On Destroying Democracy

“The man with the master plan”

Democracy is very conservative. Nothing particularly bad or good can happen. People differ, people argue, more differing, more arguing, voices are equal. The day is over, tomorrow is the same. A compromised agreement is finalized, its implemented. The people are generally happy, or at least they aren’t unhappy. Their voice is heard just as is everyone else’s.

All voices being equal brings up some interesting issues. Such as the question of indeed why all voices are in fact equal. Setting that aside for the moment, consider the big strength of democracy:

The story goes that in a democracy men with good ideas step forward and instate those ideas in conjunction with the other citizens. A democracy therefore thrives in an open, well-communicated, liberal, supportive, argumentative, thoughtful environment. Likewise a closed, hostile, secretive, mean-spirited environment would be the bane and finally the downfall of any democratic spirit.

A democracy is not about equal results, only equal potential. Its well and good that the “men with good ideas” should be rewarded… that goes by various names including “entrepreneurial”. “Equal results” is a matter of communism.

So the idea is that life is bettered for the citizens in a democracy by means of improvements brought to light over time incidentally and incrementally by the citizens.

There are several ways for democracy to be destroyed and fascism to take its place. I’ll outline a few such ways:

#1: Destroy a good idea

One of the strengths and weaknesses of democracy is that its beholden to the worth of its people. That is to say, the “power of the people” means that the people’s judgement determines its fate. If the people discover a big mistake they’ve made, it would undermine their confidence which would allow an opening for a despot. Likewise, if the people fear making a big mistake (if they are not confident in their judgement in the first place) their ability to argue and debate will be destroyed which makes the destruction of democracy eventually inevitable. Basically, democracy assumes that the people can determine what a good idea looks like.

#2: The Genius (The Man with the Master Plan)

Democracy assumes an open environment, and it assumes an environment of effective communication. “Geniuses” present a big problem for democracy insofar as communication problems prevent effective judgement. The solution for this is “peer review”, but that only mitigates rather than eliminates the problem. If the people ever become willing to put on a pedestal something they don’t understand, they’ll be rejecting democracy.

#3: The Wartime Constraint

The reason democracies tend to break down in wartime is that democracies by nature are very slow to act. What happens functionally to combat this is that democracies suspend themselves during war, moving toward a more dictatorial system and then regain democratic status after things stabilize. One way to destroy democracy then is to create a state of war more regularly, such that there rarely or never comes a time to “regain democratic status”.

#4: Manipulation

One way to destroy democracy is to convince the people they are decadent, or convince them (outside the bounds of argumentation) to do X, or whatever. Basically, get around the normal democratic constraints.

Of these 4 methods, only #4 has really gained ground in America. With Manipulation you could also set up Mini-Dictators, preparing the people for a more comprehensive dictator later. By “could” I mean “already has been done in America”.

#3 is a considerable concern in America, and is the primary reason why Orwell is so frequently quoted nowadays.

#1 is a logical opportunistic result from success in #4. Its just a matter of time before we see #1 in America if things process as certain fasc… um, I mean people who think they are being helpful get their way.

#2 is all about creating a gulf between some people and others, preferably but not necessarily of a genetic kind. America is still holding out on this one, for now.

The Neocons are fascist because their whole worldview revolves around the citizens not knowing their own condition (out of decadence, ignorance, etc.). To the Neocons, the citizens are incapable of an effective democratic state. They need dicta… um, I mean “guidance” by the “smart people who know better”, by which they claim themselves as the smart people.

There are many subsets and addendums to what I posted. One is that as fascism progresses, democratic structures will become weakened and eliminated. The very things that enable a democratic society will be weakened and eliminated. Finally, even the citizens who used to be fervent supporters of democracy will look at their world and consider an authoritarian regime the only good path to take.

If you truly support democracy then fight to sustain it in America.

I don’t like sushi.

Mmmmmh, sushi. I had some for lunch yesterday.

And isn’t that what Democracy is all about? I don’t like it, you do and Democracy is saved!

Simmias: The senate is furious over your ideas for a Utopian state.

Socrates: I guess I should never have suggested having a philosopher-king.

Simmias: Especially when you kept pointing to yourself and clearing your throat.

  • Woody Allen, “My Apology”