It seems to me, that the sophist call for the US to spread “democracy” around the World, shows how foolish and stupefied we have all become. Democracy is no more synonymous with freedom and prosperity than aristocracy, monarchy or even republicanism. They are forms of government, that usually, have a lack of freedom for the individual as their chief attribute. Democracy has an equally horrible track record in this regard as any dictator or oligarch. Aristotle said, “democracy is the tyranny of the majority over the minority” and his sentiments were echoed by the US founding fathers. That is why Ben Franklin, when asked what kind of government the founders had given us, replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” A more correct thing, for America and other freedom loving people around the World to spread, would be capitalism.
Democracy was one of Aristotle’s wrong forms of government. He listed the correct forms of government as, polity, aristocracy and monarchy… and the wrong forms as, democracy, oligarchy and tyranny. The thing the right forms have in common is that they rule for the betterment of all. The wrong forms in that they rule for the benefit of the rulers. Democracy is no different. The size of the oppressor group is superfluous.
If we seek a more peaceful and prosperous World, what we should be spreading, is free market capitalism! It is free market capitalism that has led to the fastest and most widespread prosperity the World has ever seen. The history of Man is one of poverty for the masses and prosperity for the few. Capitalism turns that on it’s head and distributes prosperity, and freedom, to everyone.
Free markets and capitalism requires, as a prerequisite, freedom of the individual. To attempt to have free markets without freedom for the individual is like trying to breathe water. It cannot be done. This is because, for a free market to work, we must be free to live our lives and engage in business. We must be free to win and free to fail. Often it is in failure that we learn to succeed. We must be allowed to take risks and to make our own decisions about our lives, habits and time. We must have room from regulation, to create new paradigms of business, meet new and expanding human needs and wants…and our lives must be our own. Else the free market simply collapses and becomes distributive justice by political favor, the historical norm.
Capitalist systems, and all other economic systems, are by their nature complex systems. Complex systems are systems of individual actors who are independent, diverse, interconnected, able to adapt, interdependent and respond to their local environments. Democracy, being the tyranny of the majority over the minority, undermines some of the basic attributes of a complex system. Tyranny, in all it’s forms, limits the ability of actors to, adapt, eliminates diversity and independence, while increasing interdependency to ridiculous heights. If the complex system of economics is allowed to function, with all it’s warts as well as it’s halos, the lot of Man is improved. If it is undermined, by a man or group seeking it’s own good, above the good of all, the lot of Mankind is lowered.
No system is perfect, but the horrors visited on Mankind, by economic and political systems, that use distributive justice by political favor as their model, have been universally evil. History is littered with the detritus of failed States, mutilated bodies and destroyed families, that used this model. Many had democracy as their cornerstone. But, they sought to distribute the goods of society by political favor, from those with no political power to those with political power… believing it to be more fair. The killing fields of Cambodia, Stalin’s purges, Mao’s famines, mass slaughter of dissidents in communist countries, mass graves, Nazism and other ideologies systematic extermination of people, like Jews, Gypsies, Armenians and others, are outcomes of this pernicious notion, that majority rule is the be all and end all of human existence.
As I have shown, to say that democracy is the highest good, is sophistry. This is self evident once a person takes a long hard look at the underlying logic. It is not to say that every form of government should not have a democratic component, because for a government to be legitimate, it must have the consent of the governed. But it is to say, that democracy in and of itself, is not the final answer, it is more often than not, a means to trick people into empowering an oppressor group, the size of that group being irrelevant to the fact they are despots. If we truly want to improve the lot of Man, and put an end to the inhumanities that have plagued mankind throughout the ages, we must seek to spread capitalism around the World. Capitalism, a system that has led to the unheard of standard of living we enjoy today. A lifestyle that is put at risk, when we fall prey to foolish and sophistic claims, that democracy is the font of all that is good. That is why I say, “We must spread free markets and freedom around the World… if we want peace and prosperity.” If you want poverty and atrocity, however, then democracy is as good a way to go as any.