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#4694: On what makes a democratic system: Poincy replies to Pierre (fwd)
Bringing the masses to the voting booths is a negligible detail in a democratic
system. The only guarantee it provides is to prevent incompetents from holding
public offices for too long where people can make sound decisions in choosing
their representatives. Wherever the right individuals, who know what to do, are
determined to secure the collective good so that every individual can live up
to their potential with no fear of their neighbors, the direct voting process
is pointless. For any system, that provides such, needs not to engage the
masses in choosing their representatives. If they do most likely their
judgement will fail.
To know if a system is democratic, we ought to look in its decision making
process in providing public goods. The problem of Ayiti is its defective
decision making process linked to the zero level of tolerance among public
officials. As long as the decision making process does not live room for
compromise and everyone does not agree to abide by the outcome, no matter how
right, peaceful and efficient the direct voting process is, the wishful
democratic system will fail in its objectives and never mature. We have seen it
in Ayiti right after Aristide assumed power in 1991, it was repeated after his
return in 1994 and continues to be.
What becomes worst in Ayiti’s case is the fact that the people do not have the
political maturity yet to make sound judgement in choosing their
representatives. I went on this at length before and I don’t wish to take on it
again. My point is to prevent this from happening while the decision making
process is deficient. There is a strong necessity to revamp Ayiti’s decision
making process. It can’t be done with the system they want to implement due to
the lack of strong institutions. My belief is that a strong State, a police
State or an authoritarian State is the sole guarantor of fixing it. Such a
state can well be a democratic one without having a direct participation. There
can be a chosen group of individuals to embark on this journey of fixing the
It is incorrect to think of the past Ayitian system as wrongfully representing
the masses. They could be accused of such, only if they projected themselves as
the masses’ representatives to begin with. It was never the case. They never
thought of that once and not even for a split second. Looking at the
development of Ayiti’s history, one must pay attention to the rapport that
existed between the masses and the group that was thought to represent them. It
was a slave master relationship without the chain on the plantations. It was
That was the mulattos’ dream when they joined Dessalines, they paved the way
for it by eliminating the latter and reached their full scale dream after
mining Christophe’s ability to create a decent Ayiti. That went on in different
forms from a savage servile state during slavery to a softer servile one, as
most of the masses were basically the mulattos’ servants in all areas. For that
matter, there was no reason to educate them. Today it continues on with the
restavèk situation. The better off families from the masses emulated the
mulattos and still do with no pain.
I had to go astray a bit. This group of good public officials that would be
chosen to do what’s best for the collectivity is what Ayiti needs to be able to
find today. I am not saying there is a formula to do it, but it can be devised.
I am not saying I know it, but the concerned authorities can work at it. If
they happen to cater for their own group, it’s not all that wrong as long as
they work to create common goods that would trickle down. Things would be wrong
if their actions don’t aim at improving the community and the lot of others
along the way. By investing in the country, the intent would be, first and
foremost, to improve my lot, that of my family or my own group.
If I want to it to be so, it would be rational to work at strengthening the
country’s economy and what I would do would create jobs. In that case, I would
consider my gain trickling down. However, if my investment were not aimed at
improving the country’s economy, but enriching myself without further
investment or reinvestment while my community is falling apart before me, that
would be absolutely wrong. In other words, if this group is rational enough to
know that protecting their interest is directly related to their protected and
well-nurtured community, focussing on themselves for greater gain is not a sin.
They would protect their community to protect their interest and the masses
would get a free ride.
Such a group was nowhere to be found in Ayiti. Since there is no credible
system in Ayiti to choose the body of officials to run the country, Ayiti would
have to start somewhere. In the Ayitian context, this is possible only with a
benevolent authoritarian. Regardless how s/he decides to do it, as long the
ultimate goal is for the collective good, I would go for it.
Ayiti has lived, lives and will live
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