Re: “The weak point in Thai democracy? A lack of taxpayers”, Have Your Say, yesterday.
Prior to human civilisation, there existed only the laws of nature where might was right and inactivity and idleness were rewarded with death. The uniqueness of the human mind capable of original thinking, in the interests of social cohesion, decided there had to be rules above and beyond those of nature so as to control social groups. Moses’ 10 Commandments are a fine early example. Moses realised he had to introduce some law and order in the exodus from Egypt.
This principle evolved from dictatorial law, to making the people themselves responsible for the laws to which they are subject. They were given the right to vote on laws. It’s called Direct Democracy. However, with millions of voters, Direct Democracy, (individual representation) became impracticable so it gave way to Representative Democracy whereby a large group of people vote for a person to represent them as their lawmaker in government.
Advanced countries have developed to democratic Western civilisation based on governance by laws rather than by people. Taxpayers pay taxes because of the law and fear of its enforcement if they fail so to do. In a true democracy with a comprehensive system of laws, people abide by the law for fear of the consequences of doing otherwise. Where there is no fair application of the law and no law enforcement, then a country is a failed state, not a democracy.
This is true not only of Thailand but of the great international powerhouse, the United States of America. The lawmakers themselves, at the very highest level, violate the law with impunity. The elite establishment in Thailand and the United States have been self-serving oligarchies. Regardless of the elite’s political affiliation, the interests of either the country or the people were completely ignored. In the US this has given rise to pro-people, anti-establishment President Trump and in Thailand to military rule following 19 coups d’etat and 19 constitutions in eight decades.
Fundamental to democracy is law enforcement: it defines democracy. Taxation is incidental to any form of government. It has no bearing on the nature of democracy and is not fundamental to it.
The quality of democracy is relative to the collective education and respect for the law of voters, not whether or not they pay taxes. That is decided by the law.