The UKIP debate is completely missing the point
So UKIP cleaned up in the European Parliament, and absolutely none of the chit-chat in the popular media is talking about the actual issue here.
That issue is that a ‘parliamentary democracy’ is neither democratic nor effective…and, fundamentally I’m saddened to say, that the general population is shallow, ignorant, and generally not qualified to make decisions of such import.
Now that is not to say that I am, this is merely my take and I am happy to receive criticism.
UKIP achieved this result because of one thing, summarised in this oft-lamented sentiment:
Bob: “What? That rule’s insane! Why in the name of god can’t we do <something prohibited by EU law>?”
Alice: “It’s an EU thing.”
That’s it. The big one is immigration - we can’t kick these non-Brits out or limit their ingress because membership of the EU says we have to have open borders. There is of course a very good reason for this, at least theoretically - if you allow production to move freely you must allow labour to move freely too. In a world with immensely reduced transaction costs, it is to be fully expected that he who produces the best good wins. If Volkswagen can sell cars in the UK as well as in Germany, then the demise of the British car industry is to be fully expected: Volkswagens are much better and much cheaper than anything Rover ever produced. Producers and consumers both win (which is the fundamental idea behind all of capitalism). The problem is that if those guys who once worked at Rover aren’t willing to haul-ass to Germany and work for Volkswagen, or be rather (unrealistically) proactive in re-appropriating their skills, then you’re going to have a lot of unemployed people and a few empty factories. Labour not only has to be allowed to move, it has to be encouraged.
Cases like this are why projects like the EU are sometimes considered intellectually masturbatory. The economic models seem to take no notice of how much people value their homes, country, and life in general - they err very much on the side of “Bob from the UK Rover plant can definitely earn more money working for Volkswagen so it’s reasonable to expect that we’ll see redistribution of labour.” Of course, in reality, this is a little insane.
But this is a problem with the EU as a concept, not with UKIP’s victory in the MEP elections.
The real issue here is that a party who actively sells itself on a single issue wins based on that issue alone. People don’t want to be ‘dictated’ to by Brussels - based on some bizarre notion that UK MP’s are somehow less of a bunch of faceless self-serving twats with little handle on reality. You know, at least with MP’s you can understand the system that’s shafting you. This is ridiculous. Politics is ridiculous. Parliamentary democracy is ridiculous.
Human knowledge on almost any given subject area has reached a stage where true understanding is confined to a tiny handful of people who have made it their life’s work. Gone are the days of useful and valid horizontal knowledge and in are the days of ultra-specific vertical knowledge. There is not a single human being alive who understands how a computer works from top to bottom. There is not one person who - after the apocalypse - would know how to go about building a ‘simple’ £200 notebook and get an operating system running on it. The computer you’re reading this on has thousands of bits whose internal workings are only truly understood by a few people alive today. The number of PhD’s that went into making that thing beggars belief. This is one example, but this is the model we live in, and it applies across the board.
Parliamentary democracy caters to horizontal knowledge. All you have to do to gain control of public policy issues only truly understood by a tiny minority is shout loud enough to get Joe-public to cross the box with your name beside it, instead of the 10 or so other names. That’s it. Even with advisers who may or may not be knowledgable enough to properly advise said politicians, you can never expect the actual person you voted for to ever truly get the decisions they make.
And so we have UKIP, who won based on their Europe stance and their Europe stance alone. Remove that from the equation and you have a party that wouldn’t be able to muster enough support to pay the electoral registration fee. UKIP has some (shockingly) sensible policies that pleasantly surprised me: big tax cuts and privatisation of the UK healthcare industry. It has some slightly out there ideas too hovering on climate change denial and defence budgets. All of these ideas, had they been part of the manifesto of a party without a showstopper of a core purpose, would have zero political traction, and yet here we have a whole bunch of UKIP MEP’s who will be voting to put such ideas into practice.
So now we have a single-issue party - that really should be a pressure group - in power making decisions that are intrinsically incomprehensible to almost everyone including the politicians, and the scopes of which fall far outside the party’s only reason for existence. As long as people remain ignorant (and if you accept my argument, they have no choice but to do so) then parliamentary democracy will continue shaft us all with political bullshit, which I propose exists because both the preacher and the choir have no fucking idea what the hell they’re talking about.
Parliamentary democracy sucks balls. Hard.
Is there a better system? I don’t know, but what I do know for sure is that this one is laughably broken, but we’ve all been drinking the ‘democracy’ Kool-aid for so long that we’re preprogrammed to jump to it’s defence without actually considering the issues at hand. When was the last time you read a critique of ‘democracy’ that wasn’t written by a Neo-Nazi? Never? That’s because nobody discusses it. It’s greatness is nothing but an assumption - and rational people justify their assumptions. I propose that - beyond “it’s the best we’ve got” - this is an impossible task in the case of ‘democracy’.