Chomsky is one of the most astute and notorious outspoken critic of liberal democracy that is promoted by the guardians of the world order or simply the western world. He especially direct his criticisms towards the United States and the United Kingdom who seek to establish democracy all over the world in order to have some sort of control over the people either for political or material reasons . Hence Chomsky sees this campaign to establish democracy as a tool of oppression instead of a means of emancipation.
Following the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union many have argued that western liberal democracy’ is the best form of government and ideally suited to the modern world. Some even claim that it is the moral leader’ of the world. Parekh describes democracy as “defined and structured within the limits set by liberalism. ” Liberalism preceded democracy by nearly two centuries. Thus, a society had to be created where the latter had to adjust. Liberalism today is the absolute premise and foundation that shapes the democratic character.
Therefore, during the last three decades the Orthodox notion of democracy is advocated and promoted by western agencies, international organisation and local elites to constitute a western neo-liberal, technical notion of democracy. Western institution and the ideals they embody are presented as universal but such claims are highly contested because “the proper use of which, inevitably involves endless dispute about their proper use on the part of their users. ” This is therefore the reason why Chomsky sees this promotion of democracy as a method of controlling that is used by the guardians of the world.
In its pure form liberal democracy promotes a form of representative democracy where elected representatives that hold the decision of power are moderated by a constitution that emphasizes protecting individual liberties and the rights of minorities in society, such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion the right to private property and privacy as well as equality before the law. However a close examination seems to suggest that liberal democracy is not democratic or liberal at all because liberal democracy does not respect majority rule except when citizens are asked to vote for their representatives.
Liberal democracy merely allows political competition between supposedly equal citizens without taking into account the unequal resources that citizens possess. The elite section of the society enjoys superior wealth; contact, education or political skill in general may thus be able to carry on its privileges at the expense of the majority by manipulating the key political institution and the media, and influencing the public opinion so as to minimize public debate on issues, which brings its privileges into question.
On the other hand others would argue that only liberal democracy could guarantee the individual liberties of its citizens and prevent the development into dictatorship. In the western countries where the wealthier section of the population are numerically over-represented in executive and legislative bodies, and source of inequality, such as “inherited wealth, private profit from land and profit capital” which owe more to “imperfect markets than entrepreneurial skill.
However this imperfect ideology of democracy does not stop the western world wanting to spread it in order to exploit poorer countries where the call for democracy is so overwhelming. As a result of this Chomsky’s criticisms of the guardian of the world seems to be echoed by many nationalist politicians in the Third World who have experienced foreign exploitation. Thus they request not just a set of rules to govern political competition, but also a means of achieving greater social and economic equality.
To them, liberal democracy may offer an inadequate solution to their perceived injustices. Therefore, the western world by this meaning the United States see the nationalistic regime’ as a immense threat because they are responsive to popular pressure for “immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses’ and diversification of the economies. As discussed above, although the western worlds were supposed to establish democracy and emancipate nations from the terrible situation they are placed under; may be due to an awful dictatorial regime.
Instead, the Third world was to be exploited for the needs of the industrial capitalist of the western world in order to fulfil its major function as a source of raw materials and markets. With reference to In Latin America, Kennan an American State Department Policy Planning Staff explained the the protection of our resources’ must be a major concern as elsewhere. By this he meant that if America does not posses some kind of control over Latin America, the United States would lose some of its great source of materials such us timber and oil.
Therefore they use the excuse of establishing democracy as a technique to control over these poor countries. On the contrary of what a liberal democracy should bring to a nation, it seems that the guardians of the world use this method to maintain whatever interests they hold over a certain country. The United States celebrated their achievements in promoting democracy with free election’ in Guatemala and El Salvador. However this was achieved after a wave of “slaughter, torture, disappearance, mutilation and physical destruction the independent media and murders of editors and journalist by the security forces.
Nevertheless the United Sates failed to comment how that so-called democracy was established. Although we are indeed inspired by a yearning for democracy,’ as the New York times tells us, but for we should never forget that we mean democracy’ in the proper sense. This clearly proves Chomsky’s theory of the western world using the ideology of democracy as a method of controlling a nation in order to achieve whatever agenda they have planed. In Africa talk of democracy today is widespread but usually bankrupt.
The western world represents democracy as choosing between A and B, but not as having an equal part in determining the choices. Western institution and the ideals they embody are presented as universal but such claims are highly contested. As Parker has noted, claims to universality “have aroused deep fears in the fragile and nervous societies of the rest of the world. ” This is especially the case in Africa, where there is a considerable opposition to the orthodox liberal notion and the democratisation project’ with in the continent.
This is because the liberal procedural notion of democracy fails to reverberate or have meaning with subaltern peoples and groups within Africa. Therefore, a profound non-correspondence or disjuncture exists between the orthodox liberal notion of democracy and the concrete reality or lived experience’ of subaltern people. Barya argues that “the struggle for democracy must be essentially a struggle of the oppressed themselves” therefore “this democracy must be left to the subject of democracy, namely the African people.
Barya is fully supported by the African people as they have shown their resistance in multiple forms of protest by diverse social groups for example in Northern Nigeria they posted a warning saying that “.. Don’t Come Here. This is Not a Matter of One Person Alone. We Don’t Want it. ” Similarly in Chad a newspaper N’Djamena Hebdo parodied the experience of “democratisation’ as “Free under a dictatorship, muzzled in a democracy! ” and “Down with democracy.
While The East African newspaper in Tanzania argued that “there is much of democracyat the headquarters of the international financial institutions by people we have never elected who do not even know the name of our cities” This clearly shows that most African people are not satisfied with false promotion of democracy that is orchestrated by guardians of the world because they understand that their democracy is being blocked instead of established in order to control and govern them.
Many African whose democratic participation is an issue, do not separate political democracy from economic democracy. They understand democracy in a more substantive sense and expect material improvement to follow from democracy. However this improvement they long for is blocked by those who originally made the promise of improvement, therefore their frustration is understandable. I will conclude with another one of Chomsky’s profound comment. “Freedom without opportunity is a devil’s gift, and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal.
Therefore, it is not fair that all Third World countries should be free-free to do what the guardians of the world order wants them to do and should choose their own course independently, as long as their choice conforms to those of western worlds. Thus, if the western worlds really want to establish democracy in its real sense then they should stop doing it for their own sake and do it because they truly want to emancipate those poor people from the terrible condition they are placed under.