Does democracy lead to a "predatory majority"?


#1

The majority is automatically predatory because it can be. Passing a law to tax or otherwise coerce one’s fellow citizen is so much easier than competing with him/her on the free market.
Now, if you agree that such coercion - when imposed by the majority (let’s say, because the majority concluded it’s in “public interest”, but why is not important here) - is legitimate, then it’s only a matter how much to take and from whom.
In other words, if you establish (or “believe”) that it is morally right, then what else prevents the majority from doing what it pleases? Certainly not laws because the majority can pass whatever laws they like - after all it is morally acceptable, so there’s nothing wrong with that.

@Al_Kafir mentioned International Conventions on Human Rights. In theory that’s right, but in practice has that ever worked for anyone? Every few years some isolated example is hyped in the media, but in the meantime billions around the world are completely helpless.

Democracy invariably leads to totalitarianism. This isn’t tightly related to one’s political views (socialists, fascists, Christian democrats, liberal democrats - they all support democracy) so I wasn’t to guess yours. I’m just making a point that by definition democracy coerces minorities because it is designed to do so. That’s the whole purpose of democracy.

Let’s see one example (by @al_kafir; who means well):

I think at some point soon, some kind of community voting structure must be utilised, in order to address these kinds of issues, alongside the Safe Foundation in the future.

What if a user who is otherwise in good standing refuses to participate (say, he doesn’t tag his publicly shared adult videos with “appropriate” ratings tags suggested by the community)? At that moment such the community becomes either useless or - if it manages to coerce the disobedient user - authoritarian. That’s exactly how democracy works.

So key to the problem of a small group of people deciding what to do is not to enlarge that group (Five morons are terrorizing the populace? Let’s make that 5 million morons!), but to altogether remove it from the position of power.


Is Cory Doctorow talking about DRM and copyright in principle, or as technically dangerous to implementat
Is there an elephant in the room?
Most wanted APP for the SAFE Network
#2

Yes, I agree with this and you don’t, I agree with taxation, you don’t so we differ politically. I don’t accept that democracy invariably leads to totalitarianism either though. Perhaps you could explain how this Democracy- Totalitarianism mechanism works with some examples maybe?

Did you just ruffle my hair?..

I mentioned Conventions which you say are ineffective, again I disagree. I would also add that at present getting Human rights Universally accepted is an issue. This is because a number of the Countries you mention want a parallel Islamic Human Rights to apply to them…ie it includes blasphemy and Sharia Law- the total opposite of respect for Human Rights. Do you have a better idea in this regard?

Not sure I understand this, the predators are usually at the top of the food chain - in this case the 1% not the 99% or “Majority”.If you’re saying they are predatory purely because they come to a consensus to tax everybody to provide infrastructure and services, then I’d have to say this is done for altruistic rather than predatory reasons


#3

No, I meant that seriously. That’s the tragedy of human nature - people by nature want to help by introducing “order” which then gets hijacked by the elite.

People should organize themselves on a voluntary basis.
That can’t work at the moment although maybe few years down the road (http://www.seasteading.org/) that may change.

The 1% manipulate the majority to get elected. Then redistribution kicks in where a best practice is to tax as many as possible (say, a tax that takes just 0.01% of one’s income, and because it’s “for the children” and not a lot, it gets voted in) and redistribute that to a smaller group (which due to their smaller number translates to visible jump in their income, say 5%). By identifying many “problems” which require intervention the majority of voters seemingly becomes indebted to the beautiful system that takes care of all and noone feels taken advantage of. Plus there are useful idiots that can be manipulated into supporting any kind of state intervention. The two groups (those who feel that the redistributionist system benefits them and useful idiots / busybodies) easily comprise more than 30% of all voters. Since only 60-70% of people ever vote, that gives you control of the 99% (because everyone has to obey the democratically elected government - even those who don’t vote).

Link below explains this better. I’ll only quote one sentence: "In a certain sense, therefore, all tyranny is majority tyranny, regardless of the formalities of the government structure."
https://mises.org/rothbard/mes/chap14.asp#2B._Democracy_Voluntary


#4

Is the problem then not the Elite hijacking the system, rather than in having the ordered system?

Yes, this would be a solution, but as you said it was the Human Nature aspect that was the inherent problem with Democracy (in that the majority become predatory) - how does this same principle not act in the same way in a voluntary system?
The next part of your post appears to be describing what happens when successive governments over many decades get elected by promising the electorate various goodies - paid for by taxes, which when taxes don’t cover it leads to borrowing which leads to National Debt …I get all that bit.

Yes, I understand this view, the 1% being all major parties representing the Corporate interests, rather than the people’s, whichever party you vote for. The Democracy has been hijacked by the Corporate/Banking world. This is my view. I probably fall in the “useful idiots” /busy bodies group myself, but my point would be that the taxation system has been hijacked too - this does not imply a tax redistribution model is not desirable.

OK, I can’t argue with the maths, but still don’t get how that makes the majority predatory - it would rather mean they had been predated on.

I’m not an Economist and will endeavour to read the Mises link you gave to see if it helps.


#5

I’d prefer the MaidSafe way. How if some evil group were to try to attack the nice group, that the evil group would wind up attacking themselves; and therefore, accomplishing nothing in terms of their attempt to gain control.

A SAFEocracy.

I looked up safocracy

and it turns out there is something already called: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sophocracy


#6

I’m not sure I follow the logic, what do you replace the 5 morons with if not the 5 million, whatever new system is introduced? What is the “it” in “altogether remove it from office” and how do you propose achieving this?
The Mises link is a little long to fully read, I tend to find it helpful to summarise arguments in short statements in your own words really anyway. I’m not getting at you (just this one link is a bit long). I’ve also had others expect me to read up to 9 links/videos in order to “qualify” me to answer, which I found dishonest really. It’s like they’ve not done their homework and want others to make their arguments for them.
Anyway you summed it up nicely which I appreciate:

I would say that the corollary would be that "all altruism is majority altruism…dependent on whether you think the govt is loosely tyrannical or altruistic. I understand that the deeper point is that a minority of people would necessarily not have all their views acted upon, and that this is inherent in the system. I just think with working safeguards/conventions any abuses can at least be minimised in lieu of a better system.


#7

@janitor Resisting totalitarianism leads to totalitarianism therefore accept totalitarianism. One who doesn’t recognize this is being unrealistic etc. Its an entitled notion conscious or unconscious that other people were born to serve me. Somehow the alternative is supposed to be millions of people living next to each other who never acknowledge each other or come into conflict and need no mutual agreements because they are free and the fittest will survive. And we can’t do anything practical util we come to our senses and run that perfect free experiment.


#8

Good post.

If you accept majority rule, where does it start and end? At an ancient battle line? At the edge of a county? A city? A village? At an individual’s house?

When is a majority big enough to ‘legitimately’ steal from others? 60 million? 6 million? 600 thousand? 600? 60? 6?

The passage of time will expose this nonsense as inconsistent and archaic, IMO.


#9

Taxation is a form of theft. If you had 10 people and one of them stole from another that would be considered force. But for some reason if they all vote on it and 6 out of 4 vote that yes the group has the right to take a portion of each person’s goods, by force if nessesary, then that’s totally fine. So 1 person forcibly taking from another is bad but if the group votes and the majority agrees then collectively doing the same thing is okay? That’s the concept of democratic taxation. Totalitarian taxation is simpler. I have a bigger stick, my word is law, give me your stuff. Nevermind the fact that democracy is blown to hell the moment lobbying is allowed. And that’s easy to get in because all you have to do is persuade the chump majority to vote it in. So socially engineer the majority to allow lobbying and boom you’ve killed democracy by slow poison. It’s that simple. Oh and look politics and business are interbreeding and you’re getting fascism! How cute.

If someone needs my help I am not obligated to help them. I may want to help them. I may be incredibly generous, kind and compassionate but I am not obligated to lift a finger to do so. And the moment you make helping others into an obligation it loses it’s meaning. It becomes less about empathy and more about seeking the approval of others. More to the point though is one cannot FORCE another to help. Once you start coercing generosity then you create resentment towards the recipients of said generosity as well as the redistribution establishment authority (government). This can be seen in the current U.S. where the tax payers demonstrate much animosity towards the poor.

What if someone doesn’t vote and doesn’t opt into the democratic process? Then they are essentially having a majority they wanted nothing to do decide that they have rights to said non voting minority’s wealth regardless of their consent.

The democratic majority often defends their position of taking from the minority regardless of consent based on the premise that they use the services as well. But the majority made the services for all. Making a service for all does not imply the obligation that it be funded by all, especially when not everyone supported it’s creation in the first place.

There is no reason for taxation. One can easily replace taxation with crowdfunding to achieve the same result. Want a road built? Crowdfund it. Want to have a hospital constructed? Crowdfund it. Want to support a program for those in need? Crowdfund it and maintain with subscribing donations. These things we can do easily.


#10

Lol…I’m not getting it. I can see a number of people do not like the idea of a) “Majority Rule” or b)“Taxation”. What I don’t get is what is the proposed system that does not inherently use a form of a)
… and would removal of b) not lead to totally privatised infrastructure and no social security?
I get how de-centralising decision making and finance and data etc is beneficial, but don’t get how whatever system we adopt would not be a form of Democracy or majority rule.


#11

You can’t see how people could figure things out without using theft? I think you need to start from first principles, reflecting over an extended period, then see how you feel.

The answer isn’t a prescriptive list of solutions, but rather a realisation that this is the wrong way to think about it.

If I were to explain how someone should lose weight, I would suggest they eat less food. What food is eaten and when is just the detail, the implementation.


#12

Well, I don’t equate taxation with theft and you’re answer is that I’m apparently thinking about it in the wrong way. Can anybody give me a better explanation or address the questions I asked. Is it a case of having to equate tax with theft as a first principle in order to understand?


#13

If there were 3 people and 2 agreed to take from the other 1, would you consider that theft?


#14

Ah I see it is then,nevermind.

If there were 3 people and they agreed amongst themselves to pay into a kitty to help granny when she gets sick or build roads etc, would that be theft? Would a person not paying into the kitty but wanting to drive on the roads, not properly be labelled the thief?


#15

If they all agree, then there is no theft. In other words, they would have to be free to opt in or out of the contract.


#16

How would this work for people opting out? What I mean is, would you then not need some kind of new level of bureaucracy to identify whether a person could use a hospital or road?
I can understand a greedy rich person would be ok, who had no regard for societal safety nets and could afford to buy whatever he needed in the new privatised world - but what of the less fortunate?
I am saying that basically, it is fundamentally a good idea to have some kind of community pot for social security and infrastructure - whether this is a taxation system or something of the same ilk.


#17

If democracy is representative, then similar results should be arrived at without requiring theft. To suggest otherwise is to assert that people become more evil when institutional theft is absent.

If people care about others, then they will try to support them. Perhaps it would be shameful not to even.

To add, I suspect all sorts of voluntarty subscription based cooperatives would flourish in the absence of involuntary institutions. Healthcare in the UK was already evolving in this way prior to the NHS for example.


#18

Ok, so it is definitely the case that one of the “basic principles” you advise me to go back to is that taxation = theft, I do not accept the basic premise that your argument is based on.

You appear to be advocating a philanthropic benefactor model, reminiscent of Victorian Industrialists, in a setting of privatised infrastructure (a necessary product of no taxation). Let’s bring Victorian England into the Information age…kind of thing.
Anyway, you said:

As I said, I don’t equate tax with theft and this position does not:

I have already said I see “Evil” as a silly concept…similar to sin. so unfortunately I can;t follow your argument.


#19

For me its not democracy, its what democracy is used for:

Democracy as a way to make decisions affecting lots of people is fine.

Democracy as way to decide how to use a government monopoloy on violence is predatory.

Its the government monopoly on violence which is predatory, not democracy.

In relation to Maidsafe I think majority rule is good at the app level, because you can always just use another app if you don’t like it. Its also fine when a decision must be made which can’t be avoided. But if its used to exercise some exclusive form of ‘violence’ which the Maidsafe platform itself has a monopoly over (banning them from the whole network, removing their content, etc) then its not ok.


#20

I largely agree and would say that the idea that Democracy and Taxation are the problem is misguided really, I think the problem is more that Democracy and Taxation (or a basic idea of a community kitty) have been hijacked by Corporate Interests. I see this as the main problem, which is another way of saying that the real problem is the Capitalist Market System (or that it needs reforming/restricting).
The Govt monopoly on violence argument would also be the Govt monopoly on benevolence argument too though by the same reasoning.

I’m not sure this would be possible but agree.