Bangkok, January 12 2008
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Democracy is a word that is widely used but the Voice of the People has hardly any influence.
In many countries in the Third World family is more important in becoming Member of Parliament than capacities.
Thailand just had general elections and it seems that the majority of chosen people are spouses, sons, daughters, mothers, uncles, in-laws, etcetera of former Members of Parliament.
India knows political family-dynasties as the Gandhis that since independence belong to the top of the Indian society.
In Pakistan, the just murdered Bhutto was the daughter of a former president and now her 19-year old son has become party leader, assisted by his father who spent six years in jail on corruption charges.
I do not think these so-called democracies differ much from countries as North Korea or the Arab kingdoms were a few families are also monopolising power (and the money that comes with power).
I do not see any reason why members of these family-clans should be more capable than people that do not belong to these clans.
Family-Power is not restricted to the Third World. See for example my
Letter of an Autonomous Thinker number 57
Who belongs to the elite and number
58 The elite is very old.
There are many examples of Family-Power in the USA.
The Kennedy-clan held many political functions.
The Bush-clan produced two presidents and the governor of Florida. Al Gore is also part of this family. Are these people more capable than someone without a powerful family (and the money that belongs to these families)?
Clinton was a gifted speaker, but should his wife have had the same chance to become the next president as when she had not been married to him?
That family-members have more chance to be chosen in a political function should be enough reason to be against the very idea of democracy.
That the Voice of the People is hardly taken into account is also determined by the power of the Voice of the Family, the voice of a small group of people around former powerful politicians.
Anyone with such strong family-bonds should be distrusted. It should compel masspeople never to vote for anyone who propagates to be the right person because she/he belongs to a certain family.
Decisions that will be taken by such persons will favour in the first place the already privileged families to which they belong.
Do not trust the democratic system as long as family is more important than arguments and capability.
There are other ways than democracy to change the world, direct ways by which the powerful are forced to listen to the Voice of the People.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis