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Is Democracy The Problem Or Could It Be The Semantics?

August 9, 2013

On several occasions I have addressed the problems associated with democracy.  In the first place, the very characteristics which serve to define democracy as a system of governance are the ones which eventually cause it to fail.  On the other hand, too often those who should know better attempt to change the definition in mid-stream in a vain attempt to absolve the system from accepting its rightful blame.

In any event for some reason I recently found myself reading an article published some time ago which had been given the somewhat aggressive title, Down With Democracy, and in which the author made the following observation:

The recognition of democracy as a machinery of popular wealth and income redistribution, then, in conjunction with one of the most fundamental principles in all of economics — that one will end up getting more of whatever it is that is being subsidized — provides the key to an understanding of the present age.

I recommend the reader take a moment to click on the link and consider what the author has to say.  I might point out here that neither he, nor I, are against the system which many persist in erroneously labeling as a “democracy”.



From → Moral Reasoning

  1. Chloe permalink

    I enjoyed the link. The article was from 2000, yet, what they stated did happen. For example, here:

    ” In subsidizing the malingerers, the neurotics, the careless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the Aids-infected, and the physically and mentally ‘challenged’ through insurance regulation and compulsory health insurance, there will be more illness, malingering, neuroticism, carelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, Aids infection, and physical and mental retardation. By forcing non-criminals, including the victims of crime, to pay for the imprisonment of criminals (rather than making criminals compensate their victims and pay the full cost of their own apprehension and incarceration), crime will increase. By forcing businessmen, through ‘affirmative action’ (‘non-discrimination’) programs, to employ more women, homosexuals, blacks, or other ‘minorities’ than they would like to, there will be more employed minorities, and fewer employers and fewer male, heterosexual, and white employment. By compelling private land owners to subsidize (‘protect’) ‘endangered species’ residing on their land through environmental legislation, there will be more and better-off animals, and fewer and worse-off humans.

    Most importantly, by compelling private property owners and/or market income earners (producers) to subsidize ‘politicians’, ‘political parties’, and ‘civil servants’ (politicians and government employees do not pay taxes but are paid out of taxes), there will be less wealth formation, fewer producers and less productivity, and ever more waste, ‘parasites’ and parasitism. ”

    As you also pointed out with the quote from your article, that democracy is ” a popular machinery of wealth and income distribution.” – It all sets the stage for our current welfare state, that ends up with the ‘working class’ paying for the subsidization of benefits to those of a higher class.

    Democratic procedure – majority vote – would seem to be the most fair to me; but, democracy in economics does not.

    (as an aside, I don’t understand why you think I have you confused with someone else. Perhaps you will explain some day in private.)

    • Yes, I did realize that the original article was written some time ago, but as you seem to have also noted subsequent events make it even the more interesting.

      As to your support of majority rule, that also has some inherent problems.

      Thanks again for your input.

      • Chloe permalink

        Yes, it [majority votes] does in my mind as well as far as corruption, but a popular vote would also seem to be susceptible to corruption, do you think so ?

        In other words – both can be manipulated, as I see it, by those in the right positions and with enough money to ‘buy’ their desires.

        The only possible way I see, might be with a popular vote on the internet. But couldn’t a programmer or hacker be payed to alter the results… I don’t know.

      • You may be missing the larger point…the problem with decisions being the results of a majority vote in the first place.

  2. Chloe permalink

    That might be. I should have asked you this before, as it did occur to me. What other criteria can be used other than a majority vote as the determinate ?

    If 300 million people vote, as an example, and there are a wide variety of popular votes for a variety of candidates, isn’t the candidate that is ‘most’ voted the likely ‘winner’ (the majority vote) ?

  3. Chloe permalink

    I realized something this morning– I thought I understood the ‘full’ meanings of both Republic and Democracy, and now realize that I didn’t and in some ways still don’t, because I need ‘more’ examples of this application they state re: a Republic (Democracy is more understood) :

    ” A republic and a democracy are identical in every aspect except one. In a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the group.

    —-Republic. That form of government in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially delegated. [NOTE: The word “people” may be either plural or singular. In a republic the group only has advisory powers; the sovereign individual is free to reject the majority group-think. USA/exception: if 100% of a jury convicts, then the individual loses sovereignty and is subject to group-think as in a democracy.]

    —-Democracy. That form of government in which the sovereign power resides in and is exercised by the whole body of free citizens directly or indirectly through a system of representation, as distinguished from a monarchy, aristocracy, or oligarchy. [NOTE: In a pure democracy, 51% beats 49%. In other words, the minority has no rights. The minority only has those privileges granted by the dictatorship of the majority.] ” ….. (…..

    So, yes, I can see how a jury is a form of democracy, as it is ‘mob rule.’ But, I guess I’m not understanding what they mean in ‘application’ by “sovereignty being invested in each individual person.” …Here – ” In a republic the group only has advisory powers; the sovereign individual is free to reject the majority group-think. ”

    Can you provide me with some examples (if you are interested, of course) of where the individual is free to reject the majority group-think exercising our values as a Republic???

  4. Chloe permalink

    Oh, and also – the explanations use the word “state” ambiguously in my mind — they need to clarify if they mean a state as in one of the fifty, or if they mean a State as in the whole — or is that what the word Republic is inferencing – that there isn’t a ‘whole?’ …(that the states are each independent?)

    So, then, is the ‘point’ – we are a democracy within each state, but are a Republic of independent states to have individual voices at the Federal level ?

  5. Chloe permalink

    In conclusion, I had not realized that my support of majority rule in voting made me look like I was against the individual and sovereignty — because I am not !

    I simply don’t see how voting could fairly be determined otherwise. …Are you saying you want it determined by the minority vote or by one individual’s vote ? …I doubt that, but what is left if not by the majority.

  6. Chloe permalink

    I care about what’s happening. May I ask how you are ?

    Your friend,

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