Tag Archives: democracy

Realism about democracy

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
by Donald J Boudreaux

"What's the point of democracy? Is it an end in itself? Or is democracy a means to a higher end, such as preserving individual liberty? America's history seems unequivocal that the Founders did not promote democracy because they had a fetish for group decision-making or distrusted markets. Instead, they believed in democracy as the form of government least likely to lead to tyranny." (09/19/17)


Minarchism, anarchism, and democracy: A shared challenge

Source: Notes on Liberty
by Rick Weber

"Minarchism — basically as small a government as we can get away with — is probably the most economically efficient possible way to organize society. A night watchman state providing courts of last resort and just enough military to keep someone worse from taking over. The trouble (argues my inner anarchist) is that if we’ve got a government — an organization allowed to force/forbid behaviors — we’re already on the slippery slope to abuse of powers through political trading. Without an entrenched culture that takes minarchism seriously it’s only a matter of time before a) the state grows out of control and you’re no longer in a minarchist Utopia, or b) a populace unwilling to do their part allows violent gangs to fill the power vacuum." (09/11/17)


Anarchism without anarchy

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"In my lead essay, I approached our topic as if it was a foregone conclusion that anarchism should be understood in terms of the pursuit of anarchy, however lengthy or perhaps even interminable that pursuit might be. But for those who champion a 'pure,' 'true' or 'direct' democracy as the political goal of anarchists, thorny problems are sometimes 'solved' by simply setting the concept of anarchy aside and defining anarchism in terms of a certain number of practical reforms to be achieved and a certain range of existing institutions to be abolished. Obviously, for an anarchism without anarchy, the considerations would be very different from those I addressed in my opening comments, but could such a construction of anarchism really be considered a revolutionary alternative? I want to consider some of what is at stake here." (07/17/17)


The problem of pluralism isn't real

Source: Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Jason Brennan

"Many political theorists believe that democratic theory faces a puzzle or paradox. Democracy is supposed to answer to the differing worldviews, opinions, perspectives, and considered judgments of its citizens. But, we’re told, the polity has intractable value and perspective pluralism — citizens have myriad incompatible comprehensive worldviews and value systems. So we face the Puzzle of Pluralism: How can we pass any laws or even offer judgments about what is just or unjust, without thereby disrespecting our fellow citizens and running roughshod over their different worldviews?" (07/10/17)


Social, but still not democratic

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"As long as there has been something called 'anarchism,' anarchists have been struggling to define it — and, as often as not, they have been in struggle against other self-identified anarchists. At this point in our history, this seems both hard to deny and pointless to regret. These are not battles that can be won 'once and for all,' since the struggle over meaning is just essentially the process by which meaning is made. That means that there is an element of futility to this sort of debate, but not the sort that would ever let us withdraw from the fight." (07/02/17)


Politics and anarchist ideals

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Jessica Flanagan

"A fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists do not assume that public officials are any more morally entitled to use force or to threaten people with violence than anyone else. Anarchists therefore argue that officials are not entitled to enforce borders that prevent people with different birthplaces from associating with each other, for example. Or that officials are not entitled to force everyone to participate in a particular collective project that some may reject. In this sense, as Grayson English notes in this symposium, anarchism and democracy have a similar spirit, to the extent that democracy also denies that certain people have a greater entitlement to participate in political rule than others. Another fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists generally think that it is very difficult to justify the violation of a non-liable person’s natural rights, such as rights against force and coercion. For this reason, anarchists think that all people are equally required to refrain from using violence or coercing their compatriots. It is on this point that democrats and anarchists part ways." (06/18/17)


Anarchism as radical liberalism: Radicalizing markets, radicalizing democracy

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Nathan Goodman

"Classical liberalism emerged as a radical ideology, challenging the status quo of monarchy, mercantilism, religious tyranny, and the ancien regime. The liberals promoted two ideals, markets and democracy, as alternatives to the old despotisms. Yet markets and democracy seemed to be at odds, leaving liberals advocating a middle of the road compromise between the two. Left-liberals favored a broader role for democracy and a narrower role for markets, while right-liberals (more often called conservatives or libertarians) favored a broader role for markets and a narrower role for democracy. Across the spectrum, they agreed that democracy and markets were at odds to at least some extent. This left an opening for radicals to propose radicalizing the commitment to one liberal ideal by abolishing the other." (06/16/17)


Demolish the demos

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Grayson English

"There has long been a certain kind of democratic spirit in anarchism. … to speak about anarchism publicly requires speaking to public interests, and calling for the severance of society from the state in public language fits most naturally with calls for democracy, the independent self-government of society. It is probably easy to understand, then, why so eminent an anarchist thinker as David Graeber would content himself with the conclusion that 'anarchism and democracy are — or should be — largely identical (Possibilities, 330).' If we wish to maintain society without the state, isn’t self-organization and self-governance the obvious solution? Such an approach might be sensible if equality of authority were our only demand." (06/14/17)


On democracy as a necessary anarchist value

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"The real reason for the unwillingness of most scholars to see a Sulawezi or Tallensi village council as 'democratic' — well, aside from simple racism, the reluctance to admit anyone Westerners slaughtered with such relative impunity were quite on the level as Pericles — is that they do not vote. Now, admittedly, this is an interesting fact. Why not? If we accept the idea that a show of hands, or having everyone who supports a proposition stand on one side of the plaza and everyone against stand on the other, are not really such incredibly sophisticated ideas that they never would have occurred to anyone until some ancient genius 'invented' them, then why are they so rarely employed? Again, we seem to have an example of explicit rejection. Over and over, across the world, from Australia to Siberia, egalitarian communities have preferred some variation on consensus process. Why?" (06/12/17)


Anarchy and democracy: Examining the divide

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"If we had the luxury of sticking to the philosophical terrain, the question of distinguishing anarchy and democracy would, it seems to me, pose very few problems. Certainly, it would be unlikely to pose the persistent, seemingly intractable problems that it does at present. Anarchy describes the absence of rule, while democracy describes rule by 'the people,' and it seems fairly uncontroversial to maintain that the two concepts fall on opposite sides of a divide marked by the existence of rule, of archy, however narrow that divide might sometimes appear. On the two sides of that divide, relations are structured according to two distinct, opposing principles of social organization." (06/06/17)