In Praise of Democracy (Ron Olden)

Ron Olden

There is nothing special about ‘democracy’. Democracy is just one way of legitimising a government so that it can rule by consent. It varies from culture to culture.

In a culture where there’s no democratic tradition or where the political party system has fragmented or broken down altogether, a military ‘dictatorship’ can equally well fill the role of government by consent, and particularly if all it is doing is quelling warring minority factions which are making stable democratic government impossible.

But it’s not open to any of us to wish for a military dictatorship in the hope that it will give us the policies and ‘action’ which we can’t persuade enough (or indeed any) people to vote for. What if it doesn’t do as we hope and comes and arrests and executes us, or confiscates all our property instead? And if it does, serves our right. Be careful what we wish for.

It’s no good wishing for a military dictatorship and then when one turns up complaining it’s the wrong sort. Chairman Mao was military dictator and so were Pol Pot and the present North Korea. We either stand up for Democracy or we don’t. And if we don’t, we risk the consequences.

If we go around hoping for a military dictatorship to turn up as a better alternative to democracy why should anyone care what our opinions are on any subject? We’ve already conceded to the dictators; our right to have any any say over anything.

In fact most of the Nations and States in the world have arisen as a consequence of the determined action of some manic, or at least forceful, control freak. Nations are almost invariably forged in blood. But we as Iibertarians view the State as the mortal enemy of liberty. So unless our liberty is threatened by total anarchy (as it sometimes can be) or my some mortal external threat, we’re better off muddling along, however dissatisfied we are with outcomes. That after all is what liberty is all about. It’s not about getting our own way and getting the ‘society’ we want.


  1. Some years ago I invented (I think – please advise any precedent uses) the observation

    “The best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship.

    The problem is keeping your dictator benevolent”

  2. The above nonsense by Ron Olden reminds me of the same specious arguments put forward by BBC’s Nick Robinson in the front of the Radio Times about dictatorship versus democracy before he became ill with throat problems.
    The fact that the writer and so many others still believe that the sort of “democracy” we are getting is better than dictatorship ignores the fact that Hailsham correctly described our system as “elective dictatorship” and I shudder when I hear politicians spout “in this free AND democratic country of ours” The associated article below by another is much nearer the truth.
    True, the word CONSENT is crucial in the matter and so is the other word CONTROL.

    We appear to consent when we vote for one party or another but the truth is that we are FORCED to consent to one or other of the “packages” or manifestos placed before us by tiny cliques of different persuasions because that is the way the party system creates government. This is a totalitarian feature because liberty may be described as the “ability to accept or reject one policy at a time”. So, there is no opt out of the bits you do not like and therefore the true “democratic” control i.e. liberty is cancelled. Therefore government has complete control. This is further confirmed by the fact that there is a Minister for this that and the other. I’ll leave the reader to decide out of which which bit he would like to dissent. Spengler describes our system as “the will-to-power operating behind a democratic disguise”
    The outcome of this bogus process is described as the “will of the people” and that then empowers the chosen government to behave like a dictatorship. By that I mean: traditionally every public official from the Monarch downwards had to obey the law, i.e the Rule of Law was the real sovereign. This also meant that the three institutions of government the Monarch,the Lords and the Commons were unwhipped and free and therefore could withhold consent from any legislation and so protect our liberty. All this has been cancelled and disregarded by party politics and every government can disregard the constitutional laws like the Act of Settlement 1701, Bill of Rights 1688, the Coronation Oath Act, Treason Acts which placed restrictions on what they could do. One part of the Act of Settlement prohibited the Crown interfering with Parliament and MPs could also not be Ministers. However no such controls now exist to stop the Government whipping the MPs and indeed as party MPs they too consent to the system.

    It is sheer humbug to say that party MPs represent their constituents, they don’t and can’t because they represent the party and its programme or “package”. The only person who can truly represent the constituents is an Independent because he only has one master, the local voter. his job is to hold the Executive to account, properly, and to protect the liberty of the individual to dissent. With government returned to the Crown the people do not choose the government but are free to consent or dissent to legislation by the jury system and nullification. Currently we are locked into this dictatorship and are faced with replacing it by another next time. The jury system is being replaced by judges in line with the continental system and we let that feature decay at our peril. As UK column reports tomorrow in Nottingham one such clash occurs where a defendent has been denied a jury contrary to Common Law.

    I invite readers to visit my website http://www.camrecon.demon for more details and to thereby contact me for updates. Since immigration threatens who we are that is the most serious issue where the “elective dictatorship'” has removed our freedom to discriminate and so protect who we are..The consequences are dire and the government’s “final solution” is to increase the severity of punishment on dissenters, thanks first to Theresa May and no to Amber Rudd.

    • Martin,

      You make some good points, but unfortunately I don’t think Independents are a solution to the problems. Even an Independent cannot “represent” a group of people with widely diverging views. For example, if the group is near evenly divided on issues like Brexit, or fox-hunting, or wind farms.

      That’s why “democracy” can never work – there’s only one “demos,” so it can only move in one direction at one time. And those who want to go in different directions will, ultimately, become disappointed, oppressed and angry. Rousseau’s idea that a group of people has a “general will,” on which the whole theory of democracy is based, fails as soon as the group becomes large enough and diverse enough.

      In my view, to solve these problems requires a huge down-scoping of all activities of government. Abolishing state privileges such as the making of wars and bad laws, and getting rid of sovereign immunity. Paring governance down to its core functions of peace, justice and upholding of rights. (Though we have, of course, to be very careful on exactly what “justice” is, and exactly what “rights” are to be upheld.) And letting people do everything else through voluntary societies.

      You might like to take a look at my recent article “Conviviality” on this site, in which I try to sketch how governance might be achieved in a community without a state.

      • Thanks Neil for your kind comments. Perhaps you misunderstand slightly? As I say in my updates Independents don’t represent “views” (which are so diverse as to be impossible to represent) they represent the liberty to hold different views and act upon them. We have centuries of legal precedent behind us to say what one can and cannot do.
        Yes of course government should be pared down. It seems to me that the party system and the all-encompassing manifesto “package” means that they believe they have a right to meddle where they wish, With the below unavailable we are FORCED to vote for one or other. package and this “revolution against the English constitution” (a feature from the French Revolution) is the heart of the problem because the constitutional laws designed to keep power under control are cancelled.

        If the appointment of the government were to be returned to the Crown (with enough Independents the return is automatic) so that the best human material could be invited to join the government (as my website states the Crown lost that power due to organised parties) we would not need to have elections for a GOVERNMENT and the instability that causes by the rival factions. Elections would be only for the Commons as a vacancy occurred. Government would continue on a straight path under control of the free House of Commons and with Common Law supremacy restored there would be no need for Parliament to sit endlessly, churning out endless laws in pursuit of ideological goals.
        Happy Xmas

  3. thank you kindly sir. The site was created over 12 years ago and I would not change a word.The updates are merely add-ons to the scene.

Leave a Reply