Cream usually rises to the top in countries with true democracy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 5:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 10:53pm

I refer to the article by Patrik K. Meyer (“Mass delusion of Western-style democracies”, October 26).

There is no doubt that American-style democracy has some serious systemic flaws, caused by the intense impact of funding on the selection of candidates and the outcome of elections.

This is fundamentally unhealthy, and massively skews elections towards capital vested interests and away from labour. The current election in the US displays aspects of a television soap opera or reality show, and is definitely not a good advertisement for democracy.

The instruments of democracy are out of line with the 21st century when a presidential election takes close to 600 days, in these days of instantaneous digital communications. The winning candidate must be exhausted by the campaign – before even day one of their job.

However, when Professor Meyer advocates “Chinese capillary democracy” he must expect scorn from Hongkongers who have direct experience on the mainland and understand there is no vein of democracy in China, and no artery of freedom. For example, the Chinese Communist Party demands unconditional loyalty without question or debate (“New party rules to keep cadres loyal”, October 25 ).

Professor Meyer is a New America Security Fellow, and is wrong to tar all Western democracies with the same brush. America is not the sole model and parliamentary systems do not elect their leaders in the same way, and are generally much more flexible and responsive – Britain recently changed leaders in a matter of days.

Professor Meyer is perhaps promoting the barangay system of the Philippines. Academically “long-term professional commitment” sounds great, but unfortunately in politics this often morphs into despotic dictatorship. True democracy is messy, but the cream usually rises to the top.

Frank Lee, Wan Chai