Sound Arguments Against Democracy

i would like to see if there is anybody here who wants to destroy democratic system having really good reasons to do so…

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

  • Winston Churchill

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”

  • George Bernard Shaw

“Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.”

  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

I suppose the most common argument against democracy is that the unwashed masses are unqualified for the task of leading a nation - due to stupidity, ignorance, lack of experience, or a desire for instant gratification or self-aggrandizement as opposed to achieving lasting good for all.

Another common argument is that democracy may work in a small community, like ancient Athens where it was pioneered, but that it’s to inefficient to work in a large country.

Or you may say that democracies tend to avoid unpopular decision, making a fully democratic society less competitive. How many soldiers would be sent to certain death if the military was run as a democracy?

The last argument I can think of right now is the “oppressed minorities” argument, which states that a majority ethnic or societal group can easily oppress other groups in a democracy. In a commonwealth of rabbits and foxes, the foxes (being 51% of the population in this instance) may pass a bill that states that they may eat the rabbits at their leisure. And there wouldn’t be anything undemocratic about that. A king, on the other hand, might balk at the idea of losing nearly half of his subjects.

the main argument against democracy i ever thougth of is that passing responsibility to the others would be very likely against my good conscience… it does not sound clear enough does it?..

I hate the concept of democoracy because it gives people unlimited legal right to use the CAPS LOCK KEY when typing their thread title. See, if I had my druthers I’d send the secret police aknockin’ at their door at three in the morning with a screwdriver to pluck it out of their keyboard and stomp on it with jackboots.

But maybe it’s just me, forceps. And welcome to the SDMB.

i miss very much antidemocratic “moods” on the internet… if there is any site which tryes logicaly justify antidemocratism i would be very grateful for link to it… i think this thread deserves to be written in capitals…

Any sound argument against democracy would probably regale itself to demonstrating how democratic outcomes are non-optimal with respect to some other system. If you fail to demonstrate that there is a more optimal solution you don’t really knock democracy out, just down.

My personal idea of why the general public shouldn’t have a say in their government usually runs when I’m on my way home from work: “You see how these people drive? And you want them to have a say in running a country?!?

'Tis to laugh.

erislover, i do not have any other system (government) in mind… i am not in search of any alternative to democracy… why people percieve any government as necessary so notoriously?.. to begin to analyse this we should be free from these tendencies… i view democracy supporters as some kind of believers…

It is true that many people talk of democracy like an end in itself, something which I do not believe. I believe freedom should be considered an end but democracy may or may not be the best instrument for that end. In another thread Collounsbury was pointing out that elections are not a solution for Afghanistan. A good case can be made that democracy has brought a good deal of problems for Russia.

In my opinion, Democracy is a good system if there’s a culture that supports it and can be a lousy system if the culture does not support it.

I think having western style elections in China tomorrow would probably lead to more problems than it would solve and it is better to first create a culture that would support and respect democracy.

Once you have that culture though, democracy can be a pretty good system in the sense that it allows people to participate and feel they do not have to resort to violence to change things.

Still, there are many people who do not feel this way for whatever reasons. Some in America feel the system is in the control of big business or just feel left out. Others feel people are like sheep and are always lead one way or another and democracy is a waste of time and there are better ways to lead people…

There are places with formally democratic places where some minorities still feel they need to resort to violence and terrorism. The fact that they can vote does not seem to be enough for them.

In other words, you cannot answer this question with yes or no. The answer is it depends.

sailor, i was for a long time citizen of socialist state (24 years)… conditions there for me and the other were quite good and propaganda was right on some issues like imperialism and poverty, crime rate in developed democracies (usa)… to say it your style socialism was a good system because there was a culture supporting it (making it bearable on expense of freedom of speech and freedom of move)… i do not find this style of arguing admissible…

Sailor, I have a good friend that reasons along your lines - Any government is good as long as the culture is evolved to support it. It usually comes up when I start going off on the virtues of socialism or communism - but that is rather off topic. Your reasoning here is valid - but unfortunately unrealistic. In a perfect world every culture would utilize the perfect government for itself. This does not happen - usually because having the culture does not generate the government suited best to it, and government tends to shape culture. In summation, yes, democracy is great with the correct cultural background, but then again so is a dictatorship, a totalitarian regime ala 1984, or a “hive mind” like the Borg (not that I watch Star Trek, it just seems more acknowledged than Star Craft. Go Zerg). So yes, it depends - but that doesn’t say much, and definately doesn’t go anywhere when debating the relative merits of different forms of government.

Nowhere have I said dictatorship is a good system so don’t put words in my mouth. I have said democracy is not the be all, end all, solve all of political systems. To go into Afghanistan tomorrow and organize a western style general election is pretty stupid and worthless. It will achieve nothing. The USA fought a war in Vietnam trying to have elections there like that was going to resolve anything. The vietnamese could not care much about elections.

So: Step (1): create a culture where people value and understand democracy and then, step (2) have people participate in the democratic political system. Of course, I am simplifying as these things are done gradually and simultaneously. But to say democracy is the end of all political problems is just nonsense. Most thrid world countries have not been able to sustain a democracy if they tried because it is not in their culture. First they need the culture.

I am nowhere defending dictatorships and if you would care to read my post you will see that I said freedom is the ultimate goal, not the democratic process which is a vehicle to achieve that freedom. Different sultures do not necessarily achieve the same ends the same way.

I have great faith that China if it continues along the current path is following a better road to capitalism, freedom, and ultimately democracy than Russia. If, as many westerners demanded, China would have held open elections like Russia did, it would probably have fallen into chaos, just like Russia.

Saying the democratic system that works for us should work for everybody else is just not understanding those cultures. The best system is whatever system makes the most people happy and it does not have to be democracy necessarily although people who feel they are not free, are certainly not happy

Also, historically, even western countries did not have democracy as we know it today and most of them did pretty well.

England works well you can vote who you want in and everybody gets medical care and education upto sixth form level .

Something against democracy is that alot of people do not make informed choices and vote on the charisma of the leader even if their policies are unsound, Tony Blair is a good example when he had another child his popularity went up 20% , here is me at home thinking thats just silly.

When in reality he imposed several more stealth taxes (taxes which are not readily apparent) caused NHS waiting lists to grow, violent crime to increase and introduced tuition fees for University(I didn’t mind but i do mind the fact i have to pay twice for university once up front and again in my taxes)

But without feasible alternatives to democracy that do not breed corruption there is no real other choice.

Try here for a link. The arguments there are easily refuted or else completely irrelevent, but that’s how stupid people’s arguments go.

Of course, whether or not democracy works depends on your definition of democracy. I think American “democracy” really isn’t democracy in the first place, because leadership (i.e. President, Congress making our decisions for us) is inherently undemocratic. What we have is a republic, where all leaders are elected or appointed. And America doesn’t even follow through with that. Electoral college, anyone? Remember the last election? The guy with more votes lost!

Democracy is different. Ancient Athens was a democracy. People had a direct say in the issues at hand, and didn’t have to vote for a person who has some views which coincide to varying degrees with the voter and some which did not.

If we had real democracy, it would work. But instead we have a republic which likes to use buzzwords like “democracy” and “land of opportunity” to justify the non-democratic non-opportunistic government we have.

We do not have a democracy or a meritocracy or whatever they want you to think we have. That’s why American “democracy” doesn’t work.

Jessie Helms and Strom Thurmond are the strongest arguements I know of against democracy.

You want to define democracy, Palve? How about you define “works.” America is more of a democracy than Athens was, unless you don’t count women and non-land owners.

Apart from that, geepee’s point is very important: democracy really requires an informed population. i think that is democracy’s main problem, personally. To be an above average country politically in a democracy you need an above-average population guiding you. Needless to say, that is statistically impossible. This is a vote in favor of a republic, by the way, Palve. The dynamic between a government free from corruption (real democracy) and one which acts responsibly and in the public’s interest and has some level of corruption, a republic, is a tricky thing.

But to the OP I would ask: antidemocratic? Again, with respect to what?? You want anarchy? Dictatorship? Anti-democratic isn’t very meaningful. It isn’t like we would tear down a democracy and then say, “Well, good job guys. Now what?”

Strom Thurmond isn’t strong. I could beat him up with my little toe.

They’re both assholes, but they can’t provide a strong case against democracy. They try, but it comes out like this:

Jesse: “Democracy doesn’t work because of…umm…the Jews and the gays! Let me read you a passage from the Constitution…ahem…”

Somebody else: “Umm…that’s not the Constitution; it’s Mein Kampf.”

Jesse: “It’s my Constitution!”

de moc ra cy /d@ ,mak 'r@ si/ n. government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

Given that definition, I don’t think that the US is very democratic. Having my vote go to the Electoral College where somebody else is to be influenced by my vote, who then votes for the President, doesn’t really seem that democratic, especially since states are “all or nothing”, i.e. if one more person votes for this party or that, the large minority is not represented whatsoever.

Or that my opinion doesn’t really count when passing laws, only the opinions of the people who were elected indirectly and via a campaign of propaganda.

The fact that Athens didn’t allow women or non-land-owners to vote doesn’t really matter as to how the process was carried out. Certainly I believe that everybody should be able to vote, but you should also realize that culture has evolved since the ancient Greeks. Women and non-land-owners are more and more being considered equal now, but the ancient Greeks’ culture was not like ours.

BTW, do you think America suddenly became a democracy in 1920? What was it before then?

i mean real democracy when people vote about every decision… i do not build any of my arguments on my own exeperience with life in so called democratic state nor i care for history of democracy… i am trying to explain that voting about every decision is weird in itself… why?.. take for example a minimum of three voters (democracy for one or two does not make sense at all)… when two of them have no idea about the problem they want to decide on it stupid even from the competent one to leave the decision on voting… he should try to persuade them that he is rigth and that it is for good of all…

American government, consisting of representatives, is popularly elected. There’s just funny math used to determine the popular vote. Not very suprising… ever look at Denmark’s voting system?

when two of them have no idea about the problem they want to decide on it IS stupid even from the competent one to leave the decision on voting…