OPINION: A Short Refutation To “Democracy is Failing, And Here is How We Fix It”

By Guest Contributor

In the essay “Democracy is Failing, and Here is How we Fix it,” the author makes two claims: (1) democracy is failing because it subjects citizens to a bad method for choosing which rules should govern society and (2) libertarianism is the solution. The cited bad method used by democracy is the aggregation of individual opinions. The cited solution is a society where freedom of individuals is limited by the freedom of other individuals.

However a puzzle emerges – is this a method for choosing which rules should govern society? No, no it is not. It is a principle (a vague one), but not a method.

Consider for instance how a libertarian society will resolve disputes between libertarians who disagree about which rules would actually fit the above-cited freedom limiting principle. The author claims certain practices will be illegal. But which? Surely the author cannot decideĀ a priori, nor should he given the kind of freedom he advocates. If we take the author seriously, strangely, it would be bad to aggregate the opinions of libertarians about which practices ought to be illegal – as that would be a democracy, the very failed system we mean to replace.

Knowing which principles our rules should be guided by is good, but this turns out to be utterly inadequate for the practicalities of particular people setting up a particular system of laws. Perhaps the author only means to claim that citizens in a democracy should only support libertarian laws? So, either the author has set the wrong problem or given the wrong solution.


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