Tag Archives: democracy

My theory on democracy

Source: Everything Voluntary
by Skyler J Collins

“While reading the first few pages of Jason Brennan’s Against Democracy recently, the idea came to me (not directly from what I was reading, mind you) that the advent of modern democracy may have been the result of a desire by the landowning class to control the means of expropriation.” (01/09/18)


Technologies of freedom

Source: Cato Unbound
by Will Rinehart

“As I discussed earlier, democracy is an essentially contested concept. Like art, religion, science, and social justice, talk about democracy ‘inevitably involve[s] endless disputes about [the concept’s] proper uses on the part of their users.’ For the internet, talk about democracy has often taken on a revolutionary zeal, and even today, technologies are judged by those emancipatory visions formed at the early stages of internet technology.” (01/03/18)


Democracy as an essentially contested concept

Source: Cato Unbound
by Will Rinehart

“Oftentimes, when we use the term democracy or its adjective form, we are using it a rhetorical shield and sword. Reading all of the essays as a group, W. B. Gallie’s notion of an essentially contested concept comes to mind. As he noted in 1956, there are certain concepts like art, religion, science, democracy, and social justice that are abstract in nature but are nonetheless evaluative. Essentially contested concepts ‘inevitably involve endless disputes about their proper uses on the part of their users.’ In other words, we use the word democracy and either exclude or include elements of it when we want to make a value claim.” (12/21/17)


The fall of democracy

Source: The Anarchist Shemale
by Aria DiMezzo

“While I’m not particularly a fan of any state, as Winston Churchill rightly observed, ‘Democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others.’ While I’d nitpick a bit and point out that we don’t (and have never had) a democracy — we have a republic with universal suffrage — I’m going to use the terms interchangeably, incorrect though it is. This is because most people think we have a democracy, and I don’t want to confuse them unnecessarily. Because it doesn’t matter the nuances of what they consider ‘democracy’ as much as it matters that, regardless of their definition, it’s being undermined across the world.” (10/30/17)


Dysfunctional democracy

Source: Mises UK
by Neil Lock

“It seems to me to be a major failing of democracy that it puts people into these all-or-nothing, polarizing situations. And the results can often be decided by a very slim margin. Last year’s Brexit vote in the UK, and Donald Trump’s election as US president, are examples. In both cases, the losers were (and still are) fuming and scheming. Yet, at least, people did get some kind of say in those decisions. Whereas the Catalan separatists are being denied a voice entirely. … Actually, democracy is often even worse than that. Political parties set out their stalls and their agendas, to tempt those they think are likely to vote for them. And when they get power, they seek to implement these agendas good and hard. Usually, they also do lots of other bad things they didn’t tell us about. Democracy has, in effect, transmuted the out of date doctrine of the ‘divine right of kings to rule’ into a right of politicians and political parties to force their agendas on to people who don’t want them.” (10/09/17)


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)