Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Maverick Government

Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried.” He almost got it right, but not quite.

I, personally, look at governments based on three criteria— the economic and health-based well-being of the citizens, the level of civility and mutual tolerance in the behavior of the populace, and a peaceful and positive relationship with other countries. Using those criteria, the very best governments on earth are all kingdoms— primarily those in Scandinavia as well as the progressive Arab kingdoms like Dubai and Abu Dabi. The next tier of governments (based on my criteria) are the majority of the world’s democracies typified by the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the majority of the western European countries. Below those democracies, I would rank the oppressive kingdoms and theocracies which are found throughout the Middle East and the South Pacific. At the bottom of my list would be the Islamic democracies like Pakistan and Indonesia. I also include the democracy of India in this bottom tier, even though India is my favorite place in the world to visit. India is better for tourists than it is for Indians. My wife and I have been to 120 countries, and my personal opinions are based on what I’ve seen for myself.

I think that the reason why democracies don’t rank at the top is that democratic leaders must always do what’s acceptable, and they don’t feel constrained to do what’s best. I write about this, now, because I see Sarah Palin as an “acceptable” candidate. By no stretch of the imagination is she the “best” candidate. McCain gets a pass on this whimsical choice of his because he only needs to pass the “maverick” test. The Republican Party, now, is all about having a maverick on board. It can be argued that Bush and Cheney are mavericks, too. Starting a needless and unprovoked war, and becoming an aggressor nation is certainly a “maverick” thing to do by United States standards. As long as we maintain the delusion that having “maverick” leadership is automatically a positive thing, the progressive kingdoms of the world will stay unchallenged in their ranking at the top.

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