21st August

The Envoy of Democracy

Hi there. Let me tell you a little about myself.

I am a democrat. I come from a democracy. In a democracy everybody
has a vote to decide who is going to govern them, and everybody’s vote is equal.

Democracy is a good thing, but not everybody does it right. In my society, we do it right. Some other societies do it quite well. Many societies don’t do it at all well but, generally speaking, even imperfect democracy is better than the alternative, which is dictatorship.

Dictatorship is bad. That’s really all you need to know. Not all bad government is dictatorship, but, generally speaking, all dictatorship is bad government.

However, imperfect dictatorship is sometimes better than imperfect democracy. It depends on the imperfections. In my society, dictatorship would never be better than democracy because our democracy is the best you can get. In your society, this does not follow.

We recognise that, democratically, we cannot impose our way of doing democracy on you. You have to want it, and then you have to do it right.

We are the best judges of whether you are doing it right.

Suppose you live in a dictatorship and you want to try some democracy? Where do you start? First, you have to overthrow your dictator. Sometimes we help to overthrow dictators and sometimes we don’t, but we don’t make a big thing of this. However, once a dictator has been overthrown, we welcome it because, being democrats, we always applaud the democratic will of the people.

But sometimes the democracy with which you replace your dictator turns out to be imperfect. Generally speaking, this is because you are not doing democracy right, the way we do.

When this happens, rather than continue to do democracy wrong it is often better to restore a dictator: not the same dictator, obviously – because he is usually dead and even if still alive was overthrown by the democratic will of the people – but another dictator.

What may surprise you is that sometimes the new dictator is imposed by the democratic will of the people.

We recognise that, democratically, we cannot impose dictatorship on you. But we are always ready to assist.

Reader: Charlie West
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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