Rebirth of Reason

The Free Radical

Democracy = Freedom (For The Mob)
by Craig Drayton

As someone who has only recently discovered Objectivism, I recently looked back on my previous thoughts as one of the sheeple, where I accepted many ideas that are commonly thrown around without question. To my horror, I recalled a time where I would have been heard to say that "Communism is a good idea in theory, it just doesnít work in real life," without taking the time to realise that the flaws in its theory are the cause of its failure in the real world. I would have believed that the banning of guns would abolish gun crime, without coming to the obvious conclusion that criminals would not turn in their guns, therefore giving them free reign over the country. But the number one factoid that I never doubted for a second was that democracy is the utmost defender of freedom.

This idea is on the news every night, when the American president rambles on about how the Middle East hate Americaís democratic system out of envy for its freedom. It is drilled into us by the teachers at school, who tell us how great our democracy is when a politician who is corrupt is voted out after having a 3-year term of unrestricted power. I decided that the reason why I thought that democracy was the pinnacle of freedom was that I had looked at the alternatives (at this time, having no knowledge of libertarianism) of dictatorships and monarchies and had come to the conclusion that it was "fairer" that a majority make the decisions rather than a select few. Seeing the deeds perpetrated by many of the dictatorships and communist regimes reinforced this view.

Now that I try to guide my thoughts by reason, I have come to the conclusion that unrestricted democracy can equal or exceed dictatorships in their tyranny. I would use the example of anti-trust laws, the grotesque RMA, and the constant degrading of human rights in democracies worldwide since the 9/11 attacks on America (even with their constitution which was created to stop this from happening).

Democracy first embraces the concept of "society." This is the concept that states that a person is worth more as "part of a society" than as an individual. This is the concept that states that the majority may oppress minorities (of any sort, not solely racial ones) for the "good of the public." This is the concept that embraces altruism as its main principle; that individuals must always sacrifice for the "good of the public." Although the majority is not directly responsible for the legislation degrading human rights, it is through the morals that surround democracy that these acts are passed. The concept that "societyís" interests are paramount over those of the individual is the theme of antitrust laws, taxation, the RMA, laws that ban smoking advertisements, proposed laws that ban fast food advertising and every other act which sacrifices individual rights for the "good of the public."

Another aspect of democracy is the unrestricted power of the mob. In a democracy there are no checks and balances to what can be done by the government aside from the fact that in 3 years the mob may change allegiance if the government does not obey their wishes - which simply places the governments in the pocket of the majority. This means that, directly or indirectly, the majority has the power to effect laws as they wish. With no other restraints on what they can do, a majority can trample whatever rights they see fit. This is not a far-fetched hypothetical situation, as we can see when we try to buy a pistol to defend our own lives, put a sign up on our property or build a deck onto our house.

You may have noticed how I have persisted in writing "society" and "for the public good" in speech marks for this article. This is because of the undefined, fluid nature of these terms. My quest for a better understanding of "society" turns me to the dictionary. A society is defined as: Members of a community whose movements and entertainments and other doings are more or less conspicuous; the socially distinguished, fashionable, leisured, well-to-do and well connected people; and, A social community [no society can retain members who flout itís principles].

So in other words society is the unremarkable, the mundane, those who lack significant individual characteristics. It is the remarkable, the unique, the different that are therefore being sacrificed to this society. Democracy embodies the destruction of the creative, the special, the very essence of the individual.

"For the public good" is a term which is easily pulled apart. For something to be "good" for you it must benefit you in some way. Therefore saying that something is for the "public" good is ridiculous, as the public is not a single entity, but a term used to describe the population of a country. Nothing that "society" would suggest could possibly benefit "the public," only the section of the public who directly benefit from the measures being suggested (usually the mundane "society" as defined above).

When democracy is not limited and restrained by an effective, concrete constitution, it embodies not freedom, but a faceless society. It is the road, not to prosperity, but to a country where having differing "movements and entertainments and other doings" is frowned upon, and illegal, where everyone is applauded not for their talents and characteristics, but how well they match society's image. Democracy leads to countries where every citizen must, by law, be one of the sheeple.

Now that I can see the flaws in my prior thinking I can look at what I was missing, what I never paused to consider. Foremost of these are the rights of the individual. By believing in this system which holds the wishes of the majority first in every aspect of our lives, I was sacrificing our government to a lawbook that could change with the whims of the masses, to trample any individual right the mob wished to abolish. This system is the default preference for the populace, due to the one-sided publicity it receives. For people to recognise the rights of the individual, democracy must be denounced for what it really stands for, and cease to be heralded as the defender of freedom.

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