Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Democracy is immoral

In this article, Bob Higgs indicts the moral deficiency of democracy - it is no different than the moral deficiency of any form of government. The root problem is a double-standard where one set of moral rules governs one class of people and another set of moral rules governs everybody else.

As I explained recently in another post, the root problem lies in a grave misunderstanding of law. Law is a system for non-violent resolution of real disputes. Real disputes (not just academic disputes) can only occur where there is scarcity (Hoppe). You and I cannot have a real dispute over air or salt-water (or religious ideas or logical beliefs) because there is a super-abundance of each of these, in nature. Real disputes concern who has the exclusive right to control (use, dispose of) a particular scarce resource.

There are two possible ways to resolve a dispute. First, is by martial contest: the winner takes the spoils. This is how scarce resource disputes are decided in the rest of the animal kingdom. For humans, there is a second alternative, and that is by verbal debate, or non-violent resolution of the dispute. The terms of verbal debate, in turn, rely upon the linguistic capabilities of humans... our ability to make deductions, our ability to form analogies and make metaphors, our ability to recall the past, and so on. The impetus for resolving disputes non-violently is to avoid the costs and risks associated with violence. "Rights" exist as a concept within the realm of non-violent dispute resolution, that is, law.

Right and wrong, morality, as it pertains to interpersonal disputes (not personal beliefs about how one should act under any circumstances) must, by definition, reject any argument which rests on force. In logic, this is called the "argument ad baculum" fallacy or "argument by force" fallacy. But, in law, it's not merely a fallacy, it's actually a departure from the realm of law (non-violent dispute resolution) into martial contest (violent dispute resolution).

Democracy ultimately rests, like any government system, on a two-tiered morality that derives its justification from the appeal to force (the majority is more powerful than any minority). Democracy, like any form of government, is immoral and ultimately lawless. Law is that which applies to the behavior of all men, without exception or distinction. No one would willingly agree to resolve their disputes non-violently in a court which did not acknowledge the principle of universalizability (Golden Rule), so any system of governance which employs a moral double-standard (rejects universalizability) is ultimately founded on the simple calculation that those in power could defeat those who object to present policy in any martial contest.

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