So, how did this mess come about? Let us look, very briefly, at a little history.
Before modern democracy, there were state and church. The state – institutional violence and theft – ruled over us physically. And the church – institutional mental manipulation and mumbo-jumbo – ruled over us mentally. Both were run mainly for the benefit of the political ruling class, the rich who owned the land. But at the Enlightenment, thinking people started to realize that this wasn't such a good thing. Hence the 18th- and 19th-century revolutions in Europe, and the movement towards democracy.
In Britain in the 19th century, the ruling classes were on the back foot. People wanted more of a say in how the society they lived in was run. For their own survival, the politicals had to make reforms, among them – slowly, oh so slowly – allowing people the Vote. But they differed among themselves on how fast these reforms should be. Some, conservatives, wanted to move as slowly as possible. Others, liberals, didn't mind if the reforms went a bit faster – as long, of course, as they themselves remained at the top of the heap.
This difference of opinion led to a more visible division. The rulers formed themselves more and more into distinct political parties. (The word "party" comes from the Latin for "to divide"). And, once the Vote was established as the way of selecting the next oligarchy, it seemed obvious that these factions would seek to secure their power bases. They began to try to attract supporters. They began to target their policies, not to the public good and the benefit of everyone, but to the desires of particular segments of society. In particular, the Labour party, formed around the turn of the century, was explicitly dedicated to the interests of organized labour. Where necessary, at the expense of everyone else's.
Through much of the 20th century, there was an uneasy balance between factions of left and right. The left, Labour, claimed to represent the interests of a particular stereotype – mediocre, collectivist, not very dynamic. The right, the Tories, favoured another stereotype: moderately competent, moderately well off, old-fashioned in outlook and habits. But many people didn't fit either mould. These people tended to float between the two. Or perhaps they voted for the third lot, that had tried to resurrect the old Liberals. Some – only a few at first, but steadily increasing – came to understand that none of the political factions represented them. And so, they chose not to vote at all.
When Henry Adams described politics as the systematic organization of hatreds, he was referring to an earlier era. But the same might as well be said about modern democracy. For the political classes enjoy hating and persecuting innocent people. It seems to be in their nature. And both right and left have their own favourite targets for persecution.
Traditionally, the right and their followers have hated people who are different from others. They have based their harassments on grounds like race, religion and sexual orientation. In recent times, many people have come to see such harassments as unjustified. So, today, persecutors of the right prefer mainly to bully those whose lifestyles they don't like; for example, drug users, smokers or car drivers. But they still, deep down, hate anyone who is different or individual.
The left and their comrades, however, have their agenda too. They direct their strongest hatreds at those they think of as rich. Fuelled by a class-war mentality, they target in particular those who fairly earn their wealth through their own skills and efforts. And persecutors of the left love to bully anyone who is, or strives to be, excellent.
What has happened in the last decade or so, though, is a convergence between left and right. Now, each faction has taken up the traditional persecutions of the other, as well as its own. Indeed, today's political classes – politicians, bureaucrats, corrupt police, statist intellectuals, enviros, mass media, pressure groups, lobbyists, vested interests – seem eager to use every possible excuse to get bad, persecuting laws made and strictly enforced.
Today, no-one is safe, whatever faction is in power. We are all victims of persecution. And those of us who dislike persecutions – even those of which we are not personally victims – have no-one to represent us.
Why are the political classes doing these things to us? It's time to stop looking at the dots, and to start seeing the picture. New Labour are turning Britain into a police state. That's clear. And the Tories aren't opposing it. Why? Well, the reason is actually very simple. It's what they both want. A police state is part of both their agendas.
New Labour are also making our economic lives more and more miserable. So much so, that the prospect of a comfortable retirement for anyone under 55 today, even for high earners, has all but disappeared. Yet the Tories don't oppose this either. There's a simple reason, too. It's another part of both their agendas.
There are three principal ways to control people. One, physical control – as in a police state. Two, economic control – forcing people down into dependence. Three, mental control – making people believe what you want them to believe. The three ways to control people are bullying, theft and propaganda. Today, the political classes are using all three of these at once. And that, I think, gives us a clue to what their agenda really is. It's control.
What kind of society do Blair and co want? I think we can make a good guess. Themselves and their cronies at the top, controlling everyone and everything. Their henchman or enforcer class in the middle, getting their kicks by persecuting people. And us human beings poor, oppressed and exploited at the bottom.
What kind of society do the Tories and the third lot want? You've guessed it. And what kind of society do the bureaucrats, corrupt police, statist intellectuals, enviros, mass media, pressure groups, lobbyists and vested interests want? I think you may have guessed that, too. And the British political classes aren't alone in this desire. For if you read the proposed European Constitution, and ask yourself what kind of Europe its drafters want, you will come up with exactly the same answer.
No, today's political classes don't want good government. Instead, they want to force us back before the Industrial Revolution, before the Enlightenment. They want to take us back to the bad old days of oligarchy and its enforcers.
When you make these connections, you start to understand what's going on today. You begin to see through the politicals' rationalizations – and not only the obvious ones. You come to treat just about everything they say as a lie. You understand that they have no intention at all of representing anyone, bar themselves and their cronies. You see that the political classes have lost contact with morality, with humanity and with reality.
You see something else, too. You see the political Big Lie crumbling at the edges. You come to appreciate, for example, the irony of New Labour, supposedly the party of the workers, re-distributing wealth from workers to non-workers. Or the double standards of those that show a maudlin concern for safety, for saving lives at any price, then turn round and applaud Bush and Blair's war in Iraq. Or, perhaps, you start to ask yourself questions like, why should anyone be expected to have any concern, or to give any kind of help in need, to those that promote or support political policies designed to harm them?
So, what went wrong? Why did democracy fail to deliver good government? Why has it produced government that is as bad as – and, in some ways, worse than – a bad king? I can see four main reasons.
One, democracy has undermined morality. For it encourages the wrong-headed idea that, if something is popular, that makes it right. That they are "the will of the people" gives a false legitimacy to policies that, objectively, are immoral. For example, forced re-distribution of wealth. So democracy not only allows, but actively encourages, unjust persecutions.
Two, democracy has polluted the environment with dishonesty. Democratic politicians seem to feel the need, again and again, to try to justify their policies using fraudulent lies and rationalizations.
Three, democracy has offered the power-hungry a way to realize their dreams of power. In a monarchy, a hereditary one at least, you might get a good king, or you might get a bad one. With democracy, however, power always goes to those that actively want it, those that have an agenda. And, more often than not, their agenda is to hurt good people.
Four, democracy has broken apart the very consensus and sense of community that gave it legitimacy in the first place. When politicians buy Paul's vote by robbing and persecuting Peter, it's only a matter of time before Peter comes to hate the politicians, and – at the very least – lose all fellow-feeling with Paul as well. So a democratic society will, inevitably, over time become more and more divided, and nastier and nastier in its tone. Which is bad enough in itself; but it also encourages government to become more and more repressive.
To its credit, democracy may, for a few decades, have placed some small restraint on how badly the political classes could treat good people. The fear of being voted out of power may have kept some of them more honest than they would otherwise have been. But that no longer applies. For today's political classes have learned how to operate the controls of the system. They have learned how to use democracy as a front. They have learned how to take for themselves almost absolute power to bully us, rob us and enslave us. And they're turning up the heat.