So Twitter asks us to write down something about ourselves, aka bio. Here’s what I wrote, “Opinionated, Educator, Job Creator, Democracy believer only with educated independent electorate, otherwise Autocratic persuader. Ph.D. in PoliSci.”
Not a lot of people understood my bio, in fact, I think 99% of my Twitter followers are clueless. Inspired by Bill Clinton’s speech yesterday during the US Democratic National Convention, allow me to explain why my belief in democracy are set under conditions of ‘educated independent electorate, otherwise autocratic persuader.’
First of all, in the field of political science, we political scientists understand that literature does not clearly define democracy. There are those who define democracy as simply rule by the people, those who define it as rule for the people, and others who merge both together and say rule for the people and by the people. This may sound straightforward, but it is a lot more complicated than you think.
A number of political scientists state that rule by the people is no where enough to define democracy because it does not carry the requirement of achieving quality rule. If democracy is only rule by the people, the definition itself can be tainted by many nations not striving to reach optimal style rule of raising the social awareness, lifestyle, and a productive piece of the globalized world. Thus, they suggest that democracy is ultimately defined by ‘rule for the people’, which requires the nation to place the individual or the collective society at the center of all the initiatives.
I’ve recently been to India for less than a week and couldn’t believe what my eyes saw. The weather was amazing, the scenery in the suburbs was heaven-like, the farms can grow literally anything without any irrigation system, the infrastructure is almost nonexistent, and the people were so nice yet so poor. I strongly believe that India has the potential to be the best country in the world, but not any time soon. Here’s why. While GCC countries and the developed world average about 60% local spending from the annual GNP, India, I was told, spends only 4%! Where does 96% go, I am clueless. India, remember, is the world’s largest democracy.
The question here is, why are countries like Switzerland, Finland, and Singapore able to elect officials that would maintain their status as the best nations in the world with extremely high GDP per capita and low income inequality while India and Middle Eastern countries are unable to do the same? The answer is in two mutually inclusive requirements, educated and independent electorate.
An educated electorate places constraints on politicians to do their best in office while also make sure that the best candidates are voted in. Independent is a must because a person loses his freedom in utilizing his inner intelligence when deciding on the best candidate. These two requirements are not easily found and nations can take a minimum of 15 to 20 years to only start seeing the first signs of change towards a better pool of electorate.
So until we get a much better educated and independent electorate in places like the Middle East and India, the optimal form of governance would be the second best option, ‘Autocratic Persuader.’ An Autocratic persuader is a leader that is not lead by his followers, nor without acknowledging his followers. He is a person that recognizes the importance of persuading the population about initiatives that work best for them, when the project is complete. He is one that is well engaged with his population, lives amongst them, and is first to take the road he urges is best for his followers. He is an unelected leader by example that works to show the worthiness of his rule.
While we all strive to be as complete as ‘rule by the people and for the people’, if we cannot reach this level in the meantime because of our electorate are not both educated and independent, then rule for the people comes next. As I saw in India, and assured by many of my Indian friends, ruling simply by the people maximizes corruption.
Can we be friends?
So, are you saying that Bahrainis are not ready for democracy because they’re not as educated as you? Because for a political scientist, a Professor at that, you have left 90% of the usual definition of democracy out of your explanation – you know the parts about equality, system structure, independence etc. As a prince who benefits from the inherited rule system, what are your thoughts on a basic tenet eg equality?
Thank you for your comment. First of all, I’m not a prince, but hey, who wouldn’t want to be one! I’m not inheriting a rule and I won’t ever be a king. What I will be is a dead anytime between now and the unknown future. You see, as a Muslim, I believe that I will be judged for everything I do in life, and unlike many other religions, I myself am responsible for my sins.
What we also believe is that with responsibility and power that is bestowed upon you, you are required to take full responsibility for your subordinates. This is something very scary and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for any injustices or inequalities. My goal in life is to be a good person and a good believer in order to live in heaven and not hell.
Inequality is not 90% of democracy even though it is a major pillar my friend. What we also need is development, which is extremely vital for us today.