Democracy Will Win, The People Will Lose

In our society “democracy” is a universally positive concept. Many people use it synonymously with freedom. Tyranny and democracy do not go together. It is remarkable that this positive image can continue to prevail, despite the fact that most people are ready to admit that there is a lot that is going wrong in politics.

The main reason that people seem to continue to promote democracy is that they cannot possibly imagine a better alternative to the system. But why are we so willing to accept the popular claim that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others? After all it has brought about some truly bad results. The Nazis, one of the most criminal regimes in human history, came to power in a democratic system. Right now, we have a number of truly ugly governments in power, who have the blessing of the voters, from Erdogan in Turkey to Putin in Russia, Orbán in Hungary and Duda in Poland, to name just the most obvious. All these governments won in fair elections.

And then of course there is the current election in the US. As I am writing this, it is not clear who is going to win this election circus, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Whoever it may be, democracy will have won in the end. Whoever it may be will have come to power with the blessings of the voters.

And that is saying a lot. As before every election, we get the usual ‘this time is the most important election ever’ mantra. I have never bought into that, but I have to say, even to me this time seems a bit different. The wisdom of the crowds has narrowed the realistic choices for the oval office down to two candidates who are so awful that even their supporters often cannot praise them with a straight face. In fact, this election, the vast majority of people seem to vote mainly against the other candidate rather than for someone.

I was surprised to see that even a libertarian like Penn Jillette came out openly saying that he is going to vote for Hillary Clinton, a candidate that he admits he has no agreements with. His vote for Clinton is purely a desperate attempt to keep Trump out of the White House. I cannot even blame him.

This absurd situation is fundamentally the result of a democratic system at work. No one can seriously say that there is something undemocratic about the awful and dangerous situation that the American people find themselves in. And yet, I hardly hear anyone seriously questioning the legitimacy of this evil charade.

That is remarkable, since it does not seem difficult to imagine a better alternative. What about liberty? What about just accepting the idea that people have unalienable rights to their life, liberty and property? What more do we need than that to organise a very attractive society for everyone? There is no need for a government to constantly change the law. All we need is a legal system that enforces these rights. All the details of life that need sorting out can be better arranged by free contracts between the people involved in the decisions, rather than a one size fits all top down government.

But no, unfortunately, liberty is not an option for most people. Or worse, they are so confused that they think liberty is what democracy is. They rather think that this absurd situation of having the choice between Trump and Hillary, having Erdogan, Putin, Orbán and Duda telling them what to do with their lives is the absolute best they can do. That is sad, but I don’t see this changing soon. That means that unfortunately, as ever in fair elections, democracy will win and the people are fucked.

  3 comments for “Democracy Will Win, The People Will Lose

  1. Nov 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

    But the alternative is not so simple. Let’s start with a hypothetical question – “what, Nico? Do you mean we stop having Presidents?”

    • Nico Metten
      Nov 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

      We get rid of the office. In my view we should get rid of the whole state. But if you think there needs to be a monopoly on power, at least get rid of the legislature. In this country you already have an alternative to the government, which is common law. Law is found in cases in the court room. What more do you need?

  2. Paul Marks
    Nov 8, 2016 at 10:40 am

    If most people really wanted smaller government, less government spending and so on, they could have it – they really could.

    Indeed if most people wanted an end to taxation (not just lower taxes – no taxes) they could vote for that. They could vote for candidates who supported that.

    But look what happens to smaller government candidates – for example Ted Cruz suggested getting rid of Five Federal Government Departments and many Federal Government Agencies. He did not even get his nomination of his party – because smaller government is not what even Republican Primary voters actually want.

    Crying that democracy had betrayed “the people” is silly – these candidates (Trump and Clinton) are what the PEOPLE (most people) have produced. If anything some people wanted a more radical collectivist – such as “Bernie” Sanders.

    Complaining about democracy is really saying “most people are no good” – which may be true, but it is not a cheerful note.

    Let us hope that most people at some point finally “wise up” and understand that ever-bigger-government makes-things-worse.

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