Against Democracy: The Case for Self Governance

Aleks Popovic
May 2, 2021
Social Policy

Before getting into the juice of the argument, it is important that we outline the perspective we are arguing from. In discussing democracy, I am not just talking about the rule of the majority itself. Democracy here is being referred to as political democracy and democratic government. In a democracy, government assets are publicly owned: We vote on what happens and the majority dictates the minority. When I refer to self governance, I refer to the idea that every individual should be able to decide their own fates. Every single human should have the ability to freely act towards whatever ends they seek as long as they don’t aggress force upon others. 

Now, I will quickly give a justification for property rights and ownership. I will be outlining Hans Hermann Hoppe’s argumentation ethics. To clarify, argumentation ethics is value free. It makes no ought claims and isn’t a normative framework. All argumentation ethics states that in the course of argumentation, there is no way in which you can justify an aggression of force without falling into a performative contradiction. 

Now, I will outline argumentation ethics and what they stand for. There are seven truths to understand why you can’t advocate for an aggression of force while in argument. 

  1. All truth claims all claims that a given proposition is true, false, indeterminant, undecidable that an argument is valid and complete, or not raised are justified and decided upon in the course of an argumentation. 
  2. The truth of this proposition cannot be disputed without falling into a contradiction because any attempt to do so would have to come in the form of an argument, hence the a priori of argumentation. 
  3. Argumentation is not free-floating sounds, but human action. Namely, a purposeful human activity employing physical means, at least a person's body, and various external things in order to reach a specific goal: The attainment of agreement concerning the truth value of a given proposition or argument. 
  4. While motivated by some initial dispute concerning the validity of some truth claim, every argumentation between a proponent and an opponent is itself a conflict free, mutually agreed upon, and peaceful form of interaction aimed at resolving the initial disagreement and reaching some mutually agreed upon answer as to the truth value of a given proposition or argument. 
  5. The truth or validity of the norms or rules of action that make argumentation between a proponent and opponent at all possible: That is, the praxeological presuppositions of argumentation cannot be argumentatively disputed without falling into a pragmatic or performative contradiction. 
  6. The praxeological presuppositions of argumentation is what makes argumentation as a specific form of truth-seeking activity possible are two-fold;

a) First, each person must be entitled to exclusive control or ownership of his own physical body, the very means that he and only he can control directly at will so as to be able to act independently of one another and come to a conclusion on his own, that is, autonomously. 

b) Second, for the same reason of mutually independent standing and autonomy, both proponent and opponent must be entitled to their respective prior possessions, that is, the exclusive control of all other external means of action appropriated indirectly by them prior to and independent of one another, and prior to the onset of their argumentation.

7. Any argument to the contrary, that either the proponent or opponent is not entitled to the exclusive ownership of his body and all prior possessions, cannot be defended without falling into a pragmatic or performative contradiction. By engaging in argumentation, both proponent and opponent demonstrate that they seek a peaceful, conflict-free resolution to whatever disagreement gave rise to their arguments. Yet to deny one person the right to self-ownership and his prior possessions is to deny his autonomy and his autonomous standing in a trial of arguments. It affirms instead dependency and conflict, that is, heteronomy, rather than conflict free and autonomously reached agreement. It is, therefore, contrary to the very purpose of argumentation. 

Now that the basis on what this article is going off of has been established we can now go into the case against democracy and the case for self governance. 

Democracy as a form of governance will always lead to tyranny, imperialism, economic downturn and aggressions of force. I will start with the first point being tyranny. Democracy will always lead to further centralization of the state and bring more power to the state as democracies progress. To understand the logic behind this, it all goes back to an analysis of time preference. Time preference is simply the rate in which humans value present vs future ends in regards to their actions. It is a universal law that humans will always prefer their ends met now rather than later if that end later on is the same as the current end. Humans will only abstain from consumption and act upon their end later if they are to receive more. Although this varies between different individuals, even if one will get more in the future, that does not mean that everyone will act towards that. People with high time preference rates are more likely to act more in the short-term, and those with low time preference rates are more likely to act towards those ends in the future to get more return. Democracies and politicians will always lead to higher time preference rates. This is an important thing in our analysis, which will be brought up again and again throughout this paper. Under a democracy, those who are in the political class have a limited time in which they can propose policies and engage in expropriation of property. Politicians want to boost their own income and wealth while in office. No one would become a politician if they didn’t have the goal to better themselves and increase their own state of affairs. By putting these people in a position of power in which they can boost their own current incomes and wealth, it would be done in a high time preference manner. They have limited time and they can’t transfer their assets to anyone else, as it stays with the government itself. They are more likely to have higher taxation rates and engage in higher levels of expropriation of property. This  is what I view as tyranny: The higher levels of being anti-property rights and enforcing things upon individuals is how we determine whether something is tyrannical or not. This is historically accurate in many nations, but for now we will focus on America. America was founded on many classical liberal principles and advocated for the idea of small government. As we have seen, this has not been maintained at all. In democratic America, the government has completely failed to stay small. The government has engaged in unprecedented levels of imperialism and state expansion. Under this democracy, we give power to politicians to exercise their will. If they have the ability to get away with immoral actions and increase the power they have, they will do this; so, democracy will always lead to tyranny. This brings me to my next point, being how democratic nations treat wars. Under a democracy, the government is publicly owned and run by people who are voted into office. This leads to the idea of the government and the people being the same. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. What really happens is that the state brainwashes people to support them so they can go and engage in immoral actions. What leads to imperialism is the profitability towards politicians. Wars give more spending power to politicians, which allows them to engage in more spending in order to benefit themselves. Wars also lead to more international power by stronger democratic nations. Under democracies, nations can actually afford to go to war because government assets are publicly owned. When the government adds more and more liabilities to themselves, they can simply offset this and make it go back to normal by stealing money from people. We can clearly see democratic nations that engage in imperialism today. The biggest obviously being America, as throughout all of American history we have seen the nation’s various global imperialist operations. When looking at the history and impacts of democracy, we must look at post-WW1 and the development of fascim. To put it simply, fascism in Europe would’ve never happened if it wasn’t for democracy. During 1917 the allies and the central powers were at a stalemate and this led to democratic America and Woodraw Wilson entering WW1. Democratic America saw an opportunity to increase their influence around the world so they entered WW1. This sealed the deal for the war, the central powers  had no one in which they could win at this point. America had also supported the allies throughout the entirety of the war. Without America’s intervention into WW1, the allies would have never won, and fascism in Europe would’ve never arose. It was the democratic structure of America which influenced them to intervene in WW1. Millions of lives could’ve been saved if it wasn’t for America having a democracy. Also, democracy leads to a lot of negative economic outcomes. Democracies incentivize state intervention into the economy, which I would argue is overall negative. This will look more at the monetary aspect though. Under a state, it is basically impossible to actually have sound money. Politicians want to boost their own incomes and wealth which means that they need a way to do that. Having a monetary system in which they can freely inflate money will never lead to overall positive outcomes in money itself. Democracies will inevitably lead to central banking, which leads to worsened business cycles caused by artificially low interest rates. I recommend Roger Garrison’s book Time and Money for more on this. As democracy leads to high time preference, this will always lead to less roundabout periods of production, which leads to more short term growth rather than long term.

The biggest problem with political democracy is its disregard for property and the advocacy for the aggression of force. Argumentation ethics has previously been outlined and how it is impossible to advocate for an aggression of force while in argument. Political democracy in its very basics is an aggression of force as it is the majority who dictate the minority. Democracies don’t operate in accordance to individual consent and contract, but it operates based on voting and the majority. Making it unethical simply by democracies having an inherent aggression of force to it.

Now that we have shown the various issues with democracy, we can show the solution to our issues. The solution isn’t another form of state and government ownership like a monarch, although a monarchy would be preferable to a democracy (See Hans Hermann Hoppe’s ‘Democracy: the God that Failed’ for more on it).  The solution is simply voluntaryism and self governance. Voluntaryism is a political ideology in which they believe all human actions and interactions should be voluntary. Self governance also goes hand in hand with this as we believe every individual should self govern and decide their own fate. Voluntaryism also entails the abolishment of the state as the state itself is an involuntary and illegitimate institution as a state requires one of two things. The first being taxation or the second preventing competitors from competing with the state in the enforcement of rights. Both are forms of aggressions of force and violations of property rights. To own something means I can do whatever I want with my property as long as you don’t aggress force upon others. A state by nature must aggress upon property owners henceforth making it immoral and cannot be justified through argumentation. I believe we should protect each other's rights voluntarily under anarchy, free from state coercion which will lead to a free, virtuous and free society.

Aleks Popovic

My name is Aleksandar popovic I am 16 years and an anarcho-capitalist. I am from Toronto, Canada and enjoy economics and diving deep into local, federal, and international economic policy. I love baseball and any politically related topics.