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ON MY WATCH
By MANUEL L. CABALLERO
DESPITE IMPERFECTIONS, DEMOCRACY STILL BEST POLITICAL SYSTEM
Plato, the 5th Century Greek philosopher, who is considered founder of political science, said at one time, "democracy will tend to perish by excess of basic democratic rights and principles."
Note the word "excess."
Plato's warnimg was expounded by Socrates, one of his noted students.
Wikipedia discussed Socrates further in the following essay:
"In the Republic, Plato's Socrates raises a number of objections to democracy. He claims that democracy is a danger due to excessive freedom. He also argues that in a system in which everyone has a right to rule all sorts of selfish people who care nothing for the people but are only motivated by their own personal desires are able to attain power. He concludes that democracy risks bringing dictators, tyrants, and demagogues to power. He also claims that democracies have leaders without proper skills or morals and that it is quite unlikely that the best equipped to rule will come to power."
We are now seeing relevance of Platonic and Socratic critiques of democracy to present day politics.
In the Philippines, the dangers we see are: 1) circumventing the law to favor those in power; 2) institutionalizing corruption in government; 3) violation of the constitutional principles of separation of powers and checks and balances among the three major branches of government and 4) use of trolls for disinformation purposes to get votes.
In the US, violence in politics has become rampant, in our observation, since former Pres. Donald Trump began advancing conspiracy theories about supposed election fraud which over 60 courts around the country have declared to be baseless. In our opinion, the Jan. 6 attack in the Capitol may had been triggered by the same false theories.
One aspect of divisiveness in America can be blamed on same baseless and nonsense conspiracy theories which are believed by people, mostly in rural America, according to a recent survey.
Serious studies about the above defects and weaknesses of the democratic system and remedies must be instituted.
The situation is far from being hopeless. Despite the above imperfections, we have seen and experienced that democracy is the best political system. We witnessed what happened to the former socialist republics of the Soviet Union. From communism, the member states turned democracies, including Ukraine, which Russia tried but failed to outrightly invade.
Happy Halloween, Friends!