Friday, December 10, 2010

Contempt for democracy

With the current student protests that old stand-by phrase of the papers rears its ugly head "They're showing their contempt for democracy". Over two years ago I briefly touched on the origin of this word I shall reiterate a little more fully this time.

Democracy as a word is made up of two parts demos and cracy; the former means People the latter Power put together they mean People Power (in bad Latin you could have Puellacracy - Girl Power; though Gynaecocracy would be better).

So if a group of people choose to exercise their power how can they be showing a contempt for democracy? Of course they could be showing a contempt for the democratic process; but that's a whole other thing - the simple fact that the voting system and government system is under review and has changed in the past show that the process and what the process creates are not one and the same.

So next time you read "contempt for democracy" ask what those the authors castigate want to replace the current system with (theocracy, meritocracy, anarchy, demarchy) or are they simply protesting the current government - if it's the latter they're not showing contempt for democracy and you can happily ignore the rest of the column as being written by someone who knows not what they write about.