(Neil’s Note: This is a small part of a larger essay on the subject of bottom up versus top down thinking. I’m re-publishing it here because it makes a point about an event happening in a few weeks’ time…)
The bottom up thinker wants to empower everyone. That is, he wants each individual to have maximum possible power over his own life. He sees peace, honesty, justice and respect for human rights as the only valid reasons to restrict anyone’s freedom in any way. Beyond this, he desires government of each person, by that person, for that person.
In contrast, top down thinkers advocate and admire a charade they call democracy; or in US-speak, Demahcracy. They like to set democracy up on a pedestal, and to make of it an idol to be worshipped.
In democracy, individuals may vote on which of a number of criminal gangs (political parties) they wish to direct a state for the time being. Then, there is a more or less complicated process of totting up the votes. This process determines which gang (or gangs) will have licence to “legally” oppress and exploit everyone for the next several years.
It’s obvious that this system entirely ignores the wishes of the minority. It does nothing at all for those who are alienated from politics, and feel that none of the political parties have any concern for them. And, the way the system operates, it usually ends up ignoring the desires of the majority, too.
And yet, top down thinkers talk of democracy as if it was (in Abraham Lincoln’s words) “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” But to them, the word “people” is singular – really meaning “the populace.” So, they believe that democracy delivers a government that reflects “the will of the people.” That elected politicians in some way “represent” this will. And that this gives the rulers an all but divine right to do what they want to the ruled, without concern or consideration for rights or anything else.
The bottom up thinker, on the other hand, is mindful of Benjamin Franklin’s pithy saying: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” He knows that there is no such thing as “the will of the people.” For, indeed, only individual people – that is, persons – have wills. He knows that it’s all but impossible for a dishonest, collectivist politician to represent, in any meaningful way, any honest, individual human being.
Furthermore, he understands that many people who vote – perhaps, even, a majority – do so, not for the party they want most, but for the one they hate least. And he knows that any individual’s vote in any election that matters is utterly worthless. It’s rare enough for a politician to be elected by a margin of only one vote. But further; when was the last time one vote made a discernible difference to any policy or legislation?
It gets worse. On many if not most issues, all the parties and politicians want the same. What they want is more and more state power. So, far from empowering the individual, democracy falsely makes it appear legitimate to subordinate innocent people to the Causes currently favoured by those in power and their hangers-on.
It’s worse yet. For, on fuller consideration, the bottom up thinker sees that a vote for any of the criminal gangs – or at least, for one that has a realistic chance of winning – is an act of cowardly aggression. It’s an assault against everyone who has been, is being, or will be, harmed by the policies of that gang. It’s morally equivalent to punching on the nose, hard, people you have never even met; and then running away.
Thus, democracy divides. It inexorably pulls societies apart. The victims of bad policies feel harshly treated, and become disaffected. They come to view politics and politicians with contempt and loathing. And, slowly but surely, they lose all fellow feeling with those that support the criminal gangs by voting for them. Yet, top down thinkers agonize over why the “social cohesion,” which they expect to see among the populace, is increasingly becoming unglued.