"The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion."
- Molly Ivins
My own ideas on the quote:
Molly Ivins is hitting the head of a nail here and hitting it hard. The big problem in democracy for many is that it is often not very easy to predict the outcomes of democratic processes. A hard fact remains that democracy can also fail miserably and it can and it will always produce wrong and mistaken decisions also.
However, the really big thing in democracy is that it is the only known form of government that includes an inbuilt and demonstrably workable system of error-correction. It is all too easily forgotten that the only real alternatives to democracy are different forms of totalitarian systems of government.
All totalitarian systems do necessarily produce quite similar errors of judgment and wrong decisions as a democratic process does. However, these errors can soon get much, much worse, when the feedback loop is missing completely in a totalitarian system.
The big thing why democracy in the end wins over totalitarianism is the process of correcting the mistakes that have already been made. In a democracy the inevitable errors of judgment can be brought up and discussed openly, but in a totalitarian system they can be swept under the rug.
In totalitarian systems problems start all too easily piling up. A ruling elite very often falls into the fallacy that problems that are not talked about do not exist. They can think that simply by controlling how the media reports things they can make problems disappear.
Even if you have the most brilliant administrators in the world, they will make ultimately also wrong decisions sometimes. It happens even more certainly if decisions are based on warped set of data to begin with. As they say in the computer world: "Rubbish in, rubbish out". It does not help if you have the best computer in the world if it is fed with warped data.
The other really big thing naturally is that in a democracy a failed government can simply be elected out. However, in totalitarian systems you all too often need violence and raw force to do the same. No government has ever been eternal. Whenever a change of government can be accomplished without shedding any blood, the society will always benefit in a big way.
(This piece was refurbished on 20th of September, 2012)
Democracy has its own Facebook-page at:
"Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins (August 30, 1944 – January 31, 2007) was an American newspaper columnist, liberal, political commentator, humorist and author."