I am a critical and outspoken opponent of Democracy. It has become the sacred cow of the West and it should not be so–for a myriad of reasons. My goal is start a series of posts that feature a quote or thought on Democracy and then provide my reaction. Some of the people featured in this series may support Democracy, but may have concerns about it, concerns that I plan on addressing.
To launch the series, I will start with my favorite author; an author that I read every day for spiritual growth, F.W. Boreham. He was a missionary/pastor/author in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia before his death in 1959.
In his essay, My Lost Faith from the book The Golden Milestone, he writes:
Let all who swear by statistics take warning [in the fact that the numbers don’t always add up]. Now that is precisely the weakness of democracy. A democratic form of government is, I suppose, the nearest approach to a perfect form of government that has ever been invented; yet nobody would argue that it is a perfect form of government. And the chasm that yawns between it and perfection is the chasm into which we have just been peering. It adds Judas and John together, saying as it does so that one and one make two. It gives the ne’er-do-weel, the waster, and the scoundrel the same voice in the affairs of State as the man of intelligence and integrity to whom the whole community looks up in respect. ‘If there is one lesson written more legibly than another upon the annals of the world, it is that majorities are almost always wrong!’ So said Mr. W. S. Lilly in The Nineteenth Century.
This is about a good a place to start as any. The weakness of Democracy that Boreham exposes is in fact catastrophic. In a Democracy, John and Judas are given the same voice, they are equals. When in reality, we all know that they are not and it is nothing short of a tragedy to put our head in the sand and assume they are. And don’t we all know Judas? Don’t we all work next to him or her, or live down the street from them? Judas has no business voting. At least not on matters of morality and war and the economy. If, while out with your friends, you want to use a democratic processes to determine what movie the group will watch or where you will eat–fine. But the inability of Democracy to distinguish between John and Judas should bring an abrupt halt to the idea that the masses should be voting on issues that actually matter.
Those of us in the church see this in our local church governments. The kissing-cousin to Democracy in the church is known as Congregationalism. An abominable idea if there ever was one. It is clear to all, or at the very least should be, that some have been called to lead while others have been called to follow. But in Democracy, as in Congretionalism, we invert that model and ask the followers to do the leading. Which is to sin against the divine order of things.
John and Judas are not equals. One was beloved, one was a traitor. Do we really want them having equal voice on all matters? I certainly hope not.
[Image credit: www.theguardian.com]