Democracy’s Love Affair with the Myth of Equality

The fatal flaw of the modern democratic process isn’t the belief in majority rule, but the erroneous belief that because all men have equal rights their political opinions are of equal merit.

When you try applying the concepts behind modern democracy to any other subject outside of politics, you see how absurd the concept is. Imagine someone claiming that the opinion of a grocery clerk is equal to that of a surgeon when it comes a highly precise medical procedure. Or that a single mother’s opinion in regard to the structural integrity of a bridge should count as much as that of an architectural engineer. Or the shrieks of an 18-year-old college freshman should count as much as a programmer when designing security software.

Libertarians tend to get this.

A democracy can function when the vote is strictly confined to those who have strong incentives to act in a beneficial manner for themselves and their country, i.e. property owners who pay taxes and thus seek to keep them low and hold those who waste tax revenue accountable. They also tend to restrain government from fighting costly wars, since they pay for them.

It is of course imperfect but it is also sustainable, for a while. Eventually those who have the vote will, out of compassion or foolishness, vote to give others who own nothing the power to vote and, shockingly, they will vote to take from others and give to themselves.

Imagine trying to take an entire group of people from random areas of life and have them make a decision about, say, how a skyscraper should be designed. How ridiculous would it be for the 20-year-old liberal arts major to talk like his opinion mattered, or for that matter as much as that of a 58-year-old man who has already designed 20 such buildings?

People assume that because something has been hijacked by the state suddenly all opinions are equally valid. Because education is run by the state everyone’s vote counts the same when deciding to fund a levy or elect a superintendent of the local school district and the other school board members.

Some might misread this as me stating that only a handful of people should be able to make decisions for everyone else. My contention is that the democratic system itself is flawed because since you can’t form a consistent principle on excluding some from voting you allow everyone to vote, which means they’re able to vote on things that they shouldn’t have any say in even if we were to live in a stateless society.

What you get with modern democracy is what we’re seeing today; an irrational, self-destructive mob rule that acts on raw emotions and feelings without any consideration for the long-term effects of their actions. Low time-preference and long-term provisioning gives way to instant gratification.

Everyone has the same basic rights, but outside of self-ownership, the concept of equality, especially when it comes to political beliefs, is a total farce.

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