Re: Down With Democracy?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 09:16:35 MDT

Miriam English wrote:
> >Imagine a world government, democratically elected according to the
> >principle of one-man-one-vote on a world wide scale. What would the probable
> >outcome of an election be? Most likely, we would get a Chinese-Indian
> >coalition government.
> This is an appeal to xenophobia. In his eyes the worst we could do is give
> "them" any power over "us". Of course if the logic of his statement is
> followed properly, when "they" have democratic societies then "they" are
> "us" and we share responsibility in a world together, but he has no
> interest in this. He wants to divide people and use xenophobia to make
> democracy look like a bad idea: "they" can't possibly use votes sensibly,
> so should never be allowed.

Well, look at what they've done with what they've got so far. If one's
trust rating is to be based in past behavior, they just don't qualify.
As I've spoken frequently here, truly free societies can only exist
where there is high trust between individuals. When high trust societies
absorb large low trust groups into their electorate, the trust quotient
is diluted and freedom suffers. Nations like India and China are
relatively low trust societies (as is much of the world), so making our
freedom subject to their vote at this point in time is simply asking to
be enslaved. Give them time to 'grow up', they may eventually get to a
point where they attain higher trust levels.

Your conclusions are based on a stasist point of view, assuming that a)
Hitchins never wants such a world, or cannot fathom a future high trust
world, and b) you yourself are assuming that those countries could never
attain high trust societies. It is you who are assuming the 'them' vs
'us' dichotomy to be a permanent condition, so the 'fascism' is in your
own mind.

> >And what would this government most likely decide to
> >do in order to satisfy its supporters and be reelected? The government would
> >probably find that the so-called Western world had far too much wealth and
> >the rest of the world, in particular China and India, had far too little,
> >and hence, that a systematic wealth and income redistribution would be
> >called for.
> There are very good arguments for wealth redistribution.

There are never any good arguments for wealth distribution by force.

> He is not
> interested in them. He wants to scare people into thinking that democracy
> is somehow equated with the idea that "they" could come and take "our"
> wealth away. In actual fact raising the rest of the world towards the level
> of wealth of the developed world would more likely make the developed world
> even richer. I won't go into those arguments here.

You don't make the rest of the world richer by taking away everything
that we have. That is a zero sum worldview typical of lefties who don't
understand economics.

> >Or imagine, for your own country, that the right to vote were
> >expanded to seven year olds. While the government would not likely be made
> >up of children, its policies would most definitely reflect the 'legitimate
> >concerns' of children to have 'adaequate' and 'equal' access to 'free'
> >hamburgers, lemonade, and videos.
> Here he uses an absurd scenario to bolster his argument. It draws upon
> people's biases again. Many people automatically think that children are
> totally irresponsible (the Lord Of The Flies syndrome). I am continually
> amazed at how quickly people forget how they thought when they were
> children. For a year I managed Awaba, a virtual world for Australian kids.
> I decided to make it an experiment in anarchy and laid out the ground rules
> early on that there be no laws. There was only one guiding principle: that
> people try not to upset each other. What I found was that the kids were
> very responsible, helpful, and mature. We had kids as young as 5 years old
> coming into the world and building and interacting with other kids.
> Problems were extremely rare.

Only because those who are of a bullying and taking nature were not
interested in playing your 'pinhead' games. They were already out
shaking down and ripping off adults in the real world. Designed
societies work very well in most instances when there is a preexisting
filter that somehow rigorously excludes bad elements.

> Hoppe's sneering attitude to kids and other groups underlines much of what
> he says in his article.
> >One-man-one-vote combined with 'free entry' into government - democracy -
> >implies that every person and his personal property comes within reach of -
> >and is up for grabs by - everyone else.
> Leaving aside the fact that very few places in the world have
> one-man-one-vote -- most have some kind of inequitable vote distribution
> built into the system. (But it is better than no vote... and I firmly
> believe getting better.)
> Anyway, leaving that aside, he never really shows how democracy has
> anything to do with his demon of "them" grabbing what "we" have. He thinks
> that by giving people the chance to vote for self-determination the first
> thing that they will do is steal from their neighbor. He has a very low
> opinion of people, and he shows that time and time again throughout the
> article.

Outside of the US, it has been more the rule than the exception that to
varying degrees, you always get 51% of the people voting to tax 49% of
the people more than the rest (it even occurs here). Since time
immemorial, it has always been the rule in democratic systems that this
was the fatal flaw: that the game was over when the masses figured out
how to vote themselves bread and circuses.

> Democracy is not the same thing as socialism, and neither of those are the
> same as communism. Giving people the right to have a say in their own
> future instead of being ruled by "those that know better" doesn't mean that
> the world reverts to pure communism. To equate democracy and communism is
> either sloppy or intentionally deceptive.

Tyranny of the majority in a low trust society will always result in the
growth of influence of communist/socialist groups.

> >A 'tragedy of the commons' is
> >created. It can be expected that majorities of 'have-nots' will relentlessly
> >try to enrich themselves at the expense of minorities of 'haves'.
> Gee, he is *sooo* paranoid. He really has a fixation that the poor will
> come and take away his goodies and keeps harping on this.
> In the past, the only time such uprisings have happened is when the rich
> have put the bulk of people into servitude and turned themselves into
> wealthy parasites. However it sounds just like the sort of system he wants,
> so in a funny way he would be correct in his paranoia that they would
> rebel, and come and take his stuff away.

On the contrary, in the US, we doubled the franchise to women in 1919,
and less than 20 years later we instituted the largest redistribution of
wealth to the poor in world history. In the 1960's, we instituted the
Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, and within a decade the welfare
state had expanded to encompass more than 20% of our populace in
permanent idolence that would perpetrate through three generations.

You are correct on one account: the senior citizens have enslaved the
productive citizens here.

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