Brendon Shields
Brendon Shields

Democracy is humankind at its most useless

So the working class is angry and rightfully so. The pace of change is too slow and in many ways the quality of their lives has deteriorated. The middle class is angry because they see their hard-earned tax money being squandered by an uncaring political ruling class. This same scenario is visible in most democracies the world over and all over the planet the working and middle classes have only one response to this abuse … they wake up early on a public holiday to go and exercise their right to vote! Boo-hoo.

The ruling class and the corporate elite in every democracy laugh out loud at the stupidity of the working and middle class, who keep buying into the farce that is the democratic process. I can almost hear the government fatcat say to the corporate fatcat over a single malt and a cigar: “A government by the people for the people? Yeah fucking right!”

But we cannot blame the fatcats for ”winning”. We can only blame our gullible selves for ”serving” within a system that never was meant to be fair to begin with. Democracy is not a free system. It is a system of control dominated by those with resources. If you disagree — look at the Gini coefficient of most democracies in the world. The rich are getting richer and the poor watch football. Again I stress, don’t blame the master for knowing how to crack a whip. It is us who are to blame for effectively voting once every four years for this situation to continue. We are the sheep. The system has rendered us useless.

What’s wrong with democracy?
Democracy assumes that while we are all working or looking for work, there has to be someone dedicated full-time to running our towns, provinces, countries and regions. ”The people” get to vote who these full-time employees of the state should be. Some individuals put their names into a hat and are supposed to tell us what a sterling job they will do. Our taxes are then used to pay these individuals to get the job done. All hunky-dory right? Not really, no.

You see those supposedly humble and dedicated individuals who volunteer their time as civil servants are in fact called ”politicians”. They are not engineers or project managers even though they command the same salaries. Politicians are mere middle men — paid in our tax money to sit idle and pick up the phone to call a consultant or an engineer or a useful person whenever something needs to be done. Politicians are the dealmakers with business. Politicians are also the ones tasked with screaming really loud and reminding people who their enemies are. Once they secure the vote, they sit back while consultants and professionals do the actual work.

I reckon in my town alone we would be able to afford some of the world’s best engineers, doctors and project managers if we did not have to pay Oom Piet at the DA, Madala Sipho at the ANC and all the other clowns first. Imagine instead of sending Jacob Zuma, we could send a lady with four degrees in international relations and management at Yale University to negotiate international trade on our country’s behalf? Democracy renders us all useless and therefore we don’t care to pay the useless to do nothing.

The vote
Ask yourself this: would you rather have a vote or be happy? Democracy gives most people only one choice and I know my answer.

Consumers of Coca-Cola products do not vote who the board or management of the company should be. We simply vote with our feet if they provide us with a product or a service we do not like. In our local hospitals we do not vote who the doctors should be? When your child is critically ill would you rather a qualified doctor attend to him or would you prefer to have a cadre that you voted for look after the child?

The concept of a vote is in my opinion the great con of democracy. It’s the cloth they tie around our eyes which allow them to rob us blind while we are unable to see. The concept of a majority vote is even worse. The majority are mere foot soldiers to rubber-stamp the idiocy of the parasitical class which in turn sells our country to big business for a lekker kickback.

I refuse to believe that some half-baked idea by some old Greek men is the best system of governance the human species can dream up. We made the iPhone for heaven’s sake!

Tags: ,

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    • Yaj

      I beg to differ. Don’t blame democracy for a rising Gini co-efficient. Blame a corrupt ruling elite which has sold out to and in bed with an equally corrupt corporate elite. The likes of the Trevor’s and the Ramos’s, and the Motsepes and Radebes etc. Not corrupt in the sense of accepting bribes but corrupt in the sense of prioritising the interests of the conglomerates at the expense of the genuine economic development of the country. This is epitomised by their acquired affinity for neoliberal trade liberalisation and fundamentalist “free” market trickle-down policies.All of which has clearly not worked.
      Mauritius is a thriving democracy which has managed to reduce the Gini coefficient to 0.38 and provides free health care and free education to all its citizens up to tertiary level as well as non-contributory state pension to all its citzens from the age of 60.Quite remarkable .It is regarded as one of the few African success stories

    • Ouch

      free enterprise made the iPhone, government beats its drum (made by free enterprise too).

    • Momma Cyndi

      Ambrose Brierce defined our vote as : the instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

      Seems like not much has changed since Ambrose’s day.

    • http://MandG Busiso Mazibuko

      Agreed with you totally , which why I have never voted ever since I was born. I do not see anyone that deserves my vote in Africa or anywhere else for that matter. Africa is worse, because, it is full of all these so-called liberators, who in fact are the new imperialists in disguise. They are actually tribal chiefs, if they were true liberators, they would have redrawn the map of Africa and allowed people of same languages, same cultural backgrounds to live together in their own area or country if you may. That is why there was a Rwanda and many other endless wars. By the way this is an eye opening article for the sheeple, the problem is very few will read this article as most people are lazy to read and most are illiterate.

    • The Creator

      So, because the system has been hijacked by rich people to prevent us from exercising our choices, you offer as an alternative example a carbonated tooth solvent imposed on us by rich people?

      The funny thing is, before the rich people hijacked the system, people were actually very happy to vote. Maybe the solution is to do something about the rich people?

    • Aragorn Eloff

      “If the freedom so many generations have fought and died for is best exemplified by a man in a voting booth, who checks a box on the ballot before returning to work in an environment no more under his control than it was an hour before, then the heritage our emancipating forefathers and suffragette grandmothers have left us is nothing but a sham substitute for the true liberty they lusted after.

      For a better illustration of real freedom in action, look at the musician in the act of improvising with her companions: in joyous, seemingly effortless cooperation, they actively create the sonic and emotional environment in which they exist, participating thus in the transformation of the world which in turn transforms them. Take this model and extend it to every one of our interactions with each other, and you would have something qualitatively different from our present system: a harmony in human relationships and activity, a real democracy. To get there, we have to dispense with voting as the archetypal expression of freedom and participation.” – CrimethInc, from

    • Wicked Mike

      The biggest crime of ‘democracy’ in South Africa is the silent middle class.

    • Policat

      It’s the survival of the craftiest out there Brendon. I know of no other system of governance that will satisfy the needs and aspirations of all its citizenry.
      Alas, unless there is a quantum leap in the evolution of humanity, ordinary people are doomed to a life of compliancy to the whims of those who choose to ignore the codes of ethics and morality to embrace a life of accumulating assists at whatever cost.

    • george orwell

      I don’t think we know real democracy, because it’s been subverted by casino capitalism.

      One Dollar/Rand = One Vote.

      As we see from the banking bail-outs, criminal capitalists don’t get jailed, they get bailed – and they get bailed by the very people voted in by ‘the best democracy that money can buy’.

      Mr Hope and Change Democracy himself, Barack Obama, is voted in only because he has billion dollar resources provided by his Wall $treet chums, who he then protected afterwards with bail, not jail. No Martin Luther King was he – but rather a establishment type, embedded with banking and industry elites.

      The banking bailouts = socialist action by the state.

      ‘Democracy’ these days = socialism for the rich, casino capitalism for the poor.

      The rich 1% are supported by the state, even when they engage in fraudulent activity. The 99% are left with dog-eat-dog extreme capitalism with its misleading meme: “You Too Can Be a Millionaire ”

      Nelson Mandela could have taken SA more the way of Mauritius if he had instituted social-capitalism, rather than being talked into neo-liberal crony capitalism by the Anglo American elites at Davos, circa 1996.

      Read Naomi Klein’s eye-opening chapter on South Africa in her book “Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism” for more information.

    • Just a Thought

      I hear your point but Roosevelt happened to say that the rulers of democracy are not politicians or presidents, but the voter. So in this country things would be a lot more accountable and efficient if the two biggest watchdogs i.e the communists and Trade Unions werent lying in that king size bed with the ruling party. The worker is angry and his mouth piece is on the government’s side….funny that.

    • bernpm

      The worst enemies of democracy are the non voters who continue to moan and the people voted into the system and then sell their constituencies.

      Cosatu and Communists the cases in point who are the main traitors of the SA democracy..

    • abecker

      Who has yet devised the perfect political system? We have the opportunity to stage a revolution every 4 years through our votes. That’s surely better than a violent revolution that blows everything to smithereens. That’s (perhaps) the only advantage of democracy. Come to think of it, someone is supposed to have said that the best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship tempered by assassination.

    • Yaj

      @ george orwell.

      Well said. You hit the nail on its head. Neoliberal bankster lies , fraud and fairy-tale mythology of trickle-down economics is what we have been sold and swallowed hook, line and sinker by this ruling elite and their corrupt corporate and bankster masters, ably assisted by the media which they also own and run.

    • Momma Cyndi

      Democracy is a crappy system but it is the least crappiest of the systems we have out there to chose from. We could go back to having kings (and if we don’t like the one we have, we can surreptitiously defenestrate him according to custom). We could all revert to village life where the elders made the decisions. We could go full on communism where we just get told what to do and shot if we don’t like it. Don’t see any of those being progressive though.

    • Brendon Shields

      You see too many of you pull the “dont blame the system, blame the people who run it” line. How is it that democracy always seems to attract bad people to run it? Could it be that the system is crooked?

      Thanks Aragorn – beyond democracy it is.

      Abecker – stage a revolution every 4 years? Yeh right. Till the next ‘boss’starts behaving like one inside a system that happily allows for this type of dominance.

    • Holger Behrens

      Thumbs up – Anyone agree with the resource-based economy? Ala Jacque Fresco and “the Venus project”

      If anything it offers an alternative. But I can already hear the more astute amongst us shootings holes through the concept – valid holes I hasten to add – yet perhaps we need to experiment and learn. ( I fear there is no perfect solution)

      If SAns could pull of a peaceful transition after apartheid, perhaps we can give birth to something better than democracy and capitalism. Another feather in our communal caps.

    • Rendy

      The unfortunate truth is that we as people are so selfish, if left to our own devices, we would enslave one another without some form of governing measure to protect the victims. Ergo, we need a system for the people.

      The only reason why private business works is because of the monetary incentive.
      We need rulers that do their job out of the passion they have for equality.
      My solution, shave some of those benefits and see just how many candidates vie for those glorious positions.

      Just a thought….

    • Soge

      The only operationable system is a well developed REPUBLIC like the CANTONS in Switezerland.

      Switzerland, the Roman province of Helvetia, is a federation of 23 cantons (20 full cantons and 6 half cantons), 3 of which in 1291 created a defensive league and later were joined by other districts.

      In 1648 the Swiss Confederation obtained its independence from the Holy Roman Empire. The cantons were joined under a federal constitution in 1848, with large powers of local control retained by each canton.
      Switzerland has maintained an armed neutrality since 1815, and has not been involved in a foreign war since 1515. It is the seat of many UN and other international agencies.
      Switzerland is a leading world banking center; stability of the currency brings funds from many quarters. The nation’s famed secret bank accounts were due to be phased out by Sept. 1992.

    • BadBrad

      In a speech in the House of Commons on 11 November 1947, Winston Churchill said:

      …it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

    • JitsZA

      I agree George Orwell. We have a lot of problems, the democratic system is not one of them. Most of the ills Brendon refers to are probably a result of our economic system and various other social challenges. Though, at this point, I believe our biggest challenge is addressing our moral complacency. As a nation, we need to accept that our country is only as bad as we have let it become.

    • Ray B

      Brendon, thank you for the courage to write this article. I wonder : what is beyond Democracy; what is your view of the relationaship between Democracy and Capitalism … (which one is at the root of Democracy’s failure); my problem with the voting system is that the voting majority is not educated about what he’s voting for because he has no point of reference, then again even then would a majority vote ever change the system, I think you answered that. My problem with South Africa is that the Coporate Capatilist environment has robbed the entrepreneur of his livlehood. Is this a political or economic problem ? Can you see my problem, I dont know who’s in control of a system that does’nt work for me. If the country won’t allow me to help myself (work) then it must carry me. You can see why I’ve come to the conclusion that I agree with your article and thank you for writing it. I have to wonder how you came to its conclusion. I think you owe us a follow up article

    • Momma Cyndi


      He also is reputed to have said “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter” :)

    • Nguni

      The liberals and their ilk love pointing to other countries as examples of working democracies. This time we’ve been treated to Mauritius and Switzerland, surprised Botswana wasn’t mentioned as an example (let’s no kid ourselves about Mauritius being African). NEITHER of the two have the SA problem of 40 million rapidly reproducing black population which has been promised a better life, no particular effort needed as we just take it from the (remaining) umhlungus. Switzerland has maybe a dozen such individuals, Mauritius we don’t know exactly as they are shy about population ethnicity, but we do know half the population are Hindu the other half being Christian and Muslims. At any rate their population growth is much slower with <1.3 million total. Point of this story is: a democracy works only in the non-African setting. The best option in Africa is still the benign dictatorship. Keeps the gravy train short.

    • Brendon Shields

      Ray i think capitalism needs democracy because the latter makes excuses, mostly moral ones, on behalf of the first.

      Capitalism however has the ability to change and do so quickly, yet if democracy bails out capitalism, as it has done with governments helping banks survive the recession, then capitalism itself becomes corrupted.

      Capitalism is in many ways a fair system in that its rules are simple. Offer the bestbproduct or service at the best price and you will have clients. Democracy is the opposite. You do not have to offer any service at all as long as you can manipulate people into voting for you. No transparency or accountability is required, simply a vote. You can get the vote by any means possible.

      Now again i ask: If coca cola starts making a bad product, how long will they survive?

    • Jonas Barbarossa

      Excellent! It is apparent that more and more intellectuals are coming to the same (obvious) conclusion: democracy is a farce!
      – tongue in cheek – democracy works when it can be enforced with minimum violence

    • Lennon

      Communism: You have two cows. You have to take care of them. The government takes all of the milk.

      Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes them from you and then sells you the milk.

      Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbours are deciding what to do with them.

      Anarchy: You have two cows. And they are f***in’ yours.

    • Thabu B

      WAAAY off the mark!!!!!!! Agree with Wicked Mike. If you don’t do anything about it you do not have the right to complain. If democracy is so bad why have people from all times been fighting so hard for it??????

    • Die Wolf

      Was thinking about exactly this today. Very interesting and clear set piece. Can’t help but agree with you.