Thoughts on the overvaluation of the type of government used in a country

I have always felt that the type of government used by a country is not as critical as people think.  That is to say, whether a government is democratic, republican, monarchial, communist, etc. really does not matter.  I tend to feel that, in general, no government style is ‘better’ than any other.  I believe this is a myth.  This myth seems to be a product of the cold war, in particular, which was a ‘competition’ between two government types.  As a result, this issue has been repetetively been brought up (as I remember during the cold war).

There are various factors that favor one government type over another for a country.  These include:

–   The tradition, culture, beliefs, and temperament of the people.  This is probably the most important.

–   The conditions that are facing a country.  These conditions often force a country to have to change or do things differently (sometimes with violent force).  Usually, though, these conditions create a slow moving, and almost imperceptible, change in things.

The primary purpose of any government, really, is to take care of the country.  This is not unlike a parent taking care of the family.  It’s interesting that, contrary to what a lot of people think, the government isn’t as involved in the running of a country as it may initially seem.  Most of the time a country moves on its own, without any government influence whatsoever.  But, like a parent, it does a number of things, which include:

–   Directing things, giving things a direction.

–   Dictates how things are to be done

–   Establishes rules.

–   Punishes and often rewards. 

And so on.  Some cultures have varying degrees and ways they go about this.  Most of the time, all any government type does is establishes the ground rules.  The actual working of a country goes on independent of the government. 

But because the government takes care of the country I have always felt that what matters is this:

If the people in the government do not have the ‘spirit’ of taking care of the country then it is not there, regardless of the government type or system.  (This saying originates from a saying that, I think, was said in the British navy which goes something like:  “if mercy and justice are not in the heart of the captain then it is not aboard”.) 

What this means is that what is important is that there is a ‘spirit’ within the government apparatus of taking care of the country.  If it is not there then the government does not work effectively, usually.  When it is there then ANY government type is good.  A government ‘type’ does not contain this spirit inherently.  It is, after all, within the people, themselves, who are in the government.  It is not contained in any government ‘type’ or system.  Western society tends to think that this ‘spirit’ is found in a specific government ‘type’ or system, which is not true. 

This means that what is important is the humanity of the people in the government.  That’s whats important here, not whether its democratic, a dictatorship, etc.  This, I always felt, was one of the tragedies of the loss of the nobility in western Europe.  They were brought up and raised to maintain the country.  They were brought up with the values and ideals to make this happen.  In a sense, they were taught to have this spirit.  In the 1600-1700’s many common people were able to buy noble status.  This was to help raise funds for the government.  This ‘new noblility’, which began to hold traditionally noble positions, now no longer had this ‘spirit’.  As a result, the goverment went corrupt.  We saw this in France in the 1700’s.  We see this a lot with our elected officials as well.  Their ‘spirit’ of intention is not to take care of the country but for other reasons and motives.

I should also point out that there must be means for this ‘spirit’ to be implemented.  Often, problems in a country are created, not because governments are ‘bad’, but because they have no means to do things.  This is common nowadays in many countries that have all of a sudden become overpopulated and have the modern world bearing down on them.  Many cultures do not have the knowledge or the mentality to implement a modern ‘high civilization’ country that they all-of-sudden need.  This fact has caused great problems in the world.

I have always felt that most government types that have been developed work, that’s why they exist and persisted, many for centuries.  This is not something to look at lightly.  There is often great wisdom displayed in the different government types, and great humanity that is often overlooked. 

In western society we have become too accustomed to classifying everything.  This is seen a lot in politics.  It’s this type of government.  It’s that type of government.  It’s this point of view.  It’s that point of view.  We’ve gotten too wound up with all this intellectulizing of everything.  In so doing we are led astray by things like ‘types of governments’.  We use these types to determine what is best or not.  In so doing we forget other things about a culture and a people, often simple human things.  This, I feel, is what we have done to governments.  It’s for this reason that I do not like to use the standard classifications and types of government (democracy, republicanism, monarchy, etc.).

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