Well-Needed Lambast Of Democracy-Worship
I’ve come out with criticisms of democracy at many times in the past. I believe simple “majority rule”, which is what democracy is, is not a very good form of government. When most westerners think of “democracy”, they actually think of a western liberal form of government similar to that we have in the USA, where the government is hamstrung from becoming too heavy-handed by the natural history of the culture (in our case, English common law and natural rights doctrine), and Constitutional limits on the scope of power. Thus, many applaud the spread of “democracy” around the world, but do not understand that democracy without the above restraints ceases to be a good form of government.
I’ve pointed out that those restraints are beginning to crumble here in the USA, and we’ll all be worse for it. TJIC, along the same lines, gives his take on democracy:
I continue to assert that the leftist love affair with “democracy” is a horrid mistake. Or, rather, democracy is something horrible, and leftists love it for that very reason. Justice and freedom are the two important things in society, and democracy is neither – it is a tool whereby the political leaders are selected. Certainly, there is some reason to believe that a polity with a feedback loop whereby the worst leaders can – maybe – be ejected from power via the ballot box is preferable to the identical system where no leader can ever be ejected from power … but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement of democracy as the be-all, end-all of governance.
I am convinced that leftists love democracy, though, particularly because it does not promise freedom. Individual freedom (a negative right; an ability to say that government may not do something) is often distasteful to leftists, and “democracy” is an ideology that makes it easy to subvert the desire to stop government. “Stop government?” they say “why, the government is not something ‘other’ – the government is just you and me! All of us, working together, to accomplish a common goal! Now, it’s only fair that we the people …”, and thus begins the justification for all manner of theft, destruction and regulation.
I spoke about Libertarianism and Democracy two years ago, where the salient point is this:
Libertarianism isn’t anti-Democracy. In fact, the statement itself is nonsensical. Libertarianism is a moral system, valuing individual liberty as it’s highest ideal. Democracy is a form of government, consisting of majority rule. Or, to make it more plain, liberty is an end, democracy is a means to an end.
Unrestrained democracy does not always (some would say not even usually) lead to liberty. In fact, democracy is a subterfuge by which liberty can be restrained. The majority is often wrong, and many infringements of liberty (slavery, Jim Crow and segregation) were upheld by the majority. It’s not that I’m opposed to majority rule; I’m opposed to unjust rule. Unjust rule is far more difficult to defeat when it is justified by “the will of the people”.