Monday, July 16, 2012

Democracy is the Opposite of Itself

Having written that you can find democracy, or freedom, but never both, I now look for indications I could be wrong.

Alan Macfarlane defines what he means by democracy. (Pathway.)
"Voting is a little bit of it, but it is the end product. [...]
In general it means a freedom to discuss, to talk about what you want to talk about. To act and to participate in running your own life. To form into organizations. And generally to take control of your life."
I must admit, by this definition, we live in a highly democratic society.

You may have noticed it is monotonically becoming less democratic, and has been since about 1830. Possibly since 1651, though I don't have good data about these periods. (Specifically I don't have enough to check for contradictions.) However, Macfarlane himself has furnished me with information showing that the democratic culture in England, as judged by this definition, goes back almost a thousand years. It seems he read Gregory Clark and was even able to extend the thesis.

Predictably, I blame voting. My proof holds - voting makes it legal to change discussion, self-direction, and association to be illegal, and every year more of these things indeed become illegal. Most recently, the freedom of American to associate with medical insurance companies has been outlawed, and they may no longer run this part of their life.

This may not seem to sit well with my belief that voting doesn't do anything. My habit of choosing words carefully saved me here - though I wish I'd remembered it in the article about voting. Voting does nothing for the voters, but it still makes changing the laws legal. Supposedly POTUS can change the healthcare laws because the administration was voted in.

Rest assured, the laws would have been changed anyway, though perhaps not exactly when they were. For example, when were the immigration laws changed? Where was the SCOTUS decision on that? There's a recent, mostly trivial case, decided apparently a couple weeks ago. Mass immigration started in what, the seventies, ramping up in the late nineties? Point is, decades ago.

Find the people who made that decision, and you've found the actual president of USG. They have a names and addresses, though I can all but guarantee no journalist knows them.

"Though only a part is voting for someone who acts as your representative." 
I'd much rather pay for a representative, because then I'd be able to fire them. Notice that I cannot dissolve the position in a democracy. Even though it has become obvious that presidents don't do anything, I cannot vote to not have a president. Who's really in charge here? Moreover, I don't even have a de-facto power to vote him out, because I don't own a voting bloc.

At least with a paid representative, I can withdraw my consent, as signalled by the withdrawal of the cash.


Kent McManigal said...

No person can represent another. Not really.

The "representatives" you are now afflicted with are paid, they just aren't hired. They are paid, not of your own free will, but by money stolen from you and others by coercion. You can stop paying, but it could cost you your life. What you need, if you want a "representative", is a hired representative rather than an elected one.

Anomaly UK said...

Agree about the paradox of voter power.

I wrote, "What it amounts to is that the fact that politicians are elected is an essential part of the system, which would be very different without it, but that its effect is not to take power away from the permanent establishment to any large degree. The voters have no fine control over policy, but within the permanent establishment (which obviously itself contains factions and differences of opinion) policies which have more appeal to voters will always have a slight advantage over policies which have less."

Alrenous said...

So, between two balanced factions, both of whom will be self-serving, the voters may choose.

"On this very coarse level, what most clearly gains votes is the expansion of the clients of the state - those on benefits or those in government employment."

Because you can vote, the government tends to expand in a popular way instead of a less-popular way.

Which to me sounds like having a friendly, amicable cancer. In the end, it is trying to kill you, but it does so politely.

However, democracies are liars; intrinsically impolite.

The lying works, though, because the average is so gullible. The gov successfully garners support by lying.

Come to think, I suspect at least some of the voters are in on it. Otherwise, it should be much easier to expose the lies.

Or perhaps they simply resist being shown they were fooled? Being fooled is addictive?