Freedom and Democracy. We’re told they’re equal, but are they really? The very fact that this is an unquestioned assumption of most Western schools and universities should make any skeptic suspicious.
So what’s wrong with democracy?
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
Those words are the primary reason I consider democracy to be a greater enemy of freedom than overt dictatorships.
Dictatorships are obvious – we can all understand their coercive nature. We can see our freedoms taken away from us, and we never feel like we have a real say in it. The enemy of freedom is clearly delineated, and no matter how much propaganda a dictatorship may throw at its subjects, they’ll never completely extinguish dissent.
But democracy is another beast entirely, for it lulls the people into a false sense of safety.
Freedom and democracy are not equal, and the why is in the mechanism of power transfer
Let’s consider how democracy allegedly functions. I don’t just mean the mechanics of voting, which obviously differ from country to country and throughout time; but the alleged transfer of power behind that voting.
When the individuals comprising a nation-state go to vote, we could consider what they’re doing to be a transfer of power – similar to a letter of attorney. Now insofar as we are able to give other people power in an apolitical context, we can only give them powers that we already have. If we have the power to receive parcels, or collect documents on our own behalf (because we are legally of age to do so), then we can reasonably transfer that power to someone else.
If we don’t have a certain power, we can scarcely transfer it to another. This is simple logic. If I don’t have a bicycle, I can’t give it to you.
And yet this illogical transfer of powers individuals do not themselves possess is what the entire concept of democracy hinges on.
Government has the power to do things you can’t. So how is it that it derives these powers from you?
When voters participate in an election, they are (supposedly) transferring to their government the power to:
- Murder people in wars of aggression. This includes innocent civilians (called collateral damage).
- Kidnap and cage people (called imprisonment).
- Enslave people (euphemistically called conscription).
- Rape people (governments forcefully putting people into environments such as prisons, where they will be raped. Also government soldiers systematically committing rape during times of war).
- Steal from people (euphemistically called taxation).
- Tell adults what they can and cannot do (regulations and malum prohibitum laws). This includes everything from damaging your own body through substance abuse, to zoning laws that restrict what you can and cannot do on your not-so-private property.
- Proclaim a legal monopoly on a certain activity, such as creation of currency. Then use legal tender laws to force everyone to use a currency that is subsequently devalued through perpetual counterfeit.
These aren’t just rights reserved for tyrannical dictatorships – the West’s leading (so-called) democracies all engage in these acts pretty much on a daily basis, or at least once every few years. And if for some reason they aren’t using one of these powers right now, say the power of conscription, then they certainly reserve it for future use. Do freedom and democracy still appear to be synonymous?
What it looks like when we try to use powers reserved for the government
Let’s think of a few examples. For one, neither you nor I, as individuals, have the power to conscript our neighbors to fight for us in a war of our choosing. Asking the other neighbors to vote on it and obtaining a majority in the neighborhood first doesn’t make it justifiable or legitimate.
Certainly not any more than asking the participants of a gang rape to vote first justify rape (with 1 victim versus many assailants, a majority would vote in favor).
I can’t legally go to my neighbor, break down his door, and demand he pay me for services he didn’t ask for, even if I sent him a few stern letters trying to intimidate him first.
And if I murder another human being, I should reasonably expect to lose either my life, or a good portion of it – not come back home and be rewarded with medals and pensions.
How can a group of individuals, none of whom have these powers, transfer them to a government? How can someone give away something they do not have? The standard answer is democracy.
The real answer is that they can’t – these rights or powers are never transferred, they are simply taken, the same way any dictatorship takes its own power. Thus at its core, democratic governance operates on the same philosophy as might makes right, and majoritarianism is the opposite of advocating rights for minorities.
Still think freedom and democracy are even remotely compatible?
If you have doubts about what I’ve said, try not paying your slave-masters taxes. Or try seceding from the State based on the fact that you don’t support the false dichotomy of the left-right paradigm. See how far you get, and how free you’ll feel when your freedom and property is forcibly taken away from you.
Politicians who wax emphatically about the merits and demerits of democracy skillfully misdirect their audience from the truth – that democracy is just a tool for control in the arsenal of governments. Democratic governments are in fact of little substantive difference from dictatorships. Indeed the only difference being that they use a more effective and insidious tool for controlling the people by giving them the illusion of power and choice.
That’s really the trick you need to understand about democracy. It’s purpose is to get people to use the political system to vie for power, thus making the political system itself an unquestioned assumption of public life.
We could even go further and say that democracy is a deeply divisive form of government, in the sense that it rallies people into factions around manufactured political “issues”. By keeping its subjects busy fighting each other for control over the government, those in power are free to pursue their totalitarian agenda, and take away everyone’s rights and freedoms.
Not only are freedom and democracy not equal – democracy may be one of freedom’s greatest enemies.
Further on this topic…
I’ve recently created a picture which illustrates this post. See here.
And to find out what a consistent application of equal rights yields, see this post.