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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Conditions of democracy

Nicholas Zharkikh

The end of the First World War in 1918 marked not only the "decline of Europe", ie the loss of Europe’s leading position in the world, but also the decline of the monarchy era. European monarchies lost their authority and, as a consequence, power.

People have made unpleasant for many discover: a painted fox, called a "king" or "emperor", is not different from an ordinary fox. And so there monarchies falled, and they were replaced by democratic orders.

Liberal Harvard professors were overjoyed: the whole world has finally recognized that there can be nothing better than the American model of political system, and all countries are adopting this model either in whole or in part.

Francis Fukuyama’s book "The End of History" has become a new gospel, the good news that one can finally give up the endless effort and endlessly enjoy the earthly paradise.

And democracies took the opportunity and really immersed themselves in this dolce far niente.

Meanwhile, democracy is not a law of universal gravitation, which operates regardless of the will or unwillingness of the people. Democracy (representative government) is based on three main tenets:

1, man – an intelligent being, ie can build his behavior in accordance with the requirements of the mind;

2, it is human nature to strive to improve his own life, and since man is a social creature and cannot live outside the collective, it is human nature to strive for the public good, not only personal;

3, a persons has the ability to plan their future and direct their actions to achieve goals defined by the mind (rational), ie the promotion of personal and public good.

These provisions are accepted as axioms, without any doubt and without any restrictions. Indeed, people with such qualities do exist, and in fact they should be called democrats, and for them the democratic system (formation of power through elections) is the best.

But practice shows that completely different people live next to such people. Our war has given a great series of examples that clearly refute all three positions.

Man lived in Ukraine and did not stand out much against the general background. And so the war began and he corrected the fire of the Rotten Straw Horde in the city in which he himself lives. And such people found themselves everywhere, from Mariupol to Lutsk and Lviv.

Can this be called rational behavior, behavior dictated by reason? I can still understand that a man may not love Ukraine and love the Rotten-Straw Horde, but why prove this love for the destruction of his own house?

An employee of the Azovstal plant enthusiastically showed Russians the places where Ukrainian soldiers took refuge in order to direct the Russian fire there. Is it wise to destroy a factory where you work and which provides you with a livelihood?

In the same Mariupol the man was caught in 2015 on adjustment of a Russian shelling, 22 people were lost. He was caught, convicted, imprisoned, amnestied – and in 2022 again began to adjust the fire. This time the Russians finally killed him and thus corrected this mistake of nature. I ask again: is this rational behavior?

And we ask such people in elections how to organize our government? If we continue to do so, we will deserve praise from Harvard professors for our liberalism, but we will not gain effective power.

Well, we have understood the intelligence of the so-called "people": there are people who are really smart, and there are beings who look very similar to people, but do not meet the first axiom of democracy.

And what about the second axiom?

Again, our war has openly revealed: there is people, and is Muscovites. A Muscovite is a creature that looks very much like a human being, but they themseves wants to live badly and even more wants everyone else to live badly. The Muscovites have no talk of striving for the best and have no idea – what it is, this "better".

The Muscovites steal Indesit washing machines in Irpin, transport them to their Mukhosransk – and there they are surprised to find that the machine does not work! It turns out that it must be connected to the power grid.

Connected to "Ilyich’s light bulb" – it doesn’t work again! It turns out that it still needs to be connected to the water supply, and it is not in Mukhosransk. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin took care of the light bulb, but his hands did not reach the water supply system.

And do not say, please, that for the washing machine to work it still needs to be connected to the sewer. All residents of Mukhosransk have antics in the yard, and no one has even heard or knows what it is – the sewer.

And if a Muscovite also finds out about the sewage system, he will break the stolen washing machine and say to himself: "We have never lived well – then there is nothing to start."

And so in everything, because the quality of life is a systemic concept, and one can not raise the quality of life in a dusty hut by installing the latest Mac Book there.

Well, the coffee maker does not want to make coffee for the Muscovite, because it turns out that it needs to be filled with imported coffee beans, but they are not there. And stolen John Deer combines ask the manufacturer every time the engine is turned on to see if they can be turned on. And the evil American John Deer always answers: "Stolen. You can’t turn it on." It remains for the Muscovites to reap bread with their grandfather’s iron sickles until the production of flint sickles is resumed.

This is the case with the second axiom. There are people who want to live better, and there are people who want to live worse.

And what about the third axiom – the ability of people to plan for their future?

From the height of my sofa, it seems to me that this is the worst.

Consider the simplest example. The peasant, thinking about what to do in October – to plow the field or to rest – chose extremely hard work of plowing for the winter and then sowing the winter. Why so, wouldn’t it be better to just relax after a busy business season? – It is impossible, because if you do not sow winter crops, you will be left without bread next year. You can, of course, sow spring bread in the spring, but it is less productive and lower quality than winter.

And so the peasant, planning his life a year in advance, climbed out of the warm house in the October cold and slush to plow and sow winter (well, and the fallow ашудв must also be plowed – this is based on three-crop rotation, so three years ahead).

Without idealizing or exaggerating the foresight of our peasant, we must admit that he planned his life a few years ahead.

And now? No need to go far – I will take an example of myself. I need bread, but where do I get it? – In the next store. – And where does it come from in the store? – And I have no idea (by the way, I’m not exaggerating). – And if there is no bread in the store, as it happened in the first days of March 2022, what will you, Mykola Zharkykh, do? – Well, I’ll eat crackers, I have a whole bag of them. – And how will the crackers end? – I don’t know, I will probably perish.

And it turns out that the depth of prediction of the future for me and other citizens does not exceed one day. Where are there three years! I consider it a great achievement in terms of planning for the future that I have never borrowed money in my entire life, and covered all needs with my own money. So I have some stock of ready money, and I have high hopes that I will be able to buy bread for them. And what will happen when – beat me an evil hour! – because of the war there will be no place to buy and what to buy?

The tribe of life of modern citizens makes them terribly dependent on the functioning of the entire life support system of the city. And this cannot be changed. "You can’t feed yourself for the rest of your life," the proverb tells me, as I ponder whether or not to stock up on stock while there’s something to make. This mode of predicting the future with a depth of one day fatally affects the ability to plan our future. However, it is in the cities that all civilization is concentrated, and the destruction of cities throws the country into the Stone Age. (Muscovites are destroying our cities for the same aim.)

And now people who are not able to plan their future for at least a month go to the polls, and the future of the country for years and decades depends on their vote. They do not vote for rational reasons, but under the influence of emotions, under the influence of what was said on TV the day before yesterday (yesterday was a day of silence before the vote!). By voting, they are not looking to improve their lives and the lives of their country, but "anyone except Poroshenko", would only make someone else worse, whom they have never seen but whom they hate. Their vision of the future comes down to the glorious "At least let’s laugh!"

And then the war begins, and "conscious voters" say, "We didn’t want that, we didn’t vote for it." And they answer: "In vain! You voted for a treacherous capitulating government, and now Ukraine is paying for it with thousands of extra victims." Well, comrades, "laugh"? These are the people of Kramatorsk, whom I have already mentioned – are they able to see the connection between their vote and the war that they themselves have called for their (well, mine at the same time!) land?

Thus, democracy gives good results (effective system of government) where and only where there are people-democrats who more or less meet the above axioms.

Where there are no such people, democracy is lame or degenerating.

It can be said that in a democracy, people change, improve and become more relevant to the institutions of democracy. But on the other hand, when democratic institutions are introduced into a society where there are no democrats, these institutions also change and adapt to the existing society.

So the "End of History" may come, but not from the expected side and not in the form that liberal professors imagine. And it may even happen that not everyone will like this ending.

June 11, 2022 in Kyiv.