These indexes are usually bullshit and, indeed, the Latana Democracy Perception Index editorializes with a bunch of American propaganda points about Ukraine and Taiwan before getting to the actual point:
“The countries considered most democratic by their citizens are China*, Vietnam, and Taiwan.”
They put the asterix on China because “*In some countries surveyed the government plays an active role in shaping public opinion,” as if Americans aren’t the most actively propagandized people on Earth.
The merit of this index, despite its best efforts, is that they actually surveyed 52,785 people and had to report what they said. Latana still divides the world into ‘Free’ and ‘Less Free’, but what people actually say is the complete opposite.
The real surprise is that communist countries like China and Vietnam think that their countries are democratic. As much as Latana tries to editorialize the title into a negative, that’s the result.
In the West, it’s assumed that people want politicians, which we obviously don’t.People want results, like having baby formula and not dying in a plague. On those counts, East Asian, communist countries actually deliver, and people give them props.
I have previously asked about the paradox of Chinese Democracy in a series. First from an ancient philosophical perspective and then from a modern observational one. What we have here is not so theoretical. It’s just what the people concerned actually think. And people's opinions seem to bear the theory out.
The Greeks never had the modern magical belief in democracy, it was simply a means to an end, not an intrinsic good. And they never thought democracy was just elections, that was just one form, and one of the dumber ones. Each city-state had its own practice of democracy and it was viewed as a means to an end, not the end of history (as Francis Fukuyama described liberal democracy).
Old Aristotle did a tour of African and West Asian city-states and said:
“We will first consider what particular sort of democracy is fitted to a particular city, and also what particular oligarchy to a particular people; and of other states, what is advantageous to what.” (On Politics)
To the West-Asian Greeks, democracy was a Swiss-Army Knife, whereas to western liberals elections have become a hammer, and every problem a nail. And it’s just not. It’s interesting that people today still don’t believe this bullshit, as much as it’s been droned into us.
People seem to instinctively understand what Aristotle said about ‘many species of democracy’ and what Wang Shaoguang says today about formal vs. substantive democracy. In short, people know when they’re being screwed.
Whatever liberal democracy is advertised as, it doesn’t fucking work. Elected representatives are quite openly bribed by oligarchs, as Aristotle said they would be. That’s why he like selecting representatives by lots, like jury duty, which interestingly no one has tried.
Instead western democracies just enrich arms dealers while losing wars, enrich drug dealers while losing pandemics, and enrich the rich while the poor lose everything. As much marketing goes into this losing proposition, people know what they have lost.
White Empire has taken on democracy as their state religion, and mangled it as much as the Romans mangled Christ. Behind all the pomp and incense, these are the states that crucified the most people, and most people know.
Nothing illustrates this more clearly than COVID-19. When there were outbreaks in Wuhan and now Shanghai, lax officials were fired and the state moved quickly to stop transmission and save lives. When there were outbreaks in New York, the governor just lied about deaths, wrote a book about how great he was, and then presided over another outbreak. Which government is most responsive to its people? I’d say obviously the one where the least people died.
No one in America has ever been fired for their COVID failures, they just keep failing upwards. The only resignable crime is sexual abuse, keeping in line with their democracy’s true character as a reality TV show. At the most basic task of keeping people alive, western democracy just doesn’t deliver. On the contrary, it just delivers profits from human misery to a few. And this goes for Europe too, which only looks better next to their idiot overlords. Indeed, it’s the unelected EU that’s done the most to block patent-free vaccines to the world.
People know that western democracies only serve a minority of rich people.These elites—like the Romans—just distract the masses by murdering minorities in the Cable-TV Colosseum. Just look at this graph about how immigrants were demonized during Brexit, and how those anxieties disappeared once the circus was done.
Despite this, people in these countries know that they’re being screwed, as the survey results bear out. According to this 50k sample, half the world say their government “usually acts in the interest of a small group of people”.
Now notably look who doesn’t say that. It’s the communist countries that enacted a functional ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, rather than a reality TV show bought and paid for by capital.
People get the willies when you say ‘dictatorship’ and consider the idea of Chinese Democracy a contradiction in terms. But you have to go back and examine the terms. Within the philosophy these terms are not value judgements, they’ve only become so as propaganda (ie marketing) items. Practically, people seem to also know this. The form of governance is not the point, the point is does it deliver results.
The idea that everyone needs to have the same form of government (Democracy™) otherwise you’re ‘less free’ is a fundamentally imperial one. Spreading democracy is just the latest excuse, like spreading Christianity was. The content of the thing is actually immaterial. It’s just a symbol, and the real action is bending the knee to the Imperium.
That’s why Romans went from crucifying Christians to converting pagans. That’s why America and Europe promote electoral democracy while actively couping elected leaders they don’t like. There is no actual contradiction. The point is not Eucharists or elections, those are just symbols. The point is submission.
So if people in China and Vietnam like their system, is the point then to adopt it? No, fuck no. No one in China even suggests this, unlike white people who are loading their degenerate democracy into think-tanks and actual tanks all the time. The point is to drop the idea that democracy is an abstract good that you just have, and understand that it’s a constant class struggle that you have to fight for. As A.D. Lindsay said in his intro to Aristotle:
What I encourage you to do here is to think of democracy as Aristotle did, from first principles. That means seeing it even in your enemies, not as just another weapon to hit them with. The point is to see democracy as a tool you have to keep modifying, not a sword some lady threw at you from a lake.
People implicitly understand that Democracy™ doesn’t work, we just don’t have an explicit sense of other possibilities. All the marketing has stunted our imaginations. All we can think is Coke or Pepsi, Republican or Democrat, it’s like we’ve forgotten about water.
The world is ‘free’ and ‘unfree’ and we’re in the ‘free’ part, even though it feels like we’re just watching a TV show, dialing in a meaningless vote every few years. In truth, we’re not free at all. They’ve even taken the word freedom. And yet at some level, people understand that it’s gone.
Even buried in this western report—sandwiched between editorializing propaganda terms—is the simple fact that “the countries considered most democratic by their citizens are China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.” Countries marketed as the enemies of democracy are considered, by their people, to be democratic. What a mind-bomb.
As Arnaud Bertrand said in the tweet thread that inspired this, “So is China more democratic than the US or most Western countries? As inaudible as this is to a Western audience, this is a real question. At least, if you go about answering the question in the most democratic way possible, by asking the people concerned, the answer is yes.”
- Chinese Democracy Part I
- Chinese Democracy Part II