The fallacy of a democracy or a democratic republic working for what is in the best interest of the majority is the primary issue of this essay. It is one of those things that we just really have not thought much about as we contemplate the potential forms of government. We just assume and have been taught that since government exists that it is the best and fairest method of running a government since all other potential methods are even worse.
We will not even get into the legitimate functions of government as that is an issue of great magnitude and debate. I am going to address the actual principles and realistic elements of Democracy and even though a democracy and a democratic republic are quite different they still employ the basis of a democracy; majority decision making using various levels of plurality from the simple majority 50% + 1 vote to a 2/3’s majority vote for constitutional issues and overriding a veto.
I submit that it is not so much that democracy can or cannot exist, it is that it cannot “effectively” exist in the realm of realistic human behavior. Political compromise, greed, irresponsibility, and ignorance distort the effectiveness and outcome to such a degree that any potential benefits are not only negated but are often times manipulated or exacerbated to the detriment of society. Obviously, democracy exists but it does not work to the benefit of the majority. It’s interesting that we all can see and are experiencing a system that doesn’t appear to be working very well. You speak to anyone and they will tell you many things that they are unhappy with or disagree with the outcome of our so-called democratic process yet the alternatives are even worse. Dictatorships, oligarchies, aristocracies, monarchies, theocracies and various forms of military controls have all yielded horrible results, so modern societies no longer even consider such systems as viable. Democracies have also yielded horrible results over the long run throughout history but what other forms of government are left?
I like to start out by picking on Public Education Schools Teachers, to make my point, since they are placed on the highest pillar of public service for providing such a perceived beneficial service at relatively low wages. Right now at least most of them still have a job. Ask a public school teacher if they would vote for a candidate that supports less government funding from public education. Most parents surveyed, however, would choose private or parochial education if they had the money and some people disrespect public education so much that they are willing to home school despite still having to pay property taxes for public education. The point, however, is that somehow through our Democratic process we as a nation have instituted Public Education based on the primary premise that all children should have access to education, despite the ability of the parent(s) to pay for it. Free education for all children is also the agenda of socialism and communism and is the 10th platform of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and therefore it is an enactment in direct opposition to free enterprise. However, off the tract, this is another one of many facts that dispels the erroneous concept that we are a free market socio-economic system. The majority of the wealthy send their children to private schools, many religious people send their children to parochial schools and many people opt to home school their children so is public education truly a system that was created for and on behalf of the will of the majority and does it truly benefit the majority. And the important aspect of this analysis; did democracy work in the formulation of public education. Remember that
is my premise; that democracy does not nor cannot work for the benefit of the majority.
Remember my premise is that people are either too greedy, too poorly educated, to irresponsible or that political compromise effectively corrupts the democratic process or all of the above.
1. Greed: Of course anybody who is poor is going to welcome public education as that is just one less thing to concern themselves with when considering having children. They can actually have more children than they can afford since other people are going to be contributing
taxes to pay for their children’s education. That is a form of greed or more specifically selfishness as they are willing to take money from others by the force of taxation to pay for their happiness of having children. To the people that can’t or decide not to have children, it is somewhat unfair as they are having to pay for the education of other parents children depriving themselves the use of the money that they must contribute through taxation. Of course, those that are able to pay for private and parochial education must also contribute through the force of taxation to those that have children that they cannot afford to educate which is unfair for them and selfish for those that force others to help support their children. To help others is altruism but to be forced to do it through a system of redistribution of wealth promotes irresponsibility and greed.
Do you think that the individuals working in public education such as the teachers are going to vote for a candidate that supports increased funding for education or decreased funding for education? I have never seen the funding levels of public education cut in my lifetime except when forced to do so by deep recessions when revenue substantially decreases and I must make a point in that the unemployment rate within the public educational system dwarfs that of those creating the wealth in the private sector during these periods which is also unfair to those in the private sector. Once government bureaucracies are institutionalized they are generally treated superior to their counterparts in the private sector from a job security standpoint which contributes to the poor performance by the system.
2. Ignorance: Let face it just because a person has the right to vote does not mean that they have a great enough understanding of the issues to make the right vote for the right candidate. I think being greedy is ignorant and I think a school teacher that votes for what is in their own best interest is both greedy and ignorance as they should be voting for what is in the best interest of the majority. If they do vote for something that is truly in the best interest of the majority and it happens to benefits you that is another story but that is not the case for many, many people. Do military contractors vote for candidates that promise less military spending? Do wind turbine manufacturers vote for candidates that want to decrease government subsidies for wind power? Do the elderly vote for candidates that want to increase or decrease benefits to the elderly. Are you starting to see the pattern? If people are voting for their own greater access to the public treasury, those candidates that promise greater government expenditures are going to get elected and those candidates which are attempting to do what in the best interest of the majority is not going to get elected. The potential benefits of a true democracy are negated. Why do you think that I can prove that almost every politician in my lifetime has lied on their campaign promises include our current President. Why do you think that government expenditures are at the level they are and that we finally ran out of ways to fund these $multi-trillion deficits. We even tried repealing old socialistic enactment like the Glass Stegall Act that allowed in a bit of competition back in the market but we were so far in the red that nothing could save the system from the recent meltdown. Voting for what is in your own best interest when it is not in the best interest of the majority is greed and as you can see greed and ignorance go hand and hand.
3. Political Compromise: Now throw in the deal-making of the politicians as they attempt to get support for their favored bill and you get the, I’ll vote for your bill if you vote for my bill even though each wouldn’t vote for the others bill if they hadn’t made the deal. So elected representatives are making deals and trying to give everyone what they want through the redistribution of wealth system. We have gotten what we deserve. Tax rates greater than the medieval surfs that has either bankrupted our manufacturing base or forced them to offshore jurisdictions. And let’s not forget the largest federal deficit in the history of the world.
4. Irresponsibility: Several things must be said that are going to ruffle some feathers in that we are all guilty of irresponsibility and ignorance for what has happened to our country. We have not been able to form a substantive alliance among the Citizens of our country to alter our course and that is a direct reflection on our greed, ignorance, and irresponsibility. In my opinion ignorance in what Von Mises called political economy and I call socio-economics is the single most important factor affecting our society. We are always going to have to deal with those that are greedy but knowing how to deal with that type individual is also a part of the socio-economic understanding. Those that do not educate themselves in this area should not vote and those that promote others to vote when their competency levels are not great enough should be chastised. There are a number of other reasons, but I believe that these reasons alone provide enough for us to recognize that neither a democracy or democratic republic can work.
The advocates of the Austrian/libertarian economic model have detailed over the last century what is happening today, what was going to happen and not only did they tell you this, those like Dr. Ron Paul, Robert Higgs, the late Murray Rothbard, and Milton Friedman, and many many others told you what had to be done to stop this from happening. I suggest you start reading and listening to what they wrote and said more closely. And do me a great favor, stop listening to the politicians and financial pundits on TV and from the main press as they are for the most bought and paid for.