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Today: Sat, October 25 2014  -  Last modified: April, 26 2007
 Libertarian Theory
04 November 2014
 
 
Democracy is Neither Freedom Nor Prosperity
by Jacob G. Hornberger
 sub-topic» Democracy

What is democracy? It’s simply a political system by which people are selected for public office. That’s all. Its primary benefit is that it enables people to change regimes peacefully — that is, without the need for a violent revolution. It guarantees neither freedom nor prosperity.

 more» 
21 April 2014
 
 
The Government Is Not Us (Democratic Theory Edition) - Part 2
by Kevin Vallier
 sub-topic» Democracy

So what I want to say in response to Rousseau-Obama-Salon is that in restricted cases, the government can express a small portion of the general will. But in fact, the general will pervades the basic structure of society, which goes far beyond the state, and indeed sharply limits its authority. In this way, I block the attempt to identify a democratic government with the will of its citizens by using many of the same tools as Rousseau’s modern day followers. The government isn’t us because it’s not a plausible expression of the viable and attractive ideal of a general will. We don’t need to do away with Rousseau’s fundamental political concepts to avoid the Rousseau-Obama conclusion.

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19 April 2014
 
 
The Government Is Not Us (Democratic Theory Edition) - Part 1
by Kevin Vallier
 sub-topic» Democracy

The intuitive idea, I think, is that it’d be really nice if there was some way people could set aside their differences and come together to promote the common good. Democracy, at its best, can express our joint commitment to one another’s good and to our shared understanding of justice. The government is us because, at its best, it expresses our collective will. For a great many, this is what makes government legitimate, that it expresses the will of the people. It’s wishful thinking.

To vindicate the idea that the government “is us” in some interesting fashion requires a lot of heavy philosophical lifting.

 more» 
15 March 2014
 
 
Mencken on Liberty and Democracy
by decliNATION Blog
 sub-topic» Democracy

Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing.

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16 February 2014
 
 
Voting is Violence
by Danilo Cuellar
 sub-topic» Democracy

Even if voting did achieve something, which it does not, it is still a barbarous act. It is an action with the hopeful effect of pointing the guns of the “State” at our neighbor instead of us. To think that our problems will be alleviated by simply choosing the correct dictator is both naïve and puerile. It is a fantasy as pitiful as the belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny, the only difference being that the belief in the “State” wreaks unimaginable destruction, brutality, imprisonment, suffering, misery, and death around the world.

 more» 
29 November 2013
 
 
Stop Voting for Evil
by R. Lee Wrights
 sub-topic» Democracy

Stop wasting your votes on evil people with evil intentions and playing it off like it is just the way things go. Let every politician and political party know, Evil is unacceptable! Period! Evil doesn’t become good just because it is accepted by a majority! We must be different to make a difference in this country.

Stop voting for evil.

 more» 
13 November 2013
 
 
The Collective is Not a Relevant Alternative to the Individual
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» Democracy

Obviously, such a response by you would be (for lack of a better term) irrational. It would certainly be odd and unexpected. If you prefer strawberry to vanilla, why in the world would your learning of the availability of pistachio change your preference between these two flavors (strawberry and vanilla) from strawberry to vanilla? Your learning of the availability of pistachio ice cream ought not – and, in reality, almost surely will not – prompt you to switch your order from strawberry to vanilla.

But such ‘switching’ is routine in democratic elections.

 more» 
25 July 2013
 
 
Is America a Free Country? - Part 3
by Justin Raimondo
 sub-topic» Democracy

The key ingredient in bringing tyranny to America is a left-right coalition that will institutionalize the Surveillance State, and destroy the last remnants of the Bill of Rights. United on the need to continue America’s wars of aggression in the Middle East and elsewhere, this left-right coalition is closing ranks in Congress and in the hawkish wings of both parties in defense of the Surveillance State. Why do you care if the government has a record of all your emails – what do you have to hide? This is the rallying cry of a real authoritarian movement in this country, one that – like its opposition – transcends the traditional left-right paradigm.

 more» 
24 July 2013
 
 
Is America a Free Country? - Part 2
by Justin Raimondo
 sub-topic» Democracy

Of all the key aspects of an authoritarian regime, secrecy is the most vital in effecting the transition from relative freedom to a full-fledged police state. As the foundations of the liberal democratic order are eaten away by political termites operating in the dark, the democratic polity retains its traditional republican form – but is hollow at its center. That’s why the prescient Garet Garrett called the rising statist trend in the United States a "revolution within the form" – superficially, our old republic appears intact, but the old meanings of such concepts as "democracy" and "the rule of law" have been turned on their heads. Beneath the surface, the tyrant lurks, waiting for his moment….

 more» 
23 July 2013
 
 
Is America a Free Country? - Part 1
by Justin Raimondo
 sub-topic» Democracy

Carter’s previous statements about the Snowden affair were mildly supportive: he told CNN he thought "the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive," and that Snowden’s bringing the secret surveillance of Americans "to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial." Yet this new statement goes way beyond that: it is a sweeping condemnation of the current regime. That a former US President would say such a thing has got to be the scariest public pronouncement I’ve heard since the Watergate era. What’s even scarier: Carter is right.

 more» 
16 July 2013
 
 
The Meaninglessness of Elections
by Philip Giraldi
 sub-topic» Democracy

So far, what we are seeing with the Arab Spring is indeed dictatorship by the majority, which contemporary political scientists have dubbed "majoritarianism" to mark a distinction from true democracy. In most countries, the former winners and losers have been reversed but are essentially adhering to the same old rules permitting anything goes when one takes power. One might note the example of "democratic" Iraq which held elections placing the Shi’a majority on top. One of the first things the new government did was ethnically cleanse the Sunnis while tolerating atrocities committed against the Christians. Even Turkey, which has a long though inconsistent democratic tradition, is similarly veering towards autocracy under the influence of its prime minister’s exclusive interpretation of the citizen’s responsibility to uphold what he considers to be God’s law.

 more» 
14 July 2013
 
 
The Democracy Illusion
by Butler Shaffer
 sub-topic» Democracy

“Democracy is a system in which four wolves and a sheep decide what to have for dinner.” This provides as vivid a picture as any of what underlies this rationale for collective force. But it is not a collective mindset that creates the democratic urge. The relatively small group of elitists who desire to have coercive control over the rest of mankind have employed the concept of democracy as a way of mobilizing “dark side” forces; to get people to lose their sense of individual purpose, direction, and responsibility in a collective identity (e.g., nation-state) which the elitists – using primarily schools and the media – then manipulate to serve their interests, not those of humanity in general. The common mistake most of us make is assuming that a collective impulse from ordinary people generates a demand for the creation of a democratic political system.

 more» 
11 July 2013
 
 
The Arab Spring and After
by Jayant Bhandari
 sub-topic» Democracy

Democracy is a much worse virus than dictatorship or monarchy. In those systems of mafia organizations called the state, people see themselves in opposition; they retain the ability to see the state for what it is: a group of people who cannot take responsibly for their own lives but believe that they can, through threats of violence, tell others how to live, meanwhile skimming off a large portion of wealth generated by the people. Democracy has made the state an inherent part of the society. The chains are no longer visible ones, but the ones within people’s minds. Those are the worst chains.

 more» 
30 March 2013
 
 
Barnyard Politics
by Paul Bonneau
 sub-topic» Democracy

How about basing our institutions and our opinions on reality? Now, that would be something new, wouldn't it? We could start with notions like, "all people work in their own self interest"--even politicians and bureaucrats. A corollary of that might be "people adjust their behavior to take the easiest path." And another, "power corrupts," along with, "the worst get on top." How about, "tax dollars are the easiest dollars to spend"? Here's one: "for most people, principles go out the door at the first sign of inconvenience." Here is another: "there are no rights, but only will." And another: "taxes are theft." And another: "laws are based on, and depend on, violence." And another: "people naturally care to a great extent, what their fellows think of them."

 more» 
11 October 2012
 
 
Unlimited Democracy
by Tibor R. Machan
 sub-topic» Democracy

Of course there is something very wrong with unlimited democracies. There is simply no justification for the majority of the population in a country imposing its will on everyone. The idea is completely misguided. Why on earth should a great number of people have the authority to force a small number to obey them? There is no argument anywhere in the history of political philosophy and theory that would make out the case for this? If it were a valid point, it would imply that a large number of thugs somehow have the right to subdue other people to serve them. The famous example of the lynch mob that hangs an accused person make the point without difficulty. Expanding the will of vicious people doesn’t make it virtuous. And even if what the larger group wants is actually virtuous, forcing it on others is still not justified since they would have to make the free choice to be virtuous. Human virtue must be a matter of free choice. Only in self-defense may force be applied to others!

 more» 
06 October 2012
 
 
Assessing Ghana's Democracy: What's Right, What's Wrong, and the Future - Part 3
by Franklin Cudjoe
 sub-topic» Democracy

Perhaps, this is the more reason why Politicians will tell you when they win elections they must take all, everything in terms of privileges and kick backs. Which is why we cannot kid ourselves with the thinking that the mentality of winner takes all will be cured by handshakes, photo opportunities with the President whilst drinking tea and munching tea bread embedded with salad and sardine. If we want to adequately spread the gains and losses from democracy we must by all means deepen the decentralization of power and resources. We can make people less disgruntled only when we deepen the decentralization concept, when locals begin to rely less on the patronizing centre and enjoy what they create. I have failed to understand why this country has water bodies in all ten regions, yet we all have to rely on the centre to provide us good drinking water, which is at most erratic in supply. The same could be said of the establishment of development authorities. Development does not come about by erecting bureaucracies. They come about when people’s aspirations are respected, when their properties, even shacks are identified by the economy, are free to speak trade and buy their own health care.

 more» 
05 October 2012
 
 
Assessing Ghana's Democracy: What's Right, What's Wrong, and the Future - Part 2
by Franklin Cudjoe
 sub-topic» Democracy

In all of the above the one major question is and who caused this? After all don’t we deserve the governments we vote for?

Well, what worries me most is the constitutional frame work that allows such recklessness to occur. With a powerful executive presidency, whimsical and capricious decisions are often aided by a largely moribund majority in parliament that toes the line even when red flags are on the high way.

 more» 
04 October 2012
 
 
Assessing Ghana's Democracy: What's Right, What's Wrong, and the Future - Part 1
by Franklin Cudjoe
 sub-topic» Democracy

Democracy can be defined in the “narrow” and “broad” sense, but complementarily, both give a deeper understanding of the concept. Narrowly, democracy is defined as majority rule, which is a system of governance where the people choose their leaders through electioneering. This is also known as electoral democracy and it shows how mandate or power is derived. Ideally and broadly, a true democracy should encompass both electoral democracy and liberal democracy.

A Liberal democracy according to the online library, Wikipedia, is a form of government characterized by fair, free, and competitive elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all persons.

 more» 
09 September 2012
 
 
The Pathology of U.S. Democracy
by Anthony Gregory
 sub-topic» Democracy

It is not only that the two candidates share much more in common with one another than they do with my vision of a free society; both candidates offer very little for the principled folks in their own party. I would think even a progressive or conservative would find it almost impossible to support either side. On issues like immigration, abortion, trade, taxes, deficit spending, and healthcare, for better or worse, the two politicians have gravitated toward a policy of status quo interventionism.

 more» 
25 August 2012
 
 
Democracy as a matter of degree
by Thoreau
 sub-topic» Democracy

I have come across various discussions of democracy and its discontents lately. Leaving aside the “Worst system, except for all of the others…” defense, I think that before we critique or defend democracy it’s worth asking what we mean by democracy. Or, more specifically, what do we mean when we say that one system is more democratic than another?

 more» 
22 June 2012
 
 
Democracy? Consent of the Governed? Buncombe!
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» Democracy

Whatever the official ideology of democracy, most people’s emotional framing of their relationship to the state is colored by their childhood socialization in relation to parental authority. Developmental psychologists tell us that children are actually socialized to view government as an extension of parental authority. The President is first viewed as a sort of Mommy or Daddy, with the American people as the family. Gradually actors like Congress, the courts, and so forth enter the picture — at first understood as simply “helpers” to the President, and only later as constitutional checks to presidential authority. But the aura of parental authority persists, on a subliminal level, even then.

 more» 
31 May 2012
 
 
Democracy Is Not Freedom
by Jacob G. Hornberger
 sub-topic» Democracy

Of course, it’s no surprise that U.S. officials try their best to convince Americans that democracy is freedom. If Americans are convinced that democracy is freedom, then they’ll be satisfied with the fact that there is an electoral process. They might even participate in it by voting, making them feel even more free. The idea is that Americans will look on the United States as a free country because there are elections, even as public officials assume the power to seize people, torture them, incarcerate them indefinitely without trial, or execute them with a kangaroo tribunal rather than after a legitimate jury trial — i.e., the same powers wielded by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Cuba, and other non-democratic dictatorships around the world.

 more» 
20 January 2012
 
 
What if Arab Spring is Followed by Arab Winter?
by David Friedman
 sub-topic» Democracy

Like other religions, it relies as much on faith as on reason. African decolonization, carried out on a democratic model, repeatedly took the form of one man, one vote, once. Its results included some of the bloodiest conflicts of the postwar world. In several different countries, casualties were in at least the hundreds of thousands—worse, I think, than anything in colonial Africa since Leopold's Congo atrocities. That history should remind the supporters of democracy that it is a means, not an end, hence not always and everywhere an unambiguously good thing.

 more» 
06 December 2011
 
 
What Does Democracy Look Like, Anyway?
by Darian Worden
 sub-topic» Democracy

If you only like the term democracy because you want to enforce your will on others fewer in number or just less empowered, you’ll continually find yourself cutting deals with entrenched powers over whose numbers matter. If you want real democracy — power vested in the people — you should be interested in anarchism.

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