Democracy Is Caesar, Too!
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: Changing
to a Silver Economy
about democracy are typical: one has liberty and one has the
free exercise of oneís rights when one can cast a vote for oneís
leader. In that is consent. In that is no coercion. In that is freedom.
He may even believe this. At least he says so. And even if he does
not believe this, it is the ruling orthodoxy. Itís commonly believed
that elections are the basic girders of liberty.
leaders worldwide claim that they cannot do simply anything with
their powers, even as they do just about anything. They claim that
they are constrained by constitutions, by the invisible wires of
consent, and sometimes by the internal checks and balances of their
own governments. Such constraints as exist donít prevent governments
from becoming half or more of their economies.
wisdom is that if we combine free elections with these constitutional
constraints, we obtain liberty. Be happy, then, citizens! You are
of liberty is as sadly deficient and defective as it is false. What
difference does it make to be told one must buy health insurance
or be searched at an airport or pay taxes to support invasions in
Iraq and Afghanistan or pay taxes to support the production of ethanol
if the power behind these commands is a dictator, an elected premier,
a parliament, or a legislature? Coercion is coercion, whatever its
source. If one person or a majority of your neighbors or their representatives
coerce you, does the source of this coercion determine whether or
not you have your liberty? Do elections and your capacity to cast
a vote eliminate the coercion?
less exercises power against rights or liberty than does any other
form of government in which the Person is violated, chained, intruded
upon, threatened, made to pay, robbed, constrained, and forced to
obey commands against his will. Why write Person rather than person?
It is to emphasize the prime importance of the Person in connection
with liberty. It is the Person in you that is the locus of your
free will, the will to act, and the will to create. That which crushes
this freedom of the Person, as does democracy, is that which enslaves.
Voting is merely one possible action of a Person. A voter is a political
concept, not a Person. Likewise, a citizen is a political concept,
not a Person. A Person is a real creative being.
In the conventional
view of democracy, there is always a People. The term "People"
doesnít mean just any collection of persons or people, but a collection
that somehow sets itself apart or that others think is set apart
by some recognizable and shared characteristics. In his brief remarks
on Egypt, President Obama used the phrases "people of Egypt"
and "Egyptian people" thirteen times. Democracy and the
People are linked inextricably. His rhetoric reflected that.
the People is not at all the same as the Persons who comprise it.
Each Person is unique. The People connected to the concept of democracy
is, like voter and citizen, at bottom a political concept. Even
if the Persons who comprise the People are connected by common bonds
of language, or religion, or culture, or ethnicity, each of them
as Persons still maintains irreducibly unique aspects of Personality,
consciousness, creativity, and free will. What makes them a People
is something else that is labeled as political when taken in conjunction
with government by democracy. Democracy connects to a People but
it is coercive power used against Persons. Which matters more, you
as a Person or you as part of a People?
not set himself apart from other politicians past and present, here
and around the world, in having extraordinarily limited aspirations
for the Egyptian people or any people. His aspirations for them,
as were his predecessorís, are that they have democracy, which is
linked to the People. Then all will be well. This is both a limited
and false vision. The reason is that it ignores Persons.
the Person does not mean freedom of the People to have a democracy.
Freedom of the Person opposes dramatically the coercion and thus
enslavement present in every democracy on earth. Freedom of the
Person means an unhampered capacity to develop oneís Personality
through action and creativity. Freedom of the Person is immeasurably
distant from casting a vote periodically for a government whose
powers invariably find very wide scope and boundaries even when
constitutionally limited. Freedom of the Person and Freedom of all
Persons, even those comprising a People, is not freedom of the People
to have a democracy.
Why does the
Egyptian people or any People need or want democracy or any coercive
government anyway? All such governments suppress freedom of Persons.
Why not go straight for the freedom of Persons? Does any person
aspire to democracy? Who is it who aspires to vote? Isnít the most
basic aspiration of any Person to be a Person, which is to say,
to be free to exercise and develop oneís capacities? Democracy and
voting are, at best, means to this deeper end. Any persons and people
may aspire to democracy as a means to improve their lot, but let
us keep in firm view that oneís development is found at the personal
level, not as a voter or citizen. The aspirations of human beings
go far deeper and/or should go far deeper than becoming political
animals or even politically democratic or politically republican
answer as to why people choose government was given by James Madison
in The Federalist No. 10: "Among the numerous advantages
promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately
developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of
faction." The People are actually disunited politically, Madison
says, even though they are a People. They form factions. They fight
with one another. The answer to this, in Madisonís view, is to have
a government of this (disunited) People that unites them and that
stops the fighting. The People will unite enough to create a politics
by which they sublimate their conflicts and transfer them into the
arena of elections, constitutions, and political control. Some will
rule all, and all will select that some by an agreed upon means.
They will agree to abide by the consequences. The blood will no
longer flow in the streets.
is a close relative to that of Hobbes, differing only in the nature
of the sovereign. But the idea that there must be a sovereign is
present in both. Can a Union be "well constructed"? The
history of the United States provides little encouragement. The
more power that a Union is given "to break and control the
violence of faction," the more it can turn that power against
Persons. The factions may stop bleeding each other directly. Instead
they will bleed each other through the instrument of government,
and the government will bleed everyone.
Let the current
champions and advocates of democracy at least admit that coercion
is undeniably part of the overrated democratic fabric or solution,
if you will, to the problem of factions that Madison raised. Let
us at least see clearly the immorality and injustice that is built
into such a system. Let us see that democracy is inherently anti-Person
and therefore anti-freedom. Let us not be fooled by fraudulent rhetoric
that supposes that democracy is the highest form of human organization
or that human civilization will have reached its zenith and final
form when the earth is blanketed with democracies.
even correct that democracy ameliorated factional conflicts? The
American Civil War or War Between the States not only shows the
coercion at the heart of the American democracy but it shows that
democracy only ameliorates conflicts insofar as the factions already
choose not to fight. In other words, democracy, in its many forms,
might arise as an outcome of a kind of peace process among
interests; but it cannot be peacefully sustained without that cooperation
of interests and factions.
not itself cause peace to break out. It reflects a degree of peace
already subscribed to by factions. That degree is a highly imperfect
degree because coercion lies at the heart of the system, and that
coercion overrides the freedom of Persons in order to maintain a
particular political system.
imperfection cannot be stressed enough. In practice, the coercion
has incalculable and widespread negative effects by suppressing
the freedom of Persons and enslaving them. In this is hidden death.
In this is a hidden means of destroying life and creativity. In
many instances, the death becomes all too tangible and visible when
the democracy engages its population in warfare of a great scope
that could not be possible unless the People had come together under
one government and allowed it to amass the massive resources to
carry out such fighting, as in the total warfare of the twentieth
century. In the last few decades, we discover that, in the name
of democracy, these amassed resources are turned in the most brutal
fashion against Peoples of other lands.
make factional conflicts disappear. Peace doesnít break out because
we change from being Persons into citizens or voters. Government
is not the conveyor of peace. Caesar doesnít bring peace. He always
brings the sword. Government is not the solution to power. It is
itself power. The conflicts among people do not disappear with a
constitution, or with checks and balances, or with votes.
anti-Person and anti-freedom. Democracy is the sword. Democracy
is pro-enslavement. Democracy is Caesar, too.
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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