Monday, November 01, 2021

The Collapse Of Liberal Democracy

eand |  Let me pause for a moment. There are only really a handful of liberal democracies on earth — and America and Britain are their chief exemplars. What does liberal democracy mean? Broadly, it means that public goods are to be privatized. Because nobody deserves anything from the social surplus as an inherent, constitutional human right. They might deserve the right to carry guns, sure — but a portion of the social surplus, meaning healthcare, retirement, income, a place to live, etcetera, as constitutional rights? Forget it. Everyone is to “stand on their own two feet,” and not be a “liability.” Society is to be ruled by competition, the more intense and brutal the better, which is the machine that winnows the wheat — the talented, ruthless, cunning, amoral, indifferent — from the chaff. Even the average person is better off this way, because all those Nietzschean ubermen are the smartest and cleverest and most productive, who lift up everyone’s living standards, with wondrous “innovations” and ideas and creations.

Again, take a moment to really understand the linkages in all those disparate ideas. How they add up to a whole paradigm, a whole praxis, known as “liberal democracy.” Why? Because…

We now understand that all that is false. If it were true, any of it, then American and British living standards wouldn’t be falling so catastrophically. They wouldn’t have been falling for decades now. They would have kept on rising. The whole causal chain which liberal democracy’s Grand Experiment was based on — individualism, greed, selfishness, hyper-competition, leading to productivity and innovation, leading to rising living standards for all, fuelling political stability and happiness and trust — we now know the whole theory is false.

Know. This isn’t politics anymore. Now we’re in the realm of knowledge, of facts, of empiricism. Politics is about beliefs. I believe this form of political order works, because it leads to eudaimonia. People have believed many such things — in feudalism, theocracy, communism, fascism. Intelligent people, thoughtful people — they know. Because there is something to know. It’s not a political belief that feudalism or fascism don’t work as forms of political order — it is a fact which we know, the lesson earned with blood and tears and tragedy.

And now we are learning the same thing about liberal democracy. We are beginning to know. The answer to a very great question. The outcome of a Grand Experiment. We are not in the realm of casual “politics” anymore, meaning political beliefs. We are now in the realm of knowledge about political economies, which is a very different thing. Now we know that liberal democracy doesn’t work, either, right alongside fascism and communism.

Interestingly, we also know that liberal democracy appears to decay into fascism. The widespread poverty and implosive living conditions it produces, in the end, as the rich get richer, and the middle becomes an underclass, ignite the atomic bomb of fascism right in the heart of a society.