14 June 2010

How to deal with threats to Media

Silvio Berlusconi succeeded in pushing a law through the Italian Senate that restricts the use of wire-taps by investigating magistrates. As the magistrates will now have to prove that a serious offence has been committed before they use this surveillance method they will be much less likely to unearth corruption among the political class in Italy. Investigators will be in a catch-22 situation.
Another recent example for politicians abusing their excessive discretionary powers is the interference of French President Sarkozy in the negotiations about a sale of the French newspaper 'Le Monde'.
These cases demonstrate the undemocratic symbiosis between the executive and legislative arms of government that is common in our pseudo-democracies. The so-called 'Parliamentary System of Government' is further corrupted by the ability of governments to control the appointment of judges - in effect selecting the referee in the political game.
Under a system of direct democracy the shenanigans attributed to the two politicians are unlikely to win the approval in a public referendum or under a constitution which places more emphasis on the separation of powers.

11 June 2010

Totalitarian Logic: pay for TV and Radio even if you have no receiver

It is a well-known fact that more and more controls are necessary once a society has started on the slippery road towards state control of every aspect of the citizen's lives. The nation who has 'given' Karl Marx to the world is testimony to the inevitability of this 'road to serfdom' (F.A. Hayek). The hapless legislators of Germany have just decided that as their police apparatus is unable or unwilling to guarantee an efficient administration of the license fee for TV and Radio, the only solution is to make it mandatory for everyone to pay the fee - even if the citizen has no means or willingness to watch (the mostly state-sponsored) TV and Radio programmes.