Bush or Clinton?
By Jimmie Moglia
with such perfection govern, sir, To excel the golden
The Tempest, act 2, sc. 1
June 17, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" -
I finished my coffee, closed my book, paid my
bill and got up to leave. When the unknown man at the next table –
whom I will henceforth called UM – said to me, “May
I ask you a question? You are a frequent customer here. I observed
that you read slowly, mark your books, often stop to seemingly
reflect… In my view, you qualify as a free thinker, and therefore a
free spirit. So may I ask you, whom will you vote for in the next
elections? Bush or Clinton? I am sure you agree, elections
are the embodiment of democracy and democracy is the embodiment of
freedom. And a free thinker must love freedom by definition
I am flattered that you consider my opinion of any value. But I must
disappoint you. I will not vote. I reflected at length on the
rituals of democracy, and I consider them the expense of spirit
in a waste of time.(1)
But surely you must admit that voting is the foundation of
democracy. Every thinking person believes it. How can you be the
I hope not to be the lone exception, but how do you define
democracy? As Socrates used to say, I don’t mind what words a man
uses, as long as he defines their meaning.
is, of course, government by the people, one person one vote. It may
not be perfect but if you quote Socrates, I will quote Churchill,
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the
others.” Freedom and democracy are the daughters of the French
Revolution. Fraternity is still missing but it may be just a matter
If by democracy you mean the government by the people, you couldn’t
be more wrong. It does not exist here, nor anywhere else. It is a
fiction, based on the astuteness of a few and the gullibility of
You like hyperboles. I’d be tempted to say, “These are old fond
paradoxes, to make fools laugh in the alehouse”(2)
On the contrary. True democracy existed long ago and only briefly.
In the Athens of old, public offices were drawn by lottery among
those who qualified – in the instance, the heads of a household.
Names were mixed in an urn and a boy with a scarf on his eyes drew
the names. The process was called ‘sortition’, that is, the
selection of officers from a larger pool of candidates.
Aristotle clearly stated the argument, “Democracy arose from the
idea that those who are equal in any respect are equal absolutely.
All are alike free, therefore they claim that all are free
absolutely… The next is when the democrats, on the grounds that they
are all equal, claim equal participation in everything.”
And he was even more categorical on elections, “It is accepted as
democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as
oligarchic when they are filled by election.”
There you have it. Sortition is the only and true democracy. At
elections time, there is a lottery. Your next door neighbor can be
President, the postman Minister of Defense, the milkman Minister of
Agriculture and so on till the last public office.
True democracy is a lottery. Every other political structure,
including voting-based government is camouflaged aristocracy, though
given the times, even aristocracy is a misnomer. The Greek word
“aristo” means “best”, hence government by the best. A closer
definition, to borrow again from the Greek, would be “coprocracy”,
or government by the shittiest.
In any event, aristocracy or coprocracy, it is still oligarchic, as
per the Aristotle whom I just quoted.
Come on now! Even a child understands that for democracy to
function, in a world as complex as ours, there must be
pre-qualifying selections of competent people.
I thought we were talking of government by the people, as you
defined it. And now you tell me that democracy is the government by
the competent. I see a contradiction here. According to a renowned
revolutionary thinker, even a cook can be part of government.
Paradoxes again. Democracy is based on voting but the electable must
be chosen carefully. The cook can be in government, but only if she
is qualified and not just in the name of democracy. Don’t you see
what would happen otherwise?
Let me understand. Now you say that democracy is government by the
people, or rather by the persons extracted from the people but
experts in specific fields, economy, finance, management etc. Is
this what you expect from the candidates? … Chiefest men of
discipline to cull the plots to best advantages? (3)
(smiling as he who is near winning his argument). Exactly.
ME. I take your word
for it or rather, I pretend to believe you, and then I say, look
around. How many of the elected are qualified experts in their field
of governance and how many are plain politicians, learning of a
problem when they are already deep into it? How many are experts,
and how many are but masters of cunning?
It’s no use to continue this conversation. You deny that there is
democracy, on the basis of some antique or superior ideology that I
don’t know of and refuse to know.
No superiority is involved here. You attribute to your vote an
importance it does not have. What you call democracy is the negation
of the individual. When you vote, you are part of the public. And
the public is a phantom, a monstrous abstraction, a mirage.
The public is a host, but it is a body which can never be reviewed;
it cannot even be represented because it is an abstraction – as
equally abstract is the “average man”, a statistical invention by
the XIX French mathematician Adolphe Quotelet. It is a fiction much
as the “public” is. A man is part of the public only when he is
nothing. For when he is really himself, he ceases to be the
inexistent “average man” (however much he may think he is).
Therefore the electorate consists of inexistent average men who are
part of a fictional public.
(mildly overwhelmed). Tell me sincerely, throw off your mask. Are
you a Communist? A Fascist, an Anarchist? Do you deny the glory of
the Declaration of Independence? The spirit of the Founding Fathers
who created a Constitution that serves as model for the world?
I am none of the above. I only try to reason with my own head,
rather than that of others. You first encouraged me to vote and said
that by voting we elect democratic governments. Maybe I should have
kept quiet but I couldn’t resist and answered that it is not true.
As for the Declaration of Independence, I should observe that they
indeed believed that, “All men are created equal”, less the slaves
for they were not human, the native Americans for they were not
white, the women for they were not men and the poor for they were
not rich, and therefore could not vote. As for the Founding Fathers,
even a little research will prove that they were men of principles
and men of profit, who put their profit ahead of their principles.
As for the Constitution, it has become a verbal talisman of
approbation, to give the sanction of a mythical third-party truth to
personal opinions. But it seems to me that we have drifted away from
the subject, which, if I am not mistaken, was the elections.
what kind of government comes out of the elections, according to
I told you, once upon a time aristocratic, and recently mostly
coprocratic governments. They are based on the interests and humors
of individuals who, having now complete control of the instruments
of persuasion, persuade everyone that he is the inexistent average
man, belonging to the equally inexistent public.
For there was once the medieval aristocracy of the warriors, to
defend the people from the barbarians, then the aristocracy of the
mercantile rich and now the aristocracy of the cunning.
But my vote is free and no one can force me to vote for him or her.
The cunning man does not force anyone, otherwise how could he be
cunning? Through his propaganda he convinces the electors that by
voting for him, they vote for themselves. And when they take the
bait he tells them the fib of democracy. Ever since “popular
representation” was introduced, aristocratic or coprocratic
governments hide behind this curtain of nonsense.
Why do you think that billions are spent in Public Relations, which
is new-speak for the Industry of Cunning? Because the number is
greater of those whom custom has enabled to judge by words and
images, than those whom interest or study has qualified to examine
You are telling me that I am stupid and gullible.
On the contrary, you and hundreds of millions are victims of
“the seeming truth which cunning times put on to entrap the wisest.”(4)
I am only saying that “popular representation” has created the
“electoral man”, manipulable through propaganda. The relatives of
“electoral man” are the “consumer man” and the “television viewer.”
Without realizing it, the uncounted millions of electoral men are
the honey bees of King Henry V, who have been taught obedience,
“Obedience: for so
work the honey bees,
Creatures that, by rule in nature, teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.” (5)
Your reverence for
democracy proves it. Yours is full-spectrum subjection, the domestic
counterpart of full-spectrum dominance of the world.
You are a subversive.
Maybe, but I do not bother anyone and I do nothing to expose the
nature of the fable. If there is subversion it is in my head only.
Unlike you, I do not think my vote to be worth anything and I have
certainly nothing to share with the coprocracy. Rarely, but it has
happened, the coprocracy has been checked by events that even its
cunning could not predict or prevent. Nobody can claim a monopoly in
the ability “to sound the bottom of the aftertimes.” (6)
Then you are a utopian?
No, but I think that in this phase of our so-called humanity, the
dominion of the cunning is supreme. I hope that humanity may survive
it, I don’t know.
But then again, what are you?
I am the opposite of a utopian, if you really want to give me a
label, call me a realist. Utopians believe in the perfectibility of
man. I don’t. I believe that to a large but not-measurable extent,
men are stupid, evil and happy to be so.
How can you prove that utopians are wrong?
With the onset of the industrial revolution, workers toiled for
twelve hours per day or more. Utopians held that the exploitation of
labor prevented men from becoming better and proper human beings.
With more leisure time, men could give free reign to their
creativity, in music, painting, poetry, or in developing a passion
for historic or scientific research. Now they work much less than
they did in the XIX century, but their interests are more or less
the same. Some work more to earn more. Some find delight in shopping
malls. Some go on packaged holidays. Many live from one sport event
to the next, struggling to fill with something the “lazy foot of
Science, art and philosophy did not gain much from the liberation of
the proletariat. In these conditions, to the “liberated” man, even
more so applies the line, “…… Commanded always by the greater
gust; such is the lightness of you common men.” (8)
And by voting, he unwittingly panders to the candidates’ arrogance
of conceit and extravagance of belief.
Not everyone can be an artist or a scientist. But the aspiration for
justice and social equality cannot be suppressed. Men aspire to
equality and fraternity. Maybe this last aspiration is still weak,
but the others are strong.
If you say so, but I doubt it. Men aspire to be free, but they also
want to be restrained and they know it, for they do not trust
themselves. Freedom without restraint would be a nightmare. Hence
they love freedom and restraint in equal measure. And men dislike
equality – their governments even more so. Just consider the current
vitriolic hatred towards the only country in the world that
attempted the experiment of equality – a still lingering hatred for
having tried, however mixed the success may have been. And with the
utmost extravagance of determined wickedness, your democratic
government has killed millions, just in this century, while
currently readying to increase the toll. I tell you, at the moment,
our desire to live in a better world clashes with reality. It is a
dream, or perhaps, the mockery of unquiet slumbers. (9)
But how about fraternity? Will you deprive men of even this last
avenue of hope?
Feel free to hope. After all “hope is swift and flies with
swallows’ wings. Kings it makes Gods and meaner creatures kings.”
But I believe that men do not love each other, now as two thousand
years ago. Civilization has spread a thin layer of good manners and
good intentions. It enables us to believe that we are changed, that
we live in democracies, that we can solve any problem. Look at
racism, “solved” by placing a black man in charge. A solution which,
if anything, has increased racism, by smoothing it at the top,
creating a layer of African-American elites, whose success is mostly
due to the increased suffering and sacrifice of their less affluent
or disenfranchised brethren, confined to abodes of poverty and
gloom. (check blog
But can there not be a more advanced form of democracy?
No. There can only be a more advanced use of reason. Ban utopian
solutions, illusions and emotional drives of unjustified hatred or
of unjustified worship. Problems must be studied with care, time and
determination. But in the empire of cunning, the people are the
obstacle, until they are made to think the way you do. Otherwise
they are the enemy. Look at the militarization of the police, if you
don’t wish to believe it.
You are a nihilist, an enemy of humanity, an enemy of democracy. You
are a prophet of doom. Reasoning with you is impossible
Please tell me, does not what you call democracy imply respect and
consideration to other peoples’ opinion? Or do you subscribe in
truth to what Mark Twain said in jest, namely that in all matters of
opinion our adversaries are insane?
Anarchist! Defeatist! Terrorist! Enemy of America!
I see that you are a champion of democracy and worthy to be so.
At that moment, I suddenly realized that, “…
We are the stuff that dreams are made on, and our little life is
rounded with a sleep.” (11)
And I woke up.
- From Sonnet 129 — 2. Othello — 3. King John —
4. Merchant of Venice — 2. King Henry V — 6. King Henry IV, p2 —
7. As You Like It — 8. King Henry VI, p3 — 9. 10. King Richard
III — 11. The Tempest
In the play.
Gonzalo speculates about what he would do if he were
king of the island where he has been stranded along with Antonio and
Inspiration and thread from a short story by S.
Jimmie blogs at