Nepal’s King Gyanendra has harmed democracy by firing the government of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and imposing a state of emergency, the U.S. government and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said.
Anytime the US government agrees with Kofi Annan, it scares me. Oh, there are the run of the mill things, like everybody agreeing that 150,000 people getting washed out to sea is not good. But where there’s room for disagreement and there is none – scary.
I know very little about the situation, but from the sounds of things King Gyanendra didn’t exactly upset a thriving democraccy with his action. The government he removed had failed to hold parliamentary elections and something like 80% of the country’s police couldn’t go to work because of Maoist ‘insurgents’. In Iraq, 80% of the country is peaceful and the elections were questioned.
Democracy isn’t a sacred cow anyway. It may be the worst form of government except for everything else, but with 80% of your police precincts being overrun by one of the worst of the ‘everything else’ it might be time to worry about protecting your citizens today so they are alive and able to vote tomorrow. If it turns out this isn’t what the King is up to, I’ll eat my words later.
(And if the trade-off is voting for more basic things – life, liberty, property, the right to chase happiness – I can do without the voting. Voting is only useful as a shield against tyranny; it’s not an end in itself.)