posted on Mar, 3 2003 @ 04:14 AM
We have to be careful about this one: while I doubt that any of us would rush to GB2 for educational assistance; we need to think very carefully
about what ìdemocracyî means. Let us not forget that the Athenians invented it and did so on a bedrock of slaves and disenfranchised women.
Few nations can boast a shining record ñat least in the eyes of some ñ on their democratic history. Both the US and Britain have many stains and
shadows. On the other hand, at least in the US (despite slavery/disenfrachisement) ìdemocracyî was not subject to the will of the nobility as it often
was in the 19th Century in Britain.
The assertions of the first poster also require attention ñ there wasnít a ìGermanyî at the time he suggests ñ that came after the Franco-Prussian war
and even then there were states other than Prussia e.g. Bavaria.
He/she is perhaps thinking of Bismarckís Prussia ñrather enlightened by comparison with Britain at that time but largely ineffective given the
authority of the Kaiser. Similarly with Japan ñwhich (broadly speaking) took most of its ideas from Germany but laid them on a British model of
Parliament- including a powerful nobility.
Anyone rushing, however, to speak of ìJapanese democracyî would do well to research ìkokutaiî or any reasonable history of the Meiji Restoration or
the Meiji Constitution of 1889.: something akin to political parties did develop after the restoration of Imperial authority; but nothing any of us
would even vaguely recognise as democracy.
As I recollect, they didnít even get a Prime Minister until the 1880ís. Again, this largely farcical structure swore Imperial oaths of allegiance and
the Emperor could ñto a large degree ñdo whatever he liked.
So ñyou can have a universal franchise (Communist Russia or modern Iraq are splendid examples); but it does rather depend upon whom and what youíre
allowed to vote for.
On balance, Bush was incorrect: but there was a tenable point there: that a US-style democracy was to a high degree unavailable in these countries
pre-1945. On the other hand, is ìUS styleî oneís model of democratic perfection.
I think we have to get beyond the weasel words and look more closely at the power of the individual ìvoterî and then, at who these voters actually
are/were. For instance, TC is perfectly right to stay Hitler "usurped" power; but he did so under cover of a "democratic" process! We need
absolute clarity and accuracy.