Fuck Democracy?

by on 17 March, 2014
Fuck Tony Abbott Fuck Democracy

Appearing at the Melbourne March in March rally.

It’s easy for us to criticise these protesters, to laugh at their naiveté and to call them sore losers. But this skips over our own issues.

Among our own circles it is far from uncommon to hear arguments against democratic outcomes, like minority government in 2010, or even against democracy itself. The standard argument runs that democracy is just tyranny of the majority and the poor have/will always vote for higher taxes on the rich and higher welfare for themselves.

Various authoritarian models are proposed in response all around some kind of benevolent dictator who will (for some reason) rule in the interests of liberty. The usual examples cited in support are Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong. A basic skim of world history though will reveal these to be very much the exceptions.

Which shouldn’t be surprising. We should all know by now that good intentions don’t matter when you produce bad outcomes (ahem minimum wage) or that politicians respond to incentives just like the rest of us (public choice theory). A dictatorship might begin as benevolent but without a strong outside limiter (as is the case in Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong) it will quickly become a regular dictatorship and everything that entails.

Ultimately I think that the belief that people should make their own choices in the market and in society is inseparable from the belief that they should make their own choices in the ballot box.

Losing an election doesn’t mean democracy has failed it means we have failed to convince enough people. That’s a bitter pill to swallow and obviously many on the Australian left are struggling with it, but let’s not forget that the lesson applies equally to ourselves.

Leave a Reply