Shinji Fukukawa posits a very dangerous definition of a politician in his Aug. 9 article, “Populism is destroying globalism.” According to Fukukawa, “Politicians are primarily required to present a vision of their country’s future course and call for tough policy choices for the sake of security and progress of their country and its people.”
That sounds like the definition of totalitarianism. Such a sentiment is more befitting such “visionary leaders” as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
Fukukawa goes on to say that “as long as politicians are in the grip of populism, the progress of globalism will be undermined.” In other words, as long as politicians are accountable to their constituents, unaccountable international bureaucracies will have a difficult time running roughshod over the sovereignty of such nations. Fukukawa’s definition of globalism sounds more like imperialism: A group of “enlightened” bureaucrats at the United Nations hand down policy from on high to the four corners of the earth in order to bring about peace and prosperity.
Fukukawa adds: “Major countries should endeavor to arouse international public opinion to reaffirm the significance of globalism through vigorous activities by politicians, administrative officials, intellectuals, enterprise officials and think tanks.”
Once again, Fukukawa has it backward. In free societies, political leaders do not shape the opinions of the citizens; rather, it is the citizens who shape the course of government. While I do agree that pure democracy can result in the tyranny of the majority — which is why constitutional protections are necessary — Fukukawa’s global order doesn’t sound any better. Instead of the tyranny of the majority, we get the tyranny of the unelected.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.