Democracy has become a Pavlovian word in our culture; merely utter it and you are sure to get people salivating as their minds flash to visions of just societies, individual freedoms, voting booths, and all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants. School textbooks, Hollywood films, flashy newscasts, and print editorials have lauded and continue to laud the indisputable moral, ethical, social, and economic superiority of democracy to all other forms of government that have ever existed in human civilization. Though not perfect, democracy, we are told, is, and will forever be, the highest form of government human beings can ever hope to assemble on this planet. We have been conditioned to believe that democracy is an ultimate good, something noble, something worth striving for, fighting for, even dying for. Thus, when we are told people in other parts of the planet, like in Ukraine for example, are striving, fighting, and dying for democracy, we feel an affinity for them and their struggle. We watch their rebellions and revolutions from the comfort of our homes and we wish for them to succeed. We hope they will conquer the forces of oppression they face and take their place next to ours at the table of peace and prosperity.
All of this would be fine and well if the Western elites who propagate the supremacy of democracy actually believed in and honestly practiced the tenets of democracy in their own societies and in their foreign policies, but sadly, with every revolution that passes, with every "spring" that blossoms, it is becoming increasingly evident that the powerful in the West are hypocrites of the most hideous kind. They use democracy as both rallying cry and a shield to hide their true purposes and questionable agendas in other countries around the world. To prove this point all one has to do is imagine what the American reaction would be to a few thousand protesters descending upon the White House and Capitol Hill armed with Molotov cocktails and baseball bats intent on a little game of "regime change." Do you honestly think the president and his staff would heed calls for restraint and dialogue? Would there be a chance in hell that the president, that any president, would give up his democratically elected power under such circumstances? Yet this is exactly what the White House demanded of the democratically elected Ukrainian leader before he was ousted by hordes of violent rioters who looked like they were auditioning for bit parts in some upcoming Mad Max film.
And that is just one point. There are countless others. Far too many to delve into here. But my intention in this little tirade was not to pick sides in the Ukrainian Crisis, but to bring to light how Western elites use the concept of democracy as a license to pursue their often utterly unethical and undemocratic goals. As the leaked phone conversations of top American officials revealed, regime change in the Ukraine is a goal in which the United States and the European Union is very actively involved, right down to debating the best choice of interim leader once the insurrection achieved its aim of ousting the democratically elected guy. One person's coup is another person's revolution, I suppose.
The most tragic part of all of this intrigue is that it often leads to bloodshed. Over the past decade or so I have been perpetually seized by a Metternichian paranoia whenever I hear the word democracy excessively bandied about by politicians and the media. Like Metternich, it has been my experience that a week or two of democracy talk usually precipitates a few weeks of bloodshed.
Believers in democracy should take note and take action, but I doubt they ever will.