Democracy was developed as a way for an elite sub-set of a culture to share the power of the state, not as a way for the entire culture to participate in the power of government over individuals.
Thus it follows in the path of so many other forms of government, not so much as taught (a progression from cruel servitude to enlightened emancipation), but in the devious spiral reminiscent of the sleight of hand and mind games played by the three card monte dealer. As the general population, or perhaps the portion of it that might be capable of disrupting the status quo, becomes liable to see through the veils which mask those who rule them, another set of veils must yet be woven to placate the masses.
Ironically, as democracy (well, this republic, anyway) has spread the franchise of voting rights wider and wider, it has diluted the sense of importance to the voter and made the task of controlling the society's wealth and wealth producing engines from behind the scenes even easier.
The holders of the world's wealth don't literally make you and I walk and talk a certain way, breathe when they want, leave at their appointment, but they do make sure that every step to increase the wealth at their disposal and the ease of their future control over it is taken in their favor.
One of the most fascinating tricks to accomplish this, only possible because we no longer live in times of abject poverty and want (in the West, at any rate), has been the creation of a middle class. Even though here in the United States there is even a smooth continuum of wealth from the welfare recipient steadily to the richest man or woman in the country, making it hard to say where the demarcation exists, the middle class are actually still "peasants as far as I can see". They do not control their destinies, and never truly feel secure in their sometimes quite impressive little wealth, but they are heavily invested in the status quo, with pensioning schemes and mortages and investment portfolios to make them take the side of the truly wealthy and powerful when it comes to political decisions.
Sadly enough, due to the existence of the various lotteries ("a tax on the mathematically incompetent"), even the working poor and lowest economic classes here don't want to "soak the rich" because they dream of someday being rich! Mythmaking at its best here folks.
Though undesirable for too many reasons, (continued emergence of poor leaders, inbreeding to maintain inherited wealth and titles, etc.) it seems to me that some of the best conditions modern man has lived under are those created by a benevolent dictator or monarch.
The tough part is, no one has ever figured out how to pick one of them to sit on the throne - let alone how to agree what one should be like... maybe we should vote on it...
(date unknown, probably ca. 2002)
© Huw Powell