Yesterday, on Twitter, I posed the following question: “Let’s say that the majority of voters support “austerity.” Does the “need” for stimulus trump democracy?” As is usual with my “provocative” statements, nobody really took the bait.
My intention was to fish Twitter and see if anybody seriously considered Democracy to be deficient. I do not mean sentiments that democracy is imperfect; that is, the idea that democracy is — my own term — “relatively optimal” (i.e. the “there is nothing better out there” strand). Rather, I wonder how many people believe that there is a better political system which can be attained, or that will be created, in the future. This includes, but is not limited to, anarchists.
The question is meant to incite the controversial concept that if democracy is not a stable political system then there must be something that we can “evolve” towards that is more stable. Two notes:
- Instability here refers to the idea that democratic government does not allow for outcomes that are “socially optimal” (I use this term only because I cannot think of a better one). Let us say that we are in depression, and what society requires is heavy fiscal policy. Yet, “the majority” is voting in favor of austerity measures by voting in representatives who favor this economic strategy. Voters do this because they genuinely believe that austerity will lead to a recovery (whereas “truth” holds the opposite). We have here an outcome that nobody wanted, yet democratic “self-governance” took us to;
- Again, I do not want to imply that anarchism is what we must “naturally” evolve towards (as if implying some kind of pre-determined outcome of the conflict between free men and the State).
I am implicitly, and now explicitly, assuming that we will progress towards a more “liberal” system of governance; i.e. greater self-governance. So, I reject — perhaps out of ignorance — communism and other alternatives that exist, but generally do not fit the description.
So, here is the question more plainly laid out: where to from here? Is there something better than democracy?