Opinion: Democracy under attack of the bow warriors

POSTED: 09/17/12 1:32 PM

If your first name is Ivar your parents were probably unaware that its popularity is way past its prime. As a boy’s name, Ivar experienced its heydays between 1900 and 1920. Coming from a Nordic background – places like Norway, Sweden and Finland – one would expect that the Ivars of this world have something with democracy.
Our Caribbean Ivar – the name means “bow warriors, archers” – is in a spot of trouble. Recently he was thrown out as the president of the parliament in Curacao. Eleven MPs voted that they no longer support him and if number twelve (Dean Rozier) had been there he would have voted the same way. It stands therefore to reason that Ivar Asjes steps aside. But that is, for the time being, not happening.
Instead, Asjes has now made democratic principles the focus of his anger. One could say that he is directing his arrows at the foundation of the young autonomous country Curacao. And boy, are they in trouble there.
Asjes started a discussion on his Facebook-page about the meaning of democracy by quoting Henry Sturman, the lowly number 14 on the list of the Libertarian Party that took part in last week’s parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. The party did not win a single seat.
This is the Sturman quote Asjes published: “Democracy is in our time a new sanctuary that is worshipped by many. But what is so fair about democracy? Democracy results in the fact that people accept an action as moral if enough people vote for it. A law would be just, not because it is based on a fundamental principle of law, but because a number of people have voted in favor of it. Would murder and rape also become just if a democratic law is passed that approves these crimes? And if democracy were really the correct standard for how people ought to deal with each other within a society, why is it not applied consistently? If you walk on the street and you encounter two thieves who want a vote on whether they are allowed to levy taxes on you and you vote against and those two vote in favor is it then okay for them to steal from you? If you apply the democratic principle consistently the answer to this question would be yes.”
Sturman’s position is so flawed that it is hilarious. If we read the man correctly he says that laws are just as long as they are based on a fundamental principle of law. In a democracy those principles are decided upon by a majority vote, usually after a broad discussion in the community that in the end accepts that law.
Asjes adds to the confusion by claiming that the Group of Twelve (the new majority in the parliament in Willemstad) has started to call its own meetings. That is not according to the laws and rules of our country, Asjes mutters, happily ignoring the fact that he closed down a meeting of parliament before opposition members could pass a motion of no-confidence against him.
Asjes makes himself even more ridiculous by comparing politics with the private sector. As an example he took Radio Dolfijn.
“The point is that the way people think they are able to take so-called democratic decisions in this country is comparable with the following,” Asjes philosophizes on Facebook. “Suppose Radio Dolfijn has 21 employees and one day 12 of those employees walk in and say: we are taking over the radio because we have a majority, will the other 9 accept that?”
That’s a fine way of comparing apples and pears, but apparently your first name has to be Ivar to come up with it.
Asjes apparently does not support democratic principles. He questions its fairness and he also questions the power of the highest body in his country – the parliament. Such a man does not belong in politics, let alone on the chair of the president of parliament.

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