The Universal Fetish of One Man Rule

It is an almost universally accepted and rightly believed that in all endeavors there is one person who is best: who is the most knowledgeable, who is the strongest, who is the most talented, who is the most courageous, who is the most moderate, and who is the wisest. And we devise competitions to determine who such persons are. We have all kinds of competitive sports, the Olympic Games, competitive entrance exams for universities, competitive civil service exams, America’s Got Talent (and other countries), and Eurovision. When such talented persons can articulate their talent or skill to others, we call them “authorities,” “leaders,” and “teachers.” Plato believed that such persons could be cultivated in all the virtues, especially wisdom, and singled out to rule a city-state. He called such persons “philosopher-kings.”

It was Thomas Carlyle who glorified such persons in his lectures, published as “On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History” (1841) .

It is true that within a tribe, i.e., a small group of about 150 adults, the best person in some area can be determined because everyone knows everyone else. And in such groups, there is usually some elder person who acts as a “moderator” in group meetings, and may even act as an adjudicator for minor disputes. But such a person is neither a king nor a military leader, nor Plato’s philosopher-king.

Plato’s philosopher-king is actually an idealized god. No human being has the capacity for universal knowledge or wisdom. But, something like what Plato wanted is being approximated in the world of computers in the form of artificial intelligence. [But take note of what happens when a quirk happens to a computer, as to HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey]. Humans are driven by different interests, and it is questionable which interests are to prevail, and how to reach compromise; and so, there is an intrinsic problem of decision which humans — not computers — must make.

The celebration of a one-man rule is originally the celebration of a military leader — a warlord. What we learn in school as history is the history of war and conquest. The State, as Franz Oppenheimer, Ludwig Gumplowicz and Karl Marx taught, is the product of conquest. It is conquest which explains the prevalence of the tradition and fetish or superstition of one man rule. The State is the result of military conquests of territories. If the territory is small, he is — to use the Japanese terminology — the warlord. If the territory is large, we can call him a Shogun or Emperor. We have our own names “king,” “prince,” “baron,” “landlord.” Consider the etymology of the word “lord”.

The State is a mirror of an army, except we call it a bureaucracy. In ancient Rome, there were the Consuls as the highest executives, and Proconsuls in distant territories. But ancient Romans and Spartans had a distrust of one man rule. In order to check their powers, they had two Consuls and two Kings. A single leader the Romans called a “dictator.”

I am convinced by the arguments of Franz Oppenheimer that the State is the product of conquest, and that the acceptance of a one man rule is both a tradition, a fetish, and a delusion.

When we study political history, we are studying how power is achieved and extended by war and conquest.

And war and conquest are a function of one man rule. Giving a single person the power to rule, he will use it to gain more power and more wealth, just as a capitalist will continue to expand his businesses ad infinitum. I think that a person who gets to rule, imagines he is playing chess with other rulers. And with computer technology, he is further removed from reality by playing a computer game of virtual chess.

There is competition among States, as there is competition among capitalists. And as Sheldon Wolin has shown, in Democracy Incorporated (2008), [Preface] that the State is now the instrument of the capitalist corporations, giving rise to “inverted totalitarianism.” Wolin means by “totalitarianism” a total political control by a single individual or a clique (a party) as in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Bolshevik Russia. The difference, it seems, is that neither Hitler, nor Mussolini, nor Stalin desired personal wealth, as do modern leaders like Putin or Trump, and their shadow oligarchs and corporations.

What am I driving at? Imitate Switzerland. Replace one man rule by a Federal Council.

“A Kind of Fascism Is Replacing Our Democracy”

by Sheldon S. Wolin, Newsday, July 18, 2003

Sept. 11, 2001, hastened a significant shift in our nation’s self-understanding. It became commonplace to refer to an “American empire” and to the United States as “the world’s only superpower.”

Instead of those formulations, try to conceive of ones like “superpower democracy” or “imperial democracy,” and they seem not only contradictory but opposed to basic assumptions that Americans hold about their political system and their place within it. Supposedly ours is a government of constitutionally limited powers in which equal citizens can take part in power. But one can no more assume that a superpower welcomes legal limits than believe that an empire finds democratic participation congenial.

No administration before George W. Bush’s ever claimed such sweeping powers for an enterprise as vaguely defined as the “war against terrorism” and the “axis of evil.” Nor has one begun to consume such an enormous amount of the nation’s resources for a mission whose end would be difficult to recognize even if achieved.

Like previous forms of totalitarianism, the Bush administration boasts a reckless unilateralism that believes the United States can demand unquestioning support, on terms it dictates; ignores treaties and violates international law at will; invades other countries without provocation; and incarcerates persons indefinitely without charging them with a crime or allowing access to counsel.

The drive toward total power can take different forms, as Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union suggest.

The American system is evolving its own form: “inverted totalitarianism.” This has no official doctrine of racism or extermination camps but, as described above, it displays similar contempt for restraints.

It also has an upside-down character. For instance, the Nazis focused upon mobilizing and unifying the society, maintaining a continuous state of war preparations and demanding enthusiastic participation from the populace. In contrast, inverted totalitarianism exploits political apathy and encourages divisiveness. The turnout for a Nazi plebiscite was typically 90 percent or higher; in a good election year in the United States, participation is about 50 percent.

Another example: The Nazis abolished the parliamentary system, instituted single-party rule and controlled all forms of public communication. It is possible, however, to reach a similar result without seeming to suppress. An elected legislature is retained but a system of corruption (lobbyists, campaign contributions, payoffs to powerful interests) short-circuits the connection between voters and their representatives. The system responds primarily to corporate interests; voters become cynical, resigned; and opposition seems futile.

While Nazi control of the media meant that only the “official story” was communicated, that result is approximated by encouraging concentrated ownership of the media and thereby narrowing the range of permissible opinions.

This can be augmented by having “homeland security” envelop the entire nation with a maze of restrictions and by instilling fear among the general population by periodic alerts raised against a background of economic uncertainty, unemployment, downsizing and cutbacks in basic services.

Further, instead of outlawing all but one party, transform the two-party system. Have one, the Republican, radically change its identity:

From a moderately conservative party to a radically conservative one.

From a party of isolationism, skeptical of foreign adventures and viscerally opposed to deficit spending, to a party zealous for foreign wars.

From a party skeptical of ideologies and eggheads into an ideologically driven party nurturing its own intellectuals and supporting a network that transforms the national ideology from mildly liberal to predominantly conservative, while forcing the Democrats to the right and and enfeebling opposition.

From one that maintains space between business and government to one that merges governmental and corporate power and exploits the power-potential of scientific advances and technological innovation. (This would differ from the Nazi warfare organization, which subordinated “big business” to party leadership.)

The resulting dynamic unfolded spectacularly in the technology unleashed against Iraq and predictably in the corporate feeding frenzy over postwar contracts for Iraq’s reconstruction.

In institutionalizing the “war on terrorism” the Bush administration acquired a rationale for expanding its powers and furthering its domestic agenda. While the nation’s resources are directed toward endless war, the White House promoted tax cuts in the midst of recession, leaving scant resources available for domestic programs. The effect is to render the citizenry more dependent on government, and to empty the cash-box in case a reformist administration comes to power.

Americans are now facing a grim situation with no easy solution. Perhaps the just-passed anniversary of the Declaration of Independence might remind us that “whenever any form of Government becomes destructive …” it must be challenged.

Origins of the State — by Conquest

In order to determine the origins of the State, one must have some conception of the nature of a State. Let us start with the Wikipedia entry for “State (polity).”

“A state is a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a certain geographical territory.”

For my purposes, this definition will do. However, from my individual perspective, what is important to me and to everyone else, is the fact that we cannot occupy a piece of subsistence land for free, but must submit to the dictates of a centralized government.

How is the “State” different from a tribe, which also may prevent me from occupying a piece of land? Let us express the difference in the following way. If I am a member of a tribe, then I will be allowed to occupy a piece of land for free. But, if I am a member of a State, I will not be allowed to occupy a piece of land for free.

From this perspective, the question is: how is this transition from tribal free occupancy to a State non-free occupancy possible? This is the problem which has been labeled the problem of “primitive accumulation.”

One approach is to point out the differences in human natures. Some are gifted (i.e., intelligent, diligent, thrifty, etc.); others are not. OK, so the gifted will do better with their land holding than the less-gifted. Still, the less gifted will not work for the gifted unless their reward is equal or better than what they can accomplish on their own piece of land.

But the situation in a State is that many would be better off if they had access to free subsistence land; but they do not.

Despite the different theories of “State formation,”, only one is, for me, convincing. This is the conquest theory, which has been best formulated by Franz Oppenheimer in his book The State

I urge the reader to read the book. The author is clear, brief, reasonable, and convincing. I will only focus on what to me is the convincing, deductive argument for the conquest theory of the State.

He starts with the following assumption:

“No one will work for another if he can do as well or better by living off subsistence land. All teachers of natural law, etc., have unanimously declared that the differentiation into income- receiving classes and propertyless classes can only take place when all fertile lands have been occupied. For so long as man has ample opportunity to take up unoccupied land, "no one," says Turgot, "would think of entering the service of another"; we may add, "at least for wages, which are not apt to be higher than the earnings of an independent peasant working an unmortgaged and sufficiently large property"; while mortgaging is not possible as long as land is yet free for the working or taking, as free as air and water. Matter that is obtainable for the taking has no value that enables it to be pledged, since no one loans on things that can be had for nothing.

Let me formulate this as an explicit argument:

1. Person x will not work for person y, if x can do as well or better on his own.
2. x can do as well or better on his own, if he has free access to subsistence land
3. There are z acres of available fertile land in the world.
4. There are m number of people in the world
5. z/m = g
6. In order to subsist, x must have access to h acres of land
7. g > h
9. Therefore, there is enough subsistence land for each person

Oppenheimer gives us the statistics for available land in Germany as well as in the world, at the time when he wrote (1914); concluding that there is ample land for everyone. But despite this, we are prevented from taking free occupancy by States.

The rest of the book is a narrative of conquests of one group of people by another. I need no further convincing, since the history of man is a history of war and conquest.

I want to conclude with the observation that since Oppenheimer wrote, we have a massive increase in populations and a decrease in available subsistence land. When Oppenheimer wrote, he gave 1.8 billion as the number of people in the world, and estimated 181 billion acres of available land, which would give each person roughly 100 acres. We have now 7.7 billion people, which, if that same amount of land were available, would give each person about 23 acres, which is still sufficient for subsistence.

But the amount of land available for agriculture has dropped substantially . . .


Let me add the following:

“Private property in land has no justification except historically through power of the sword. In the beginning of feudal times, certain men had enough military strength to be able to force those whom they disliked not to live in a certain area. Those whom they chose to leave on the land became their serf’s, and were forced to work for them in return for the gracious permission to stay. In order to establish law in place of private force, it was necessary, in the main, to leave undisturbed the rights which had been acquired by the sword. The land became the property, of those who had conquered it, and the serfs were allowed to give rent instead of service. There is no justification for private property in land, except the historical necessity to conciliate turbulent robbers who would not otherwise have obeyed the law. This necessity arose in Europe many centuries ago, but in Africa the whole process is often quite recent. It is by this process, slightly disguised, that the Kimberley diamond mines and the Rand gold-mines were acquired in spite of prior native rights. It is a singular example of human inertia that men should have continued until now to endure the tyranny and extortion which a small minority are able to inflict by their possession of the land. No good to the community, of any sort or kind, results from the private ownership of land. If men were reasonable, they would decree that it should cease to-morrow, with no compensation beyond a moderate life income to the present holders.”

Bertrand Russell, Principles of Social Reconstruction, 1916,pp. 125-126.

Top-Down or Bottom-Up Democracy?

Democracy can be either Direct or Indirect. Direct democracy is suitable to deciding matters which are of direct relevance to a small community. But still experts have to be chosen to carry out projects, and someone or some committee has to be chosen to see to the implementation and execution of these projects. But there are also matters which concern inter-communal matters, and here some form of delegation or representation is needed — hence a need for indirect democracy.

Indirect democracy can be either in a bottom-up manner, by electing delegates from a small community of about 150; or in a top-down manner, by masses of people (of thousands or millions) electing representatives. [I call this Mass Democracy]

Most of the world practices [Mass] Representative Democracy, giving executive power to a single individual — be it a mayor, a governor, a monarch, a president, or a prime-minister (except for Switzerland, which places executive power in the hands of a council of seven individuals).

Below are two videos. The first explains some of the detrimental features of [Mass] Representative Democracy. [See also Peter Kropotkin’s “Representative Government” (1885)] The second is about the benefits of a bottom-up democracy.

Why is the world enamored by the Leader principle (except Switzerland)?

A single person in any capacity of making decisions is subject to advancing his own self-interest, subject to bribery, and subject to threats. Let us call this “corruption.”

I advance the following claim.

If it is possible for a leader to be corrupted, he will be corrupted.

This is just a rephrasing of the old adage that power tends to corrupt.

The ancient world of the Greeks and Romans knew this, and called a single leader a “dictator.” To offset this evil, Sparta had two kings, while the Roman Republic had two consuls — with veto powers over each other.

So why is it that everywhere in the world, we democratically give power to dictators?

Is a Foreign Military Intervention in Venezuela Imminent?

I was looking for a reasonable analysis of what is going on in Venezuela, on the one hand, and what President Trump intends to do about it. Unlike most main media, the following piece at seems very reasonable: “Is a Foreign Military Intervention in Venezuela Imminent?

Let me say the following. The United States has never intervened in any country for “humanitarian” reasons. All the US interventions that I can think of, have had the character of destructive aggressions which have killed more people than “saved.” And let us not lose sight of the economic advantage to US corporations in any intervention.

Is there a fear of the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly?

See also the Wikipedia article United States – Venezuela Relations

Dictatorial Mass Representative Democracies: Ukraine and the United States

What passes for “democracy” in most of the world is better expressed by the phrase “dictatorial mass representative democracy.” Why? Because through universal suffrage, people are obliged to elect individuals with discretionary powers, which in the ancient Roman republic were called “dictators.” And these individuals are not chosen from within a small “community,” but from a region of several thousand or millions of people. Such a practice I call “mass democracy.”

I consider both dictators and mass democracy to be evils, which should be done away with.

Any country which has an elected President, Governor, or Mayor (of a large city) qualifies as a “dictatorial mass representative democracy.” A lesser dictatorship exists where there is a Prime Minister, elected by a Parliament. Why? Because, as in England, the Prime Minister has to be responsible to Parliament and can easily be dismissed.

Let me compare three countries which can be ranked as the worst to the best of representative mass democracies. These are Ukraine, the United States, and Switzerland.

Ukraine is the worst for the single reason that it is not federated nor well decentralized. Federation means that there are relatively autonomous regions in the country as in the United States, which is divided into semi-autonomous states, counties, and municipalities; or, as in Switzerland, into cantons and municipalities. The states and cantons have their own constitutions, and elect their governors and mayors locally. Ukraine, by contrast, is not constituted by states or cantons, but rather by bureaucratic regions, called Oblasts, governed by governors, who are not elected by the people, but are appointed by the President. The only relative autonomy in Ukraine is exercised on the municipal level by the local election of a mayor and city council. However, the local prosecutor, the police, and the judges are appointed by the national ministries, rather than by the mayor, the council, or by elections. The result: a very centralized dictatorship.

I may add that Ukraine also suffers from a dictatorial judicial system. Instead of a jury of one’s peers, Ukraine uses a single judge to determine guilt or innocence. There is no option for a jury.

All three countries have a parliament. Ukraine has a unicameral one; while the United States and Switzerland have bicameral parliaments.

Of the three mass representative democracies, only Switzerland is not a dictatorship. Why? Because Switzerland does not have an executive branch run by a single individual — a President or a Prime Minister; instead, it has a Federal Council, composed of seven individuals. These are nominated by the four majority parties of the parliament, and elected by the joint bicameral parliament. The Federal Council deliberates and votes in secret, and presents its results as a joint decision. Thus their individual voting patterns are not known to anyone outside the Federal Council itself. It is extremely difficult to bribe or threaten them, unlike the ease of doing so in Ukraine and the United States.

Ukraine — like the United States — elects its President by a national election. However, in Ukraine the President nominates the Prime Minister, four ministry heads, and appoints all the governors. Since the Prime Minister is confirmed by the Parliament, he or she must be acceptable to the ruling party in Parliament. The Prime Minister, in turn, nominates the remaining heads of the ministries. By contrast, in the United States, the President nominates all the cabinet heads, as well as the Supreme Court Justices.

In Switzerland, the seven executives constitute the cabinet, and decide jointly; rather than by dictatorial decisions of a President as in Ukraine and the United States.

I must also mention the peculiarity of Swiss mass democracy which forms a check on their government, that is the mandatory national referendum for altering their constitution, and their optional national initiatives and referendums for challenging or introducing laws. Although the national referendums and initiatives are better to have than not to have, they have the drawback of any mass democracy: they are prone to being swayed by propaganda and mass media which, of course, are controlled by money. Incidentally, that is also the reason why the elected representatives in any parliament tend to be rich or the friends of the rich. It takes money to win mass elections.

One last caveat. All democratic countries of the world are top-down (mass) democracies. A better form of government would be bottom-up democracy consisting of communities of about 150 families forming a nested council democracy, sometimes referred to as anarchism.

Here us a link to a diagram of the Executive Branch of Government of Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron: “Nationalism is the betrayal of patriotism.”

Recently, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, said:

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values. “

In short, he said that patriotism is good, but nationalism is not. Such talk is systematically misleading, as my recent exchange on Facebook was equally misleading. In my posting, I tried to distinguish a nation from a country, claiming that a nation is a country with one language; whereas a country can have several languages, as does Switzerland. The objection was that there are nations without countries!

Obviously, I and my critic were using the word “nation” in different ways. Who was right?  Why did I use the word in the way I did?

Well, there is this phenomenon of people who do not have a country but who endeavor to create an independent country or “nation”, as it may be called. And these people can be called “nationalists.” They do not want to create just any country, but a country composed of people like themselves — an ethnically homogeneous country, which I called a “nation.”

My critic on Facebook responded that what I refer to as an “ethnic group” is, by his use of words, a “nation.” And he — I admit — has a point. The Iroquois League or Confederacy comes to mind. It was composed of five “nations”: Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca; and expanded to include the Tuscarora nation, thus, creating a confederacy of Six Nations. And I myself am prone to call such people without an independent country or State as diverse “nationalities.”

To complicate the matter further, there is the use of the term “nation” as synonymous with a “country” or “State,” as in the international (note the part “national”) “United Nations.” This organization is an organization of political States or countries. (Is “country” and “State” synonymous?)

And to complicate the matter further – in a negative way — there are the associations stemming from the Nazi Party, whose name is a shortening of the word “Nationalsozialismus” or “National Socialism,” producing a psychological antagonism to both the words “national” and “socialism.” [I may mention also the fact that the Russian bolsheviks,  by rechristening themselves “communists”, made the word “communism” also leave a bad taste.]

Now, if we associate the term “nationalism” with the Nazi program, then we will think of nationalism as trying to promote the superiority of a group of people over others. Nazi policy was “Deutschland uber alles” (Germany over others). And in the United States, there are what are called, White Nationalists, or White Supremacists — a carry over, I take it, from Southern slavery days.

This idea of superiority has contaminated the idea of nationalism, which from another perspective, is the almost (dare I say) instinctual desire for tribalism. “Tribalism,” as I use the term,  is the desire to be with people who are like you is some respects, primarily, in respect of language, and secondarily, in other respects — like race, religion, age, sexual preference, or whatever.

Tribalism —  this instinct to flock together — is distinct from chauvinism, or the claim of superiority. Unfortunately, Nazis and White “Nationalists,” have given nationalism a bad association. However, in more common or laudatory ways of understanding “nationalism,” it is a form of (innocuous?) tribalism, with no necessary connections to claims of superiority.

Complicating this discussion even further, is the recent overwhelming phenomenon of massive migrations  into Europe. Europe, although cosmopolitan is outlook, is composed of pretty much homogeneous ethnic groups or nationalities, and this linguistic and quasi-religious homogeneity has been severely disrupted in recent years, causing, what may be called, a nationalistic – although I would prefer to call it a tribal — reaction.

But when Macron said that patriotism is good, but nationalism is bad, he was ambiguously (or by conflation) expressing two different sentiments. The first – acceptable sentiment – is that nationalism with the connotation of superiority is bad, whereas patriotism, as the love and defense of country, is good. The second – unacceptable sentiment of a capitalist – is that tribalism in any form is bad, that no county should be endeavoring for any kind of homogeneity — linguistic, religious, or whatever; instead, all countries should embrace multiculturalism. Why is this the sentiment of a capitalist? The capitalist wants to atomize the population into self-centered individuals or families, which do not unite in any way to disrupt the commercial market. And for this reason, the capitalists of Europe, like Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, are in favor of multiculturalism and the influx of heterogeneous immigrants.


In my first take on Macron’s claim that “nationalism is the betrayal of patriotism,” I failed to take account of his “moral values.” These appear to be a rejection of:

1. National interests have a priority over international interests.

And the embracing of:

2. National interest should take into account the interests of other nations.

He seems to be claiming that if you accept 1, you have to reject 2. I do not see how that follows.

Think of countries as if they were isolated homesteads in the wild west of the United States. Each homestead had to be self-sufficient, and the priority was for its own survival and flourishing. And if another homestead failed, that was not due to any fault of the first homestead.

However, suppose these homesteads had the same river crossing through their homesteads; then the situation changes. What a homestead does with the river upstream makes a difference to the homestead downstream — and so, out of self-interest, some mutually satisfactory agreement has to be reached. This is not because one homestead cares for the good of the other, but because a compromise is necessary for self-interest.

Perhaps what Macron should have said is that no homestead (nation) is or can be isolated from another because not only is the river now contaminated by both homesteads (nations), but also the the soil is contaminated, the air is polluted, and the global temperature is too high.

In that case, Macron should have accused Trump, or anyone who thinks like Trump, of thinking that that 1 excludes 2 (as Macron himself seems to think); where in fact, 1 requires and depends on 2. The accusation should, then be, not about the rejection of moral values, but an accusation of stupidity.

But let’s be realistic. Neither the United States nor Trump are isolating themselves in all respects. The United States has a global military presence with nearly 1000 military bases. And it defends the interests of US international corporations, particularly those producing oil and military hardware. What can be said is that Trump is interested is short-term interests for himself and his cronies, but is interested neither in the short-term nor the long-term interests of either the ordinary people of the United States or of the world.

Three Conditions for a Better Democracy Everywhere, with an eye on the government in Ukraine

People who run for office are — I suspect — most likely doing it out of self-interest. Their universal message is: “Elect me and I will straighten everything out.” But they know very well, that single individuals cannot do much for the good of the people — even if they want to. They have to have the cooperation of a whole bureaucracy and the sources of money. So, a candidate who says that he will fix everything is either naive or a fraud. And if he says that he will fix things by laws, you know he is bullshitting.

I suggest that all politicians when running for office  acknowledge that the following three things are required to improve the condition of the government.

1. Eliminate Corruption
2. Alter Voting
3. Decentralize
1. Eliminate Corruption: I do not have to give you concrete examples of corruption (bribery, extortion) to convince you that corruption exists. To me it is almost self-evident that if a person is in a position to be bribed or for him to use extortion, these tactics will be used. And they will be used in secret.

As I see it, the problem is to eliminate the possibility or likelihood of both bribery and extortion. This requires, minimally, that at least two persons are required to make a decision or carry out some action. This is simply the principle of dividing power.

In ancient Republican Rome, the executive power was in the hands of two consuls, elected for a year, and each had veto power over the other. One would be in charge of making decisions for a month, while the other had veto power over him.  Two kings  also ruled ancient Sparta,  followed by Ephors to ensure their dutifulness.

It is because of the vulnerability of a single individual to being bought or threatened, that I am against the offices of a President or Prime Minister, but favor a collegial executive as they have in Switzerland. In Switzerland there is a Federal Council of seven individuals, nominated by the four dominant political parties and conferred by the joint bi-cameral parliament. And such councils should exist on all levels and departments of government.

Consider the expose of John Perkins in his book Confessions of an Economic Hitman. He tells us that as long as a country has a king, a president, or prime minister, such a person can be bribed or threatened, or assassinated.
Here is the audio production of the book:

2. Voting and Democracy: But there is another problem: the nature of voting. Given a system of voting in which thousands or millions vote for a candidate, the candidate with the most money is likely to win. Why? Because when large masses of people are voting, what is needed are techniques of persuasion — sophisticated advertisement in term of quality and quantity, which money can buy. Or, as is sometimes said, votes can be bought with some kovbasa (sausage).

So, the problem is how to get money out of the electoral process, and I cannot think of any alternative but a complete change in the system of government from a top-down one — as exists almost universally — to a bottom-up one.

The unit of government should be something no larger than a village of, lets say, 100 families — a size allowing everyone to know everyone else — face to face. These communities or territories elect a council of, say, five members who execute the will of the people through direct democracy.

This council chooses a delegate to a higher level council of some workable number of delegated– let’s say 20. These in turn choose a delegate to a still higher council — until we reach the highest council.

Such a system of government has been proposed by Stephen Shalom by the name “participatory politics” or “parpolity.”

3. Decentralization: You may not know it, but Ukraine has the features of a democratic dictatorship. It is symbiotic dictatorship of a President and a Party. The President is elected by a national popular vote. His powers are the following:
(1) He appoints and dismissed all the Governors of the Oblasts. In other words, the Governors must do the will of the President.

A former Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was given Ukrainian citizenship by the President, and appointed by the President as the Governor of the Odessa Oblast; and then, because of not having the power to fight corruption, he resigned. Subsequently, by fiat of the President, he was deprived of Ukrainian citizenship and forced to leave the country.

(2) The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Military. He nominates the Minister of Defense, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the head of the Security Service.

(3) The President also nominates the Prime Minister. Here the President is almost forced to nominate the choice of the dominant Party in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament). This is so because any other candidate will not be conferred by the Parliament.

(4) The Prime-Minister, in turn, nominates all the remaining Ministers.

Thus, between the President and the Prime-Minister (who represents the interest of the ruling party), the whole country is ruled.

If a Council-System of government is not chosen (i.e., parpolity), then I would recommend that the country adopt a decentralized system in which the Governor is either elected by the residents of the Oblast (or, better, that the Oblast council elects an executive council to act as the Governor).

Also, each Oblast is to appoint their own Procurator and chief-of-police, answerable to the Oblast government; not to the national government.

Also, on the Municipal level, the mayor, or a mayoral council should appoint a Procurator and a Chief-of-Police.  Unless these changes are made, a mayor with good intentions, such as Michel Terestchenko of the city of Hlukhiv in Ukraine, will be paralyzed by the system.  Listen to a podcast with the mayor, titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly.”

Unless these measures listed above are introduced, a country will be ruled by oligarchs or an Oligarch.