If there is a motto for the Starfleet Corps of Engineers (Star Trek), that would be it. Yes, we know, we know. Star Trek is passé and besides, what has it to do with anything? Well… everything!
If you were young enough, you may remember watching Star Trek TOS (The-Original-Series) on TV and wonder where did this thing came from? It did not treat viewers like idiots and it did not attempt to "entertain". It simply presented an alternative to what it could be. It gave people permission to think. It did not apologize for breaking the mold and worse! it gave us hope.
Yes, we can create a better world. And yes, it us up to us to do so. Just like in the series. And yes, we will make mistakes along the way. Just like in the series.
And then came the movies. Some were OK and some failed miserably. And yes, we did not care. They were still awe-inspiring. They were better than anything else that was "out there".
And then finally came TNG (The Next Generation). And things got even better. But there was a problem. It required drama and for that to come to pass it required impossible scenarios. Like the Deep Space array composed of multiple reactors all connected in such a manner that if one would to fail, all others would do the same. No failsafe device. Or the manual backup system for opening sliding doors, which would fail in synchronism with the main system. Or the phasers without overload protection, one wrong setting and kaboom!
All these gadgets from the smallest to the largest were designed by the mythical Starfleet Corps of Engineers whose motto should have been, again:
Defectum Punctum Unicum
Oh… what is the translation? Simple:
Single Failure Point
But what is its meaning? In engineering it means a potential defect in a system which, if triggered, will bring down the entire system. No backups. No second chances. No safety precautions. One mistake and it's all over. Like juggling with jars filled with Lead Azide (a very unstable explosive).
But why the Latin? Because it sounds better. Anything sounds better and impressive if you can translate it into Latin. Particularly mottos.
And what has this to do with anything?
The democratic system operates on the basis of Defectum Punctum Unicum. The Democratic system is our very own Starfleet Corps of Engineering. Think about it! Legislators make a mistake and boom! Everything unravels. Regulators came up with a dumb idea and bam! Everybody pays the consequences. Bureaucrats implement a law and pow! We all get screwed.
In exactly the same manner as the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, our democratic so-called leaders, can only implement one "solution" at the time. One. They only get one chance. One.
No backups. No safeties. No second chances. One.
If the decision turns out to be lousy, they can change it… but not before a great deal of people undergoes a great deal of suffering. Besides, let's be realistic here, when was the last time that you heard that a Legislature from such-and-such country actually outright repealed a law? It is almost unheard of. Typically they just "amend" them. Basically, more single failure point mistakes.
Any democracy operates on the assumption that Legislators are infallible. Or at least very little fallible. Any democratic system is based on the idea that we, the people, can tolerate single failure points long enough for them to be corrected.
But what happens when this is not the case?
What happens when single failure points accumulate one on top of the other?
Then our lives turn out to be a collection of failures. That's right. Our so-called "society" is the direct outcome of democratic failures caused by Single Failure Points that were imposed on us throughout decades of democratic process.
But if this is the case, what is the solution?
When people are affected only by their own decisions, we have billions of such decisions taken every day. Each one of them is an experiment. A backup of a backup of a backup. A second, third, fourth, fifth… and so on chance to get it right. By statistics alone we know that at least 50% of those decisions will end up being correct. Compare this number with laws. How many laws (in any country) turned out to be correct? With no side effects. Appropriate and fit for purpose? Not too many. Actually, we can't name one… so bad is our current situation.
Libertarian systems are extremely resilient precisely because by definition they lack Single Failure Points. For such scenario to take place, all people anywhere in the world involved in making the same decision would have to choose the very same dumb option at the same time. What are the chances of this happening? Nil.
Furthermore, successful people are copied by other people leading to more successful people. However, take a look at what happens in democracy? So-called "successful" politicians take the same decision as other "successful" politicians in other places and this would seem OK. Yet…
Dear reader, please notice that we said "successful politicians" not "successful people". There is a difference. A successful politician is the person who stayed in power the longest. But in order to do so, they need to spend. But in order to do so they need to use the unholy trinity: Tax, Borrow and Print. But if they do so we know that this inevitably leads to booms, busts and cycles of hell. The conclusion is inevitable; successful politicians imply miserable people.
Basically, copying successful strategies in a Libertarian system leads to successful people. Copying successful political strategies in a Democracy leads to miserable people. Notice the subtle difference?
And if you think that this is science fiction, just look around! Don't look at us, look around you wherever you may be. It does not matter in which continent you live, it does not matter which government is in power, it does not matter which political affiliation they may have. They all abide by the same motto: Defectum Punctum Unicum
And now you know.
And now you know why the failure rate of democracies is so abysmal. It is no coincidence at all. It is by design. Or, more precisely, a side effect of the main democratic design; the notion that a bunch of oligarchs can make better decisions than the rest of us. Ludicrous! Ridiculous!
Yet, here we are.
Unless, this is, you enjoy Latin…in which case Tu Es Stultior Quam Asinus. Enjoy.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.