Archive

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

The Height of “Democrisy”

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m the first person to admit that there are some serious shortcomings with the Republican Party but  when things like this happen, it leaves me absolutely flabbergasted that anyone continues to support the Democratic Party.

This is the party named for democracy.  By the way, here is the definition of democracy.

de·moc·ra·cy /dɪˈmɒkrəsi/ [dih-mok-ruh-see] noun, plural de·moc·ra·cies.

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
Now, with this definition in mind, let’s look at what the Democrats did here.  The leaders of the party decided they needed to change the platform to get themselves out of a developing political jam.  So they take it to the people and put it up for a vote.  But the people don’t vote for what they want.  Taken aback by this, they try to subtly indicate to the people which thing they are supposed to vote for and try the vote again.  When the people still don’t choose the right thing, they seek advice on the process looking for a way to get them to choose the right thing.  When no way can be found, they try the vote again and when the people, once again, choose the wrong thing, they simply declare that they had actually chosen the right thing and proclaim the matter closed.
Even in their own party the notion of democracy is nothing but a convenient cover for a group of elites to impose their will on the masses.  And the astonishing thing is that when it fails in this capacity, they don’t give up imposing that one little piece of their will on the masses.  Instead, they completely drop the disguise and just hope nobody will notice.  If they act like this when amending their own party platform, imagine how they will handle the important stuff like healthcare reform……. Wait, didn’t we already do healthcare reform? How did that go again, I can’t remember?
This party is now based on two types of people.  People of no particular principles, who are dependent on them for some particular government giveaway and people who are not paying any attention whatsoever.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of both.  So in an attempt to wake some of them up I am creating a new term.  Feel free to spread it around.
de·moc·ri·sy [dih-mok-rih-see] noun, plural de·moc·ri·sies.
1.   A governing body made up of people who claim to represent the will of the people while instead using the people as a pretense for pursuing their own personal political designs.
Feel free to spread it around.

Penn Jillette on Government

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Trying to help this go viral.  If you had to say everything we need to know about government in 250 words, I don’t think you could do much better than this.

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

People try to argue that government isn’t really force. You believe that? Try not paying your taxes. (This is only a thought experiment — suggesting on CNN.com that someone not pay his or her taxes is probably a federal offense, and I’m a nut, but I’m not crazy.). When they come to get you for not paying your taxes, try not going to court. Guns will be drawn. Government is force — literally, not figuratively.

I don’t believe the majority always knows what’s best for everyone. The fact that the majority thinks they have a way to get something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don’t want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, I don’t believe you really know jack. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up against the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid.

-Penn Jillette

From an August 2011 editorial on cnn.com.

“Unions” or “This is What Democracy Looks Like”

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

If you catch the news out of Wisconsin, you will see people marching outside (and inside) the state capital chanting “this is what democracy looks like.”  It would do us a lot of good to notice what is going on there and that it is in fact what “democracy” looks like.  So let’s look at the facts.  First, a democratically elected legislature and governor tried to change the government’s policy with regard to union benefits and negotiations within the framework of the rules.  The Democrats didn’t like what they were doing so they fled the state to keep them from being able to hold a vote on the bill.  That’s what democracy looks like?  Second, if you watch the coverage on Fox News, you will notice that in every live shot the protesters go to great lengths to shout down the reporter with chants like “tell the truth.”  If you can’t see the contradiction there consider that it is impossible for someone to tell the truth when they are being shouted down.  If they were intellectually honest they would chant “just don’t say anything” but is that what democracy looks like?

So the first thing that you should notice is that the left is a contradiction at every turn and this should make it quite clear that they don’t really believe in the things they are always talking about.  They have certain goals and they are only interested in achieving those goals.  The means are not a concern for them.  So they talk about the democratic process and the will of the voters when they are passing healthcare but as soon as that will departs from their goals, it is no longer respected, it becomes the evil delusions of the ignorant and unenlightened (also probably racists).  Naturally, this must be defeated at any cost….in the name of progress, of course.  They talk about freedom of speech until someone gets on tv with a different opinion from them, then they must be shut down.  Otherwise, the ignorant public might get their heads filled with a lot of crazy ideas and then you won’t choose what they want you to, and that will make it hard for them to cloak their actions in the mantle of “democracy.”  But don’t worry, they are only shutting down speech which is not in the best interest of “the people.”

But if you really want to know what democracy looks like just look at a union itself.  Some workers hold a vote to determine whether or not they will unionize.  If a majority of them want the union, it is formed and imposed upon the minority who just wanted to keep their individual rights.  The union can then take the money of all of its members, including the ones who are members against their will, and use it for whatever they want.  Much of it gets used to support Democratic politicians and pursue other political activities.  To my knowledge, unions are the only organization in existence that can actually take money from people against their will and funnel it into causes that they don’t agree with.  This is what democracy looks like.

Furthermore, the people who’s individual rights are sacrificed for the satisfaction of the collective are not even really a minority.  This is because when a union forms, it destroys the rights of everyone who is not in the union.  If a union is created at a particular workplace, you are no longer allowed to bargain individually with that employer.  This means that if you are willing to do the job better and/or for less than the people who are doing it currently, sorry you don’t have the right to sell your own labor for a price which is acceptable to you because the union is able to wield the coercive power of government against you (and the employer) to prevent you from doing that in order to protect its own interests.  This is what Democracy looks like.

Perhaps the worst part is that the majority which binds everyone to this  arrangement only has to exist for a moment.  See this article* about a provision in Wisconsin to require a yearly vote to maintain a union.  “Under current law, workers typically vote just once to establish a union.”  This means that the union may have convinced a small majority of workers generations ago that unionization was a good idea and even though most people may not want it now, they are stuck with it anyway.  This is what democracy looks like.

A union is a democratically created fiefdom in which the individual rights of people both within and without are subjugated to the prerogative of the collective.  This is what democracy looks like.

*Notice the subtle way that bias manifests itself in journlaism in statements like “Attention has focused on a provision that would strip most public employee unions of most negotiating rights”  a blatant abuse of the terms “rights” and “most” said in passing with no evidence or analysis as though it were a sterile statment of the facts.

Democracy

February 1, 2011 6 comments

Since I was a child I have been taught that democracy equals freedom.  But this is not the case.  Well at least it’s not the good kind of freedom.  To see what I mean let’s play the two codes game.  Consider two moral codes which both value “freedom” and despise “oppression.”  The difference is in what type of entity each code identifies as a candidate for freedom or oppression.  A holder of the first code believes the relevant entity is the individual and the holder of the second believes it is the collective.  You cannot simultaneously believe in individual freedom and collective freedom.  Here’s why.

If you take a free individual, his decision-making process is simple.  He looks at a situation, decides what he wants to do and then does it.   If you take a collection of individuals, the process is much more complicated.  The reason is that there is no way to aggregate preferences.   At least there is no way to aggregate preferences when you think of a collective as a collection of individuals.  If however, you consider the collective to be a monolithic being, then it becomes simple again.  You just ask it what it wants and then do that.  But how do you ask the collective to make a decision?  You have a vote of course.  And that’s democracy.  And as long as you only care about collective freedom you feel just fine about this because the collective always gets what it “wants.”  It’s free.

Of course if you care about individual freedom this just won’t do.  The reason is obvious.  This is tyranny of the majority.  If at any time, your life and or property can be disposed of by a majority of the other people in society you are not free.   This is problematic if you are not very popular.  But even if you are popular, you are bound to the whims of the masses at every turn and I think it is self-evident that the majority does not always make the right decision.  This, of course, is the view held by Bernays and the progressives which is why they devote so much energy to propaganda/public relations.  But it is also why they are such ardent advocates of democracy.  They believe the masses are idiots that they can convince to do whatever they want.  Of course not everyone is an idiot, but if you have democracy it’s ok, you only have to get 51% of them, the rest have no choice.

So progressives and I have one thing in common, we both don’t trust the masses to make the right decisions for society.  But we have different ways of dealing with it.  They want to vest as much power in the masses as possible (democracy) because they think they can manipulate them.  I don’t want to manipulate anyone, I just want to be free from the consequences of their potential idiocy.  To anyone who shares this desire, democracy is a terrible governing concept.

If you believe in collective freedom, then democracy equals freedom and all you would need to form the perfect union would be this:

“The government can do whatever it wants as long as it’s supported by a majority vote.”

If on the other hand you believe that government should be established for the purpose of protecting individual liberty then it is a much more delicate process.  It requires things like enumerated powers and a bill of rights.  These things exist to protect the individual from the masses.  These are the things which have been eroded by progressivism.  The perfect example is the case of income taxes I spoke about recently.  This allows the government to target certain people, and dispose of their property for the benefit of some other people.  Also we have the popular election of senators, socialized healthcare, etc.  And their justification for all these things is that it’s the will of “the people.”  As long as it’s what “the people” want, it’s ok. 

But it’s not my will.  I don’t want to be bound to a government-run healthcare monstrosity.  I happen to know that it’s a bad idea (in this case the majority seems to be on my side but they won’t be when it comes time to actually fix the healthcare system).  If we were left to our individual liberty, I could choose to participate in free market health insurance and the leftists could go voluntarily institute a collectivist healthcare collective.  The only difference would be that they couldn’t take money from those of us who think it’s a stupid idea in order to pay for it.  Then we could see which works best (even they know which one it would be that’s why they don’t do it this way) and make our own choices.  But progressives’ moral code holds that it is just to force anything on anyone as long as a majority of other people support it.  This makes it entirely incompatible with individual liberty, and that is why our founders did not establish a democracy.

I’m not very happy with this one but I have had writer’s block and I promised this one would be coming soon so I’m pushing it out, sorry.

Privatize it: Schools

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently Tucker Carlson, who used to have a show on MSNBC before they purged their staff of non believers, did a documentary on public schools for Fox News.  (Here are some notes on that link: 1. The site it’s on has an interesting name, I don’t know anything about them, they were simply the first site to show up when I searched for the video.  2. The whole thing is worth watching but if you’re strapped for time watch from 15:00 to 21:00 to get the gist of what I’m about to discuss.  Also, there is a short blurb written by Tucker below the video that gives the general idea.  3.  The sound and video are a little off….oh well)

Let me say up front that I’m not trying to argue with the decision made by the school board here.  You see the libertarian ethic has nothing to do with whether or not children read books about gay penguins.  It has everything to do with who decides whether they read these books.  This is what the left means when they talk about “democracy.”  5 people on a board make a decision and impose it on the entire public.  If you have an opinion about what your children should learn in school the only thing you can do about it is go down to their meeting and try to convince three out of the five to agree with you and impose your view on everyone instead of someone else’s. 

Aside: Yesterday, I was at the park smoking a cigar and some guy who had been sitting about fifty feet away (and up wind I might add) came over and told me to move because he could smell it and he didn’t like it and “he was there first.”  You see he goes there for the “fresh air” (we were about a hundred yards from a freeway).  But I go there because people like him made it illegal to smoke in a bar or a restaurant or anywhere outside on the campus where I work.  Anyway I digress.  I moved (which I now regret, I should have told him to screw off).  But later another guy went to where I was and started smoking a cigarette.  Not surprisingly most of the people you see in the park are smoking, progressives don’t get that this is a forseeable consequence of making it illegal everywhere else because they don’t understand economics.  Anyway, the same guy came and told that guy to go away so me and him got talking and it turned out he was from Poland and he said it was also illegal everywhere in Poland.  It actually seemed worse there than here.  And I said “that’s weird I thought everyone over there smoked.”  And he said “they do!”  So I said “so did they vote on that or what?” To which he replied “no, the city council did it.”……democracy.  By the way, remember this non-smoking campaign?  Oh they didn’t teach you that in school?  What a surprise….

OK, so back to schools.  I happen to think that progressives have been using the public schools to indoctrinate children for decades and I think that’s incredibly destructive to society.  Recently we’ve seen some pushback against this in Texas.  But if you’re to the left of me, you probably see things differently.  You probably think that the founders really were atheists, Christopher Columbus was a horrible person, believing in God is a ridiculous delusion, Woodrow Wilson and FDR were great presidents, etc. (I could go on for days but you get the point) and that crazy right-wing conservatives are taking over the school curriculum and corrupting your kids.

We can argue about this forever.  The thing we need to realize is that this is the natural result of collectivism.  Everyone is never going to agree about what children should learn in school.  When you make the school system public, you make this decision a collective one.  In other words, everyone gets the same thing.  This requires some system for making a collective decision when people don’t agree.  These systems are basically all called “democratic” by those on the left. 

The yardstick used by the left to evaluate a decision is the degree to which it conforms to the desires of the majority.  This is what they mean by “democratic.”  Imposing a system on someone is perfectly morally acceptable as long as it’s imposed by the majority.  Therefore, every moral debate is over what the majority wants.  In other words it is not about whether or not the government should have the ability to impose a given policy on anyone.

Public schools are the perfect example of this.  They have gotten us to accept the premise that the government has to run schools and this creates an environment where we have to argue about what they should teach.  But isn’t there another way? 

Obviously there is.  You could not have the government involved in schools at all.  If this were the case, everyone would be able to choose a school they were comfortable with.  Schools would have to compete with each other and this would mean the best schools would survive and the worst would not.  If you wanted a school that taught evolution and not creation you could choose one.  If you wanted creation and not evolution you could choose one.  If you wanted both to be presented in whatever you consider an “unbiased” way, you could choose one.  There would be no need for us to argue about it!  There would be no need for “democracy.”

The biggest problem people seem to have with this scenario is that people will make poor decisions about what their children should learn and we might all become “flat-Earthers.”  But which system is more likely to evolve in the direction of truth, one where a central authority makes decisions about curriculum based on some combination of majority sentiment and personal political motivation, or one where every individual chooses their own path?

In order to believe that the former is desirable, you have to believe two things which I think are highly doubtful.  First, you must believe that the politicians on some board who are motivated by politics will make better decisions than parents who are motivated by the interests of their own children.  Second you have to believe that people will continue making poor decisions even though they lead to bad outcomes.  It is precisely because they know that the opposite is true that they need a socialized education system (and healthcare system, etc.).

Imagine two salesmen come to town.  One is selling a blue pill that they claim will make you prosperous and happy your whole life and the other is selling a red pill that they claim will make you happy and prosperous your whole life.  They both claim that the other man’s pill will actually make you ignorant and unproductive and lead you into a life of slavery and depravity.  Now imagine that one of these men proposes that the whole town take a vote and decide which pill to take and then force every member to take that pill forever.   The other proposes that everyone be free to try whichever pill they want and switch whenever they please.  Which one is selling truth?

By the way, if we didn’t have public schools we wouldn’t have all these problems with teacher’s pensions and tenure and so forth.

Update: Here’s an interesting quote from Rules for Radicals which should be kept in mind when listening to leftists speak of democracy. 

Lenin was a pragmatist; when he returned to what was then Petrograd from exile, he said that the Bolsheviks stood for getting power through the ballot but would reconsider after they got the guns!