Both greymaiden and tricstmr bring up the excellent point that where Americanus Mediocritus becomes a problem is when they start imposing their fears or morals on the rest of us, to the detriment of freedom. This is an important enough point I think it deserves it’s own post.
It is my belief that the vast majority of people, while they may show profound disaproval of certain acts or ways of life, will not go out of their way to restrict or harm those who practice those activities without leadership. They haven’t the time or energy, and apathy is a powerful force. Normally, it takes someone extroadinary to get them to act, or else someone acting in their name with their tacit, apathetic aproval. It is the elites who goad them into action, convincing them, frightening them, or fooling them into believing it in their best interests that some law be passed, some minority be oppressed. And here we confront the failure of democracy. I submit to you that it is not the masses which need to be changed – after all, people trying to move the masses is what gets us into these messes – but the system which enables them to have such power over us when manipulated by sufficiently skillful and driven elites. Let their tyranny be restricted to their own homes, and let those who strive to wield them as a weapon find that canon spiked.
To call upon Thoreau again, this time in a positive light:
Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.
I partially agree… and partially disagree…
Places where I agree:
1. Most of the masses will not spontaneously go out and push for legislation in government to oppress others. They are too busy with drinking beer after a hard day’s work.. which I think is an entirely appropriate thing..
2. Very often the problem comes from these evil skillful elites.. I.e. this is the whole “if you kill the head Mengaloid, the others won’t fight” kind of syndrome..
Places where I disagree (errm.. maybe only partially at times..):
1. Very often some of the inherent “values” of the masses are fairly scary–and often in personal context–there need not be a leader for them to be rather awful. Concrete cases in point–Misogynistic attitudes towards women–whereby men treat them like dirt to their face and exploit them–this is not a problem of specific leaders coaxing people to be like this in our society(or most others)–but is rather often something pretty inherent in the general culture.. This I will not tolerate–and have gotten into arguments about with certain friends. In similar veins–just publicly declaring yourself a homosexual (or just not hiding it) or even just being a minority in the wrong part of the country can seriously get your ass beaten or killed. This also is not a factor of elites–but of rather crude values that seem to be fairly prevalent amongst the “masses”… And while I do note that if we just recognized the “individual” and their rights, this wouldn’t be a problem–but what do you do when it is exactly the values of these “masses” that don’t want to recognize these particular individuals–even if they expect to be recognized themselves..
2. Not really a point of disagreement..but more of a query.. just how do we practically solve the above problem. How do we “fix the system”? Perhaps, this is where you and I do disagree.. because I don’t necessarily see the above kind of problem as a systemic problem of governance.. but rather an inherent problem that is generated by basic human nature–that has only been somewhat mitigated over time by the infliction of punishment by governing elites to try and change basic human instincts so that they conform to this elite principle…
here.. we have again, I believe, come across one of those fundamental beliefs that we see differently.. I don’t believe that the “recognition of the individual as a higher and independent power” is something that most people actually practice or believe about “the other” in any real sense and it is definitely not something that is inherently fixed or natural to most people… i.e. most children must be taught to share–to not hit others when they do something they don’t like and the like..
But maybe I’m wrong here.. Please discuss! 🙂
Avdi, you sound like an Anarchist!
*glances around nervously*
I have leanings in that direction, but I don’t see how anything I’ve said is incompatible with libertarian minarchy.
Comments are closed.