by Bodwyn Wook
HISTORY And biology tell the tale.
WE Are a social & hierarchical critter.
THE Principle with respect to “democracy’ is this:
THERE Is an omnipresent drive to get over on each other. Mr ‘Dick’ Cheney, a former American Vice President, and the managers on all levels of the United States Post Office, show this endearing trait in spades. Mr Obama may likewise be in danger a he becomes case hardened in the essentially powerless office of the President. The goal is no longer right action, it is simply any action that will put one on top and so quell the incessant fear of oblivion, and so having no one who is afraid of you.
It follows that with the erasure of old distinctions as franchises are extended, as prior aristocracies are extinguished, new forms of popular state sanction are sought by which some may raise themselves over the others.
The emotion at being submerged in the mass, unless the waters are suitably warmed by the effusions of demagogues, is a horror of drowning. Hence, celebrity “culture” in our particular electronic epoch; or, for the untalented or at least the wee-penised and less-breasted, politics. There are very many persons in short whose emotional bases are simply not stabilised in any adequate way for the necessary social interaction. In this connection, one must suppose that our longed for libertarian set-up would be so hard for so many on the point of maturity that, at least for some sort of interval, the franchise will just have to be restricted, perhaps as of old to freeholds and persons having over X per quids per annum….
ONE Alas can just hear the wounded howls now, sorry, try this:
DERVISH Future historian Robert A Heinlein (pbuh) wrote about a paradoxial dystopia in which the franchise was earned by military service, Starship Troopers. If you stipulate just ’service’, that is the way I think personally I should tend to prefer to see it.
Oddly, in our history the most vibrant free societies were characterised by communal liberty, as in early mediaeval Iceland and Rhaetia (in southern Helvetia). In them a man or woman lived (or failed to live) up to the pretty austere demands of a set of preferred social or public characters. There was not a lot of posing around with guitars and/or pruney alienated looks, by ‘the individual’. On the other hand, the therapeutic personality had a thin time of it to. The Icelanders in fact kept slaves, that if they were on the qui vive sooner or later got their fool selves manumitted by stages, through a sort of patron relationship.
Anyway, as the American farmer Mr Judson Andersen of this place says, “It wasn’t a God-damn free-for-all like here at the county ag subsidy and welfare offices.”
AND That may be the point, that ‘democracy’ as a fluid process in History has an up and a down cycle: all is well on the way up, and the way down necessarily must always end in free for all and arson. If one be right on this point, then there is absolutely nothing we as libertarians can possibly do with folk such as these. All we may do for now is to study the situation and the melancholy past, perhaps to find electoral success in some small venue here and there, and in such precious enclaves, first and last, try not to destroy Liberty again.
[Bodwyn Wook all rights reserved 2 May 2009]