Saturday, September 24, 2011

Democracy Contradicts Freedom

Discussing an interesting post with the host, I just figured out specifically why I hate politics and want it to die. Freedom antecedently requires security, and democracy contradicts political security.

That's one thing I mean by, 'solved problem.' It should be a constant background I can rely on; individual political facts should not be rugs that could be yanked out from under me at any moment. Further, it should not be solved to my obvious detriment; political facts should not be hazards I need to avoid. My supermarket manages to survive without threatening me. Why can't politicians?

(Insight! Spoiler: found a heuristic. Nearly everyone who promises disaster proves themselves corrupt - they're essentially an intellectual mugger. Will post more Monday.)

Freedom, ultimately, is a subjective state, where you feel free. This does not mean, however, that arbitrary conditions can lead to this feeling - on the contrary, freedom requires very specific and intuitive conditions, assuming only your brain is functioning nominally. You can't simultaneously worry you might be mugged if you go outside and feel free. You can't simultaneously worry about a new tax crippling your business and feel free.

Being specific, freedom imply powers over objects, and the lack of power of other humans over you. These are the conditions that lead to the feeling of freedom. But without security, objects will decay from weather, animals, and thieves. Without security, someone will try to conquer you, and since you have no security, they'll succeed. (Indeed they try because they expect success.) Without security, you end up with as a slave with no objects. You can measure your security to the extent you're not a slave and can expect your e.g. wallet to be where you think you left it.

Democracy contradicts freedom because it repudiates security.
Democracy repudiates security because democracy is constituted by the totalitarian ability of the People/Majority to change the law.
There is no reason to expect they won't change most things, and empirically, democracies have constantly fluctuating 'laws.'
This is predictable because democracies, like all kratocracies, are based on legitimizing forms of coercion.

All extant democracies are totalitarian. Formally speaking, the people are allowed to vote for whatever they want. They can repeal the constitution, and they can 'amend' any 'human rights' declarations, arbitrarily.

Insofar as the extant entities called 'democracies' are democratic, the people have the power to pull that rug out from under me at any time. People are fickle so they habitually do exactly that. This is simply empirical fact.

But - to pursue deductive support - why would I expect that majorities won't shift? The majority is defined by who votes. Who votes changes, what voters think changes. Not only is it empirically true that democratic 'laws' will be in constant flux, but there is no deductive reason to think they'll be constrained. Heck, they'll change just because the people realize they screwed up the first time and try again.

However, as should be obvious, I should not pursue theory to the detriment of reality. The things called 'democracies' are not particularly sensitive to what their populations want. Perhaps in practice they're better?

Well, empirically the laws still change all the time. 'Lawmaker' is a synonym for 'politician' and that in itself is epistemically sufficient. Economic health does not need a thriving lawmaking industry. Indeed the opposite - wealth is created when laws are simplified. Every time security of property can be maintained but the legal overhead decreased, everyone wins. Except democratic governments, apparently.

To see this from another angle, analyze it as an argument for freedom and against Acton's 'power corrupts.' Our ancestors gave the people ultimate power and they outlawed slavery, they didn't expand it. They didn't try to repeal the constitution, and grant themselves unlimited formal power - it took a couple individuals, Hoover and FDR, to repeal it, and even still presidents have to pretend the constitution hasn't been repealed: the repealation was informal. (Actually...not 'gave.' The people took power because the previous holders essentially decided not to resist.) You find out what someone is really like if you give them power and make them unaccountable. Turns out people are pretty much as they seem...they like morality, but dislike change, are a bit lame, are shortsighted, make lots of mistakes...but ultimately, try to do better each time. In fact there are deductive constraints on how democratic law changes...but also, deductive constraints on it staying the same. Shockingly, human behaviour is usually intuitive. Gee, how did that happen. Who expected humans to know what a human is like? How could they possibly know that?

Democracy repudiates security ultimately because it does not respect property, and instead considers coercion legitimate. Security creates property - if you can't secure a thing, you can't expect to control it, and you don't own it in any sense. Conversely, securing a thing means nobody else can expect to control it. This should be obviously true now I've pointed it out. Democracy is constituted by the 'right' of the People to take that property from you at any time. Democracy is constituted purely by a direct threat to property.

There is an unpatchable hole in your security to the extent you actually live in a democracy, which means you and thus insofar as you live in a democracy, which means you cannot be free to the extent you live in a democracy.

Freedom requires security. Security requires stable laws. Democracy is constituted by the ability of the People to change the law.

Quod erat demonstrandum, motherfuckers.

Democracy is the opposite of freedom and yet people wonder why I accuse them of sophistry. Why did I have to figure this out myself? Surely someone noticed before I did? Why haven't I ever heard of them? Why isn't refuting them a central pillar of every demotist? Why isn't there a noticeable minority of demo-skeptics, like atheists or IDists or racists or post-modernists or monarchists or dualists or flat-earthers? Heck, people doubt everything under the sun, except, apparently, that democracy is freedom.

I guess believing things are their opposites is trendy these days.

Update: Looks like it's not just me. (HT) Though, with philosophy you can discover this result is likely before it has become a disaster, rather than having to wait till after. Still, more data is always great.

Up 2: (HT, emphasis mine.) "Many non-libertarians are convinced democracy needs fixing but find no problem with the fundamental democratic principles themselves. Our book refutes those notions. Democracy is the opposite of freedom" Same deal. Without philosophy, proof is book length. With philosophy, proof isn't. Confirmation is still super cool and awesome and stuff.

I should mention the drawbacks. Getting the logic complete and correct is highly non-trivial. The number one cause of bad philosophy is failure to think in straight lines, and the almost indistinguishable second is failing to include all relevant lines. If you want your philosophy to actually predict and therefore replace books length proofs, you have to do it like you really, really mean it.

This particular proof was the result of literally years of desultory searching, and follows multiple failed attempts.


rightsaidfred said...

Plenty of democracy critics out there. The brand is losing market share every day as the long term problems manifest.

What's your alternative?

Alrenous said...

Yeah, I overstepped.

I mean to say is that nobody says that democracy isn't what demotists think it is. Aside from Moldbug, very few seem even care that extant democracies insulate themselves from voters as much as possible. Monarchists content democracy is worse, for example, not that it isn't even what it says it is.

I'll accept any alternative that doesn't require legitimizing coercion.

I'm personally in favor of radically strong property rights and contract law, fundamentally based on natural right. Second, Moldbug is more or less correct about military sovereignty, but neglects moral legitimacy and the power of banks.

Much like the Dutch had a massively powerful economy when they used a 100% hard money standard, I think the first civilization to have a non-contradictory moral system will end up shockingly stable.

Using moral legitimacy, I think the military and the banks can be balanced against each other. It depends on how sheep-like people actually are. If they're too ready to be herded, no force on earth can stop a shepherd from taking advantage of them.

rightsaidfred said...

Yes, feedback loops are critical.

But, BUT, what about the hackers? All systems can be hacked, so we need eternal vigilance, but then the vigil is hacked. Sigh.

Alex J. said...

Some time ago, I read through the Green party platform. There were two planks which stuck with me, one for Economic Democracy and one for Religious Democracy. The bit about economic democracy was that the 500 largest corporations should be nationalized and their boards set by congress. The bit about religious democracy was that all individuals should be free to choose their own religious beliefs and practices.

Well, which is it?

Alrenous said...

A suitably objective moral system shouldn't be hackable. If there's a right and wrong answer, then all hacks can be shown as wrong.

But this is just another way of saying it depends on the people's sheeplike qualities. If they're willing to walk the walk and not just talk outrage, then...shockingly stable. If not, then, well, fuck it: if they want a master so bad, then I can't condemn anyone for bidding for the top spot.