Red the Mad Canadian

I had breakfast with Red the Mad Canadian this morning and he submitted the idea that Germany is more democratic than America. Canadians have to say things like that. I disagree: Germany is too clean and decent to be a real democracy.

A real democracy has to have something dirty about it. There has to be the element of the unwashed masses making their way into the White House. There has to be the element of trial and error in it, a sense that non-professionals, even immature children have taken power and don't know what to do with it. All our American presidents take power with no real international ambitions - they don't want to bring democracy to the Middle East, etc. But once they take power, they realize that they can do that (or try to do that) if they want to. They feel like kids locked into a toy store overnight. So they start bombing other countries.

Germany doesn't have that feel about it. Their chancellors are glorified clerks, they don't see the office as a candy store, they see it as a job. (The one major exception was 1933 of course, when democracy got a look at what the unwashed-in-the-candy-store can really do if they put their minds to it, but that was before German democracy was stable.) They think they have a boss who is always watcing them, even though there is no other power above them, really. Sure, Germany is in fact a perfectly functioning democracy - one of the most perfectly functioning democracies in the world - but the demos are so well-raised that it makes you wonder if it is really a demos at all.

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