Democracy, cola, and tobacco

THE SYSTEM AND DECEIT

The System does not lie to us, it deceives us. But deceit is more dangerous than lies, for while the erroneousness of the lie can be, or be made, obviously apparent, deceit takes on a mask of seeming honesty.

When we are deceived, we look at an object and think we can recognise in it what we are told it is, even though, in reality it is something else.

For example: if democratic societies are defined by how widespread the system of suffrage is, then, in a place where every adult over eighteen is allowed to vote in elections, it seems right to suppose that their system is a democratic one. Nevertheless, it may well be that many or all of the elected governors belong to parties that have been bought by interest groups, corporations, or wealthy individuals through campaign funds, favours and/or bribes in order to ensure that government policy favours their own agendas. In this case, the idea of democracy is being deceived, because the importance of the vote, that lies in its empowering of public opinion, is undermined. This situation, where it exists, is most definitely not democratic, and democracy in this case is a deceitful concept.

But if we have been deceived over matters like the very structures that envelope and drive our lives, how should we act when the deceit has been revealed?

In a logical, authentically democratic society, if political parties needed funds and raised those funds through donations given by billionaires, then transparency of interests would have to be a central feature of all campaigns, in which parties would reveal their sponsors and publish all agreements that had been made between them. This would be done in order to give the voters a clear idea of who they should be voting for, because, without that transparency, the democratic process is very muddy indeed.

In a logical, authentically democratic society, governments would most likely be made up of independents who campaigned without donations from corporations and billionaires. The fact that this does not happen, indicates how effective the deceit is within the System.

Democracy is so successful at deceiving us because it tells us over and over again that what we have, and what we are living in is a democracy, even though, in any authentic sense of the word, it is not.

In fact, the lie is so ingrained that those who see through the deceit have to be advocates of a new term whenever they speak of democracy, and hence we now have the concept of Real Democracy  as opposed to the normal kind of democracy which is not democracy at all. In a sense, the deceiving System has bought the patent for democracy and it has used it in whatever way it can for its own benefits.

So, democracy exists even though it is not democracy. Then where is the real democracy? Might it exist?

DEMOCRACY AND THE COLA ALLEGORY

To tackle this allegorically, let us imagine that some other brand of Cola were the real invention of a popular drink called Coka Cola, but never bought the patent. This fictitious company had developed a delicious drink from the African kola nut that they produced to a modest market and called it Koca Kola, which was exactly the same as the Coke that we can buy and drink in our none-allegorical time and space. Then, in the fable, a larger company comes along, with lots more capital, and decides to produce a very similar, but inferior product, at the same time buying a patent for it under the name of Coka Cola. Through aggressive marketing Coka Cola are able to convince consumers that the authentic Cola is Coka Cola, which they claim is a totally original drink for which there can be no substitute. The campaign was so constant and ubiquitous that people who tasted the original Koca Kola would even associate what they used to love with this copy (despite its inferiority). Koca Kola of course, eventually disappeared, although, perhaps, they might have tried producing it again under another name, as Pepsis, for example, but the consumers had already been programmed to see anything other than the product bearing the patent Coka Cola as a pseudo-thing, a not the real thing. Coka Cola had claimed that status for itself.  

In a sense, the same has happened with democracy. It is an idea produced by marketing and the social-democrat liberal parties have taken out a virtual patent on it. Nevertheless, once the deception is uncovered, the System immediately looks different. The unmasking of any deception, in fact, is a profound experience, alike to a revelation, and may be a disturbing enlightenment for the one who sees the deceit. The experience may isolate the enlightened one from all the others who just fail to perceive it. The revelation often becomes an obsession and the masking process that takes place to obfuscate the true aspect of the System, might very well take on the form of a sinister, well-concealed conspiracy. Being enlightened therefore is partly a blessing, but mainly a curse. Perceiving the deceitful nature of the System may be not unlike the experience of sighting a UFO or seeing a ghost.

The experience is a revelation and you will certainly find others who have had the same experience, but it is still not something that you should admit to in any circle of friends or acquaintances. It is better to keep it to yourself or within closed circles that understand you, and you must not let yourself believe that your life-changing epiphany will change the world.

However, enlightenment will always gnaw into the enlightened one and such ruminating may well create deep psychological problems for those who bottle up the revelation.

Of course, this plays into the hands of the deceiver, and makes deceit easier. When one lies from a position of authority, then one is always running the risk that your deceit will eventually be discovered by someone. The great deceitful one also knows that his or her deception will affect millions or perhaps even hundreds of millions of individuals but that, in order to believe the one who sees the deception, the enlightened one will have to convince millions of other individuals the truth of their revelation that we live in a lie. And the difficulty of ever achieving the revelation, puts the gambling stakes well in the deceiver’s favour.

*     *     *

Now, remember we are talking about deceit and not about lies. If democracy were a lie, we would be able to take it before a court of law and expose it because it is quite obviously wrong. But how do you condemn something that seems to be what it says it is? And then again, who really cares? If Coka Cola is not the authentically real thing … who cares? Coka Cola (or the Coke of the real Coca-Cola narrative ) is still the drink that everyone has grown to enjoy. So, what is the fuss about?

Well, as long as everyone is happy with the taste of Coka Cola nothing matters. But what if it was discovered that there are elements in this drink that are detrimental to our health, or that the ingredients are totally addictive, or that studies came out revealing a relationship between Coka Cola addiction and violent crime … in these cases people might start to understand that they were deceived and that part of that deceit contained outright lies. In this case, yes, the need to reveal the truth and unmask the deceit may well snowball into a massive anti-cola campaign.

TOBACCO

 

An actual example of this kind of deceit may be seen if we examine the tobacco industry. The fact that such a noxious product could actually be sold to so many (and still is, despite the campaigns to uncover its deceitfulness) is mind-boggling. The advertising campaigns for tobacco must be the most successful ever made, not only do they sell us a product we definitely do not need, they actually sell us something that no one should ever want.

Of course, tobacco is not really like democracy because the deception used by its manufacturers is so replete with obvious lies that it can hardly be termed deceit. The tobacco industry’s success is better described with the term seduction, but it is in this seduction that we actually find the dishonesty, for it is a deceitful seduction. Tobacco is a filthy great marketing success, and embedded in that unscrupulous marketing is the perverted inveiglement that permeates our whole System.

*    *     *

The System and its democracy-deceit is not addictive, but it is a monopoly that seems to be the best thing on offer. So seemingly good that, like Coca-Cola against Pepsi, the opposition has to seem to offer something that is very similar to the original product, if not the same, to have any success at competing with it. The system is not addictive, it is simply an omnipresent monopoly. It is the System and it cannot be questioned because it is Democracy. Yet here lies its weakness as well: because the Democracy of the System is deceitful. Like tobacco, the seduction is not harmless because it is through its deception that poverty, corruption, violent crimes, health abuse and wars are allowed to be perpetuated.

*     *     *

The System = Democracy – is really a false equation.

The System ≈ Democracy – would be more acceptable, but the more we examine the deceit the more obvious the falseness in the equation is.

Other equations come to mind like:

The System ≈ (democracy + oligarchy);

or

The System ≈ (democracy + plutocracy);

or even that we have to remove democracy from the equation altogether.

In any case, the equation always has unequal values. If the value of the System is 10, then A is always smaller than B. So, to be accurate we would have to say:

S = D + O (when D is always smaller than O);

or

S = D + P (when D is always smaller than P).

If we really believe in democracy, we need to be able to elect governments that are truly anchored to the will of the people and totally divorced from the power of wealthy interest groups. If not, all democratic notions are pure hypocrisy.