Don’s Diary

When you write a column as I do, there is no shortage of feedback and it usually reflects the community interests at the time. At this time “hip pocket nerve” issues are paramount and the associated worldwide political issues. However, one needs to read any advice with a degree of scepticism.

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (1747-1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor; a friend of Robert Burns. In one such comment he was been dubiously credited with the hypothesis that a democracy is always temporary in nature and cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. Nevertheless, the Greek nation could have some empathy with the notion and even view the European Central Bank now as their dictator!

Whether or not we can blame Tytler for these outrageous thoughts, my attention has been drawn to advice by Thomas Jefferson: “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not”. Then there was the one by Maggie Thatcher: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Absolutely scandalous is it not? We will have to get some “proper people” controlling the internet. Perhaps that is what will happen if we finally change from a Democracy to an Ineptocracy which is defined as follows:

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

I might not agree will all my correspondents, for which I give my thanks, but they certainly make me think!

I do not believe that Freemasonry claims to be democratic but it certainly is in Craft lodges. The principle of one vote, one value is there with the same voting power for Entered Apprentices as for the most senior Freemasons. There are systems to ensure that special interests do not overwhelm the general interest. It has the libertarian ideals of freedom of speech, every Brother being able to have “his due”, freedom of association as exemplified in our visiting rights and traditions and so on. If these concepts are carried through to the higher echelons we can be assured of good governance for a long time to come. Can we be confident of this?

Yours fraternally

Don Paterson