Why is representative democracy the best form of government? Because it treats each adult as responsible and self-determining. If an individual transgresses, in other words is seriously anti-social, the State may punish in a proprtionate way, which is subject to public scrutiny. Such a grown up arrangement may allow human flourishing, but democracies can decay and lose their sense of purpose. The arts provide a barometer of where a Nation stands in relation to itself and others. It seems to me that all is not well in Western democracies, and while totalitarian regimes show an impressive ability to get things done, the old human rights’ problems are as apparent as ever. I have no answers, but here is a short poem which reflects my disquiet.

The past world is perfect: a grammatical trope, 
but I doubt if those oldies who stare 
out of sepia photographs in flamboyant hats 
were either much better or worse than us.
Along with horrors like Ozymandias and Genghis Khan,
their projects are forgotten, rotted with them in the earth.

Sobering that those who get power today 
will have bespoke means to help them.
State eyes will serve the State ego, everywhere unobtrusive,                                   intelligence be detailed though hard to interpret,
paranoia be rampant. Was Stalin worse than Henry the Eighth? 
With a nod or a signature the dead piled up higher.

Published by davidcookpoet

I am a husband, father and grandfather. I retired from a busy working life as an adult psychiatrist in 2014. My interests are in literature, philosophy, modern jazz and horse racing. I might represent those four fields by Shakespeare, Kant, Charlie Parker and Lester Piggott. Like nearly all of us, I can identify a number of formative experiences, one of which was a psychotic episode in my first year as a psychiatrist. This reinforced an already established interest in mystical experience, and a sense of how little human beings know. My intellectual bugbear is reductive materialism, and I am surprised at the lack of moral imagination of those who promulgate such views. It seems to me they need to consider ,perhaps by exposure, just why totalitarianism is so horrific.

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