In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them. (Aristotle)
I watch, in horror, the end of democracy in Israel. A bunch of anarchists have taken to the street across from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence and are trying to oust the prime minister. With no thought for other residents in the surrounding streets they have, for several weeks, been screaming their absurd demand that Netanyahu resign.
This handful of people, no more than a few thousand, seem to believe that they have a greater right to choose our leader than the nearly 6.5 million registered voters who took the time and effort to participate in our last election. In a democracy, it is the will of the majority that determines who is to govern the country. Everyone, pleased or displeased, is expected to accept the result.
The election’s winner is given a mandate to rule for up to four years. The Knesset Dissolution Law allows the Knesset or the prime minister to call for an early election. Early elections may also be held if the annual Budget Law fails to get Knesset approval.
There is, however, no provision for an early election at the demand of a screaming mob of anarchists.
If these scofflaws had taken time off from screaming and glanced at the latest instructions from the Ministry of Health, they might have seen that “You must wear a mask while in public areas”. Almost all the demonstrators were without a mask. Needless to say, there was not much social distancing either.
There are two basic forms of democracy: direct and representative. A direct democracy, in which the people themselves discus and decide which laws they want, is hardly a practical proposition in today’s world. However, with advances in technology, we may all find ourselves with a “voting app” on our smartphones and be asked, even required, to vote on every issue at any time of day or night. Fortunately, we are not there yet.
A representative democracy, in which the people elect representatives to decide for them, is the most common form of democracy. This is the way it works in Israel.
It is interesting to note that, through the years, the noun “democracy” has been described by more than 3,500 adjectives. I have not checked all of them but I suspect that “screaming-mob democracy” was not one of them.
I will let Bertrand Russell have (almost) the last word:
“Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame.”
Let Mr. Netanyahu take note.