A friend of mine, a young sensitive soul, but old enough to know better, fancies herself an anarchist. She’s a fan of Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is an intellectual who calls himself a libertarian but who in fact is a Neo-Marxist, a Platonist and a friend to every leftist autocrat who walked this ancient planet. My friend says in a facebook rant that, “Democracy is dead!” and “How can a libertarian believe in government? Do you think democracy can produce any kind of libertarian society within itself? There is always a force maintaining control while keeping many groups down.”
Well, does this in anyway define what democracy is? Freedom of choice, individual sovereignty and property rights are not only democratic rights, a monarchy or other autocracies could offer these rights as well. Democracy is a method of government and if a democrat believes that the majority can take whatever they want as long as they win fair and square he is as immoral as the leader of a democractically elected lynch mob who in fact lynches an innocent human being. The majority cannot sacrafice the individual to its ends. The most important feature of modern democracy is firing the (elected) boss(es) without civil violence.
There’s an old saw out there, often attributed to Churchill, but not likely his, which goes, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter.” Actually, Churchill had great respect for voters. They are oft wrong, but mostly get it right.
My friend, like many in the political class suffers from the duplicity, of attacking the very entity which protects her. She scoffs at this and claims she is in fact persecuted. She has a fuzzy philosophy like Marcuse’s “freedom is slavery” and “tolerance is intolerance!”, but a point I want to make is, every fresh season on this blue and green good earth, liberty must be brought out, dusted off and held anew into the sunlight even against things like the democratic fallacy.
What is there in humankind that we cannot live without the state? Some declare to the world that they will live without fear of their fellow human-beings . . . in peace with every soul, as an anarchist, pacifist, vegetarian. They profess to love their crooked neighbor come what may.
If you live alone and without property, entitlement or wealth, i.e., if you are young, naïve—pretty in the city and cool in the rural—this ridiculous political position is surprisingly tenable. You might even get the St Francis of Assisi thumbs up for idealism. What if you made the same claim and had family and property worth fighting for, or in a word, “things” apart from yourself to preserve. Let’s also add that you reside in one of the outstanding Western Democracies and your human rights are protected with force by a strong national government. In this way, you cheat in the argument: pacifism as an ideal can be truly attained in all its genuine meaning as a world-acclaimed principle only if it is accompanied with rational anarchy. In a place without a state, without borders, you claim, (family, property, wealth at your stead), that you will not fight come what may, and will make any Chamberlain appeasement to avoid it. Your vulnerability is once apparent to even the most ardent modern pacifist. You have the Magnificent Seven problem of out-riders from the steppe which has plagued all of human history for the last 30,000 years. That’s why Bertrand Russell changed his mind about it as WWII approached, and unfortunately, change it back again over the threat of nuclear holocaust.
You see a solution to this conundrum. You, inside a collective pacifist-community, will have enough prosperity to share with encroachers, i.e., to have them stay on the steppes (to pay rent as it were). In this exact manner, you have again side-stepped, not only the greater point, but a "A Standing Rule to Live By” and made the world a more violent place. As I have stated elsewhere, and to brutally paraphrase Karl Popper, the most important feature of modern democracy is that we can fire the boss without violence.
In our evolution, we weeded out the monkey within, violently, but not 100 percent. Among us, often completely hidden, lies a tiny minority of psychopaths, Machiavellian miscreants awaiting to become free-riders, bullies, dictators, and self-deceivers. If you stand in the wilderness (loving family behind you) and will not fight for them or theirs, someone will take them from you; in fact, your only chance to keep the monsters away is to be ready with overwhelming lethal force when they ride over the steppe into your valley. Now, by logical extension, I mean that we desperately need a strong national defense and especially organizations like NATO and other alliances to protect national integrity, in particular, from nuclear proliferation in places like irrational theocratic states. I’ve heard detractors of Western Democracies blathering to their eternal enemies, driving them into comatose insensibility by writing a thousand and one books against imperialism, and by consequence, supporting the Lenin’s and Mussolini’s of the globe. Should we let autocracies, theocracies, and outright rogue nations, get nuclear arms? Too late in the case of Pakistan but not so with others.
I often make the case for a night-watchman state: for this set of beliefs allows the state as a necessary evil to protect its borders from invaders, to render forth justice (i.e., strong law and order to protect its citizens from criminals) and the establishment of equal human rights for all people without regards to skin color, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental problems, language, locale, nation, height, weight or any other such superficial traits, that, and almost nothing else. In any case, the trouble with anarchy, is the trouble of the steppes, and I don’t see how you get around this without armies and alliances among the democracies. If we weren’t under the umbrella of American protection, Russia would have by this point thrown itself at Canada’s resource-rich northern borders as it is threatening to do with all of its other neighbors. We are one small appeasement away from encouraging a criminal state to go after its neighbor’s wealth and I pray the democracies will not stand for it. This is the rule: Fight for freedom or lose it! Certainly sending someone like Trump to the Whitehouse might signal the beginning of that appeasement process in regards to Russia; remember the appeasers in WWII England for a whole decade of pacification not only feared Hitler and Mussolini, but admired them, helping them become emboldened. Only one person in the whole of Europe--Hitler--wanted to fight. That's all it takes. Given the choice between anarchy and Leviathan, I believe the people will always pick Thomas Hobbes's choice and not Jean-Jacques Rouseau's, if they remember at all humanity's bloody sorted history.
© 2020 - E. A. St. Amant