In the first part of this series of articles, “Democracy – The Primary Fatal Flaw,” we have described in detail the first major flaw in contemporary democracy: choosing politicians to rule over us. Which is clearly not working.
This is ever more obvious to an increasing majority of those on the receiving end of this process. Politicians are frequently inept and incompetent at managing a complex, crisis-torn planet, with potentially catastrophic results. Their job description requires fewer qualifications than being a plumber or a doctor.
The failure to address the absurdity of giving power to politicians means that there is no progressive alternative being considered. The endless attempts to prop up the status quo, already well past its expiry date, is fueling reactionary forces in society to start supporting what is seen as the only alternative: fascism. Risking an even greater catastrophe.
Politicians’ only claim to legitimacy is the second major flaw in this process – the support of a largely uninformed electorate. This happens through the third flaw: a ritual called “an election” – itself yet another charade, at least in the world’s greatest democracy, the USA.
So, what is the problem with the electorate? Osho explains:
“One thing – we have to drop the idea that every man, just because he is twenty-one, is capable of choosing who is the right person to decide the fate of nations. Age cannot be the decisive factor. We have to change the decisive factor; that is changing the very foundation.” 1
“The common masses are, in a way, innocent. But the pedagogues, the priests, the politicians – these are the people who go on poisoning the common masses and keep them at the level of a mob.
“What we call democracy has not yet come to the point of being a democracy. It is still, everywhere, only a mobocracy, because the mass that elects the people is a mob; it is not yet alert or aware.” 2
Or, as the Washington Post, in an article, “This is how fascism comes to America,” explains about Trumps’ appeal: “He has ‘tapped into’ a hitherto unknown swath of the voting public. But what he has tapped into is what the founders most feared when they established the democratic republic: the popular passions unleashed, the ‘mobocracy.’”
Or as Osho puts it even more precisely:
“Democracy is not the highest goal. It is better than dictatorial regimes, it is better than monarchies, but it is not the end of the journey – because democracy basically means government by the people, of the people, for the people, but the people are retarded. So let us say: government by the retarded, for the retarded, of the retarded.” 3
Another sacred cow bites the dust. “We the people….”
Given the ease with which we allow ourselves to accept all kinds of unverified, and often unverifiable, information – not to mention all the insane conspiracy theories flying around – Osho’s use of the word “retarded” seems exactly right. As CB Insights puts it, “Disinformation threatens the globe’s ability to effectively combat a deadly virus and hold free and fair elections. Meanwhile, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are accelerating the threat.” The much-heralded information society is degenerating into a mis-information society as all these lies tear apart the people of the “United” States.
Warnings about a “mobocracy” are also heard from reactionary, anti-democratic forces, but in a totally different direction.
In a penetrating review of four years of the Trump administration, Rebecca Traister explains in The Cut how “those at the controls are getting more open in their aims and no longer need to dress up their project, which is exerting minority control and doing away with even the window dressing of a democracy.”
She continues, “The language of ‘mob rule’ is what authoritarians use to cast themselves as victims of a roused populace: ‘Mob justice’ is what critics called Me Too; it’s how the right has long referred to the Movement for Black Lives; Trump called those who protested Kavanaugh’s confirmation ‘an angry mob.’” She describes this as “An old trick, the casting of the oppressors as the oppressed.”
Osho can be easily misunderstood in this context.
By contrast, freedom from oppression is Osho’s fundamental standpoint.
The rights of the individual are paramount, as he explains in detail in On Basic Human Rights: A New Narrative. Whether that individual wants an abortion or to accept euthanasia for her or himself or to cohabit with whomsoever she or he wants – whatever it is, as long as it doesn’t impinge on anyone else’s freedom – nobody has the right to interfere. Certainly not any politician.
If two people feel the need for a priest and/or a politician to somehow provide a seal of approval of their love so they can call it marriage, that is their choice.
When you read Osho’s approach to racism and misogyny, for example, and his proposal for an individual rebellion against all oppression, you will then see we are looking at a completely new, anti-fascist, radically progressive response to the current, growing threats to our species.
Osho is exposing the absurdity that “the voter” be given “the freedom” to decide who is best qualified to deal with some highly complex issues on the other side of the planet about which most of us know nothing. However, that same voter is not free to consume a psychedelic mushroom, or decide to terminate her own pregnancy!
Moreover, we are all so conditioned by yesterday’s values, that hardly anyone can see straight anymore!
For example, an article in Salon describes the following: “Roughly 73 percent of Americans believe Jesus was born of a virgin, while only 61 percent believe the Earth’s temperature has been warming. Even worse, only 40 percent of the Americans who concede that climate change is happening will admit that it’s primarily due to man-made activity.” And “77 percent of Americans believe in angels…. 1 in 4 Americans believe the sun revolves around the Earth” while “Only 60 percent of Americans believe in evolution.”
Does anyone really consider people with these beliefs are the best ones to decide who has the power to cause a nuclear annihilation of the human race? Perhaps 73 million US-Americans who just voted for Trump have proved this point.
Another startling example is the following. One of the reasons people voted for Trump was their fear of what Covid-19 was doing to the economy. McKinsey has already provided clear evidence that the effect of the virus on the economy is not whether you have lockdowns or not, it is people’s fear of infection, which stops them taking part in the economy. Those places that controlled the pandemic saw the fastest economic recovery. Today, the USA has more cases by lunchtime than China suffered during the whole pandemic to date. Our mistake – that was last week. Now it is more cases by breakfast time! The divergent direction of their economies reflect exactly that. China’s and South Korea’s economies are in the black while, according to McKinsey, the USA is “in the middle of the deepest recession in living memory.”
So first the USA’s “genius” President decides he is so desperate to get reelected, and sees the economy as his winning ticket, that he ignores all the scientific advice, and throws tens of thousands of US-Americans under the Covid bus.
Now, beat this. According to CBC News, in the lead up to the election, “in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority – 93 per cent of those counties – went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas.”
Or consider an even more complex, and dangerous, issue that effects the whole world, and is being decided by US-American voters, climate change. According to the Yale Climate Opinion Maps 2020, 63 percent of those surveyed are worried about climate change but only 43% thought it would impact them directly. Again, 73 millions of them voted for a president who claimed that climate change is “a hoax.” It is criminal that the fate of billions of people on the planet should depend on how “worried” these uninformed US-Americans are on this issue.
Or just read of the shocking, vicious abuse heaped on a county health director struggling against the odds with Covid-19, for whom “public health is my absolute love.” As she said in quiet desperation as she resigned from the job, “This is how we treat each other? This is who we are?”
A similar story emerges from an emergency room nurse, Jodi Doering. She is treating patients dying with Covid-19 who remain convinced to the end that the virus is a hoax, just like her cult leader said. “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real.’ And when they should be… Facetiming their families, they’re filled with anger and hatred.” She says that “they scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA.”
“I think the hardest thing to watch is that people are still looking for something else and a magic answer and they do not want to believe Covid is real,” Doering told CNN in an interview.
Whoever is brainwashing these people into accepting all these absurd beliefs should be put away somewhere safe!
When the brainwashers are from a foreign source, then everyone needs to be even more alert! As Foreign Policy writes, “The real competition between the United States and its allies on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other, is between competing systems of governance and ways of ordering society.”
Now to the third flaw: All the associated corruption associated with the electoral process itself – that is so evident around the world, and most flamboyantly in the USA.
Examples are endless: All the various dirty tricks of voter suppression, including fiddling the political boundaries, defunding the Post Office to obstruct voting by mail, The Florida felony skullduggery, militia-types with assault weapons at polling stations, politicizing the Department of Justice to cover Trumps’ crooked ass in case he refuses to accept the election results, on and on…. You can read the details here, and here.
Then there are the institutional barriers to free and fair elections in the US: One voter for the Senate in Montana (population 1 million) is worth 40 voters in California (population 40 million). Then the Electoral Colleges game which rejected the choice of the popular vote in 2016. Not to mention the hanging chads and the Supreme Court Coup of 2000. Oh, yes, the Supreme Court…. The recent confirmation hearings were described by the New Yorker as “an antidemocratic heist of historic dimensions”; by the LA Times as “shockingly hypocritical,” and by Al Jazeera as “political theatre.” As the Christian Science monitor notes, “In countries where democratic roots are fragile, there is a growing trend to undermine democracy’s basic building blocks: an independent judiciary and the rule of law.”
Then there is of course, the money: “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.” That was written before the US Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution allowed big money to spend whatever it wanted on influencing elections.
On top of all that we have the attacks on the press by the Trump administration in his attempt to delegitimize “the enemy of the people.” In the process, what he is really doing is brainwashing his followers to believe that the system is rigged against them, like it is rigged against poor Mr. Trump. “They” (nudge nudge, wink wink) will steal what is rightfully yours, like they are stealing what is rightfully mine. It is the standard authoritarian playbook to support the slide from democracy to fascism. Make no mistake, as the Harvard Professor of constitutional law explains, these people are playing with fire, a fire that will burn for years to come.
That’s all in a “normal” election. Now, as expected, Trump has now taken electoral gamesmanship to a whole new level, raising serious concerns that he might manage to fiddle the system with his Republican enablers and stay in power. Essentially stage an electoral coup.
The 2020 election has provided perhaps the greatest example of everything Osho explains is wrong with democracy.
Trump is a media-created celebrity – whose only claim to fame is fame itself – who is otherwise a cunning businessman who barely managed his own operations, let alone demonstrate any obvious credentials for running a 330-million-stakeholder entity like the USA. With the critical support of enablers in the political establishment, the media, “social” or otherwise, and covert big money, he has been allowed to continue his serial abuse of power and play the game of persuading millions of gullible, angry people of the truth of his endless lies.
The ultimate perversion of this madness is to convince these people that because the whole election system that gave Trump the throne in the first place is fraudulent, he should now keep the crown. Britain’s King George III must be laughing all the way to the mental asylum – or is it the bank?
Proving the point that Osho makes above: Democracy gives us “Government by the retarded, for the retarded, of the retarded.”
In conclusion: one man, one vote? What a joke. Could this be one of those “shithole countries” that Trump talks about?
Osho is so clear about all this:
“The bureaucracy is not for the people, it is against them. It uses them, it exploits them, it manipulates them; it makes them believe that it is serving their purposes. But the reality is just the opposite.
“They define democracy as the government of the people, for the people, by the people. It is none of these things. It is neither by the people, nor of the people, nor for the people.
“The people who have been holding power down the centuries have always been able to persuade people that whatever is being done, is done for their sake. And the people have believed it because they have been trained to believe; it is a conspiracy between religion and state to exploit humanity.
“The religion goes on preaching belief and destroys the intelligence of people to question, makes them retarded. And the state goes on exploiting them in every possible way – still managing to keep the people’s support, because the people have been trained to believe, not to question. Any kind of government – it may be monarchy, it may be aristocracy, it may be democracy, it may be any kind of government…. Just the names change but deep down the reality remains the same.” 4
Does anyone seriously propose that this is the most intelligent way for the fate of Homo sapiens to be decided?
So, what is to be done?
In the next part of this series, we offer Osho’s radical alternative: “Democracy – Towards a Democratic Meritocracy”
To continue reading and see all available formats of these talks:
1 Osho, From Misery to Enlightenment, Talk #8 – From Idiotocracy to Meritocracy
2 Osho, From Ignorance to Innocence, Talk #4 – Danger: Truth at Work
3 Osho, From Bondage to Freedom, Talk #31 – Democracy Means Mediocracy
4 Osho, Beyond Psychology, Talk #7 – Empty from Birth to Death