When discussing politics and meta-politics the concept of democracy and power naturally becomes the focus of the conversation. It is often said by those who support democracy (and sometimes even by those people who don’t) that it is virtuous for three main reasons. To be clear, when I say Democracy, I mean Liberal Democracy in particular. These three main reasons are:
1. It treats each person as an individual, and not a group, thus it values each person for what they are, rather than what and who they belong to and how they express themselves as a group.
2. It is inherently anti-authoritarian.
3. It can remove democratically voted in ‘bad guys’, and only takes a few years (a term) to remove them, unlike a life-long dictatorship or monarchy.
So, if we are to look at these three reasons, we can see the conceptual framework of liberal democracy and classical liberalism. They think that society is full of individuals and these individuals should be respected, given a voice and allowed to express that individual sovereignty. Margaret Thatcher may have been the perfect spokeswoman for this view when she said that ‘there’s no such thing as society.’ (1) She put economy first, as economy was what allowed the individual to do as much as they liked and to achieve the fullest spectrum of Liberty and freedom. This is how she cared about society, but economy (as in money, not Oikonmia (2)) should always be a servant with a chain around its neck, and its master is the people; the nation.
Democracy, contrary to popular belief, treats each person as a collective because only through being an individual can they act as blocks. Any political system which pretends that groups can’t destroy individuals is playing with a shield, while anyone who disagrees has a sword. In war having a shield is good, but arm your entire army only with a shield and you may have the first liberal democratic conceptually driven army. Only by converging into groups can anyone in democracy get anything done, which means democracy creates incentives for group thinking while being paranoid that someone will find out that they are in fact more than a mere individual. It politicises the individual and makes them act as ideological groups, while screeching it is for the greater good of the individual only. Democracy justifies and makes identity politics necessary.
The idea that democracy is anti-authoritarian is one of the most common views about democracy, and may actually be the least true. Let’s completely ignore the fact the democracy means mob-rule, is a corrupt form of governmental Polity rule and that in that sense it already suggests it may have inherent flaws. (3) For us to draw out how democracy isn’t anti-authoritarian bear in mind what I have already said about democracy creating an incentive to group for political power, and I will add in something else: the idea of might makes right. Might makes right is the idea that raw power decides who is correct. Have the most power and you are correct by virtue of that power which you can wield and manifest against those who oppose you. Might makes right is actually an incorrect formulation of what was and is intended by such a saying; might is right is a more accurate way to express this: what I mean to say is that when two forces oppose each other and there is no other way or solution but clashing, the most powerful wins and thus proves they has something the opposing did not, force, thus they were more “right” by virtue of deciding through force as a last resort. Might is right is a final political solution to a brick wall of a situation, not a guiding philosophy for how to do everything. In this sense, might is right is what the dictatorship was to the Roman state, an emergency, the solution to a crisis. However, saying all this, democracy employs might is right. There is no choice in democracy except for in the trivial and gluttonous. Every real choice is through force. There is no meaningful choice in democracy, except through force: if you form a large enough group and take over, or a coup to take power with literal force. Thus, democracy holds, plants and sows the seeds of its own destruction. It’s a shame Karl Marx didn’t use democracy instead of economy for his communistic philosophy.
What is rarely pointed out about democracy is that it uses might makes right tactics, while pretending it doesn’t – because the moment it forces a group to collect and take over, democracy ends and can justify itself as blameless (much like communism and socialism). So, let us imagine a single individual believes might makes right but everyone else in society doesn’t. They can collect together and crush him, thus proving might does indeed make right. Democracy uses its own populace to form the might. If right goes to the most powerful, and the most powerful is collected individuals into groups who can destroy an individual or completely ignore small groups, refusing them their power because their numbers can never match up: democracy therefore is the rightest and mightiest of the might makes right imposers, and worst yet, it pretends to be caring and benevolent. (4)
People who support democracy express the view that (democracy) it can trap dictators in four-five year terms and then turf them out is relatively true if what you call a dictator is someone democratically voted in like Donald Trump (or even Barack Obama), and the term dictator just means ‘someone I disagree with’. But history has seen democracy be taken by actual dictators from Julius Caesar to Adolf Hitler. Democracy did not stop them, or even seem to slow them down. Any serious dictator would not be slowed down or stopped by democracy: all they need is the support of a strong enough group and they can sweep to power, and use democracy to justify dictatorship. We need only glance at African and Middle-Eastern dictatorships for examples. Democracy creates a system of weak leaders, which leads to so much decay and inaction for the populace that a strong man has to be brought in just to push the cart down the road a little. Democracy is always behind the people like a crippled old boomer-con, rather than behind the people as a supporting column of affirmation and empowerment.
This four-five year term also means that each leader can fail to do what they were voted in to do, because a big group with money doesn’t want said thing to be done. So, while no democratically reasonable person wants to be replaced by foreign people, it isn’t slowing down regardless of how many people in the majority want it to stop. This leadership failure will last 4-10 years and then they disappear and yet another firebrand gets voted in just to become a fool all of a sudden the moment they obtain power. (5) You could, as a leader, please the media, the money and the loud ‘majority’ to have a soft ride, earn a few million and then leave just like the last leader you criticised and ran against in order to not be like him. The lack of long-term plans, and the need to only concentrate on now, a few years in the future and money, are the exact reasons our nation states are no longer nation states, but just states destroying the nation it is imposing itself on top of.
So, what does democracy actually give us when the people demand something (immigration control, Brexit, etc.), and the democratic institutes and the representatives of individuals just ignore what most people want? Well, then we actually have exactly what democracy is, rather than a Polity. Democracy is a corrupted form of the people’s rule. This is why National Populism is rising and asserting real ‘democracy’, and I for one support this rise. (6)
1. ‘Margaret Thatcher: a life in quotes: Key comments from Britain’s first female prime minister’ – by the Guardian:
2. The word economy derives from the Greek Oikonmia, which derives from Oikos (Household) and Nomos (Law, usage, manage).
3. See Aristotle’s Politics, especially that of Book III. and Book V..
4. See Plato’s Republic, especially that of Book I. and Socrates conversation with Thrasymachus.
5. If you want to see two opposing examples, see Trump trying to achieve his wall and how the state is getting in the way of what he was voted in to do, and also see Theresa May of the UK utterly fail to implement the Leave deal which the British people voted for. Example one is the state not listening to its people, while example two is the leader not listening to its people.
6. For an essay on Liberalism’s totalitarian tendencies see my other essay ‘God’s mistake – Liberalism and Totalitarianism’: