Monday, January 18, 2010

Democracy is not your friend

In light of recent discussions, I was tempted to write a post re-iterating why democracy is not A Good Thing, but UK Libertarian has done it for me.
I’m getting absolutely sick and tired of reading people constantly referring to “freedom” and “democracy” as synonyms. Democracy is what’s lead to the nanny-state we live in and the scum that rule us in parliament; but worse than that, the very concept is founded on a disgusting, depraved and immoral idea: that might makes right; but minorities have none. That the mob rules, and if your life get’s ruined in the process: tough luck buddy!

Democracy is not an end in and of itself—it is merely the least worst system of attempting to defend liberty from a state that has a monopoly on force. As we have seen—especially over the last twelve years—democracy is not even particularly effective at that.

An added trouble is, of course, that many people in this country are not even particularly interested in liberty. As such, they are happy to screw over those who are, and force them to bend to slavery under the majority.

I will say again, democracy is merely the least worst system of kicking out authoritarian governments. It is not even freedom that it preserves, for—in always every case—it only caters for the freedom of the majority: minorities are always oppressed. (Except, of course, in Britain—where it seems to be traditional that the government is elected by a minority.)

And, let's face it, democracy only works for kicking out shitty governments when those same governments abide by the rules. If Gordon Brown were to enact the Civil Contingencies Act tomorrow and make himself Dictator For life, what would we do?

My bet is that the great mass of the British people would, with one voice, rise up in indignation and do...

... precisely fuck all.


Kaboom said...

Hey, I firmly believe in Democracy - but representation in accordance with taxation.

Just think - a "voter" is allocated a weighted vote in accordance with the average of his or her last three years' income tax paid.

This not only cuts out the dead-wood, but also the societal dead-wood of those who can organise their personal affairs to minimise their taxation.

The ultimate "user pays" system of representation.

Universal suffrage is the fault behind Democracy, not Democracy itself!

Anonymous said...

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage". Lord Woodhouselee

Trooper Thompson said...

Most modern politicians have studied politics as an academic subject, and thus will know that ours is not a democratic system, but rather a mixed system, such as the constitution of the Roman Republic or Sparta, which combines elements of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. This is seen by classical writers such as Polybius and Livy as the best form of government, as the different elements hold in check the others from lapsing into their Mr Hyde alter-egos, being tyranny, oligarchy and mob rule. In our case, the system seems to be breaking down, but I don't think this can be attributed solely to the democratic element mis-functioning. said...

Trooper: Just because classical writers wrote something, doesn't make it true. Clearly (as you admit) this "mixed system" if that's what you think it is, hasn't worked, and hasn't protected us against the mob.

Thanks for the link Devil.

Anonymous said...

Trooper, you hit the nail on the head and anyone looking for democracy in this country to have any kind of perfection simply has not read history

Democracy is the valve that stops tyranny and autocracy from ruling the roost.

Laurence said...

...least worst...


"Least bad", please, rather than this horrible ungrammatical cliché of the political sophisticate!

Falco said...

"If Gordon Brown were to enact the Civil Contingencies Act tomorrow and make himself Dictator For life, what would we do?"

Revolt. It wouldn't be pretty but there are limits to what people will take. The advantage of a democracy is that these limits can usually be found without resort to bloodshed.

If Brown took the above action he would go the way of Chauchescu and knowing this will prevent him doing so.

Anonymous said...

But Falco, just how good is Brown's grip on reality? Does he think that we actually want him to save us from an incoming Tory government?

Laurence said...

...he would go the way of Chauchescu

I didn't start the day by wanting to be tiresomely pedantic.

However, if there's an interesting point to be made that requires a reference to Nicolae Ceausescu, then it's surely worth taking a little trouble with the spelling rather than just having a wild stab, eh?

Anonymous said...

A lamb and two wolves vote on what's going to be for lunch...

That's democracy for you in a nutshell.

And if the lamb decides to do a runner, then he's breaking the law!

jonathan said...

As P.J said: " Democracy is only one of Libertys safeguards, and not the surest."

Kevyn Bodman said...

Indeed, Devil, we are all pretty much agreed that there are problems with democracy. But that's not much of a satisfying stance to take.
What is better?
What to replace it with?
And, as I asked in Another Place,in the absence of democracy how do you remove a government peacefully?

It seems to me that the best achievable solution,which may not be the best theoretical solution (?), is a written constitution strictly limiting the powers of government,allied to elections.
I'm not a student of political theory and systems but I think the best we can hope for at present is something along the lines of the United States Bill of Rights. (But even that failed to stand up to G. W. Bush and his 'war on terror' legislation.)

But anyone who starts arguing for a written constitution and a new Bill of Rights had better be well prepared to counter the claims that will predictably arise such as:
the 'right' to employment
the 'right' to health care
the 'right' to housing etc. etc.

There is a counter to all these claims but how many of our compatriots know about the concept of negative rights?
I have loathed and distrusted governments and politicians for many years but only came across the 'freedom from...' concept a couple of years ago.
Many millions are still not there.

This is a difficult issue and no, I'm still not content with the answers I, or anyone else has yet come up with.
But we plough on,I suppose.

Andy said...

Theoretically, the Queen could and should withhold her assent and prevent Gordon doing such a thing.

I like to think that she would have the balls to do it, and inevitable public outrage such a move would provoke would certainly make it easier for her.

Devil's Kitchen said...


That's a touching sentiment, but I am afraid that the Queen does not come into the process: the Civil Contingencies Act is law, and it allows ministers to rule by fiat.

The Queen's consent is neither necessary nor, I would imagine, desired.


paul said...

When peaceful revolution is impossible, violent revolution is inevitable.

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