Balkans: Democracy Triumphant
Not Absence, Of Democracy Caused Bloodshed
is a word most often used, and abused, in today's world. It
is seen as a solution to all problems and a practice bestowing
its practitioner with an aura of almost-divine righteousness,
while those accused of lacking it are quickly declared evil
beyond comprehension. It is routinely asserted as the best
and even only possible system of government, and any opposition to such a notion
is deemed a despicable heresy.
it is, since belief in democracy has become a form of religion,
with all its dogmatic trappings and a zealous following engaged
in a holy
war. Just one of the battlefields in that high crusade,
the former Yugoslavia, offers a clear example of democracy
From the Empire to its lowly vassals
in the Balkans, just about everyone agrees that the former
federation's problem is a lack of democracy. Yet they are
all absolutely wrong. The problem with Yugoslavia's successors
is that they have exemplified democracy at its purest, and
most destructive. Like a cancer, it spread through the peninsula
and brought death, devastation and despair to everything it
Path of Darkness
is no space in this column to deal with all themisconceptions
of democracy. For that,
one can read an aptly-named book Democracy:
the God That Failed, by Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe
of the Mises Institute. Basically, Hoppe argues, the State
is an enemy
– not defender – of civilization; democracy is much worse
than the absolute monarchies it replaced (and how!); and the
modern Western democratic welfare-state is not the summit
of social evolution, but rather a very dark blind alley.
Though the book is based on theory
and logic that Hoppe says transcend particular historical
experiences, such experiences are in no short supply.
With A Vengeance
Serbia, for example. Slobodan Milosevic rose to power as a
proponent of greater democracy in the former Yugoslav federation,
deriding the Communist apparatus of which he was himself a
member and relying instead on the masses. A decade of war,
however, combined with Empire's incessant pressure and overt
aggression, made the masses who once listened to Milosevic
by the million turn on him and bring to power a new democratic
government in October 2000.
Since then, taxes have soared; the
economy has collapsed even further; the highest laws of the
land were violated or perverted by their sworn protectors;
life and property became less secure than ever; and the cultural
values of the Serbian people have been exposed to incessant
attacks by the government, its fellow-travelers and outside
sponsors. These days, Serbia represents nothing so much as
a land of the lotus-eaters, its people lost in a world
of illusions that are slowly killing them.
Those who advocated democracy in
Serbia overlooked its one fatal flaw. Just as there is no
such thing as individual freedom within a democratic country,
there is no such thing as sovereignty in a democracy-dominated
world. As the state has power over individuals, so does the
Empire over its vassals. They can only be willing servants, like the
current regime, or unwilling, like its predecessor. If not,
there is always the Hague
says Hoppe, is by nature living in the now. There is
no tomorrow for its short-term leaders, who are credited with
astounding foresight if they can see as far as the next election,
let alone beyond it.
an absence of perspective is chiefly responsible for the collapse
of Montenegro's government last week. After the regime in
Podgorica agreed to kill off Yugoslavia and enter
a new association with Serbia, some of its members who stood
to lose from the settlement resigned in protest. These are
the ministers who stood to gain power and influence from an
immediate declaration of independence. The agreement engineered
by NATO's own former Butcher of Belgrade Javier Solana, and
by both Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments, requires that
Montenegro refrain from such a declaration for three years.
Never mind that Montenegro's regime
kept all of its current power, while effectively killing off
Yugoslavia and securing automatic recognition of independence
in three years without a messy referendum they might have
easily lost. Three years are an eternity to the zealots of
democracy, who want the power now. Their voters, whom
they promised independence, might mind being lied to – but
that is the least of their problems, as voters can always
to represent the will of the people is hard enough when there
are only one people in question. When there are three, it
is impossible – but it doesn't stop people from trying, with
went to war because of democracy. Ethnic parties that came
to power in Bosnia after the 1990 election all had "democratic"
in their names: Croat Democratic Union (HDZ), Serb
Democratic Party (SDS), and the Muslims' Party of
Democratic Action (SDA). Together, they took democracy
to its most extreme: the will of their voters led to forcible
relocations, combined with property seizures and murder on
a large scale. Ethnicity and party membership became synonyms,
voting mirrored census results, and politics transcended taxes
and plunder to become a game of life and death.
In every election since the war save
(partly) the last, ethnic democratic parties won the popular
vote. In those instances where their leaders challenged the
will of a higher democratic power, the Empire, its viceroy
in Bosnia simply removed them from elected office. But by
and large, they have had a free run in their respective fiefdoms.
Last Friday, the outgoing viceroy
of Bosnia imposed
a set of key constitutional amendments on both its component
entities. The amendments were meant to enforce the ruling
of the Bosnian Supreme Court giving "equal rights" to all
ethnic groups through a system of quotas.
There is a lengthy back story to
all this, filled with paradoxes, ironies and hypocrisy. At
its core is the persistent wartime
pipe-dream of unitary Bosnia, which sought to assert itself
through demolishing the Serb Republic's right to existence
via the Supreme Court. The court obliged, its Muslim and foreign
justices democratically overruling the dissenting Serbs and
Croats. What resulted was a set of constitutional amendments,
proposed by the viceroy and cheered
by such reputable agents of Empire such as the ICG, boiling down to ethnic
quotas in public office based on the 1991 census.
The amendments were then democratically
(though slightly modified) by the Serb Republic's parliament,
and democratically ignored by the Muslim-Croat Federation's.
In the end, the higher democracy of the viceroy trumped both,
again, and imposed the original proposal without discussion.
After a decade of war and peace,
Bosnia is expected to go back to 1991 and pretend nothing
happened. Those who believe that reality could be changed
by a vote ought to try commanding the tide sometimes.
the Balkans, democracy has resulted in war, wholesale plunder,
and mad lust for power – and those just by Empire's vassals.
The Empire itself, now… that's democracy on a whole different
usually metastasize into dictatorship, when the rulers' lust
for power becomes too great for whatever constraints were
originally imposed on it. The former Yugoslavia, again, is
a prime example. Yet a large enough state, powerful enough,
will go right on to become an empire.
It is no longer simply practicing democracy, it seeks to impose it on all others.
As the ultimate arbiter of what democracy
is and isn't then, it assumes the right to determine the level
of democracy in other nations, deciding which elections are
democratic and which are not simply by the utility of their
outcome. To impose its democratic will, the Empire often uses
means decried as "undemocratic." Yet as the will of the majority,
assumed or real, is self-legitimizing, no means are really
"undemocratic" after all. Not even nuclear
God That Failed
by promises of salvation without responsibility and freedom
without thought, the masses that helped bring democracy into
being have been its greatest victims. Their new God has demanded
millions of blood sacrifices, and has shown no inclination
to stop despite being dutifully obliged. If only they could
remember why they converted to this new religion and realize
that their God has failed to live up to any of those promises,
there might be hope yet that those who embraced democracy
will come to their senses. Until then, the Failed God will
demand more blood, and its desperate, deluded worshippers
will keep granting that wish.