Does democracy suck?

The Beeb asks a not-so-pertinent, but provocatively phrased question: Why Democracy?

…And then falls flat on its fanny with the usual obtuse conclusions I’ve already seen ad nauseam from people who call themselves the intelligentsia. They are too windy and too flaccid for me to excerpt here.

Why Democracy, indeed. When Democracy is just a smokescreen for capitalism and profiteering, why ask why? Drink Bud Dry.

And stop complaining about the hangover. After all, you bought a round and boozed it up with all the rest of them.

Silly Beeb, it’s not about democracy at all. Haven’t you twigged to that yet? Just ask Alan Greenspan. It’s all about capitalism having its way: the oil in Iraq, and the pipeline in Afghanistan. No war the US has fought since WWII has been about anything else.

Who believes that anyone in the White House seriously gives a shit about who rules Burma, and how? Wake up. They’ve had since 1990 to get their self-righteous butts in there and roust the military junta, if democracy is indeed their noble goal. The Cold War was over, and The Free World had supposedly won it for the Gipper. They had ample time, money and resources to invade Burma and set things right and wipe off some of the tarnish from their military brass. The reason they haven’t bothered? The SLORC, as it used to be called (what is its name now?) saw to it that the Burmese oil and natural gas kept right on flowing to the multinationals, so democratization just wasn’t a priority. Aung San Suu Kyi could stay under house arrest, unable to accept her Nobel Prize, unable even to visit her dying husband or attend his funeral, let alone govern as she’d been elected to do. Meanwhile, ordinary Burmese could languish and starve, seeing none of those vast oil and gas profits trickling down their way.

The Beeb’s problem is the same as that of every other mainstream media source in the Western Hemisphere. It seems to think western-style capitalism should be a sure and certain road to democracy, and that free markets must equal free minds and free people. But lo: China has lotsa capitalism, and zero democracy. Russia, with its steady backslide into old police-state patterns even as capitalism flourishes, is further proof that it can’t possibly work the way the right-wing think tanks keep claiming it should. The Beeb is bewildered, and automatically assumes that it must be some fatal flaw in Democracy that is to blame. Maybe the fact that it’s just too…well, too democratic, blah blah…

Oh, who are we kidding?

Capitalism and democracy aren’t friends, and we should all stop pretending they are or even fondly hoping that they might be. A system that equates money with power, and whose objective is to concentrate the largest amounts of money in the fewest hands, is inherently anti-democratic. Given half a chance, Capitalism would not only kill Democracy, but sell off its corpse to the highest bidder.

Besides, as old Joe Stalin (that state capitalist par excellence) astutely observed, it’s not the votes that count, but who counts the votes. This should set off alarm bells in the “democratic” US of A, where private, for-profit companies are the vote counters. It should set off even more alarm bells when you see that the vote-counting companies have all sorts of ties to one particular political party.

But there is no chance that we would ever get to see an honest examination of that in the news; what would the commercial sponsors think?

The Beeb gets it even more wrong when it lays out the “lessons from the Burmese uprising”–you know, the same that was brutally put down by the military to the tune of thousands of dead dumped in the jungle and left to rot (many of them Buddhist monks, the most peaceful souls imaginable on Earth.) They lay the blame for the failure of the uprising at the feet of those who rose up–oh, too bad, guess they didn’t push hard enough. Time to shed a few tears pro forma, and move on to reporting what matters: the successes of the successful.

The fact that the successes of the Free World (TM) are directly related to the failures of places like Burma shall never be mentioned, at least not in the lamestream press. The Burmese uprisings have everything it takes to succeed, except one: M-O-N-E-Y. That one was, conveniently, left off the Beeb’s list. There is not a single major corporation on the planet that will actually invest money in freeing and democratizing Burma. Why? Not profitable enough. Democracy is unruly, as Donald Rumsfeld once said in a rare lucid moment between idiotic babblings. Democracy makes people too uppity, too apt to join unions and agitate for higher wages and other rights. Not enough order and regimentation to crank out the profits with maximum efficiency and minimum cost. Therefore, the junta stays. Too bad; so sad!

Meanwhile, the oil profits just keep a-rollin’ along. On a slow boat to China, where capitalism and democracy aren’t even on speaking terms.

No, democracy doesn’t suck. But capitalism sure does blow.

And so does any news coverage which glosses over the crimes of the latter while bemoaning the supposed weaknesses of the former.

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