Monday, July 11, 2005

Democracy: Succubus of the State

Now that U.S. military intervention has “brought democracy to Iraq” (see this blog by “an Iraqi who is excited about a new democratic Iraq), maybe it’s time for radical libertarians to finally disassociate themselves from democracy (and the Libertarian Party that defends it) once and for all.

The late Edward Abbey once said, “The best cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.” I guess even Abbey, who sits in my pantheon of extraordinary writers and anarchists, talked out of his ass occasionally.

The best cure for the ills of democracy is no democracy, no matter what Ed Abbey or even LP hacks tell you.

The first balls-out libertarian annihilation of the democracy myth I remember came from Samuel Edward Konkin III, long before Hoppe’s great Democracy: The God That Failed. In a piece titled “Democracy: Succubus of the State” (New Libertarian, April-June 1980), Sam wrote that the problem with partyarchs (political, voting libertarians) was their false assertion that democracy is “partially free” and a stepping-stone from greater statism to lesser statism (i.e., lesser freedom to greater freedom). Nothing, Sam said, was further from the truth:

“Regardless of any arguments that a change to democracy increases (or decreases) freedom, the State remains. Thus, the question of who gains (cui bono) by increasing democracy is a question of what statists gain? The small shifts in liberty for the oppressed, productive class are incidental. Of course, the productive class may perceive an illusory gain of freedom by supporting one set of rulers (more democratic) over a second set — and that letting the democratic statists expand liberty is less costly than revolting. ...

“Every increase of suffrage was followed by an extension of State power — not a decline. Most often, the greatest State oppression of all was unleashed: war. Women’s suffrage arose from the need to co-opt women in the service of the State in World War I. Black ‘civil rights’ were expanded as Black Americans became disproportionately numerous in the Imperial forces in Viet Nam; the voting age was lowered then as well. ...

The prime reason for granting of democracy by the State is to maintain the State. As every libertarian knows, to maintain the State is to suppress liberty. ...

“The enemy is within as well as without. Our enemy, the Party. Our enemy, Democracy. Our Enemy, The State.

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4 Comments:

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Brad Warbiany said...

I've posted about this here and here. To often, we think that western-style society, with the rule of law, respect for individual rights, etc, is due to "democracy". Democracy is only one check on totalitarianism, a constitutional limit on state power is much more important (if that Constitution isn't ignored, as ours is)...

 
At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Greg Fisher. Oz. said...

BRAD-well said! Wazza- I am reminded of a comment by Murray Rothbard "Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practise". This hit me like satori (literally 'kick in the eye' OR blinding realization.) regards.

 
At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Waumpuscat said...

One fool can ask questions that only ten fools will deem worth answering. Seek wisdom in wise questions.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous k.d. said...

I don't think anyone ever said what democracy is plainer, clearer, or simpler than Ben Franklin,
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"

 

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