If this election season has shown us anything, it’s that democracy can only go so far. Why is that? Is there something wrong with the candidates or is something fundamentally wrong with democracy itself? I think the objective case can be made that democracy itself is at the heart of the problem. The classical liberal Frédéric Bastiat said it best when he proclaimed “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
This sentiment is the only way to understand government and democracy by extension.
Political philosopher Hans-Herman Hoppe argues that democracy is rotten to its core. That is because the democratically elected ruler does not control the capital stock of a nation, only its present stock. This means that abuses will be short sighted and based on the length of that elected leaders term. And this makes sense when you think about how the US government is almost $20 trillion in debt. Theory in practice. Hoppe further elaborates by saying, “Under a one-man-one-vote regime, then, a relentless machinery of wealth and income redistribution is set in motion. It must be expected that majorities of have-nots will constantly try to enrich themselves at the expense of minority of haves.”
This may sound like an unattractive prospect. It sounds like a defense of the rich which has never been a popular sentiment. But the solution is to defend property rights and defend the property rights of everyone. But as can be seen here, democracy is a consistent tool of violating property rights and enriching one’s self at the expense of others. This is really all government is at the end of the day, an egalitarian nightmare that violates basic rights. To violate property rights is to violate something I think we all hold dear, the idea of self-ownership and self determination.
So this election has only shown us that the winner will never be “the people” but those that are politically connected. It’s always been this way, it’s only blatantly obvious now.