“Democracy” is a spook.
I am philosophically anti-intellectual, but some of these concepts you really do just need to understand. I am not a post-Hegelian individualist anarchist, but the Max Stirner spooks meme is useful in basic discourse. (It’s a funner term than “social construct,” and doesn’t have the garbled baggage.)
Spooks are useful and necessary abstract concepts needed to structure a human social order. Even the most primitive African tribes have spooks, which is how the Catholic Church ultimately decided that they were human beings with souls and not animals (it was a hot topic of debate).
The ability to rationally build abstract thought-forms outside of the concrete world is what separates humans from animals and what it means when the Bible says that “man is made in the image of God.” Spooks are a framework through which to shape and improve physical reality.
Here’s the problem with democracy: it is too spooky to be a functional spook. It is a busted spook. It has been abstracted from an abstraction so many times that no one has any idea what it means. For contrast, “freedom” also has structural problems as an abstract, but at least people have some basic agreement that it means “options for individuals.” People disagree with which options people should have, but the basic idea of “the ability to exercise agency” is understood.
“Democracy” means literally anything to anyone. On one end, it means “universal suffrage rights” and on the other end it means “gay sex lessons for kids.” This is always getting mixed up, on purpose, so you get situations where the media and government claim that democracy is about “maximizing voting rights” and then turn around and claim people are “voting against democracy.” If democracy is popular vote, then it is actually impossible to “vote against democracy.”
The bottom line is: no one is willing to offer a definition of this term. At least no one on the left is willing to do so. They prefer to keep it as a nebulous blob of compounded and conflicting abstractions.
What’s more: America was never intended to be a “democracy.” We didn’t have universal suffrage until the late 19th century. Women did not get national universal suffrage rights until 1920 (though that is a separate issue, technically).
Democracy in its most “official” form is outlined by the United Nations in their Universal Declaration of Human Rights, almost none of which are currently associated with the term as it is commonly used by the left. I am against all forms of democracy, as it is always an oligarchy, which always reduces personal freedom. Even in its pure form, the masses will vote away other people’s right and vote away their own rights because the masses are stupid cattle.
But if we talk about “democracy going away” – that means different things to different people. Republicans now try to push the original definitions of democracy, but also say that importing new voters is a violation of democracy. Democrats literally mean that restrictions on abortion and child gay sex, if they were voted for, would destroy democracy.
What that means is that if one side gets their ideal of democracy, the other side loses it. So people’s opinions here are completely irrelevant in any real sense, and the fact that most people in both parties now believe democracy is ending just means that no one is comfortable with the current direction of society.
More than half of self-identified Democrats and Republicans believe the US will no longer be a “democracy” at some point in the future, according to a new poll.
The striking findings were reported in a Yahoo News/YouGov survey which found 55% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans said it was “likely” the US will “cease to be a democracy in the future.”
It was unclear how the poll defined “democracy.” The US is officially a constitutional federal republic where states run direct elections for most high offices — though not, most notably, for president.
When independents and the non-affiliated were factored in, the depressing notion was shared by 49% of all respondents — while only 25% said they consider the end of democracy to be “unlikely,” while another 25% said they were unsure.
In addition, 60% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans believe America is becoming a “less democratic country.”
Both political sides also believe they were treated more fairly “in the past” than now – 71% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats agreed with that statement.
Additionally, the poll found that 52% of Republicans, 50% of independents and 46% of Democrats believe “there will be a civil war in the United States in [their] lifetime.”
While there appears to be bipartisan hopelessness for the future of America, respondents were quick to blame the other side for the present predicament.
A plurality of Republicans — 30% — described Democrats as “out of touch with reality,” while 25% claimed they were a “threat to America.” Another 8% see the Democratic Party as “immoral” and 4% said it was a “threat to me personally.”
Democrats’ opinions of the GOP were similar, with 27% calling the Republican Party “out of touch with reality,” 23% saying they are a “threat to America,” 7% claiming the GOP is “immoral” and 4% calling it a “threat to me personally.”
I don’t know how only 4% consider the opposite party a threat to them personally. I view both parties as a threat to me personally.
But this split ultimately can be reduced to the exact same boring, obvious point:
- The right believes reality is what it is, and you have to deal with it, and
- The left believes man can be perfected and a utopia can be created on earth
The right, typically, wants to be left alone to figure out their lives for themselves, while the left believes that a collective utopian mission is necessary for society. That ultimately comes back to a metaphysical question: does man have a personal relationship to the divine? If so, he should be left alone to figure it out. If not, then the individual is a blob of cells irrelevant to the greater utopian project.
Of course: it is only a fraction of a fraction of the population that understands this dichotomy, and most are going on instinct. The core instincts surround two distinct spooks that have actual clear meaning:
- Left: desire for hedonistic pleasures to maximize “happiness”
- Right: belief in order to maximize “personal autonomy”
Simply: the left is feminine, the right is masculine.
- Women, and men with feminine spirits, do not have any conception of higher purpose, so the only thing they can think about is physical pleasures – their brains releasing happiness chemicals.
- Men with higher ideals understand that life is suffering, and the only way to live a meaningful life is to confront challenges and overcome them. To confront and overcome challenges, you have to be left alone, and free to confront dangers on your own terms.
Those remain the core drivers behind popular sentiments.
However, a secondary issue changes all of this in the political realm: the Republican Party isn’t really “right-wing” – at all.
You see this in the gun control debate:
- The Democrats want to ban guns to stop shootings
- The Republicans want to do background checks and militarize schools, further expand and militarize the police, and basically turn society into a gigantic prison in order to stop shootings while allowing people the “right” to own a gun
On its face, the Republican plan actually appears to reduce your freedoms more than the Democrat plan. The Ted Cruz bill to expand NICS, for example, doesn’t simply violate the Second Amendment, but also the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The same is true of “red flag laws,” which many Republicans are supporting.
The actual right-wing position is:
“The world is not perfect and sometimes people get shot.”
Clearly, you should try to reduce deaths through reasonable means, but the left is saying “if it saves one life,” which is a utopianist slogan. The logical end to utopian thinking is to put everyone in a very safe pod with a wire going into their brain to regulate its chemicals to keep them in a constant state of happiness.
The two worldviews are completely incompatible with one another. The right wants to be left alone and the left wants to control everyone.
“Democracy” is completely irrelevant to all of this. It is a busted spook. Anyone talking about democracy – including Tucker Carlson, by the way – is simply confusing the core issues.
If everyone understood the differences between right and left, we would be much closer to figuring this out – and the logical thing to do would be to split the country. Instead, everyone thinks there is going to be a civil war, because they understand there are irreconcilable differences, but they do not have the language to explicate these differences, and instead just keep on babbling about “democracy.”