lemniscate: (face)
[personal profile] lemniscate posting in [community profile] whengreatsatansgone
this is an essay i did for school last year; it was timed and on paper, so when i found an interesting train of thought and forgot about it that was that.

it does prove that i've been wandering in the general directions i continue to be stubbornly beating my head on for a while, though.

(and at least there's commentary, written shortly after the essay itself: hello, fifteen-year-old lemniscate.)

Democracy is a concept so entrenched in our society that one can barely think coherently about it; the preestablished baggage weighs your mind down and often as not howls at you that you're a terrible person as you go.

What is it that we learn, internalise, about this system? Certainly it's driven into us if not from infancy, then as soon as we get into school, but in such a paradoxical way.
this is around where you can begin to see that i kept starting off on threads and then getting distracted. i.e. this paragraph does not get followed up on sufficiently. eheh.
Democracy, we're told, is good and the best and the alternatives are some guy bossing everyone around and chopping the heads off his wives
henry viii, natch
or people walking into your bedroom and absconding with your lamp.
communism. also i like the word "absconding".
We're allowed to vote sometimes, as children, and get an impression of democcracy that will stay with us for the rest of our lives: It's all fun and lovely until the majority disagrees with us.
and here's the thought i forgot to follow up on - i wanted to branch off into the way that teh way we learn it is flawed, because it can always be overridden by a higher authority and is only done when said authority feels like it (parents, teachers). like porfirio díaz or something. gods, i need to write that essay at some point.
And who among us doesn't experience that furious, petty frustration when the majority's laughing and yelling is disagreement and ridicule against us? I doubt that changes on the path to adulthood anywhere (it's really easy to respect everyone's opinions when they're the same as your own). Maybe revolutions just happen because someone vaguely charismatic
colin meloy? i'm thinking colin meloy.
gets sick of losing,
so, colin meloy circa "the sporting life"?
the bright ideals like Boy Scout badges pasted on later.
in hindsight that sentence is unclear as anything. an edit: "maybe revolutions just happen because someone vaguely charismatic gets sick of losing, the ideals bright as Boy Scout badges pasted on retroactively." also, this is where i got bored and started cramming memes in (MY IDEALS ARE PASTEDE ON YEY! i was wondering why i used such an awkward verb...)
Democracy and capitalism, today, are like a global religion; even countries that run on different system have to march to the beat of those same two drums. (But that's another essay in itself.)
1// CAN YOU TELL I WAS STUDYING FOR SOCIAL SCIENCES HUH 2// also i wish we could write essays in social sciences, buhhh that would be so pretty 3// the "global religion" concept doesn't feel like it's mine. who'm i quoting? 4// LOLMETA
If you criticise them -- this is a problem America is more renown for
but that plagues any country that gets its collective cultural knickers
oh i was so proud of this phrase. also? ALITERATION.
in a twist over patriotism¹ -- you're evil, you're against us, you're wrong.
cfr. sleep through the static (jack johnson, sleep through the static) & america (the indelicates, songs for swinging lovers) and AHAHAHA I'M CITING SONGS
[footnote] ¹If you distrust this concept, a thought exercise: imagine going back to your first-ever Civics class and contradicting the teacher about what the best political system is.
better phrasing here might be "about whether there is an absolute best political system". i know mine were damn emphatic about how democracy is the only thing that is nice and happy and ever okay and doesn't kill bunnies.
For bonus points, bring Marxism into it! [/footnote]
I PUT ON MY ROBE AND MARXISM HAT and then i couldn't get them OFF
It's a good system, certainly, and its ideals are as pretty as coloured plasma in the night sky. Like anything it would be wonderful in some ideal, platonic form, perfectly executed (which, in the imagination of anyone, certainly does tend to sheepishly boil down to everyone agreeing with me). And because, as an ideal, as a system, as a way of thought, democracy is so massively accepted and applied, its flaws are played out on a grand scale. Like a teenage boy's face under a magnifying glass, democracy is easy to criticise if your cultural context will let you; the flaws and "flaws" are staring you in the face.
...okay, so i like this paragraph. and "the flaws and 'flaws'" was meant to refer to (a) true flaws vs. (b) imaginary ("but you don't agree with meeeee") flaws.
Democracy can't be immune to change, to alternatives, to criticism. Monopolies never end well, and this could almost be seen as instead of replacing one ruler with the people, the replacement of several supposedly absolute rulers with a conceptual tyranny.
this sentence makes much more sense in my head.
(It's interesting, isn't it, how democracy is the only system for which you're forced to use the same name for when people do it right as when they're doing it wrong.)
1// i can't decide whether this sentence should be a question. 2// DEMOCRACY: U R DOIN IT RONG. 3// this is a reference to something in class, oligarchy/aristocracy, tyranny/dictatorship, democracy/democracy. i love how this class gives me plotbunnies for my fascist dictatorship with awesome healthcare.
However, for democracy to have any hope of making it so much as a milimetre out of the figurative swamp of doing it entirely, blindly wrong,
MEMEEEEEE ALEEEERT. also, this was around when i had five minutes left and had just remembered that we needed to talk about "democracy and human rights". eheh.
it needs core concepts that tend to be expressed as human rights.

Democracy, like programming,
...i went there.
needs a central kernel
of concepts to stand on. These are encoded in popular sociopolitical culture, and, in fact, law itself
oh i sound like some wanker on dreamwidth halp... wait.
as human rights -- life, liberty, equality, identity --
the teacher feels very strongly on the difference between isonomy and equality, fyi. there's... three words for it, in spanish. it's igualdad, "sameness", that he doesn't like used as a synonym of "isonomía".
and they are something that any political system without fatal flaws must be acquainted with.

one last note: there was a point i meant to get at in this essay, that i forgot under the time constraints. and this was the flawed...ness of how democracy is taught-by-example in schools. at least in my experience, you get to vote on something (maybe) and not get bullied into following the majority by a cacophony of screaming peers with larynges, apparently, of steel (maybe), and the votes might even be counted (maybe) -- and then the ruling's probably overturned by a teacher who didn't like it, anyway. which is kind of skeevy, you know? that's worth its own essay, when i run out of other ones to do (i will never run out of ones to do, is the problem)
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