Tag: anti democracy

The Case Against Democracy in a Free Society

Jack Parkos | United States

“We must do (X)!” says the politician. “We must do it to save democracy!” To the democratic politician, democracy is like its child; they ignore or rebuke all who critique it. But in reality, democracy deserves much criticism for its failures.

Indeed, many people grow up thinking democracy is the last step in political theory. Democratic republicanism is the only way and it must spread throughout the world, say the many. It may seem we live under a great system where everyone has a say in the government. However, all that this means is that everyone else has a say over your life.

From Republic to Democracy

In the United States, we are a republic. However, it has become more democratic throughout the years. For example, one no longer must own property to vote. As a result, those without property may vote to implement or increase property taxes, involving themselves in a matter that does not affect them. Furthermore, criminals and the uneducated have as much power as you. They can vote your rights away with ease. The democratic politician relies on the lower class to gain power.

Without a doubt, democracy can economically incentivize unsuccessful behavior. Under our democracy, antidiscrimination laws often protect those who do not succeed by virtue of alleged equality. For example, schools may no longer choose how they fund their athletics because of gender “equality”.

A Restriction of Rights

Democracy is simply a violation of private property. It is a way for some to receive free stuff at the expense of others. Universal suffrage allows for the uninformed groups to decide what the informed must do.

If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos. – Hans-Hermann Hoppe 

Moreover, after democracy came to be, communism and Nazism were able to rise through a democratic process. Democracy can just as easily lead to tyranny as any other form of government.

Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy. – Plato

In a democracy, a tyrant needs only 51% of the people to support him and his tyrannical actions are legitimate. 51% can never truly constitute the will of the people, and neither can any other figure less than 100%. Majority support does not make an action morally right. A popular vote does not decide ethics.

Poor Democratic Leaders

Under a free society, the best leaders would naturally rise and be chosen voluntarily. Under democratic rule, the worst leaders are generally going to be in charge. Deceptive people have an edge over honest people due to the fact that they don’t have to play by the rules; not doing so makes it a lot easier to garner votes.

Democracy is not based on the common good of the community but rather on irrational voter decisions. Plato uses an example of the doctor and a candyman. The doctor offers you the painful truth that ultimately will benefit you. He may do unpleasant procedures on you, but ultimately, you will see the gains. Meanwhile, the candyman offers you a lollipop. This, of course, is a lot more attractive.

Voters are historically unable to look at longterm consequences of actions, and as a result, many may pick the candyman. This is an excellent analogy. In truth, many democratic voters are like children wanting free goodies. “Free” healthcare and welfare are a lot more attractive to some than long-term and sustainable success that doesn’t come from someone else’s paycheck.

Better Alternatives

In a libertarian society, leaders would rise by protecting their people without stealing from others. It would all be voluntary, unlike democracy. A majority of others agreeing on something does not mean that everyone consents. For example, we can take Ben Franklin’s classical analogy of democracy:

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”

According to the democratic politician’s logic, the lamb consented to be eaten because the majority of the wolves decided it was okay. Does this sound absurd? My neighbor deciding to steal my income is not freedom in any meaningful way.

Short-term Solutions

Unfortunately, a pure libertarian society is not around the corner. In spite of this, what is a good way to better safeguard rights? The best, most pragmatic short term solution is to “undemocratize” our country. The Founders required that one own land to vote, as they feared that those without land would attempt to steal the land of property owners (they were right; this has happened). It is fair that one should own property to vote, at least on issues regarding private property.

It is also worth debating whether prisoners and the uneducated should vote. Perhaps these are good ideas, perhaps not. But like all ideas, they should see a full and proper debate before reaching a verdict. Many may claim that such a notion is entirely unfair, from the start. How else, though, is it feasible to reduce the size and scope of government?

What Can We Do?

It is unlikely these exact policies will exist. However, those who seek to shrink the state should support any policy that makes us less democratic and prevents a tyranny of the majority. There should be requirements to vote that are worth discussing. These policies will make our country less democratic and more republican (in political theory terms, not the parties).

Naturally, nobody has the right to vote about what someone else does with their private property. But the less property the government steals, the better. Democracy is not liberty; it is an illusion of freedom that politicians can use to gain power.

The Founding Fathers warned us many times of what would happen. The pure libertarian society will not come anytime soon, but any action that supports liberty must be pursued. Naturally, less democracy is more freedom: true freedom.


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Democracy Is a Threat to Individual Liberty

By Teagan Fair | United States

When most people hear the term ‘democracy’, they think about a fair system where the citizens might collectively vote upon what is best for the nation. Morally, this sounds good on paper, as it seems like it is trying to advocate for a system where the people have more power over the government. However, similar cases can be made for other harmful ideologies.

For example, a number of people would argue that communism sounds good on paper, advocating for equality and fairness – however, in reality, communism is based on coercion and force, extorting its citizens and getting rid of economic opportunity – not to mention having a consistent result of failure. Communism is one of many ideas that are better on paper than in reality. Although democracy is much less frowned upon in our society, I still believe it to be oppression.

How Does It Threaten Liberty?

Democracy is no more than oppression by the masses and by your fellow citizens. It is your neighbor hiring the government to force his values upon you with violence. If you were to ask most people, they would agree with you that the use of force is frowned upon in a civilized society. They would also agree with you that hiring a gang to use force against your neighbors is unethical, however, do they truly care if this happens? Because we see this happen in our everyday lives. The biggest gang in our community is the United States government, and this glorified idea called democracy says that they can be hired to use force or violence against certain groups if enough people ask them to.

If you truly care about the rights and liberties of minorities, then don’t consider democracy a ‘fair system.’ Democracy and minority rights contradict each other. As Ayn Rand once said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” This statement is spot on. Every single person reading this is a minority in the eyes of the rest of their nation and therefore can be oppressed by the mob rule that we call democracy. As another quote of Ayn Rand’s says, “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.” She describes this perfectly. The individual liberties of the 49%, no matter what they may be, are not to be taken away simply because 51% of citizens decided that their set of values was more important than that of the 49%, which cannot possibly be ethical, for no set of values can possibly be more important than another, no matter how extreme. The same rule goes if it is a two-thirds majority or an 80% majority, or if it all comes down to the opposition of one last person. It is unethical to strip the individual liberties of one person, simply because millions of other people made a decision that they were superior to this one person.

What Is The Solution?

Obviously, I would not advocate for simply totalitarianism, for the very existence of the state is immoral in the first place and is based on coercion and the use of unethical force, and the absence of every liberty taken away worsens the situation. Rather than democracy, which is still oppression by government, hired by your fellow citizens, there is the option of a truly free and pro-choice, individualistic society. By this, I mean that, in order to secure the blessings of liberty, in the future, if any state is to exist, then its lone duty is to protect the rights of the individual, rather than interfere and restrict the actions of that individual.

In a true pro-choice society, everything is permitted, until the action defies the rights of a fellow individual, or directly interferes with their life. You don’t like it when people smoke weed? Then don’t smoke weed, and demote the idea of it, but to hire a higher power to strip people of that idiotic, but important right is excruciatingly immoral. You don’t like the idea of other sides of the political spectrum assembling? Then don’t assemble with them. But as I have stated, it is morally incorrect to physically enforce your values upon anyone in any way. Hence why democracy is an unethical, but fancy way for the government to seize power.

This way, the government can put it in a gift bag and call it freedom because a certain group of people was convinced that they had more value than that of others, rather than directly stripping the people of their rights. It is a win for both the government and for the statists that wish their ideologies forced upon the individual minority using mob rule and force.

This aspect of our society, what we call freedom, is the exact opposite, and treads on the rights of the individual, and therefore is a threat to liberty.


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What is Democracy and Why Does it Suck?

By Mason Mohon | USA

When I read Hoppe’s Democracy, I did it with a very skeptical mindset. I had heard the man preferred monarchy to democracy, and I had heard that he advocated for something called physical removal. Due to my time spent on social media, I had seen arguments against pure “majority rules” democracy and had bought in, but I thought “surely, the United States is not a democracy.” I hold the belief that so many others do: we aren’t a democracy, we are a constitutional republic (whatever that loosely means). This issue was that I had no idea what democracy was or the real reasons as to why it is bad. The intent of this article is to explain the first part of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Democracy: The God that Failed, in a shorter and more concise manner.

The book begins with the explanation of the economic phenomenon of time preference. I have written on this before, but in short, what this means is that societies that are oriented towards the future will increase their process of civilization. Societies that are oriented towards the present will slow down or roll back the process of civilization. Remember that these societies are made of individuals, and these individuals are the ones who have a preference for or against the future. Think of the difference between a primitive man (caveman, if you will) living moment by moment to survive, doing very little to focus on the future. Contrast this idea of a man to the venture investor, sacrificing his present earnings for the hope of future gain. This investment is what lets civilization spring forward, so promotion of this investment is a good thing. It allows new medicines and technologies to be created, which alleviates our human suffering.

Government violations of property rights (coercive taxes), thus raises time preference, which means that people prefer the present to the future. This is because they have less money now, but more importantly, taxes persist, which means less future money. If you are going to have less than you would hope to in the future, your expectations are lowered and you shall become more present-oriented. Government taxes everyone to different degrees, but nonetheless, everyone is made more present-oriented. Those that should be looking out the most for the future, which are investors and tech geniuses, are more heavily taxed (capital gains is really high) which does not do anything food for the process of civilization. It slows it down and keeps innovation from happening.

Private Government

Every government is a territorial monopolist which violates the property rights of the citizenry. Every government stands as a threat to civilization, but different governments stand as threats to civilization to a different degree. Hoppe argues (as an extension of Mises) that government relies on widespread popular contentment to exist. The original form of government is the development of small territorial monopolies that are formed by people with exceptional speech, persuasion, and leadership abilities, whom Hoppe calls “elite,” for they have the gift of being able to get followers to be content with what they’re doing. The state is under their control. They own the state as property as you own your house, Xbox, or car as property. It is theirs, and this is called a private government.

A private government owner individually owns the state and has the most powerful say in what it does and does not do. This ruler will have the final say, for the state is his. Because the ruler owns the state like private property, all taxes that he gains become his assets. He now owns the money stolen from his population. He may now do as he wishes. Hoppe goes on to say that “The institution of private government ownership systematically shapes the incentive structure confronting the ruler and distinctly influences his conduct of government affairs.” The structure of the state within a country plays a critical role in how the head of state will act.

Private ownership of government would promote foresight and economic calculation. Because the ruler is there for as long as he pleases, and his descendants may be there long after he is gone, he is urged to look far into the future. This means that he would actually be concerned about the long-term effects of debt and taxation, so he is mindful so to not overtax the population and destroy its long-term wealth. If the owner of a government destroys the long-term wealth of a country, that is less wealth for him in the future, for he makes his living by stealing from them, at least primarily. If he lets the economy grow, that is more money for him to live parasitically on in the future.

The king also would feel compelled to promote private property rights. Ron Paul likes to say “don’t steal, the government hates competition,” which is very true. The ruler would realize an economy is not productive when people are stealing from one another and eroding property rights, so he would take effective measures to prevent that. There is historical precedent for this, too, for French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel wrote “The King’s rights have incomparably greater scope than those of the miller; but as far as the miller’s right goes it is as good as the king’s; on his own ground, the miller is entitled to hold off the king.” What de Jouvenel described is the private property norm being implemented and recognized among European kings, citing the French king’s oath, which stated that all shall be held to this equal justice.

The ruling family would be highly selective too, meaning that only the ruler and his close family (or whoever he deemed appropriate) would reap the benefits of the parasitic lifestyle. The boundary between the rulers and the ruled is clear. It is clear who the ruler is, too, but this also means there is someone specific to target in the event that over taxation is to happen. The ruler has many benefits, but he is also accountable.

When it comes to war, kingly rulers will fight wars over property disputes or territorial issues, if they fight them at all. The funding for the war would come from the capital held by the king’s estate, and he has to be mindful so as to not overtax the population, making them turn on him. This high cost of war makes peace a highly preferable alternative, which is why there was much cross-family marriage in the kingly times. He would also be mindful of where he does and does not fight, for he now has troops that volunteered to join, seeing as that an involuntary draft would threaten his legitimacy.

Public Government – Democracy

A different kind of government has become popular in recent days, though. That type of government is democracy. Democracy is not a system where a bunch of people vote on everything, and the 51% always rules. Rather, it is a governmental system that does not have a private owner. It is a government that the “people own,” at least allegedly. The United States fits under this definition, for there is no private owner of the government. Most of the world also fits under this definition today. This is a tough definition to grasp, for when the disadvantages of democracy are brought up, people think “surely I do not live in this type of country,” but this fact of the matter is that they probably do. These are the disadvantages of having a government that is ruled by the people, for when the people (or the public) rules, that is when the government is called a public government.

Unlike the ruler of a private state, the ruler of a public government does not own it. He is only there for a term, making him the caretaker, rather than the ruler. This means that whoever the ruler is, they will be compelled to use up as many government resources as they can during their time in office. That is why we see Donald Trump and we saw Barack Obama going on many many golf trips, and it is why we have seen presidents for decades go on lavish vacations with their families. This makes sense, for whatever the caretaker does not consume now, they may never be able to consume. This caretaker will also not have much foresight, for he is only looking at what it takes to be re-elected, rather than the long-term effects of policy. A ruler can make promises that he obviously cannot keep and rack up debt because of it, ignoring the long-term economic effects as long as it means re-election.

At the same time, the class distinction is weakened, and almost nonexistent. Anyone can become a member of the ruling class, meaning that anyone can run for office. This creates an illusion and makes taxation seem much less of a violation of property rights. When your nice neighbor Jeff is the elected official raising taxes, the theft does not seem quite as horrendous as it did beforehand.

In comes a spiral of rising time-preference (or present orientedness). As politicians make promises that rack up debt, that increases future taxes. People see that the future looks bleaker and bleaker and decide to focus more on today. Fewer people are looking towards the long-term and more people look towards the short term, and the fastest way to get rich in the short term is the violation of property rights, so burglary and theft increase, along with corporate lobbying to get government benefits. We spend more and more and shovel more and more onto the next generation, which is why we tax the youngsters of today for the elderly’s social security, while today’s youth will never see a penny of that go back into their pockets. The national debt goes up and up, for spending bills in the house and senate only need to appease the public in the present, rather than the nation and its people in the long term. This process only gets worse as time goes on and spending goes up.

Democracy also promotes a welfare state. Law (which is based on ethics) erodes, while legislation (which is based on politicians) arises. Legislation will be passed to please today’s population, and the state will also work to make people dependent upon it. It will begin to give out welfare and entitlements, and since people respond predictably to incentives, this will predictably begin to decrease future productivity. If someone can get paid to not work, why would they work? If government can make people dependent on them by shoveling them money, why wouldn’t they? Decivilization will be set in motion, for people cease to be productive and focus more on the present.

The mere act of legislating creates uncertainty when it comes to the law, which causes people to be present-oriented, and we know what that does. At the same time constantly unpredictably changing legislation promotes disrespect for the law, causing crime rates to go up.

War

War changes as well. The best way to gain territory and increase the tax base for a public government becomes invading other countries. It is why we saw massive military conquests across Europe. Thankfully, the U.S. managed to contractually obtain land through most of its existence, but many other democratic countries did things non-peacefully.

When a king engages in a war, it is a war between him and his private resources against the private estate of another king. The attack will be contained between those two rulers, for if a king wants the other’s property, he will be careful as to not attack civilians and potential taxpayers for whatever king gains that property. The civil population would be “mere spectators” in a war between monarchs, according to Guglielmo Ferrero, an Italian historian. He continues that “having to economize their men, generals try to avoid fighting battles,” in his book Peace and War. The king was against the king, rather than the country being against the country.

Public governments at war engage in total war. Because the distinction between the rulers and the ruled is nonexistent, there is no ruler to target, so the entire civil population is suddenly involved in the conflict. This also means the would-be ruled get especially involved, leading to nationalism, or “the emotional identification of the public with large anonymous groups of people” based on language, culture, race, or just country, according to Hoppe. These wars now mold into national wars. The war is against two different ways of life, which means that the only way to win is “cultural, linguistic, or religious domination and subjugation (or extermination).” The distinction between combatants and noncombatants becomes null and the brutality of war increases to a horrific degree. “The new era of democratic republican warfare… is the era of total war.” Think of the American Civil War, where the Northern Union was intent on the complete decimation of the Southern lifestyle, causing entire towns to be burnt to the ground and a profound number of American-born troops to be lost.

The World Today

Today, we see a skyrocketing national debt, a growing welfare state, and American imperialist wars to implement the vague idea of “democracy” in middle eastern countries. We see increased present orientedness and rising crime rates, along with a bureaucratic system that does not care if it solves any problems. As Jeff Deist said after Trump’s inauguration:

Democracy was always a bad idea, one that encourages mindless majoritarianism, political pandering, theft, redistribution, war, and an entitlement mentality among supposedly noble voters. It’s an idea whose time has passed, both on a national and international scale. The future of liberty is decentralized, and will be led by smaller breakaway nations and regions where real self-determination and real consensus is not an illusion. Jefferson and Hoppe were right about democracy, but it took Trump and Brexit to show the world how quickly elites abandon it when they don’t prevail.

Democracy takes many forms and characterizes most of the world today. The small individually owned and ruled and economically calculable private governments are the prime alternative to this. The small state of Liechtenstein currently serves as the prime example for real-world Hoppeanism being implemented.

Democracy is a pathetically failed god that the west, along with the rest of the world, needs to quit idolizing. When you think of democracy, no longer this of raw majoritarianism, but rather see it for what it is: public government ownership. There is no hope for the future of civilization as long as we keep the model of the state.