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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Questions on democracy

Mansour Abd 'Azam wrote an interesting topic at The Egyption Gazette last sunday. What democracy can do for you? How can a slum dweller be interested in democracy? Will democracy feed him along with his family and guarantee a dignified life? Or is democracy a term bandied about by politicians and intellectuals who have no concept of what it is like to live in squalor?

Well,,, we are having the same problems. Everyone lives in the "third world" would ask the very same questions. Do the impoverished people give a cheer for democracy? They might not even know what the very word means. Another "dangerous " and serious question is to raise: "do we really need democracy?" What are the most essensial goals by establishing a nation-state? What should be the most important thing rulers do to achieve them? And what is the mean?

The main ultimate goal of establishing a nation-state should be to bring "good life and happiness" to all member of the populace - No matter what the system is. Western liberal democracy might prove to be not the final destination of all nations. It's just one of many possible exits. Maybe we should consider "development first, democracy later" perspective. Democyacy, just like other systems are means, not goals. Some countries like Egypt and Indonesia need a good dictator. We still in the need for "strong and good" Leader with authority to break down feudalism, split entrenched coalitions, override vested interests, and bring order to chaotic society. Soeharto was indeed strong, but not good leader we need.

There's a popular view that poor countries were better off with authoritarian governments. This idea is premised on the notion that strongman rulers in poor countries are better able to maintain stability, keep prices low, and mobilize a country's limited resources towards productive ends so that these nations could progress economically. It's because poor countries must first reach some sort of middle income threshold before they can successfully democratize. Poor country is a weak country. Attempting a democratic transition at this stage would seem to be inviting turbulence and even civil war. Only states which are relatively secure - politically, militarily, economically - can afford to have free, pluralistic societies; in the absence of this security, states are much more likely to fall into chaos.

Cultures vary, and different societies will require different frameworks of government. Take China for instance, It has a rapid growing economy even though it still has a communist government. What would China with 1.3 billion population be if they push it to install a full liberal democracy. But it's not what we want Indonesia to be. We are tired of being oppressed on an uneasy peace condition. We want a government with a system that guarantee Equality, social justice, greater stability, rule of law, and controls on corruption.

Democratized Indonesia
Democracy, indeed should be of interest to all citizen, because it will mean they will have proper housing, cheap even free education provided by the state and reasonably paid job. But we should be fully aware that the period of transition to democracy is in many ways one of the most dangerous and fragile of all, especially in countries divided along religious and ethnic lines, and where people rush to the party-political competition for power without first having a functioning state with well-defined borders, the rule of law, independent media and a strong civil society. That’s what’s been happening in Indonesia.

Full liberal democracy doens't always mean good. It contributes to peace if - as
JS. said - those whose basic human needs have been met. On the contrary, democracy can increase the danger of "war" if inhabitants are overwhelmed by the chronic poverty. Poverty does endanger democracy, although not by itself. It constitutes one of the most dangerous threat. If it combines with radical ideologies, be they be religious or left based that reject the current political system, Indonesia's democratic transition may be disrupted.

It's not that we should retreat from democratization, but that we should rethink our priorities in the way we pursue it. One of the most important of all things to prioritise is the rule of law wihtout which democracy would mean nothing. Elections should be preceded by concerted steps to restore a functioning judiciary and a culture of legality, and a functioning police and a culture of law-enforcement. The rule of law is central to democratic civility, and without it there can be little in the way of meaningful democratic choice.

I see that rule of law should come first because we are not poor. But people are impoverished. They'd been made poor. The lack of controls on corruption has been the major cause of the poverty. Our problem has always been that of INJUSTICE.


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1:08 AM  
Blogger Twelve Red Monkeys said...

Dari sudut mana pun

demokrasi adalah gombal

semacam panduan menonton film2 Hollywood itu


Tapi memang pait membahas practical politics
Lebih pait lagi menjalankannya pada saat masih memiliki suara kecil dalam kepala yang berbisik-bisik kebenaran. Apa sajalah yang dimaksud dengan kebenaran itu.

Karena itu saya agak enggan berpikir jadi PNS.
Tapi menimbang-nimbang hal lain dan tekanan masyarakat juga...

diam-diam sosialis

9:36 PM  

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