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Can Democracy Last?

Democracia, El American

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“Democracy was always a bad idea, one that encourages mindless majoritarianism, political pandering, theft, redistribution, war, and an entitlement mentality among supposedly noble voters. It’s an idea whose time has passed, both on a national and international scale. The future of liberty is decentralized and will be led by smaller breakaway nations and regions where real self-determination and the real consensus is not an illusion. Jefferson and Hoppe were right about democracy, but it took Trump and Brexit to show the world how quickly elites abandon it when they don’t prevail.”- Jeff Deist

After hearing the word “Democracy,” many will argue that this is not a Democracy because the people’s voices are not being heard. Others will contend that perhaps the system of Democracy was never great to begin with. It isn’t. Democracy is deeply flawed, and it is because of Democracy that we find ourselves here today.

After the inevitable pearl-clutching that will occur after hearing the sentence “let’s get rid of Democracy,” people will ask if anyone has a better system in mind. Some might suggest a monarchy might be preferable.

After hearing the pros and cons for any other system of government, especially the pros, people often wonder if we have thought through any of these other systems of authority. Sometimes this curiosity is genuine and earnest, other times, it is mocking and arrogant.

Truly, it may be so that we haven’t thought things through, in terms of alternates to democracy. But have we thought democracy through? That word seems to be associated with “good” and “fair,” and “enlightenment;” when perhaps it should not be correlated to those words at all.

Ralph Nader, an American political activist, and attorney, said “The “Democracy Gap’ in our politics and our elections spells a deep sense of powerlessness by people who drop out, do not vote or listlessly vote for the ‘least worst’ every four years and then wonder why after every cycle the least worst, gets worse.”

Is that really what we want? It seems this is the train we are on, but some of us want off. Some of us want to break up with democracy.

Democracy is defined as is a system of government in which power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or through freely elected representatives. Even if your nation does not have a direct democracy, it is still a democracy. People vote, and representatives get elected. Cause, and effect.

This modern form of government supposedly by the people tends to make “the people” and their elected politicians present-oriented. The general thinking changes from “what can we do for the future of our society?” to “what can we do for people now so I’ll have their vote in the next round of elections?”

There is no legacy to be left by any government caretaker, or rarely so. The more a politician does for the future, the less he will be appreciated by his constituents now. Societies that are oriented towards the present, will slow down, or roll back the process of civilization. A politician who racks up debt, need not worry about it. He is borrowing from the future generation; it will no longer be his problem once he is out of office. Nor will it be his family’s problem. S

Some libertarians might find some common ground with monarchists. The monarchists advocating for a ruler where his family has a stake in the flourishing of the nation, or privatization of government where said government entity treats the nation as a business that also needs to look at sustainability, and long-term success. There are, of course, flaws with both of those ideas, but not necessarily more so than with a public government.

We frequently glamourize the idea of Democracy and proudly associate it with ancient Greece. Since we see it as the birthplace of this system of government, often we ignore that another one of Ancient Greece’s great achievements, Philosophy, was highly suspicious of Democracy.

Socrates, one of the founding fathers of Greek philosophy was highly pessimistic about Democracy. He made the analogy to ask: “If you were heading out on a journey by sea who would you ideally want deciding who was in charge of the vessel? Just anyone or people educated in the rules and demands of seafaring?”

In an interesting, and tragic twist of faith, Socrates was also condemned to death in a trial by jury by a slim voting margin, where 500 Athenians were summoned to weigh on his fate on the charges of the philosopher corrupting the youth of Athens with his ideas.

We have given the vote to all without connecting it to that of wisdom. And Socrates knew exactly where that would lead: to a system the Greeks feared above all, demagoguery.

dēmos ‘the people’ + agōgos ‘leading

One of the Founding Fathers of this great nation, John Adams, also made a bleak prediction about democracy: “Remember, Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Perhaps, we have reached that point.

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