Essay No. 174:
Democracy Fosters Mediocrity: In societies where democracy has to grow and consolidate its root firmly, mediocrity appears as a routine phenomenon. It may however, not hold good in case of societies where democracy is firmly established. There, the best possible of leaders are filtered through the process of democracy and the societies get high statured politicians and rulers.
The rulers show a high sense of understanding of the national problems and devise appropriate pragmatic policies to tackle them for promoting the welfare of the people. Things are reverse of the developing countries, including Pakistan, where democracy is fragile with weak democratic traditions and values. The level of literacy Is low.
The politicians don’t have to undergo a training in the art of politics. They do not need any formal training. Politics is inherited form family traditions. The son of a feudal landlord would enter into the arena of national politics without receiving any formal training. Politics is a forbidden fruit for the poor, though talented. The poor, the resource less, do not think of contesting elections as the latter demand money, power and influence.
So only mediocre faces, people could have under democratic dispensation especially in the third world countries. Political parties which are an integral part of democracy do not go by the talent of their members but by the loyalty they profess to the party leadership. Tickets are awarded to mediocre type of the people, who in the event of their success in the elections promote mediocrity in parliamentary discussions on current national affairs.
They are influenced more by parochial rather than objective considerations in the analysis of national problems. As a matter of fact, a great responsibility falls on political parties in awarding tickets to really deserving candidates with sound background in education and having fairly a high level of perception and understanding.
Democracy is regarded as the best form of government, and it should continue without any interruption in Pakistan to resolve the socio-economic problems of the poor, though with a base of mediocrity. With the spread of education, leading to a sufficient increase in the level of literacy, things can improve over time and mediocrity overcome.
I personally feel mediocrity is acceptable if democracy were to continue without coming to any harm-endogenously or endogenously. Mediocre type of leaders, if sincere and committed are preferable to the intelligent breed of politicians, given excessively to the promotion of their personal vested interests and pursuit of Machiavellian politics.
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So the people have to put up with the phenomenon of mediocrity under democracy, especially in Pakistan till such time democracy ripens and opens vistas 800 to intelligence and sharpness to manipulate things not in a mediocre manner.
According to the statement given above, democracy does not yield high level of leadership to developing countries in particular. It only promotes mediocrity in leadership. Pakistan’s experience can be cited in this regard. After the demise of the Quaid-e-Azam, it appears as if Pakistan has become barren and sterile in terms of leadership.
The crop of leaders it had, seemed to be insensitive to the problems and challenges that Pakistan came to face in course of time. No leader rose to the occasion to pull Pakistan out of myriad challenges for independence could not display independence of their mind and remained bound by their western education. They failed to envision the newly emerging realities on the socio-economic politico horizon of time.
On the one hand, they remained blind to the pursuit of their vested interests, and on the other, they did not come out of the ambit the limited thinking to perceive realities in a broader perspective. They could not pull on with the tide of time. Democracy gives mediocrity to the poor people in Pakistan. Feudal landlords, industrialists, with mediocre mind and thinking come to rule the masses to permanently in-wall their interests and to out wall the interests of the latter.
Mediocrity does not open up fresh vistas of thinking. Mediocre politicians believe in status quo and as such can’t devise ways and means to pave way for the emergence and encouragement of merit, reflecting a high level of intelligence. One cannot aspire for a dynamic type of leadership capable of perceiving realities in a larger perspective. Hence it is not wrong to infer that democracy and mediocrity go hand in hand, especially in the Third World countries like Pakistan.
But this does not apply to developed countries, where the level of education and consciousness are fairly high, where democracy is firmly entrenched in the soil of those countries. UK being the mother country of democracy is credited with having produced a galaxy of superb leadership. It is equally applicable to the US and other West European countries, which have accepted democracy as the political mode of living.
Democracy has gone down their veins and through it the western countries get the cream of leadership and cream rises to the top, symbolizing merit, intelligence. The scum, however, falls to the lot of developing countries. The tide can turn after literacy level is raised and quality of education improves in the developing countries and democracy digs deep its roots.
When democracy is established on a firm footing, it will become a success over time. Democratic process needs to continue though in a tardy manner. It must not be scuttled in the middle by military intervention. The military must confine itself to the constitutional role assigned to it to defend the frontiers of the country.