no third solution

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Democracy is Not Liberty

August 24th, 2009

The practical conception of liberty is simple enough. What liberty requires is: “the ability to use one’s body and property in any manner.” The condition by which this requirement is constrained, is that: “those actions do not collide with the liberty of others.”

From which, Jim Fedako concludes that, “democracy is not to the advantage of the demos, it is to the advantage of the power elite.” I believe this to be true.

…In a democracy, liberty is simply the right to cast a vote for or against an issue or candidate, and then to accept the decision of the majority under threat of the apparatus of coercion and compulsion.

But is this really liberty?

All forms of democracy rest on the argumentum ad populum logical fallacy — the illusion that popularity is privileged. The idea that might makes right. Accordingly, even when it is informal, democracy is an institution, and in accordance with its nature, it is an apparatus of control. It is the institution by which a majority imposes its will on the minority, with the color of propriety.

The market on the other hand, is not a democracy. No “majority” ever “decides” anything in a free market; a plurality of options are almost always available. That’s the difference between true Laissez-faire and Democracy: in true laissez-faire, there is no institution, no apparatus of control.  A marketplace where buyers and sellers transact freely is about the farthest thing from a democracy that could possibly exist.

The principle of laissez-faire excludes tyranny—even popular tyranny—by definition.

But some communists go so far as to suggest that the “free market” creates the elite, the corporate plutocracy or the hated capitalists. But even their favorite scapegoat, “private property” can be interpreted in a far more-forgiving manner than the standard commie talking-points suggest (emphasis added):

‘Private property’ is a social system to determine who is using what, and is a quick and easy way for strangers to tell what group/association/person is using what. That is all it is, it a tool for free association, a tool to quickly sort things out among strangers… The implications of “no property” is this – a stranger or asshole walks into your home, a stranger or asshole uses all your stuff, a stranger or asshole sleeps in your bed, a stranger or asshole uses your TV or computer when you want to use it, a stranger or asshole takes the clothes off your back to wear them themselves, and a stranger or asshole eats all the food in your refrigerator. That is Authority, that is coercion, domination and slavery.

…I think that oftentimes “anarcho-communism” is viewed as something that will be democratically mandated upon everyone through a majority vote scenario… This in my opinion is not a form of “anarcho-communism” or “voluntary communism” at all, it is instead a directly democratic participatory conformist workers’ State. This is the view-point that seems to come about when “free association” is not given great importance as a prime anarchist principle.

Or as I’ve recently argued, democracy is tyranny unless individuals maintain the right to exit.

Even though the “market” (or rather, the co-opted, zombiefied remains thereof) may be the principle means by which the elite oppress and extract rents from the productive class, the market was not the origin of these evils. The market is not the means by which some men effect control over others.

On the contrary, it was through democracy that the power elite was born, and it is through democracy that the power elite maintains its position of dominance which subsumes the peaceful transactions of the market, transforming them into something ignoble.

Since democracy rests on popularity rather than propriety, it can be (and often is) hijacked. It should go without saying that those most inclined to hijack it are those least likely to be trusted therewith. Reverence for “democracy” is the proverbial given inch, by which the usurpers intend to “take a mile.”

And it is the existence of such an institution which attracts, like a magnet, the very vice to which we (as anarchists) are united in opposition.

We view the mere existence of the State as sufficient condition to attract evil, to impose on our liberties, etc. I hold Democracy (or rather, the belief that Democracy is some sort of be-all/end-all) in the same regard.

no third solution

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