We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Democracy is nowadays a greatly over-hyped blessing, particularly by Americans, who have no pre-democratic history to provide a perspective. It is clearly less important than freedom, the rule of law and constitutional government, which ideally it should entrench, but may well not do so.”

Nigel Lawson, former UK finance minister, journalist and more recently, a fine debunker of global warming alarmism. His children such as Dominic and Nigella seem to have done okay as well.

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • This echoes very closely the view of the LPUK.

    Democracy is the least bad way of defending Rule of Law and the least bad form of Government.

    If Democracy exists, there is no guarantee that you will have due process, property rights (51% vote to take the wealth of the 49%, for example) or other such freedoms that come under Rule of Law.

    If Rule of Law exists, Democracy has little day-to-day use, for under Rule of Law, your property, thoughts, person, beliefs are defended and in case this is not successful, due process will kick in without adverse interference from political groups or administrations.

    Once “democracy” brings in a big State, an Authoritarian State practising, so it appears, for future Totalitarianism, Rule of Law is threatened and eroded.

  • kentuckyliz

    Yeah, democracy is starting to look like a huge mistake. I’m thinking perhaps only taxpayers should be allowed to vote. Elections should be held April 16. There’s a reason elections are 7 months after the tax deadline.

    We live in a cause and effect world, so let’s act like it.

  • Laird

    You’re starting to catch on, kentuckyliz.

    Far from being “the least bad way of defending Rule of Law”, democracy is just about the worst possible way. Mob rule never ends well. Frankly, I think an hereditary monarchy and aristocracy would be better; at least they wouldn’t have to pick our pockets to buy our votes. The pocket-picking is going to occur anyway, but if a large portion of the take doesn’t have to go for vote-buying perhaps the larceny will be minimized.

  • RRS

    Would we not be well advised, and have a better understanding of the degrees and conditions of “representative governance” (as they may fit any particular societal organization; e.g., tribal), to accept that Democracy is a Process, not a condition?

    The conditions that subsist within human organizations are inherent in the nature of the relations amongst those humans in any particular organization, and are shaped by other factors of far greater impact than the influences of using forms of “democratic” processes to replace or offset force, violence and coercions.

    Can we really expect any process to change the nature of human interactions? Or, should we not expect that nature (and experience) of human interactions to change the selection of and variants in social processes?

    One man one vote, one time?

  • 1. Democracy – I understand the feelings! However, how to remove a bad Monarchy or Aristocracy without bloody revolution? How to replace? Democracy at least allows bad government to be removed. In fact that is its main plus, though “bad” is usually replaced with “boring”, as in “bored of this government” or “change”.
    2. I agree on the pocket picking, but, that said, vote buying falls foul of the Rule of Law.
    3. Votes for tax. I’d prefer it to be if you are not paid by the state you can vote*, for if you have consumption taxes, everyone can claim they pay tax. The LPUK wishes to abolish Income Tax and move to consumption taxes. Unless you monitor everything bought by each individual – over my dead body – it is therefore impractical to use the metric of taxation. However, it is quite simple to work out who gains their living from the State and it will be less contentions seeing as we would not have Doctors, Nurses or Teachers employed thus.

    * personal view, not LPUK policy!

  • PersonFromPorlock

    A small quibble with the idea that America is deficient in history: in fact, we have as long a history as Europe does – it’s even the same history, up to about 1600.

    Incidentally, didn’t Heinlein mention ‘Constitutional Tyrrany’ as an ideal form of government in one of his books? Don’t let the citizens interfere with the government and don’t let the government interfere with the citizens… much.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Arggh: Tyrrany > Tyranny

  • Eric

    What’s funny about the word “democracy” in the US is it was, up until the early 1900s, something of an insult to call someone a democrat. Now we seem intent on exporting it to every mud hovel around the world.

    I suppose that’s okay, if the point is to keep them from challenging us.

  • Paul Marks

    The difference between the unlimited government of Pericles style demcracy and a Constitutional Republic – Eric.

    Still it is not quite that – I am not sure whether it is worse or better but it is different.

    People did not vote for Barack Obama because they support his plan to add nine trillion Dollars to the national debt. Even today Americans who do not watch Fox News or listen to certain people on the radio (and most Americans do neither) do not know that Barack Obama plans to add nine trillion Dollars to the national debt.

    They did not even vote for Barack Obama because of his past achievements.

    He has none.

    No military service, no struggle up from poverty (his “remarkable life” amounted to being brought up by his director of a bank grandmother and then going from Ivy League university to Ivy League university, and then being given comfortable jobs on charitable foundations to give him lots of spare time for politics).

    No running of a business, no achievements in politics (no balanced budgets or anything) – nothing, nothing worthy of praise in a whole life (by the way if anyone thinks going to Ivy League universities is worthy of praise they need a crash course on the nature of the modern world).

    So people did not vote for him on policy (they know nothing about his policy positions), or his life (which is devoid of any merit whatever)

    They voted for him because they hold him to be an attractive man with a nice voice.

    It is that crude.

    The United States of America has become the United States of Celebrity.

    Even the critics of democracy never guessed that something like this would happen.

    Of course one can blame the “education system” and the “mainstream media” (the sort of airheads who ask “what was your most enchanting…..”), but the voters themselves have to carry some of the blame for their own actions.

    There is such a thing as personal responsibility – and the buck stops with the voters.

  • kentuckyliz

    They voted for him because he was NotBush and a Great Orator coff coff I mean Teleprompteror.

    Have y’all heard of TOTUS? The Teleprompter Of The United States. A distinct player on the world stage. More people are saying, “TOTUS should tell POTUS….”

    John McCain was turning into Angry Grandpa and Sarah Palin was a clunky choice.

    People voted for fuzzy platitudes.

    The MSM was so in the tank for him, they didn’t do their due diligence and inform the American people.

    Journalism died.

  • Preach it, Brother, er Lord, Lawson!

    The Founding Fathers of the US knew all about the problems with democracy. They had read Aristotle’s Politics and attempted with the Constitution to create the mixed government it recommended.

    The modern fetish for democracy is misplaced. Democracy is only useful to the extent that it promotes liberty; and to be fair it’s the form of government that most promotes liberty so far. Tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny.

  • Cid the Cidious

    Democracy= Two wolves and a sheep debating over what to have for dinner.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree that journalism died last year – when neither the political record nor the corrupt life of Barack Obama were expossed by the mainstream media, thus allowing this evil man (and he is an evil man – it is not just a matter of him being a leftist and my not likeing leftism, his decades of support for the Chicago machine show this).

    However, the poison that killed mainstream journalism was consumed long ago.

    It is the “Progressive” idea of an “objective scientfic” press (educated to be so at college of course).

    The old idea was for different points of view (different ways of seeing the world) to present themselves to the people in newspapers (and so on) and allow the people to make up their own minds.

    But the Progressive movement had a different idea – a de facto media cartel (via their control of things like AP – and their demand that journalists be “trained”), giving people the “correct” view of the world.

    “All the news that is fit to print”.

    Or “All the news that fits”.

  • Nuke Gray!

    Well, if Democracy kills America as we know it, what will replace it? Perhaps all the states could disunite, and join again as Allied States, and meet in annual conferences in a different city each year?
    My own variant if minarchy I sometimes call Demodocracy, Public Road Rule. Let governments own the public spaces, like roads and town halls, and let private spaces be untouched.

  • Paul Marks

    Governments did not use to own most roads (see, for example the turnpike roads in Britain – or the private free roads that city property owners created) and there is no reason why they should.

    As for what is happening to the United States – predicting what would happen does not make it less difficult to bare. And I am not an American.

    For a citizen of the United States of America (as opposed to the United States of Celebrity) it must be like having one’s guts torn out and slowly eaten before one’s eyes.