Like every other beggar, I am quick to pan our democracy's daily results, from the War on Chocolate all the way down. Unlike many, I don't think most of the problems are fixable by electing the 'right' people, not even though they be as right as yours truly. Pure democracy is a fancy name for brute mob rule, and Parliamentary 'democracy' is an oligarchy with some really rotten built-in incentives for both rulers and ruled. No, I do not really love democratic government very much, and the main thing for which I can be relied upon to vote is less of it. On the other hand, when we start looking at the existing and historical alternatives...
...Well, ych o fi! Must we just come back to the old Churchillian grumble,
"Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
and a grudging single cheer for the brute, then? I have felt a bit churlish now and then lately, for whaling on even so poor a thing as democracy, when most of the world's population doesn't even live under anything so good as that.
But just the other day it struck me that I may have been suffering from the same logical error as democracy's most ardent boosters. I am used to thinking of democracy the way I was taught to, as the steering system of the great big flash car of State - and then abusing it for being such a bad one.
Of course it is a bad steering system!
Because what democracy properly is - and why so many poor oppressed bleeders have rightly longed and fought and died to get some - is a really good set of brakes.
(Come in, No.10, your time is up...)