When I think of democracy, I do not think of the pure incarnation of the political system wherein the majority rule, but rather the philosophical term in which all people, no matter their differences, are considered equal and possess all of the same rights. This is, I would posit, how most people think of democracy – as a set of egalitarian ideals – not as a sort of mob-mentality system of political tyranny. This is fairly straightforward and most people praise this ideology of liberty, but it is being threatened by an ever-expanding and much more powerful system – capitalism, which flaunts the opposite of pure democracy, in that the very few have a monopoly on the many; an even more dangerous model.
The foremost maxim touted by capitalist apologists is that the system they argue for is a system which holds up individual rights and expands economic growth, but the truth is that there is no esprit de corps to be found between the ideals of democracy and capitalism, because true equality requires the absence of disparity; but, capitalism inherently breeds greed and stifles societal growth.
Certainly, our western economic philosophy has outpaced that of past manifestations of communism, but this does not mean, in any sense, that people are happy. Capitalism, if left unfettered, is a force that sees nothing but success among those who abuse the system and those within it and ignore the issues it presents in terms of providing for those who are unable to fully achieve the false dreams promised them. This is laissez-faire’s downfall and the reason it is ultimately destined to separate from democracy, as it cannot provide the simplest of all human needs: happiness.
Of course happiness is subjective, but when you have a society that is ruled by so much corruption, greed, ignorance and economic disparity, it is very clear that something is structurally wrong and that happiness – pure unrestrained happiness – is unattainable.
Yet, we have the ability to change ourselves, our societies and our political and economic ways of life and the American public is beginning to see this. Capitalism, I believe, will eventually split from democracy and breathe its dying breath and we will see the emergence of a system that, hopefully, provides for all of humanity.
Terence McKenna, the famously eccentric and honest author, once said, “We have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know-how, the love and the community to produce a kind of human paradise. But we are led by the least among us – the least intelligent, the least noble, the least visionary. We are led by the least among us and we do not fight back against the dehumanizing values that are handed down as control icons.”