- Democracy is vastly overrated. It’s not like the consensus of a bunch of friends agreeing to see the same movie. Most often, it boils down to a kinder and gentler variety of mob rule, dressed in a coat and tie. The essence of positive values like personal liberty, wealth, opportunity, fraternity, and equality lies not in democracy, but in free minds and free markets where government becomes trivial. Democracy focuses people’s thoughts on politics, not production; on the collective, not on their own lives.
- Although democracy is just one way to structure a state, the concept has reached cult status; unassailable as political dogma. It is, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, “a surrogate faith for intellectuals deprived of religion.” Most of the founders of America were more concerned with liberty than democracy. Tocqueville saw democracy and liberty as almost polar opposites.
- Democracy can work when everyone concerned knows one another, shares the same values and goals, and abhors any form of coercion. It is the natural way of accomplishing things among small groups. But once belief in democracy becomes a political ideology, it’s necessarily transformed into majority rule. And, at that point, the majority (or even a plurality, a minority, or an individual) can enforce their will on everyone else by claiming to represent the will of the people.
- The only form of democracy that suits a free society is economic democracy in the laissez-faire form, where each person votes with his money for what he wants in the marketplace. Only then can every individual obtain what he wants without compromising the interests of any other person. That’s the polar opposite of the “economic democracy” of socialist pundits who have twisted the term to mean the political allocation of wealth.
- A useful chart of the political spectrum would look like this: A libertarian believes that individuals have a right to do anything that doesn’t impinge on the common-law rights of others, namely force or fraud.
- Politics has always been a way of redistributing wealth from those who produce to those who are politically favored. As H.L. Mencken observed, every election amounts to no more than an advance auction on stolen goods, a process few would support if they saw its true nature.
- The United States has evolved from the land of the free and the home of the brave to something more closely resembling the land of entitlements and the home of whining lawsuit filers. The founding ideas of the country, which were highly libertarian, have been thoroughly distorted. What passes for tradition today is something against which the Founding Fathers would have led a second revolution.
- Politics is the institutionalization of envy, a vice which proclaims “You’ve got something I want, and if I can’t get one, I’ll take yours. And if I can’t have yours, I’ll destroy it so you can’t have it either.” Participating in politics is an act of ethical bankruptcy.
- I’m not intimating, incidentally, that people disinvolve themselves from their communities, social groups, or other voluntary organizations; just the opposite since those relationships are the lifeblood of society. But the political process, or government, is not synonymous with society or even complementary to it. Government is a dead hand on society.