Why Democracy Doesn’t Work

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I work as an engineer. Well, a software developer, rather. But there are some aspects of it that are like engineering.

For instance, I build things. I give project estimates. I give my honest evaluations. Managers and leaders ask me hard questions, and I try to give them the best, most accurate answer I can so that they can make the wisest decisions.

I know what happens to companies that ignore the engineers. I am glad that all companies are structured like autocracies. That means I know who is going to make the decision, and who I need to send my report and analyses to. I don’t have to convince a large group of people of anything. I just have to convince one person.

The truth of politics is this. The vast majority of us have little idea on what is best for themselves. There are a few who have a better idea. This is the truth.

Now, when it comes to individual decisions, decisions that affect only one person or the people very close to that person, I let nature run its course. You make a bad decision, you pay. You make a good decision, you reap the rewards. There is a huge incentive for people to seek out good information and make good decisions.

However, there are some decisions that affect a very large number of people. And it isn’t hard to find cases where a cursory examination of the issue will give bad advice. In such a case, you don’t want “majority rules”. You want a small group of people to study the issue, and render a report with their analyses. Then you want an individual or small group of people to carefully weigh the decision and make the best possible choice. Putting the issue up for a democratic vote does neither of these things.

In the tragedy of the commons, it is explained how shared resources can be ruined by selfish action. The solution is not to eliminate greed and selfishness. (If we could do that, we could create a utopia!) The solution is to put a check and a balance on that greed and selfishness. For instance, assign ownership to the property in question, such that the cost of any action on the property is properly weighed by the benefit. Thus, you have one individual’s greed acting in opposition to another’s greed.

Democracy is a tragedy of the commons. We all “own” the vote. But only some of us will spend the necessary time to research the best decision. And only some of us will actually vote. There is no incentive to spend the requisite time and energy to find the best solution and to vote. And so people don’t put in the effort to make a good decision, and we’re left with sub-optimal decisions.

Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to big issues where many people have studied it and have a strong opinion, democracy works fine. But when it comes to small or intermediate issues, democracy is horrible. It’s even worse when you have to vote every few months.

I think the great enemy of America today is democracy. Democracy is an evil form of government just like oligarchy, aristocracy, plutocracy, theocracy, monarchy and autocracy. Read the history books if you don’t know why. (Hint: Why isn’t Athens a super-power today?)

The Founding Fathers despised democracy. They understood what I just explained to you above. They used democracy for making really, really big decisions (like whether to adopt the constitution), but they only allowed it in a very, very small role in the government: who do you want to represent you? And even then, only one representative was voted on, not the senators, and not the president.

Imagine, for a moment, what that would look like in today’s world. You would get a ballot every 2 years. On it would be the following questions:

  • Who would you like for your congressional representative?
  • Who would you like for your state representative?
  • Who would you like for your county representative?
  • Who would you like for your city representative?

That would be it. All other decisions would be made by people elected to one of those positions.

For instance, the state legislatures would choose the electors to send to the electoral college. There, they would debate and decide on who should be the next president and vice-president. Even though they would only have one day to make that decision, that would be more time than most people spend before they cast their vote. The types of people sent would likely be experienced office holders who have their own state’s interests at heart. The senate would be composed of people elected by the state legislatures, and act as agents of the state. They would be a sort of stabilizing force against the tides of the tyranny of democracy.

Our American history is spotted with various movements that wanted to bring in more democracy. I want to share with you what I think of people who advocate democracy. I’ll do it with a little bit of modern history. Venezuela democratically elected Hugo Chavez, a communist, as its leader. It wasn’t long until democracy seemed to be an afterthought. Now that the country is in ruins, we can blame the people, but really, we should’ve known all along what the natural result of democracy will always be.

You may complain and moan that my anti-democratic sentiment is depriving you of some “right” to vote. I ask you: Why do you think you have a right to vote? And do you have the right to vote to deprive the rights of yourself or others? The answer is: Of course not. You have no right to vote to deprive rights anymore than I have the right to deprive you of your rights. A government that cannot protect its people from democratic votes that deprive people of their rights is no government worth protecting.

 

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5 Responses to “Why Democracy Doesn’t Work”

  1. Edwin Oslan Says:

    Look, man, my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. Voting is a RIGHT, even if that means I’m on welfare and will vote for more welfare because it’s not fair that I don’t get more money from not working, that you make as an engineer.

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