Democracy is Bad for You

Date: Monday, July 6th
Time: 7-9pm
Place: Arrow Bar, 85 Avenue A, btw 5th/6th St.

The next Junta will be centered on the question of democracy in our time.

As democracy spreads through a society, power devolves from the elites and the middle class grows. Theoretically, this process should continue until the poor are also lifted up and empowered – but does it? Or does the middle class become accustomed to wealth and power, and protective of its position, to the detriment of “one man, one vote”?

Recent events in Thailand, Iran and the US have shown examples of democracy today.

  • In Thailand, democracy has been hijacked by populism more educated urbanites who wouldn’t mind denying the vote to their country cousins and resulting in military coups and instability;
  • In Iran, a religious superauthority has apparently rigged an election to prevent anyone challenging their hold on power – sparking an unrest they didn’t expect;
  • And in the US, we have just elected the first minority president in our history only 8 years after a contest so closely divided it required a month of litigation and media scrutiny – and yet did not result in any mass uprising or social turmoil.

Is democracy “the worst form of government – except for all the others”, as Winston Churchill said? Or is “benign authoritarianism”–the Singaporean model–a better way than the chaos of democracy in nearby Philippines, or the flawed system of quasi-democracy and institutional patronage found in Malaysia?

We’re interested in seeing where these questions might lead, and to what other questions they might bring up.

Hope to see you all there-

Rindy and Jeremy

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