I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality. – John Randolph of Roanoke
Of the many opinions I am wont to offer freely and unsolicited to my politically-inclined friends, the opinion which evokes the strongest reaction is easily my intense distaste for all things democratic. It isn’t just the liberals, lefties and neo-cons, either: after stating my preference for feudal forms of government, plenty of libertarians, more mainstream conservatives, and even a disheartening number of paleo-conservatives have all looked at me as if I just suggested that setting fire to orphanages might be a fun way to pass the time.
No amount of wide-eyed, scoff-laden incredulity, however, will move me from the position that democracy, or what might more accurately be called democratism (because let’s be honest, these days the majority most certainly doesn’t rule anything) has been anything other than utterly devastating to Western man and his civilization. Barring some divine revelation or descent into madness, I will continue to cringe every time a politician mentions “democracy” as some sort of vital, intrinsic American or Western value worth maintaining or, worse, exporting, and I will continue to abstain from national elections until and unless the True King somehow finds his way on the ballot. Whenever I hear someone talk about making a country or the world at large “safe for democracy”, a small part of me dies inside.
It is my American friends – and to a more worrying extent, my British ones – who have the most trouble understanding my antidemocratic tendencies. This is understandable as Americans have been subjected to a steady stream of propaganda praising the virtues of “democracy” and “democratic societies” ever since Woodrow Wilson dragged the country into the First World War. In fact, one of the few things one is likely to get a typical Democrat voter and a typical Republican voter to agree upon these days is that America is a democracy and should forever stay that way.
Unfortunately for our hypothetical Democrat and Republican who have finally found something on which they agree, America is most certainly not a democracy. I would expect such nonsense from the left, but there are, depressingly, legions of ‘Murica-loving, self-proclaimed “conservative” voters who should know better, yet still cling to the democracy myth.
America is a constitutional republic. It is a constitutional republic that was founded by well-educated, wealthy, propertied men who envisioned a country governed through limited franchise by well-educated, wealthy, propertied men. The founders were equally as afraid of democracy as they were tyranny — democracy is, in essence, the idea of majority rule, something the Constitution is explicitly and painstakingly designed to prevent. But why take my word for it when you can read some of the founders’ own words:
Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths… A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking. – James Madion, Federalist Papers No. 10
Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide. – John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814
The architects of America recognized that democracy is a direct threat to liberty and were correct to reject it. After all, what is democracy if not the belief that it is perfectly acceptable for one to be stripped of his life, liberty, and estate by merely being outvoted. Democracy poses a direct, material threat to property rights because it challenges the very basis of liberty itself. For democracy is inherently tied to equality, and equality is the antithesis of liberty.
Solzhenitsyn observed that, “human beings are born with different capacities, if they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.” Thus it should be unsurprising that every hell-spawned revolution that has called for equality has resulted in gross violations of liberty and property, and frequently mass death. From the original Jacobins in France, to the Bolsheviks in Russia, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to the Maoists in China, and countless others striving for utopia, the trail of blood and bones left in the wake of the egalitarians is unrivaled in history.
The above examples are the extreme, of course, however it is a mistake to assume that the beliefs and modes of government espoused by such scoundrels of history are foreign or antithetical to those touted by the mainstream of the society we find ourselves in presently. The differ merely in degree, but not principle. Despite initial appearance to the contrary, a Mussolini or a Joseph Stalin are not the antitheses of modern democratic ideals – they are the culmination of them.
Liberty is an aristocratic ideal, its origins in the tension between lords and king during the early Middle Ages are undeniable. Therefore the further removed we are from the society which birthed the ideal of liberty, the further we are from liberty itself. Despite post-Enlightenment propaganda and Masonic myths about the brutal Middle Ages, and later modern liberal lies about the dark times before “democracy” and mass enfranchisement, many of the worst crimes men have perpetrated on one another occurred in the twentieth century in “democratic” countries, and Western man has perhaps never had his liberty so curtailed as he does now.
Modern, “democratic” governments have a level of involvement in the lives of their citizens that is practically unprecedented. Citizens are routinely spied on, and police are armed with military grade equipment and can, and do, arrest more people for more things than ever before in the English-speaking world. The average taxpayer has a far greater share of his income taken by the government that what was taken under the feudal system, and the average President/Prime Minister controls an executive more powerful and dangerous than the cruelest Medieval tyrant or 18th-century absolutist monarch could ever have dreamed of.
All of this has happened not in spite of increasing liberalism, but precisely because of it. Democratic ideals lead inevitably to a loss of liberty and the advent of political totalitarianism. Something like the Holocaust would have been unthinkable in the Holy Roman, Austro-Hungarian, or even German Empires, and the worst excesses of nearly four centuries of Tsardom never came close to what the Soviet state achieved in four decades. Until the Return of the King, the state will continue to be used by one faction of society to plunder the rest, the meaning and purpose of the law will continue to be subverted and twisted by radicals, and our liberty, ever endangered, will continue to bleed slowly away.
Yes, this I can tell
That all will be well
When the King enjoys his own again