“Democracy is under attack!” I wish I had a fiat nickel for every time I heard some variation of this panic-line these past half-dozen years.
Trump will destroy our democracy!
Our sacred democracy is under assault!
Mostly peaceful protesters are in the streets trying to protect our besieged democracy!
Rioters stormed the Capitol to take down our democracy!
We must have more democratic process in boardrooms—for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE)!
We need a Disinformation Czar to approve citizens’ conversations so we can save democracy!
I don’t have any fiat nickels left, alas. I spent them all at the local gas station.
But I do have good news. Democracy is a political ideology. It’s not something that you should want to save in the first place. We can all relax and wish democracy a speedy death. I know you’ve read Hoppe and Rothbard. Democracy is a sham. It’s the same old organized crime as governments of old, except under democracy you get to “vote” (LOL—cf. the 2020 “election”) for the people who will rob you. So, be of good cheer, friends. Democracy is bunkum, and you don’t have to give a damn if it’s under assault. In fact, if someone is “attacking democracy,” my first thought is to ask myself how I can help him out. Because I know I will be much freer and happier the sooner democracy and all other ideologies disappear.
In fact, though, democracy doesn’t need any special attacking to keel over. It collapses of its own accord. Democracy doesn’t die in darkness, as the motto of a certain fake news emporium would have me believe. Democracy dies of democrats. Huzzah! All I have to do is sit back and wait, and democrats will kill and bury their own ideology for me. That’s something really worth celebrating.
And not just democracy. All political ideologies are destroyed by those who truly believe in those ideologies. The more feverish the believer, the faster that believer will lay the beloved ideology low. The more people double down on the political ideology of the hour, the faster that ideology collapses. Thank God in Heaven. If this is true, then all the talk we are hearing about democracy being in peril is very, very good news. Perhaps, soon, the thing really will die and leave us all in peace.
Democracy dies of democrats. Let us rejoice.
Consider just a few heartening signs of democracy’s imminent demise, and all from just one American newspaper which has made “democracy” the very reason for its ongoing existence. This past week, some members of the “democracy dies in darkness” crew at the Washington Post spent most of their time on Twitter sniping at one another for not being sufficiently democratic. It began when one person at that newspaper liked one tweet containing one off-color joke. Another person at the Washington Post responded on Twitter in the tone of innocent indignation which defines the Twitter brand—the social media equivalent of clutched pearls. A third Washington Post person jumped in to chide the pearl clutcher for calling out the tweet-liker in public. The Post’s executive editor then issued two memos to address the incident. The pearl-clutcher lashed out again online. Then others at the Post got involved and it turned into a dugout-clearing tweet brawl. (https://www.foxnews.com/media/washington-post-week-from-hell)
Now, democracy, I have been told since I was old enough to be brainwashed by democrats in an American public school, is about listening to other people’s opinions. It’s about honoring all views. You have to be able to have reasoned debate. You need to protect minority positions so that everyone can share their ideas and we can all decide together how to run our country.
I can’t remember when I stopped believing that any of that was true. I think it was probably around the time that I read Hans-Hermann Hoppe. But please let me recap the latest WaPo saga for anyone who still clings to the fiction that democracy is “the good ideology,” the one that’s “the worst except for all the others that have been tried.” The people who keep shouting at us that democracy is dying, that democracy is under attack, have proven incapable of acting democratically and resolving their differences through reasoned debate. In true democratic fashion, the person who found herself in the minority in the Twitter fracas was promptly fired. This was after the WaPo bigwigs tried clamping down on the debate using pure power of office.
Zoom out a little and you can see that the WaPo in microcosm is pretty much the same as the WaPo writ large. Honoring all views? Protecting minority positions? You may have noticed—at least I have—that when I don’t agree with the Washington Post or other democratic ideologues, I am branded a “fascist” or a “racist” or a “bigot” or a “denialist” or a “Republican.” I abhor all five, but never mind. Democracy has nothing to do with debate. Democracy is—has always been—about throwing your opponents into prison or, better yet, sentencing them to death.
Plato had a serious problem with democracy, probably because he watched a gaggle of democrats run Athens into the ground during the Peloponnesian War and then execute the one man in that city who had refused to play political games with the warring factions. The Washington Post is not Athens, but you get the idea. Don’t like the fact that I liked a tweet? You’re gone! Fundamentally, absolutely nothing about democracy has changed in going on three thousand years.
All of this business about tweet-liking is to say nothing of the Washington Post’s other woes of recent days, such as yet another fake news scandal involving beleaguered Post reporter Taylor “Save Democracy!” Lorenz (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/twitter-saga-obscures-the-washington-posts-taylor-lorenz-scandal), or the disturbing revelation that the defamatory material which the Post published in 2018 about Johnny Depp was not only false but also ghostwritten by the ACLU. (https://www.insider.com/aclu-wrote-amber-heard-washington-post-oped-johnny-depp-2022-6) It’s not just that democrats can’t debate and refuse to listen to other people’s views. It’s that democrats can’t stop feeding lies to the general public. Why? Because democracy must be protected at all costs.
Hmm. Doesn’t quite add up, but I’m not buying anyway so I don’t care.
Here’s the bottom line, the one that will never make it into your friendly neighborhood democratic newspaper. Democracy doesn’t die in darkness. It always dies in broad daylight. And it dies at the hands of democrats.
Why do democrats kill democracy? The reason is simple. Democracy is an ideology. Like all ideologies, it operates under magical assumptions. An ideology is an insistence that contingency can be controlled by ignoring certain facts and facets of lived reality. An ideology attempts to enclose the world within a cocoon of words and wishes. Ideologies, to put it bluntly, are elegant-sounding, actionable lies. The whole point of an ideology is to blind oneself, or others, to the way things really are.
Because ideologies are magic spells to make the real world turn into something that can be controlled, ideologies necessarily produce people incapable of making rational decisions. Ideologues—and that includes democrats—will almost always double down on the ideology when faced with clear and mounting evidence that it isn’t true. It must be true. That’s what makes it an ideology. And the more an ideology fails, the more, under the twisted logic which makes ideology possible in the first place, it must be infallible. The ideology crumbles, all while the ideologues keep insisting that only the ideology can save them. Robespierre and the guillotine were not aberrations of ideology. It’s always that scene in one form or another. Every ideology ends when that ideology’s ideologues take the ideology to its natural conclusion and declare war on reality.
The people who work at the Washington Post (or used to!) are among the most rabid democratic ideologues on the planet. If they can’t make democracy work, then nobody can. If the people who want to inflict democracy on all the rest of us can’t even sort out who gets to like a tweet and what should be done when someone else disagrees about it, then democracy is shown to be the farce that it is. In the event, even the WaPo democrats failed at democracy. That’s how ideology operates. Democracy dies of democrats.
The same can be said, mutatis mutandis, of any other ideology. Take communism, for instance. In the Soviet Union, communism worked just as the Austrian economists knew it would. Secret police, bread lines, gulags, personality cults, misery, death. No surprise there. Communism is a hateful ideology. Mises and Hayek tried telling us just that.
No one had more reason to understand this than the communists themselves. They were the ones standing in bread lines or rotting in gulags, after all, or else condemning others in their communist paradise to those fates. But what did the communists do? Just what the democrats at the Washington Post did. They ratcheted up the ideology.
We need price boards! What’s missing is more collectivization! What we really have to have is a purer Marxism than ever before!
And so on, as millions, and then millions more, starved to death or snitched on their mothers for a promotion at the Number Four Munitions Factory. Communism didn’t die in darkness. It died in broad daylight. And it died of communists.
I could extend the list, but you get the idea. Insert the name of any ideology into the blank and then run the program. Or just flip through the pages of a history book to see how the mechanism works in real life. An ideology is a vehicle to power at first. It’s what gets the worst people to the top of any government—Hoppe and Rothbard proven right again and again. Once in power, the ideology begins to work against its erstwhile masters. The ideology takes over, and ideologues work themselves into a sustained trance. The ideology must be true. The way to overcome apparent failures in the ideology is with more ideology. This scales up, the gearwheels of ideology and yet more ideology turning faster and faster, until total collapse comes.
How does one get out of an ideology? One simply walks away. One stops believing in it and therefore stops trying to prove to oneself and to others that it’s true.
But, truth be told, anti-ideology can itself feel like an ideology at times. It’s not so easy to free oneself from the grips of ideological thinking, I mean, and it’s even harder to shake others out of the trance. Try this experiment if you don’t agree with me. Ask an average American how to fix what’s wrong with the country. He or she is likely to say, “We have to wait until the next election. Then we can vote our way to a better democracy.”