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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Libertarian Politics, Democracy and War

Entry for August 25, 2007

Democracy, for libertarians at least, is not an alternative to markets. Nor is the use of democratic processes to spread that idea subversive anti-market activity, in my opinion. It is an essential activity so long as any state apparatus rest upon markets. So long as there are advocates for the State as a substitute for markets, anti-state “politics” will be necessary. War is the primary function of the State which subverts markets. One cannot be consistently pro-war and pro-market. For a State to wage war against another State, it must first wage war against 'its' own people. It must make war upon them by taxation to bid for the resources to wage a war against others. A voluntarily funded war by one people against another is possible, but religion is about the only motivation capable of doing it. This helps to understand why religious arguments are so frequently used to reinforce war making.

In the 20th Century an effort was made to substitute Democracy for religion as a motivator for war. It has proved a weak motivator and religion has returned to its traditional role. The war on 'terrorism' relies on religious appeals. But it is really just another war against markets. Those who lack the values to get what they seek by trade will declare the other side anathema to justify stealing what they cannot bid for successfully on the market. This is the means by which States and empires attempt to rise and inevitably fall.

This cycle makes politics indispensable. Democracy makes the 'Death of Politics' possible without waging war literally against the State by revolution. The less a State apparatus fears revolution, the more it follows a course which leads to defeat by another State(s). Democracy when practiced vigorously is a check on runaway State imperialism. Democracy allows markets to function more freely by restraining State war making. Democracy works to minimize State failure not market failure. The United States is a failing State. It is a failing State because it is a failed democracy. The democratic processes of the United States have become so corrupted that popular restraint is no longer effective.

This analysis is the root of my argument for restructuring the democratic processes of the United States. The decline of effective democracy clearly parallels and correlates with the rise of imperial America. I argue it is cause and effect. The rise of imperial America is the cause of the decline of markets. Markets do not need the State to function, but where the State exist, markets need democracy to retard the greatest disease of statism – war.

Politics in a dying democracy is futility. If one would oppose any thing the State would do, one must make sure the democracy can function to enforce the popular will. Where there is no popular will, the will of the people must be resolved in markets. If politics cannot be about preserving democracy, so that democracy can prevent State war-making, then the State will crush the markets to feed its war lust.

Ballots can save us from a resort to bullets. If you give up on the ballot, then the market may not provide you with the bullets when you really need them.

The war against the war-making of the imperial State begins with establishing a better democracy - electoral reform.

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