Politicians from the left and the right clatter over one another to claim that the other is threatening democracy. We hear this all the time. It is a pause break in presidential and campaign speeches. The manipulation and slanted use of the term allows for the masses to think that they have some sort of say in the process. However, the idea of American democracy is just as much myth as the idea that Denmark is socialist.
America was founded as a republic, but it resembles more of a democratic republic. In this label democracy is used in an adjective form, which means that it is describing the type of republic we have. In a republic, we have people to represent the masses in government. The democratic side of the label basically says that we elect those people. This was set up because the founding fathers were aware of the dangers a true democracy would bring.
Mob rule is the inevitable outcome of a true democracy. It is 51% telling the other 49% how to live their lives. It may sound good if you are on the 51%, but I can assure you that it is not so great on the 49%. Both sides seem to think that they have the 51% on their side. I am sure that most people would agree that slavery was still wrong even though over 51% of people thought it was okay. I also think that a majority of people today think that gay marriage is fine, but that wasn’t always the case. So, was it bad then and good now? Of course not, there was never anything wrong with it, except the role that government plays in it.
Now, lets look at another issue; not everyone votes. For the biggest election years, presidential and midterms, the average voter turn out is usually between 60% and 40%, respectively. So if we average that number to 50% that means that a 51% majority rule would mean that 25.5%, a minority, would be deciding how the other 74.5% get to live.
Even if it was 51% of everyone, we still face a moral dilemma; we are forcing someone to do something. Even if we bring it to the highest majority possible, we can still see how this doesn’t jive with the average person’s morality. Say that eight people go out for pizza, and each of them eat a slice and have a pop. The bill comes and seven of the eight vote that the eighth person has to foot the bill. Is this scenario fair? Most would say no, but if you advocate for pure democracy then how is this not fair?
When presenting the above example, I had a rebuttal. Someone told me that all people would have had to agree upon that before they went out. I thought this was an amazing insight and told them that they were right, because then it would be voluntary. If I was the eighth person, I might rethink the people I am eating with if they all think that I should have to pay for them, and furthermore, have the ability to make me pay for them.
This is a small scale example, but in the end the point still stands that mob rule is no way to run a country. While I may have several qualms with the government, state, and politicians, I certainly do not think the 51% of the population that actually does vote should be able to tell everyone else what they may or may not do.
Also, democracy does not help the minority group. This would seem like advocating for democracy then, especially from the left, would be counter-productive. Nevertheless, the left has developed a way to overcome this. They formed a majority that is a great coalition of minority groups. However, they have noticed that even in group-think mentality, people are still self-interested and in that self-interest there is a hierarchy. These groups will value their own group over the coalition as a whole. So, what have they done to reunite some of these groups to keep a stronger coalition on issues? Intersectionality. This allows at least two minority groups to unite. This is also not to mention the useful idiots that will be on the bandwagon, no matter where it goes.
So what is the answer? If the systems are broken what do we do? Well, the libertarian message has been the most solid foundation to build a society on. The ideas of the non-aggression principle, voluntarism, and free markets have created the most consistent and peaceful philosophy ever derived. The non-aggression principle lays the groundwork that states that we are not to enact force on other people; while voluntarism demonstrates how people will interact with one another. Finally, free markets are the vessel in which people will economically engage. It is only outside these parameters (i.e. violence, theft, aggression, etc.) that we will need any type of enforcement, whether it comes through a limited government or a free-market alternative.
Read more from Rocky at Think Liberty here.