Popular consensus. Long has it been a useful tool for solving disagreements about how things ought to be and more importantly how they eventually end up. On long car journeys a family may take a vote to decide whether they eat at McDonald’s or Burger King (a contest of which restaurant is preferred by the most people), or a project team may vote on whether a particular marketing campaign or another will be undertaken (a contest to see which idea the most people think will bear fruit).
In certain situations, voting is often the only way to solve disagreements without the strongest or most willing member of any group asserting their authority based on those characteristics, and simply choosing what they want for everyone else in the group. When a vote is undertaken, it is agreed that those who have voted for the losing proposition will acquiesce to the choice of the winners.
So the geniuses of the Enlightenment decided to take an old Greek concept that voting should also be used in political matters and make one slight change: add lots of insanity.
But first, let’s examine
There are no true democracies today. Democracy is a nicer term for Mobocracy, the rule and domination of the masses. What the most people says goes. Enlightenment, and of course Ancient Greek thinkers realized that this was problematic. Although it seems ‘fair’ to acquiesce to the will of the majority, what if the majority wanted to kill a large section of society, or heaven forbid discontinue the democratic process itself?
In response to these problems, a few solutions were proposed in order to refine the democratic ideal into a viable, functioning system of government. The most popular of these were Parliamentary Democracies and Republican forms of government. Both are somewhat similar, and their differences are largely in the area of process rather than substance. Essentially these systems allow for majority blocs to decide a country’d direction in terms of policy, but with built-in limits on this power
In the United States, the government is a Republican system with the elected legislative and (at least in terms of the president) executive branch limited in their power by the Constitution, a document that is safeguarded and interpreted by the third branch of government, the judiciary.
So who can vote?
on the left we can see that even back then
feminists had manly attributes
Originally the requirements to vote were pretty stringent. One had to be a white man who owned a significant amount of property. This was known as Jeffersonian Democracy, since it was favored by Thomas Jefferson. With the imminent arrival of Andrew Jackson into the office of the presidency, the rules began to change. The United States began to ‘progress’ pursuant of ‘universal manhood suffrage’ which would remove all taxes and property requirements from the eligibility question, at least for white men.
Now, regardless of one’s refinement, intellect, success, or stake in society, if you were a white man you could decide on the country’s leaders.
In 1870, this pool of eligible voters was expanded again, in the wake of the Civil War to include African Americans who had previously been slaves in much of the country. Although these new rights were stymied for decades in the American South, eventually, even this blockade was removed through federal action in the mid 1900s.
Now, even if you were of an alien cultural and ethnic background, you could have a say in the country’s leaders.
In 1920, the pool of eligible voters almost doubled. Universal Manhood Suffrage became old hat and now people simple talked of Universal Suffrage which would allow the women of America to vote, once again totally independent of character, wealth, intellect, or ethnic ties.
In 1924, American Indians were granted the right to vote, giving the conquered peoples of the land a say in the country’s leaders.
Finally in 1971, in response to anger over the draft for Vietnam, even the age requirements began to fall when a new constitutional amendment prevented states from denying the vote on age grounds to anyone aged eighteen or older.
you had no idea how right you were
Today in America, 206,072,000 people are eligible to vote for their leaders. Granted, only about 65% of those actually exercise their right to vote, but this is irrelevant to the broader contention. The decisions that are key to the survival of the nation essentially depend on three factors:
1 – The intellect of those on the ballot to govern objectively well
2 – The integrity of those on the ballot to correctly represent their positions to the voters
3 – The intellect of the voters to elect the best people for the job
If ANY of these factors isn’t present, the system churns out bad leaders, and often when it churns out bad leaders, these bad leaders will ensure that they are followed by more bad leaders via many dastardly devices. Now, the system might be manageable if for instance in regard to #3, you knew that the people voting were of a high intellect, but we know for a FACT that they are not because we have universal suffrage. Most Americans cannot name the three branches of their own government, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Most Americans cannot tell you which party controls which half of the legislative branch according to Gallup. Most Americans cannot name the chief justice of the supreme court either.
My God, what madness is this?! These people vote. A great many uninterested people stay home, but a great many more flock to the polls to vote for a Republican or a Democrat.
For whatever reason you want to believe, African Americans have on average never read a candidate’s policy positions, much less understood them, when they go to vote. Many walk into the voting booth not even knowing the candidate’s name before they get their ballot! Women will more often than not factor in their civil right to murder their unborn children when deciding who to vote for.
If you’re a welfare junkie, you can vote! If you get your current events from Jimmy Fallon, you can vote! If you’re a member of the Communist Party, you can vote! If you’re not a citizen in many cases, you can vote! If you’ve served hard time for molesting children, you can vote! If you’ve been raised by wild coyotes and crawl into the damn polling place barking, you can vote!
Pretty much, unless you are sitting on death row (and that may change), you can fill out a ballot and your voice gets heard, your decision has an impact, in regards to who makes decisions for the entire nation.
The problem in this country and in pretty much all of Western Modernity, is not that people’s voices go unheard and the will of the people goes undone. It’s that people’s voices never shut up, and their will is the will of idiots en masse!
But if you thought I was done in my analysis of our democratic system’s inherent idiocy, you’d be dead wrong. It’s not enough to simply point out that brainless, stakeless, degenerate and misguided forces control our politics. The advocates of our system are all too often willing to actually acknowledge this fact. However, they contend that this great evil of democracy is a worthwhile price to pay because of two reasons that cannot be ignored.
1 – Allowing control of the government by a privileged few, an aristocracy, monarchy, ecclesiocracy, or military junta, is a recipe for disaster. Such small and invulnerable cadres will abuse their power, enrich themselves at the nation’s expense, and be unaccountable in their actions.
2 – Even if somebody is uninformed, misguided, even treacherous to the point of infamy, his voice should still be heard. Since we are all created equal, we must all have a say in how we are governed, regardless of our critical faculties.
Now, these might seem like good arguments, but really they are horrible arguments that no liberal could actually sustain as principled stands.
To the first point, this condemnation of more autocratic forms of government is farcical in light of all human history. For starters, while many autocratic regimes of the last century, themselves infected with liberal ideas in many cases, may have been horrifically brutal, invasive, and tyrannical, throughout all of human history they are a rounding error. When one goes back before the ‘Enlightenment’ you find very few autocratic regimes that could be defined in Orwellian terms, especially since the size and scope of the Sovereign institution was minuscule compared to something like the United States federal bureaucracy today. Traditional forms of government abused their power far less than democratic governments do today. This goes to my second point. How has the Modern democratic system proven that it prevents such abusive power grabbing by the state?
Since the time of FDR, the state has exploded exponentially, entire warehouses could be filled with the amount of legal doctrine the common man has to keep up with. And how exactly is it not evident that elected leaders guild their cages at the expense of the people?
You only need to look at one senator for crying out loud, and you’ll see what kind of corruption exists in this so-called ‘accountable government’. If anything, being elected over and over again (which all representatives routinely are) only emboldens them and gives them a greater sense of superiority than any aristocratic title ever could. When they steal, lie, cheat, obfuscate, betray, and destroy, they are backed by the all important ‘will of the people’.
To the second point, we can refute this by taking it out to its logical conclusion. The error made by Modernists is that politics is not some special category. It is an objective science of the survival of nations. If we are to say that in the realm of politics, every person, no matter how uninformed, should have a say, then it seems only fair to extend this logic to all other forums in which disagreement may exist.
Why in the federal bureaucracy (the various czars and heads of agency appointed by the president), are the positions only given to people from the field in question? Why must every attorney general have a law degree? Is this not discriminatory? I don’t have a law degree, but why is my voice not being heard in the Department of Justice? Why is my voice not being heard at the IRS? Why is my voice not being heard at NASA?
smart enough to help choose the leader of the most powerful country on earth
not smart enough to hold even a low-level desk job in the state bureaucracy
Intelligence is not the defining factor of legitimacy, that is not the central point here. The point is even going by democracy’s precepts we end up with a bad result because people who are objectively moronic are influencing the decisions. We should recognize as we do in all other areas that certain people are good for some things, and other people are good for other things. Some people are born to operate saws at the lumber mill, others are born to rule. Women, foreign persons, those without stake, they should not be involved in the intricacies of any political process, as their track record of voting on everything from legislators to ballot initiatives shows.
I’m not destroying democracy here. Democracy is a useful tool in many applications if one wishes to arrive at an amicable conclusion to a debate, but in its mass form, with universal suffrage and almost ritualistic ‘elections’ with all their trappings, it is an abysmal failure at creating a functional society. It truly is a tragedy that in one year, we will have to endure its circus once more.