Democracy’s Decline

The Baron has been thinking deep thoughts lately, wondering whether this is democracy’s endgame and contemplating a choice between kinds of barbarism.  He begins by thinking about cap-and-trade:

This bill is not popular with the American people. Its alleged long-term benefits are far outweighed by the massive economic damage it will do to our country within the next few years. In the short term it will benefit no one except the already bloated federal government and its parasitic private entities. No major business stands to make a killing from it. No congressman who voted for it enhanced his chances of re-election by doing so.

So why in the world was such a monstrosity ever passed? Why would democratically elected representatives come out so strongly against our national well-being, our commercial interests, and public opinion?

Cap-and-Trade is hardly an isolated instance. Politicians all across the West are jostling one another to see who can be first to leap over the nearest available precipice, whether the issue is political correctness, mass immigration, capitulation to Islam, ruinous levels of taxation, or environmental orthodoxy.

I can’t find anything to disagree with there.  Our political class seems determined to undermine our civilization in any way it can.  Why?  The Baron asks,

Does democracy carry within it a poison pill that guarantees its own eventual destruction?

It’s a good question.  Plato and Aristotle, both of whom had experience with Athenian democracy up close, thought that it did.  Plato worried about an excess of liberty that would undermine character and lead to a thirst for tyranny, but also about the growth of bureaucracy, which was a problem even in Athens: “in democracies almost everything is managed by the drones.”  The final straw is that the less well-off seize more and more wealth from those who are more fortunate than they.  The upper class seeks to defend itself against this expropriation, and is accused of plotting against the common good.  A tyrant arises who claims to represent the downtrodden but in fact claims power for himself.  Aristotle’s story is similar.  The needy, being numerous, exert power in a democracy, and seize the wealth of those better off, while demagogues exploit the situation to their own advantage.

The Baron’s analysis:

A peaceful and prosperous civil society is a rare gift. Those who have only recently attained it are more likely to understand how precious it is, to safeguard it and be ready to defend it.

But peace and prosperity induce somnolence and amnesia. The current state of affairs comes to seem natural and normal. It is taken for granted, instead of being known for the fortunate anomaly that it actually is. We are living in a brief golden interlude of history: the normal state of human affairs is one of brutality, bloodshed, and barbarism. It will be all too easy to return to the old patterns as our vigilance wanes.

The democratic state begins with liberty as its ideal, the base on which all the other social and political structures grow. Peace and prosperity are the natural consequences of success in this endeavor, yet their accustomed presence induces a desire for security and a lack of conflict.

Eventually the warm cocoon of the omnipotent and omnipresent State becomes preferable to liberty itself.

But this is not just a matter of a soft citizenry.  The bureaucracy grows and, seeking to grow further, destroys national boundaries, thus undermining itself, the society, and indeed the civilization that supports it.

This historical process has unfolded inexorably to reach the endgame we are now facing. From the Enlightenment through Marxism and the Progressive Movement to post-industrial Social Democracy, the trend has been towards an ever-expanding bureaucracy, which of necessity requires more and more socialism, regardless of what name the reigning ideology bears.

As the 20th century progressed, the bureaucratic leviathan chafed at its final limitation: the nation-state. Only by dissolving borders and distinct national identities could the power of the bureaucrats continue to increase. Once again an inexorable logic drove the progression of ideological events as the century unfolded: universal suffrage, universal human rights, the elevation of “discrimination” to the rank of deadly sin, inclusion, diversity, multiculturalism, the EU, the NAU, and the UN.

To fulfill the global plan, our nations must be destroyed by incorporating people from alien cultures so as to dilute our separate national identities and remove the last barrier to the worldwide hegemony of the socialist superstate. Ideological indoctrination through the schools and the media has entrenched the idea that resisting the incorporation of foreigners is racist, xenophobic, and deeply sinful. The result is that it’s difficult now for most people to whole-heartedly support nationalistic ideals. No one can contemplate the defense of his own culture without a sense of moral uneasiness.

The international Islamic jihad has slipped a blade into that hairline crack of self-doubt and widened it into a gaping fissure. The cracks are now spreading, and threaten to bring the entire edifice of Western Civilization crashing down around us.

And so we get to the choice between barbarisms.  It’s still some distance away in the United States, but not so in Europe, where the disease is far more advanced, and where the choice between the Hell’s Angels and criminal immigrant gangs is imminent.

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