Two ships, fighting each other, red vs blue. They represent the growing polarization in American politics today. A reason for this polarization is the echo chambers we tend to get trapped in. We all get information from the sources we trust, which tend to give us their side of the story. Not many people read both sides. At the same time, big corporations and wealthy people pay lobbyists to whisper in the ears of the winner, whoever that may be. Many politicians also get employed as lobbyists after their careers in politics.
In the background, we find ancient Greece with Pericles, the first prime minister of Athens and the general in the Peleponisean war against Sparta. That war showed us that democracy is fragile and can be overrun by authoritarian powers. Sparta was a city-state with authoritarian rule and it defeated the democratic Athens. Today, China, with its authoritarian rule, is on the rise, and in Europe, undemocratic powers are taking over Poland and Hungary. Just now, on the first of February 2021, a military coup d’etat took place in the democratic country of Myanmar after the military party lost big in the November election.
But is democracy the best way to govern a country? We demand that our politicians are infallible, almost like gods. But just like the Greek gods, we are all greedy, jealous, and egocentric. We look to the animal kingdom and find that there are different kinds of ways to structure a society. Many birds have absolute democracy where they vote with their wings which way to fly. In the world of primates, there is a more authorial style where they have one strong leader or a group that governs. What is the best way to govern our society of humans?
Dissatisfaction with democracy within developed countries is at its highest level in almost 25 years, according to University of Cambridge researchers. In the UK in 2019, according to surveys before the general election, it reached 61%. While in the US it has seemed to drop below 50%.
A good example of how bad a democratic institution can be, we can look at the US election of 2016. When Donald Trump had 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, and he still won. How is that a good democracy?
Democracy needs to grow, like the rest of the world. Everything these days grows so fast, and democracy needs to catch up. In Norway, we have ministers with barely any higher education or no relevant working experience. Norway’s minister of research and academia has finished 1 year of a private business school. Sylvi Listhaugs was our Oil and Energy minister, she has a lower bachelor’s degree of pre-elementary teacher (kindergarten), formerly she was our immigration and integration minister, justice minister, and farming minister. They have been politicians their whole life, before taking a job as a lobbyist.
But in our part of the world, we are still very satisfied with our democracy, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. On the other hand, we are starting to see our politicians growing more and more to populism, and shaming the other side of politics. Being more concerned about which color the other party has than its politics. You are «Red» and you’re «blue» we have almost the same opinions, but because you are Blue/red I have to disrespect you and disagree.
How can we grow the Democracy? Maybe we should treat our government like a business and our ministers as our employees. We want our employees to be qualified for the job, like every other job on the job market. You would be met with a list of requirements, like for example relevant job experience, relevant higher education, good people skills, high moral and ethical standards, just to list a few. A technocracy may be a better model. Or maybe people, in general, are not fit to lead, and an AI is the only one that can be objective enough to govern us?