Living Toward a Vision: Democracy to Shefocracy
The core vision of world history in the Bible is that all of creation is one, every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security toward the joy, democracy and well-being of every other creature. In the Old Testament, the community of faith in Israel, this vision is expressed in the affirmation that Abraham is father of all Israel and every person is his child (Isaiah 41: 8, 51: 2). However, in the New Testament, all persons are children of single family-members of a single tribe, heirs of a single hope, and bearers of a single destiny…
Modern democracy, as a concept, is originated in developed countries that were affluent and educated. It was meant for the people, by the people and of the people. It is obvious, therefore, that the “people”, their financial status that is their affluence, their participation and their consciousness are of prime importance for the success of democracy.
Democracy- A Failure
Throughout the world, particularly in developing countries (third world) where democracy is n existence, people every-day comes across news of corruption, poverty and political instability on opening the TV or a newspaper or websites-especially in Burma (before new Government takeover power), where democracy is yet to be introduced, practiced. This is because; democracy in its present form has failed to be useful and is now out of context due to change of circumstances. Some new concept needs to be introduced to serve the people’s needs better. A stable government provides the basic necessities of people and for eradication for corruption and poverty. Overall changes in political, economic, social and legal systems are imperative. Today, it is universally accepted that in countries where the people are uneducated and large in number, democracy in its present form has failed to deliver the goods and hence, needs modification.
People like Abraham Lincoln, Aung San Suu Kyi, with vision of doing some selfless work for the country, used to enter politics. They did not have lust for personal financial aspirations, but they wanted to fulfil some national tasks. But it is now the absolute monopoly of a group of people to grab power, by hook or by crook and then play ducks and drakes with public money and people’s faith, taking advantage of the loopholes in the system. Good honest people have no chance to enter the arena, because the political parties will not allow persons with good intentions.
The view of the United Nations Organization
In its own publication “The challenging nature of democracy” the United Nations Organization admits:
“A number of democratic experiments are in jeopardy, and democracy has not been able to meet all the demands that confront these transitional societies. In some circumstances, democratization has proven to be a politically destabilizing and socially uncomfortable process”.
The book highlights the limitations and tensions of their world wide movement, presents the views of eminent scholars which point to a changing and broadening agenda of democracy, addresses the challenges to democracy in established democracies and in traditional societies, and it also discusses democracy in relation to the media and communication, globalization, religion, culture and civil society. From the above book, it is crystal clear that the highest organization of the world consisting of all the countries of the world admits that democracy has failed.
Need for Change
The evils that are now associated with democracy are: money power controlling democracy, military controlling democracy, machinations with the election process and the election machinery, the rivalry between political parties and politicians, the meanness during election, the lust for power and money, instability associated with democracy, consequently the helplessness of the electorates.
Therefore, there is a need for change. But unfortunately nobody thinks that some alternative should be tried to see if it could improve upon the situation. When “Copernicus” for the first time said the Sun does not revolve round the earth but it is the earth which revolves round the Sun, everybody took him to be a mad man and he was tortured and ultimately murdered. But today if anybody says that the sun rotates round the w\earth, he will be lynched. If there is a new idea there is a probability of its success in present day context and unless the old concepts are changed by new ideas, the world will become stale and morbid. Thus, Shefocracy has been developed to reverse the anomalies in democracy, for the welfare of the common people.
It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that the new concept is given a trial. If after such trial, it is seen that there is no improvement, and if a better concept emerges, sheforcracy should also be changed to try another new concept.
“Shefocracy” is a better democracy than democracy itself and stands for the basic necessities of life like “S” for (shelter), “H” for “Health care”, “E” for (Education) “Fo” for (Food), and “C” for (Clothing) which are ensured. “Shefocracy” not only ensures formation of a time-bound government which will last for a pre-stipulated term, the government can never lost its majority during the term and hence a stable government can work for people’s needs more peacefully.
The objective of “Shefocracy”
The objective of sheforcracy is to achieve, irrespective of “isms” or “dogma” what Tagore, the noble Laureate wrote in his book “Sanchayita”
“We have to impart knowledge to these hungry pale and dumb millions, we have to instil hope to these simple frustrated and broken hearts”.
Shefocracy aims at devising a system whereby the emphasis will be to ensure basic necessities of common people rather than the emphasis on the political system:
- Formation of government through permanent electoral organizations composed of people from every aspects
- Ensure stability of the government by formation of “majority group” and “waist-listed group”
- Providing shelter, health care, education, food and clothing for all section of the society who need it
- Conserve resources by reducing wasteful expenses
- Eradicate corruption and stop socio-economic degradation by drastic changes in political, legal, social, religious, and economic systems.
Difference between Democracy and Shefocracy
People normally are unwilling to fog or a change, therefore questions are likely to be asked to the difference between democracy and shefocracy. There are various forms of democracy in the world. While United Kingdom is one of the pioneers of democracy, the post of its Head of the State i.e., the “Monarch” is hereditary and there is no election for the post. There are many other countries where monarchy co-exists with democracy.
There are other democratic countries like USA, France, West Germany and many others where different systems of elections for choosing the Head of State and people’s representatives exist. So there cannot be any hard and fast rule as to the method of choosing people’s representatives. Also there cannot be any objection in going for a different system democracy which will eliminate the evils of democracy. Therefore, there can be another new form of democracy called “Shefocracy”.
In shefocracy, the thrust or basic objective is to attain the five essential requirements of common wo/men i.e. shelter, education, food, healthcare and clothing (though not in same order) and for attaining these five objectives: the various changes have been planned accordingly. It is firstly the reorientation of purpose from an aimless and meaningless performance of a ritual named “democracy” to an honest objective and goal-oriented philosophy for the satisfaction of basic needs of people without attaching any “ism” of “dogmatic” approach.
What is required by the vast majority of the people is not a particular form of governance as initiated by some affluent nations to fulfil their desire of the myth that people are the deciding factor in running of nation’s actions. But in reality, it is the manipulators who are controlling the people’s fate utilizing the concept and machinery known as “democracy” to their benefit, which gives enough opportunity for manipulation. This is true even in developed countries.
But in “shefocracy”, the thrust is not on whether the people’s representatives will be chosen by a so-called puritan system of participation of the people, but the thrust is on having a stable government for a relatively long period so that it can work for the interest of the country and the people at large.
Since all sharks have the same sharpness of teeth, it would possibly be better to shackle them up and smoothen their teeth by grinding. The objective of shefocracy is to control such people so that they cannot get an opportunity to become frivolous and make or break the government as they wish. One of the objectives of shefocracy is to create opportunities for honest and educated people to have access to state affairs of the country through various permanent electoral organizations and professional disciplines to which s/he belongs, and through which s/he can work. Shefocracy ensures entry of goods people in State affairs. Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to his son’s teacher as to how the teacher should train his son so that he can be a perfect man (even no man is perfect). A part of the said letter is: “teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong, try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon”.
Common people choose to be fed with other’s opinions instead of forming their own. The concept of “shefocracy” encompasses changes in all spheres- political, economic, social, religious and legal. A society which suffers from degradation over a long period of time cannot be changed without giving a total shake-up. It requires thorough overhauling in all fields of human behaviour. “Shefocracy” envisages widespread changes with the objective of making the basic necessities available to common people.
Shefocracy values and the structures of religion
Today, when we fight for political, social and economic justice and freedom for all people of the world, recognizing no barriers of race, religion and region, all that we are doing is, we are translating the so-called purely religious and economic life of the people, with emphasis on the life of all the people.
Has Buddhism in its institutional forms done anything for democratic (shefocratic) values and institutions? Christmas Humphreys characterizes Buddhism as “a family of religions and philosophic”. He views that Buddhism begins with the Buddha’s enlightenment and end with man’s, Tolerance, compassion, and serenity must be our constant companions. Have these virtues played a significant part in the politics of predominantly Buddhist countries (Burma).
Shefocracy of course refers both to a form of government and a way of life as Democracy does. Do we come across democratic (shefocratic) values in the teaching Christianity? Are these values enshrined in the structures of Christianity? Values and principles have only a secondary place in the teaching of Christianity. But that does not mean there are no values. Nor does it mean that values are unimportant and dispensable. There are values and they are important. But they derive from person and that person is far more important. And the values are found in the persons who relate their lives to this person.
The Old Testament deals with a people’s transactions with their God, and a document of tribal politics-with a few books and a number of passages that attribute to the tribe a universal mission. A genuine note of universalism breaks in at the point of the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people. The political system the Jews had, whatever-specific from it took from time to time, was in the last analysis theocratic. And theocracy for us today is happily not among the live options. The hoped-for Messianic rule is within history, not outside it. And there is no discontinuity between it and present history. There is a strain of strong social consciousness running through the prophetic books. It was Israel, the whole people that was chosen and for whom blessings were promised.
It is often asserted that Jesus Christ was a revolutionary. Jesus broke with Jewish tradition and Jewish establishment. He preached an ethic of love which, if were practised in all its simplicity by a sizeable proportion of people, could have brought about a radical transformation (shefocracy) in patterns of human relationship and for-reaching changes in the structures of society. He preached the coming of God’s Kingdom. Love God; love your neighbour-that summed up. He concerned about men and women. He had a special concern for the poor the hungry, the unbalancing, the handicapped (shefocracy). But we cannot equate all, his with what we today call social concern. As for political concern, we have really nothing to go by.
Evaluation and Conclusion
Why do we need a new society? What is wrong with the one which we have got? We should examine this question seriously. We are often told that the people of Burma-militaries are conservative-that they are tradition-bound. They do not want change. We say that to be traditionalist is a bad thing; we should be modern. If they do not want to change, they may be in the right (option). Perhaps it is not good for them to change. Perhaps the kind of change that we offer them-the kinds of changes that are taking place around them-are not eh changes they want.
People have become addicted to change, to faddism, an unending, insatiable greed for consumption and material possessions. The human condition is never perfect: it was not perfect in the past and it will not be in the future. Today, however, we, and all of humanity have been plunged into a situation where change, indeed radical change, is inescapable and, whether we want it or not, profound changes are going on all around us, at an increasing pace. Somewhere the needs of our society and the demands of our time on one side and, on the other, our personal, or group, drives and aspirations have to find a common focus. When some of us make the choice, new society will be on the way to becoming reality. When we join our needs, our aspirations, to the needs and aspirations of the masses, revolution truly begins-every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security toward the joy, shefocracy and wellbeing of every other creature-living toward a vision: Democracy to Shefocracy.