Popular Arab Israeli vlogger Nuseir Yassin (Nas Daily) is back in the news again – but for all the wrong reasons. In a new 4-minute long video entitled “Why Democracy doesn’t work”, Nas advanced the notion that democracy, or more precisely, the right of every citizen to vote, leads to dysfunctional government.
To illustrate his point, Nas gave the hypothetical example of a flight crew. Nas suggested that democracy was akin to electing an unqualified pilot to fly the plane simply because he offered passengers the opportunity to sit in business class. The unqualified pilot would make wild populist promises but when it came down to flying the plane, he would only crash it, killing everyone on board.
Not only is this illustration a false equivalence, it dumbs down complex political systems and theory to the point where dangerous assumptions are advanced.
A key argument that despots and dictators have always used to justify their reign is the notion that their regime knows best how to run the country because they supposedly have the “best experience”. Democracy would only lead to instability which would jeopardize the wellbeing of a the people. While Nas Daily added a disclaimer that he wasn’t advocating dictatorship, his arguments do bear striking similarity to a dictator’s line of reasoning.
Nas Daily also conveniently cited India’s poverty as an example of why democracy doesn’t work. If he did his homework, he would find that the most developed countries in the world also happen to be thriving democracies (according to the Democracy Index).
According to the United Nations’ index on human development, the bottom 10 countries according to the Human Development Index (HDI) are all authoritarian regimes with weak or non-existent democratic institutions.
While democracy is by no means perfect, overwhelming empirical evidence shows that democratic states are by far the most successful.
While governments are popularly elected, government was never meant to micromanage every aspect of life. This is why most democracies have a free market economy and private sector. Going back to Nas Daily’s flawed airline example, the government doesn’t get to decide who flies a plane, the airline does. And if an airline has a poor safety record, customers will vote with their wallet and fly on another airline. The whole basis of democratic system is one of checks and balances and the vote is a sacred tool and a safe guard against incompetent leadership.
Nas Daily also made vague references to China’s one-party state. He touted China’s Communist regime with its central government as successfully lifting 300 million people out of poverty. Without going into further details, Nas simply stated that “for some reason, they (China) are succeeding”.
To cap off his shallow and superficial excuse for a political argument, Nas attempted to provide 2 possible alternatives to democracy – technocracy and epistocracy – without even bothering to explain what the two even mean.