments tried we have:
Autocracy: one person has absolute power. presumably can be as stable, secure and free as you like but historically, autocracies tend to be high on security and low on everything else. Absolute monarchies are a more stable version of autocracies, since the ruling monarch generally tries not to stuff things up too much so that when their offspring grow up they can handle the state's affairs without too much grief.
Notable Autocracies: pretty much every medieval nation. Also I would consider "communist" Russia under Stalin an autocracy since Stalin had absolute power. Oh and Nazi Germany was an autocracy (after Hitler got elected of curse).
Representation: Where the people get to vote for politicians/parties who "represent" their interests, the politician/parties who gets the most votes gets to call all the shots and wields executive power until next election. I would also include "constitutional monarchies" under the representation banner too. I mean technically the Queen of England has some power but in reality, we all know who calls the shots. Historically, republics, tend to have a nice balance of
Notable Republics: Every western nation that calls itself a "democracy". Ancient Rome was a republic for a time.
Oligarchy: Wikipedia has a whole list of governments and puts oligarchy underneath the autocracy banner. I beg to differ. If a state is not being run by one person (autocracy) or by everyone (democracy) then it must be being run by a few people. There is a latin (and greek) term for this: oligarchia. Historically oligarchies also tend to have a good balance of freedom, security and stability. Coincidentally, oligachies of history have primarily consisted of old men making the big decisions. Maybe old people aren't so bad after all. Well except for the lackthereof when it comes to technological progress...
Notable oligarchies: Ancient Sparta, Aborigines before white settlement, pretty much all hunter-gatherer societies.
AAAAAAAAND that's it. Honestly, that's all that's really been tried.
"But what about democracy? Why did you leave that out?" I hear you ask.
Well, I left democracy out because that was a list of governments that humans have actually tried. We have never tried democracy. Ancient Athens came pretty close, but a democracy is where everyone votes on decisons of the state and in Ancient Athens only a few people got to vote. If you were a woman or a slave or a prisoner, then you didn't get the vote. What do we call a system of government where a few people make the decisions? An oligarchy.
While oligarchys are usually pretty good when it comes to internal security, stability and freedom, oligarchies have alwasy been burdened with the fact that nothing ever really changes. Technological progress stagnates. I don;t know about you, but a world without innovation seems not only boring but potentially dangerous. We as a species need to adapt and technology is our best tool for society to adapt.
So what are we left with?
Historically, autocracies are pretty good at stability and security, but lack the freedom of republics. But since, no modern day republic allows people the freedom to kill each other, I am happy to sacrifice a little security to gain a little liberty.
So out of what has been tried and tested, I am quite content with things the way they are in my humble oceanic nation.
As for what hasn't been tried yet... I'll leave that to next blog post...