As I’ve talked about before, The Great Lie of the modern political era is that big government that supports and bails out big banks and corporations is “capitalism,” when in fact that is corporatism, which is capitalism’s opposite.
There is a second Great Lie, perhaps as prevalent as the first one. It is a world-wide, fundamental misunderstanding of the word, “democracy.” This lie/misconception is broken down into three parts:
1. Democracy is the best form of government.
2. Democracy means freedom.
3. The United States was always meant to be a democracy.
All three of these things are false, yet there are probably a billion people in this world who believe otherwise. Let’s tackle each.
Democracy is not the best form of government.
Let’s say you lived in a country where a national election took place. 60% of the population voted that if you drove a blue car, the police would come to your house and chop off one of your fingers.
Let’s assume that the voting system used in the election was one you agreed with. Let’s also say it was 60% who voted for this, instead of 51% which could be within some kind of margin for error.
Is this a good thing? Do people with blue cars deserve to get their fingers removed because the will of the people said so? It’s democracy right? It’s the will of the people, isn’t it? The people have spoken, haven’t they? Does the government have the authority to step in and override the will of the people when they clearly wanted this new law?
We’ll get back to that in a minute.
Since government is a fundamentally corrupt, incompetent, and a coercive system, no form of government is good. However, since I’m a minarchist and not an anarchist, I grudgingly admit that in the real world, human beings like governments. If you waved a magic wand and made all the governments in the world disappear, the very next day people would start getting together and form governments again.
I don’t like that, but as always, I make sure to acknowledge the way the real world works regardless of my personal feelings. Thus, we have to pick a form of government. Our job is to find a form of government that is least bad. Remember that least bad is not the same as good or best. It’s just the least bad.
Few would argue that systems like a dictatorship or communism is better than democracy. I know a few people who would argue that, but these people are thankfully in the minority. So yes, as compared to all of our shitty options, democracy looks least bad. But is it?
No. The least bad government we have invented so far is the constitutional republic. This looks like a democracy, but isn’t. It’s when you vote, but instead of voting for laws, you vote for representatives who you think will vote the way you want them to vote.
More importantly, these representatives can’t vote for anything they want, or even anything their constituents want. There are very strict limits to what they can vote for. They can only vote within the bounds of a document called a constitution. If the constitution of your country says the law must treat all people equally, then these representatives can’t vote to remove the fingers of people with blue cars, even if the vast majority of their constituents wanted them to. A properly functioning constitutional republic often overrides the will of the people, and should.
Is a constitutional republic a good system? No! It’s a terrible system. Eventually these representatives will start ignoring the constitution and doing whatever the hell they want in order to get more votes. This is what happened in the United States.
A constitutional republic sucks… BUT… it is, at least so far, the least bad system of incompetent, corrupt, coercive government we have come up with. This makes it less bad than democracy, which is even worse.
So no, democracy is not the best form of government.
Democracy Doesn’t Equal Freedom
People think democracy equals freedom. Not only is this untrue, but it’s flat out stupid to even believe it.
Take a look at the Index of Economic Freedom, which lists the freest countries in the world, listed in order. The two freest countries in the world that always top this list are Singapore and Hong Kong. In Singapore, the “right” to vote is not officially recognized and most people there are not allowed to vote.[*] In Hong Kong, people can only vote for half of their legislature.[*]
But wait a minute! If democracy equals freedom, how do you explain the fact that the two freest countries in the world are not democracies? How come all the so-called “democracies” in the world are less free than these two non-democracies?
If you want socialism or something close to it, then yes, democracy is what you want. You want to make sure as many people vote as humanly possible, including illegal immigrants, morons, criminals, lazy people who don’t want to work, young people who don’t know much about the real world yet, high school dropouts, and all kinds of other people completely unqualified to manage a large and complex nation. These folks are far more likely to vote for more free stuff from others, i.e. socialism, not freedom.
This is why left-wingers in the US are always screaming about letting criminals and non-citizens vote in elections.
This is why socialist countries like Australia actually require you to vote, by law(!).
This is why big government neoconservatives like George W. Bush pushed hard to bring “democracy” to the Middle East. Did you ever hear Bush or Obama talk about bringing small government, or libertarianism, or a constitutional republic to the Middle East? Of course not. They want a big, giant, unfree government they can control and benefit from, so they want democracy in the Middle East.
If you truly want real freedom for your citizens (and most people don’t), you don’t want a democracy at all. You don’t want to be anywhere near a democracy. If there is any voting going on, you actually want the least amount of people voting. Moreover, you want to do your best to ensure that these people are A) extremely well informed and intelligent, and B) have a vested interest in keeping your country reasonably free (as opposed to socialist, communist, or corporatist). You also want to make sure there is some kind of officially recognized constitution that spells out all the things the government CAN’T do, even if people try to vote for them and scream that they want them.
The United States Never Was, Nor Was Ever Meant to Be, a Democracy
The founding fathers of the United States understood everything I just explained above even better than you or I. They were absolutely terrified of democracy. They knew exactly where it would end up if they went that route, which would be socialism; i.e. people voting for other people’s stuff, which is a direct violation of the freedom and property rights they were so intent on protecting.
Just Google “Founding Fathers Democracy” and look at all the anti-democracy stuff they were saying. Look at this list of quotes here. They absolutely hated democracy, rightly so, because they wanted a free country instead.
There’s a lot of talk about women and black people getting the right to vote in the 20th century, but what most people don’t realize is that when the USA was founded, most white men couldn’t vote. That’s right. Read that again. Most American white men couldn’t vote originally. The founding fathers correctly didn’t want a lot of people voting. Way back then, you had to be a business owner, landowner, or similar in order to vote.
I’m not saying we should go back to that system. I’m saying that if you want a free and prosperous country, you need the minimum amount of people voting. Some people may not like that, but they’ll still be free and prosperous.
I would far rather live in a country where I was not allowed to vote, that was free, prosperous, and had a small government that stayed out of my business, then live in a bloated, unfree, quasi-socialist or corporatist country where I was allowed to vote. Voting rights or freedom… if I was forced to choose just one of these things, I would choose freedom every time.
What’s The Least Bad Way To Do It?
I’m no political genius, and I don’t have all the answers, but if you made me Emperor of the United States for a month, this is how I would restructure our “democracy” so we could be a free and prosperous country again, instead of a bankrupt, warmongering, quasi-socialist, oligarchic, corporatist, semi-police state.
1. Add a clause to the US Constitution that states exactly what happens to any politician or government employee who violates it. The only major problem with our original Constitution is that there was no system in place to punish those who violated it.
I would add an amendment that says something like, “Any politician or government employee at any level of government, up to and including the President, who is found to be enacting any law or engaging in any action that violates this Constitution, shall be immediately and permanently removed from office and shall serve no less than 10 years in a federal prison with no chance of parole or early release.”
Could some politician weasel their way around that? Of course, but we’re talking about government here, so we’re talking about the least bad. Having a clause in the Constitution like this would help a lot more than not having it at all.
2. Remove the right to vote from most of the population. One of the reasons the US has become so screwed up in the last few decades is because we have way too many idiots and irrational ideologues voting in our elections. Here’s how you do it:
A. Require proof of American citizenship in order to vote. No non-citizens are allowed to vote, period. When I move to Argentina or New Zealand someday, I will not expect to be allowed to vote in their elections. This makes perfect sense to me and is not offensive to me in the least. As a matter of fact, I would consider these nations to be a little stupid if they did allow me, a non-citizen, to vote in their elections.
B. Require proof of net contribution to the economy before voting. If you don’t contribute to the economy in some monetary way, you can’t vote. This means you need to be gainfully employed (even if you’re only part time) or have your own business or investment income, pay your own bills, and you can’t be on any form of government assistance.
That means that people like unemployed folks, full time students, stay at home housewives, and single mothers on welfare would not be able to vote, at least until they got jobs (or started businesses that actually made money), assuming they wanted to. And no, they wouldn’t like that (young people have been protesting in Hong Kong for the “right to vote”), but they’d still be more free on the overall and benefiting from a more prosperous society.
C. Require all voters to pass a quick, computerized test right before they cast their vote. The test would ask a few simple questions concerning basic politics (“Who is the Vice President?”), basic world geography (“Find Japan on this world map”), basic economics (“If there is less of a thing, does it cost more or less?”), and basic history (“Who did we fight during World War II?”).
Anyone who fails this test can’t vote, even if you’re an eligible American who is a net economic contributor. Go back home and learn some some basic shit about the world before you start enacting laws that affect the lives of your fellow citizens.
I estimate that enacting these three changes would instantly eliminate 60%-80% of the current voting population from being able to vote. This means that the only people voting would be American citizens who are directly contributing to the economy and who are not complete idiots. This, on top of a new enforceable constitution would make America a much freer and prosperous place, at least over time.
3. Enact one-term term limits on all federal politicians. This means if you become a Senator or the President, you can only do it for one term, and can never run for that office again. Most politicians spend more time fundraising and pandering to get votes rather than voting for what is best for the country. Enacting this change would ensure that more elected officials would vote for what actually works rather than vote for what will get them reelected.
That’s what I would do. Are there problems with this system? Oh yes, many. But again, we’re talking about least bad here.
Democracy sucks. Don’t be fooled.