EMAIL #163 - 3RD APRIL 2022 - "THE FRAGILITY OF DEMOCRACY"
For the last 4 or 5 weeks we have all been facing a whole new set of challenges. The massive floods in NSW + QLD that have impacted so many lives added to the economic pressures from rapidly rising prices across so many basic essentials. There is also the strong likelihood of sustained inflation and rising interest rates adding stress to an already unstable economy, and worst of all, the devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Over several years that I have been writing these Weekly Emails, I have deliberately avoided anything to do with politics or religion. But the current political affairs in Eastern Europe are I believe indicative of an underlying weakness in democracy and international human relations. So, this week I'm going to make an exception to my unwritten censorship rule.
The senseless war in Ukraine is extremely difficult to understand and make sense of. I find myself asking "how in 2022 can this still be happening"? A blog article by Robert Glazer titled "Strongman Rising" posted on 3rd March, has been very helpful in answering this question. The following quote from Glazer's article sums up how he believes Russia and Ukraine have ended up in this devastating situation, "The past decade has been partially defined by a rise in autocratic leaders around the world, who are consolidating and protecting their power, insulating themselves from checks and balances, and employing tactics from what was thought to be a bygone era." The world has unfortunately failed to heed the early warning signs of this "strongman behaviour” and this autocratic leadership has largely gone unchecked for decades.
"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand (A repeated quote from email # 127)
As Lord Acton (the esteemed British historian, politician, and author from the late 19th century) famously stated "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and economically impoverished countries can only resist corruption for so long. The real test of a culture's morality is; "are they collectively willing and able to stay true to a specific set of values and principles", even when it is detrimental to do so. Unfortunately, Ukraine's culture's morality has been tested in the most brutal way possible, and they have witnessed first-hand how fragile democracy really is. In the last 5 weeks they have demonstrated to the world their collective strength and resilience in the face of indescribable hardship.
"Autocratic leaders, whether political or in business, emerge and consolidate power when their actions repeatedly go unchecked or are implicitly supported. Eventually, we don’t even realize when it’s become too late to stop them. This is a sentiment I know many Russian citizens feel today." Robert Glazer
Another area of general knowledge that is relevant to understanding the current political turmoil in Europe, is the differences between Communism and Fascism. Communism is based around a theory of economic equality and a classless society, whilst Fascism is a top-down nationalistic system of rigid class roles that is ruled by an all-powerful dictator. Both of these "one-party" systems of government have a controlled economy, are anti-democratic and reject all religions. In a theoretical sense, communism promotes equality between genders and ethnicities, whilst fascism promotes inequality and racism all for the glory of the state. There are currently 5 communist countries, China, Russia, North Korea. Cuba + Laos. However, there are currently no Fascist governments, but Russia it appears is becoming more Fascist year by year. There are also active Fascist political parties in numerous countries including the USA, England, Italy, and Austria. Below is a link to an excellent website that expands on these differences in great detail.
"Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and solute democracy.