By William Markiewicz
Well intentioned systems become nests for tyranny simply because their governments are small groups deciding about the fate of too big territories and societies. Small group decisions wipe out entire forests, irrevocably changing the environment. Small group decisions change History, meaning the fate of entire societies and countries. Democratically elected leaders can change the political climate around them, as Bush does. Could this be avoided? Can society develop sufficient defence against its leaders? This question was asked by Einstein in his article, “Why Socialism?” and we should all try to find a way to answer it.
A Polish peasant delegation went to King Wladislaw the 4th asking him for protection against the nobles’ abuses. The King answered: “Don’t you have axes, scythes, pitchforks…..?” A good and smart king; he knew that kings can’t be everywhere and self defence is the best guarantee against abuse by power holders. How can societies defend themselves against powers that become abusive? It’s very difficult to answer because self defence shouldn’t boil down to unending mini-civil wars.
For centuries, Chinese peasants used the art of self defence against the nobles. Russian villages were in perpetual war against the boyars. The paroxysm of all this resulted in revolutions. Democracy invented the post of ombudsman, whose task is precisely to defend ordinary folks against abuse by authorities. The problem is that no ombudsman nor society has any effective defence other than the letter of the law and the good will of those authorities. Could this be changed? Could the ombudsmen and the more or less small groups they represent show that they mean business? A hard question that Einstein didn’t answer.
We know from high technology as in space flights, that “99 percent of perfection is not enough” because that would mean leaving thousands of small defects. We must find a way to apply those technological requirements of perfection to social problems.
To start with, problems could be lightened by reducing their scope; instead of taking decisions concerning thousands of miles and hundreds of thousands of people, why not reduce the decisions to a smaller scale in human numbers and miles? In this way local inhabitants will have a chance to make decisions concerning their territory without being sacrificed as they have been up to now for the so-called big picture, but in reality for a group of interests. They should have means to legally, and yes physically, defend their claims. In democracy, Canada and the US relocated entire Inuit populations which was really abuse. Millions of people were demonstrating for peace throughout the world while politicians quietly achieved their cheating about “mass destruction” etc. In authoritarian regimes the people have no right to protest, in democracies they have the right to protest and it serves for very little.
World problems don’t exist, only countless local problems artificially pulled together under “one leader” or “one banner.” This creates problems instead of resolving them. The world fight against terrorism has inflated fanatical movements to an unprecedented scale. Dangers that didn’t exist have become chronic, factual and universal. There will be no peace on earth and the colour of banners will not matter until the locals gain full control over their own problems.Back to the index of the Vagabond