Society

There’s nothing inherently good about democracy

The purpose of this article is to address the popular misconception that a democratic government is always the best form of government. This misconception is typically based upon the notion that the sharing of power amongst everyone as evenly as possibly is the only moral arrangement of power in society. This is interestingly one of the few appeals left to morals in our modern time, and it should come as no surprise that it is a malformed one.

In antiquity, democracy was generally considered the worst of all forms of government because it produced the least social stability and the most radical shifts of power. It was so much looked down upon that it was considered a given that a democracy would after a generation, decay into tyranny. The most thoughtful writers of antiquity understood that the best and most stable form of government was some kind of fusion between monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, so that the defects of each could balanced and checked. This was the plan and design of the United States Constitution by the Founding Fathers. They in no way were attempting to create a pure democracy, where the will of the masses would overpower all prudence and reason.

This is why they initially restricted voting to land owning men because at the time they were perceived as the only people who would responsibly use the power of the ballot. This is also why they created the electoral college so that the mass of men would not choose the President directly, but rather would choose the ablest men of their localities to gather for such an important decision. They understood that liberty is not increased simply because more people have more power, but that liberty is at a maximum when society is most properly ordered and harmoniously arranged, especially so that the most virtuous people would be able to rise up. Therefore, they understood that granting excessive power to the masses beyond what was necessary to produce the best government would actually reduce freedom and liberty, as we see happening today.

It was actually the communist ideology which in the mid-19th century began to posit the idea that the ultimate cause of social evil was simply that certain people had more power than others. The proposed solution was to at all costs equalize power amongst everyone regardless of virtue, capability or skill. It is really from this origin that the modern understanding of democracy as the best form of government and the moral form of government has its place. Ironically, in the communist scheme of society, liberty and freedom is at an absolute minimum.

It seems this entire shift centers around a change in the concept of fairness, which is inherently a moral concept. The traditional concept of fairness is that each person receives what they justly earned. Thus, unfairness in this traditional understanding would constitute being paid more for giving no additional value, being elevated to a social position without having the merit or virtue for such responsibility, and imposing taxation so that people who contribute nothing can live off another’s labor.

The modern conception of fairness is that everyone has the same thing and where this proves impossible it is acceptable they may end up with different things as long as they have “the same opportunity.” Thus, all the instances of unfairness in the traditional conception are in fact necessary means to satisfy the modern conception. When this modern conception is applied to voting, no matter how terrible the results are of the government that it produces, as long as everyone had the right to vote then in the bewildered minds of the masses: justice was served and liberty remains intact. In reality, as the sagacious writers of antiquity would have predicted, it is not justice and liberty that is produced from this process, but tyranny and chaos.