September 25th, 2010

eyes black and white

Against Democracy

While commenting on my previous post, l33tminion makes himself the candid voice of the usual democratic propaganda. Always incredible how otherwise intelligent people can drink wholesale the kool-aid. Yet, I believe that he and other people like him may not only be intelligent enough, but also have enough intellectual integrity to eventually reject the premises that they were brainwashed into accepting uncritically.

Here I will not be arguing that Democracy as an institution doesn't work at achieving the official goal it purports to achieve, of bringing good government for the people. How Democracy fails has been well documented by better people than I: Buchanan and Tullock, Hoppe, Caplan, Kling. I will argue that Democracy as an ideology actually works towards its real goal, i.e. its natural consequence, which is the destruction of societies by an oppressive power.

Magical Assumptions

Though he defends himself from assuming anything magical in the democratic process, my democratic friend still repeats as a fact the oxymoronic democratic propaganda according to which Democratic governments are both controlled and funded by the people they govern. Really? The ruled who control the rulers? Democracy is so magical, even Grammar is turned upside down! Kto Kogo? Who (rules) Whom?

My interlocutor affirms with assurance that he think[s] constitutional democracy has worked pretty well for the US. Although he does not reveal the mysterious standard by which it is meant to have worked or not, nor the means by which he can trace the supposed workingness that his standard would measure to constitutional democracy rather than another phenomena that constitutional democracy would be preying upon.

I suppose, if we can neglect the destructive effects of decades of slavery beyond the time it was abolished in Britain, a civil war killing almost a million people at home, many foreign wars involving millions of victims abroad and plots installing foreign regimes making even more victims, if moreover we suppose that the resources expended by said Democratic regime would not have been used productively under a different regime but would have burned in self-combustion in protest to the absence of such regime, if we discount the crises generated by its financial system, the erosion of liberties in its laws, and the corruption of its power elite, then yes, the sum total of Democracy in America can't be too bad.

Problem is, when you take all these issues into account, the answer doesn't look quite as obvious. And then, you find a more fundamental problem is: what epistemic process are you using to compare what is to what isn't? My interlocutor as well as all who repeat that Democracy works lack any epistemic method to decide if Democracy works better than the alternative, because they don't even have an understanding of what it means to be an alternative. Instead, they fall victim to the accounting fallacy.

Retreat to Subjectivity

When faced with their own incapacity of forming logical arguments allowing to discuss alternate histories, dogmatic followers will resort to their personal preferences, which they argue shall be respected. I, personally, prefer to live under a democracy as opposed to a monarchy or dictatorship declares l33tminion. How does he know? And whatever his preference may be, why should it matter? The Law is not a matter of preferences. The Law doesn't care what you do with your own life and property. Go meet with friends and elect rulers amongst your gang, that's your right. But when you start supporting your elected rulers ruling over other people who don't agree to that power, moreover without any limiting principle but the "preferences" of the winning party, then you're imposing your preference for "democracy" upon others and you're making yourself an oppressor. Mob rule is the essence of democracy; whichever superior you can use to contain this mob rule can be better used without any mob rule at all.

Incidentally, the preference argument ultimately rests on a libertarian principle, though misusing it: indeed there is a domain where someone's preferences matter and should be inviolate: his self and his own — his life and property. However here the argument is used to defend a preference as applies to other people's life and property, i.e. about violating their own preferences by submitting them to political violence as per the democrat's preferred political regime. And of course, this is the rub. Democracy is about making people subject to each other's preference. Society is not to be ruled by an objective Law anymore; instead, anything goes that emanates from the almighty Will of The People, fickle construction of collective subjectivity.

Like most libertarians, I don't care whether the ruler is a president, a king, a guide, or Papa Smurf, chosen by a ballot, born into his job, asserted through force, or "just drawn that way". I just care that this ruler should have and exert as little arbitrary political power as possible (ideally none at all), and that instead the Law should rule as much as possible. Now, the democratic myth has introduced the totalitarian notion that Power is unlimited. What King Canute used to know, that his power is subject to the laws of nature, is unfathomable to the voting masses, incapable of coherent thought (for only individuals think), and unstopped by the economic laws of nature. Demagogues flatter the public into believing that anything can be demanded, that majority demands are ipso facto justified, that electoral "representation" is a limitless mandate, that there are no constant laws of economics to take into account when voting the laws of men. And then they use their power to rule each and every aspect of our lives to their profit and for our ruin.

With the Sovereignty of the Majority being placed as principle for political legitimacy, no life and no property are ever safe from the interference of political majorities: democracy is intrinsically totalitarian in its claim of sovereignty. Once objective Common Law has given way to some subjective "Will of the People", infinitely manipulable by the Establishment, that can emit arbitrary Statute on any domain without limit, Power becomes Total.

War of All against All

The totalitarian nature of democracy can be opposed by long and strong traditions of respect for individual rights, as in the western world, or confirmed by the reigning ideology, as in Soviet Russia. The contributing factor of democracy as such is always totalitarian. But the pretense of democracy is not only totalitarian in that it applies to all aspects of life and society total, it is also totalitarian in that it enrolls each and everyone in the power game.

Under the Ancien Régime, when several populations live under a same Empire, and differ in races, languages, customs, religions, etc., they can all leave peaceably together as subjects of the same ruler. They are not enemies to each other. They may have a common enemy at the head of the empire, if the ruler is unjust and cruel; but at least their political situation does not pit them against each other. The Colonial British Empire, the cosmopolitan Austro-Hungarian Empire, the varied Russian Empire were as many examples of people living at peace with each other under a same ruler. What more, Ancien Régime rulers understand that inhabitants of disputed lands are assets to be preserved to maximize the spoils of war; inhabitants only care marginally which king rules them and prefer whichever king will be more just, which coincides with efficiency at using resources. Under the Ancien Régime, wars are limited in scope and in destruction, and not directed against populations as such, only at rival régimes.

Eventually, the foreign or domestic ruler crumbles, and lacking an ideology to resist it, there does Democracy rise to Power. With the democratic virus, under the principle of one man one vote principle, these populations can vote taxes and regulations on each other; the discrepancies between cultural values become clashes in legal norms and political power. All these different people are no more peaceful neighbours, but minority groups vying to grab power so as to control other groups rather than be controlled by them. The threat of one group overtaking the others is permanent. If one party is firmly in charge, or if the clash is not too hard, then one party or coalition may seize control and prevent further party strife, establishing itself as a corrupt unelected oligarcho-bureaucracy oppressing the country under the cover of democracy. The Communist Party may run China, Republicrats may run the USA, UMPS may run France, Jews may run Israël, the PRI may run México. But when power is less secure, then civil war ensues — a war of the kind where entire populations are targeted for massacre, because it is the votes, hence by the democratic principle the very life, of these people, that is threatening.

Genocides, "ethnic purification", mass deportations are the direct, necessary consequence of the democratic principle of "one man, one vote" applied to countries with culturally divided populations. Each man who can be categorized as resolutely "other" becomes either a prey or a predator, always an enemy. Democracy is the war of All against All. Populations against populations. All against individuals. And this war isn't just notional and symbolic. Palestine, British India, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Tchechnia, Sudan, Georgia, and many more countries have known it very concretely. Other countries may know such horrors as they descend into chaos. Not only has the democratic ideal failed to bring good government on earth, it has led to mass killing on an unprecedented scale, before it reverts to a corrupt state of rule by unelected Establishment. Even religious wars are more merciful, since they offer conversion as a way of pacification. Democratic wars and oppression persist until the victim population has wholly disappeared.

What more, when two "democratic" "nations" are at war, it is no more a limited war between two Ancien Régime gangs of rulers. Now the entire populations are involved in war. War becomes total war. All the inhabitants of the other nation are your enemies, and consider you as theirs. Civilians are targetted by organized famine through blockades, captured populations are subject to large scale oppression and massacres, large numbers of people are parked into concentration camps, cities are bombed. War becomes total. Millions die. Horray for the democratic "ideal".

The Fruits of "Democracy"

In the name of Democracy, we've had World War I, World War II, communist regimes, ethnic massacres all around the globe, etc. Dictators and dictatorial parties such as Robespierre, Napoleon III, Hitler, Allende, the FIS got elected. Based on "democratic" ideology, and with the support of "democrats" abroad, the bolcheviks, the national socialists, the maoists, the khmer rouge, have risen to power and killed hundreds of millions. It's easy to dismiss as "dictatorships" entities that have emerged in the name of "Democracy", based on democratic propaganda and democratic beliefs. But the "democratic" ideal underlies the very existence and mode of expression of those democracies, even though the results are opposite to the propaganda and the hopes of the utopian proponents of "democracy". One has to judge the tree by the fruit it bears, not by the rosy results that are always promised and never delivered. And though the "democratic" ideology promises paradise on earth, the fruits it bears are deadly.

Ancien Régime monarchies never did anything quite as bad. The worst was possibly Czarist Russia, which was admittedly a pretty bad authoritarian hell hole — and still vastly better than the "democratic" regimes that followed it. At the polar opposite, in colonial America, people revolted against taxes, oppressive laws and unnecessary wars, and a "massacre" counting five hooligans as victims; they have had but higher taxes, more oppressive laws, massacres with hundreds of victims, and unnecessary total wars since they installed a "democratic" regime. Europe abolished the Ancien Régime in bloody revolutions and wars the destructions of which offset any good that may have been gained in abolishing the old privileges, only to end up with Establishments as entrenched and more corrupt than the previous ones, and policies that sacrifice all long term considerations to short term elections, leading to financial bankruptcy, runaway immigration, cultural disintegration and out of control crime.

With the democratic principle being forced upon all by the Anglo-american supremacy, their French copycats and Russian caricatures, entire populations have become the permanent enemies of each other. Democracy has institutionalized permanent war and political violence of all against all, with no end in sight. Modern mass deception, nationwide brainwashing, deep systematic mind control, is also directly linked to the need rulers now have to generate not just military dominion, but constant support in popular opinion.

No Turning Back

I am a libertarian, not a conservative. Therefore, inasmuch as my opposition to "democracy", "progressivism", "socialism" and other such people's utopias make me a reactionary, I certainly am not calling for a return to Ancien Régime.

The Ancien Régime failed to Democracy because it was weak. Kingship was doomed by inbreeding. The Aristocracy was doomed by firearms. The Clergy was doomed by the printing press. There are good technological reasons why the political structures of the past were no more sustainable.

My point is not that the Ancien Régime was a lost paradise: it wasn't. My point is that Democracy was in many ways a vast political regression from this Ancien Régime. My point is that to regenerate the countries being destroyed by Democracy, it is necessary to understand what was lost, that it may be regained. It is also necessary to identify what has actually been gained, so that it shall not be lost again. And for that you need sound political theories that go beyond mere propaganda.

There remain few Ancien Régime monarchies today, and in almost all of them, princes have been surrendering slowly or quickly to the prevailing democratic ideology, though sometimes with a backlash (as in Thailand recently). A few countries have been bottomed as democratically inspired terror regimes, and are now following a reverse evolution, trying to recycle the former democratic terrorist power into a neo-Ancien Régime, but often failing for lack of a proper ideology to replace the cult of democracy. Hope in Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Lybia or Vietnam will not come from a longer descent into democratic lies, but in the rulers re-learning the principles of Natural Law previously destroyed by those lies. As the pretense of democracy wanes away and the Establishment feels stronger in its political hold not depending on opinion, totalitarian control can be loosened. But only if a viable alternative is offered to either tyranny or democracy.

And this alternative is: Natural Law. An old technology to maintain peace and prosperity, that has been kept alive and refined by libertarian scholars, and that could profitably be used again.