2018-01-21 12:00:44 UTC
> Andrew Swallow, <news:***@giganews.com>
>> These days the Lords have gone from rich hereditary landowners
>> (aristocrats) to friends of the (previous) prime ministers.
> The unelected powers still can affect and constraint policymaking.
> While it's true for any nation, the UK regime is one of more special
> examples where some of such powers are legitimized in a constitutional
> manner, which is somewhat similar to the Iranian democracy.
Many of the rules and institutions which constrain the actions of elected
governments are by their nature not democratic - in the narrow sense - because
they are not subject to popular endorsement. To take the most obvious
instance: if governments are to operate under the rule of law, then government
actions must be subject to review by the courts, and few in the UK believe
that judges should be appointed by popular election.
When British government ministers believe their plans are being obstructed by
the judiciary, the civil service or the House of Lords, they commonly now
argue that such resistance is politically illegitimate because these are
unelected institutions. It is only executive government which has legitimate
political power because it enjoys popular democratic endorsement. ..
Here an aboriginal thinker argues that too much elected powers is not good
while the fact that the elected powers are constrained by unelected ones is
actually good for the UK regime. He claims that 'over-representation of
democratic legitimacy' is rather a perverse virtue. 'The concept of democratic
mandate .. has arguably become dangerously over-extended.'
Putting aside the petty domestic issues related the island sovereign politics,
I can see that he basically wants to push the idea that while the ignorant
masses do vote, the establishment (the persistent 'deep state', 'elites') can
better know what is better for the nation, - so a disrespect to the unelected
powers is not good.
The question of interaction between elected and unelected powers within a
nation is itself a large and complex topic, and it's out of my focus here (I'd
simply noticed as statement of fact without good-bad evaluations that certain
unelected powers exist and affect policymaking in all nations, including those
that consider themselves democracies).
It's more interesting to me that the writer can't honestly recognize what the
UK regime really is in a constitutional sense: a hybrid of electoral democracy
and unelected power, where the latter constraints the former (and the thinker
himself considers such a situation a virtue). His stance is understandable,
given that 'democracy' has become heavily fetishized in 'western' usage, kind
of symbol of faith. People have been accustomed to use it without a rational
understanding of what it really is supposed to be. So, if a political system
is labeled 'democratic' then everything, even an unelected power, within it
must be somewhat a democracy, otherwise it wouldn't sound nice. So he chose to
slyly introduce 'democracy in the narrow sense' vs 'democracy in the broad
sense', where the latter includes unelected non-democratic powers. But when he
tries to reveal and clarify what exactly the euphemism 'democracy in the broad
sense' means, the only way he can do it is, - this is something that looks and
feels 'western'-like ("collection of attributes found in Western Europe and
North America"). Such a way of reasoning is pathetically feeble from the
perspective of rational social theorizing, however, it explains well the true
'western' attitudes about what to put 'democracy' label on.
Ultimately, it boils down to primitive baser tribalist concepts (with 'mature
democracies' - despite the fact that they actually aren't 'true' democracies -
against the rest of the world), which is a thing essentially of Nazi flawor.