Excerpt from Idiosyncratic Government

            The world is divided into about two hundred sovereign nations or separately administered areas, the latter being mostly the small dependent leftovers from colonial days. A few of these countries are in a state of near total collapse or chaos and many are dictatorships of one kind or the other and of varying degrees of acceptability. Currently, however, a slimmish majority of sovereign nations constitute democracies or are heading that way. Democracy has its variants but about half the total of democratic nations, mostly within the Commonwealth, more or less follow the Westminster model which is the subject of this little book.
Some observers claim that democracy of this style and its attendant freedoms is a western fad, not necessarily suited to peoples outside the Atlantic and Australasian worlds, or if it is to be granted to them, this should be done later rather than sooner when the peoples in question are richer, better educated and have politically matured. This is probably a mistaken, possibly cynical, point of view as there seems to be no reason why lawful and accountable government, which is what democracy is, should not be open to all. Nor is it a question of east or west, north or south, or any other point of the compass. Irrespective of culture, lawful and accountable government, though not necessarily precisely the Westminster model, will share much the same features anywhere, the only real alternative being dictatorship.

Section 1  The collapse of soviet communism and the political options left.

            Since the first edition of this book in 1986, momentous events have changed the whole face of world politics. Greatly to the surprise of non-communists, if rather less so to communists themselves, communism has collapsed in Europe, Africa and in its birthplace, the Soviet Union. Even if old-style communism lingers on in Cuba and parts of Asia, it seems most unlikely that it can remain unaffected by these same momentous events. The faith that sustained communism as a secular religion or ideology seems to have gone, most strikingly in Moscow, of all places. It is rather as if Charles Darwin were to deny evolution or the Pope, waking up one morning, suddenly decided to become an atheist. The choices before the remaining communist governments are stark. Either they can cling to power by brutal repression and ultimately collapse in the inevitable reaction: or they can reform, which effectively means giving up communism, since reforming a communist government and system starts a process which leads to its abolition. The present government of China is well aware of this fact and clings to power by means of the communist or Leninist single party system while virtually throwing Marxist or Maoist economics out of the window.

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