Right, carrying on with Rhyd’s: The Death of Liberal Democracy?
The Core of Liberal Democracy
Before I continue, I should to define some stuff, as terms like the State, Capital, and Liberal Democracy are not always clear-cut, and it will help to make sure we’re on the same page.
Not always clear cut.
First of all, Capital is wealth used to derive more wealth through investment. Capital refers to all the money invested in factories, tech companies, stocks, property, and anything else that might make a profit for the investor. Capital seems to have a logic and an egregoric life of its own. That logic? To reproduce itself—basically, to have more Capital through profit.
Capital is money. Capital is paper or coins used to represent a fixed amount so that people can use it for trade. It can be used for Investments, but Investments are not the sum total of what capital is.
Gods, this is like Halstead trying to change the meaning of the word “enchantment” all over again.
By “The State,” I mean governments and all the instruments of government. So, in the United States, “The State” is the president, the congress, the supreme courts, as well as all the other government agencies and agents (including police and the military) which exist to enforce its will. Just as with Capital, The State functions as an egregore, a created entity which seeks its own survival and reproduction, which is its central logic.
Presented without comment.
Liberal Democracy is the name of a specific sort of relationship between State and Capital, a specific kind of government for which Capitalism is the primary economic relationship (“Liberalism”) and Democracy (that is, the appearance of collective will of the people) is the primary mode of governance. The United States, all the countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom, and also Mexico (as well as many, many other countries in the world) are Liberal Democracies.
for which Capitalism is the primary economic relationship (“Liberalism”)
Wikipedia, Rhyd. All you have to do is look at wikipedia and it shows you just how wrong your definition is. You are not being honest. You are not being truthful. You are using words falsely in order to dupe people into believing your arguments have any correctness, intelligence, or morality to them.
The United States is a Liberal Democracy because it is a Democracy built upon the ideals of Liberalism. Same goes for the UK and many European nations. The EU is not a Liberal Democracy because it is an Oligarchy based on the ideals of Authoritarianism. Mexico is not a Liberal Democracy because while they might be a democracy, the do not embrace Liberalism.
Liberal Democracy has several primary attributes that are important to remember (and will be addressed again later in this series). They are as follows:
The State is the agent of the People (the Leviathan): Under Liberal Democracy, the government is seen as the voice of the people it rules over and their empowered representative. Since people can vote for their rulers, it is expected that their rulers are imbued with the power to enact the will of the people, and act not only on their behalf, but as their sole agent. Similar to the Catholic doctrine of the Pope as the “Vicar of Christ,” governments speak and act not just through the will of the people, but as if the people speak through them.
Yes, Rhyd. Because that is the idea of how a Democracy works. However, in a democracy there are votes, and some people win, and some people lose, and you do not get to act like the government and the system are illegitimate simply because you lost the vote!
The State Monopoly on Violence: In Liberal Democracies, the government is authorised to enact violence on behalf of the people, and as the sole agent of violence. By ‘violence,’ I mean both the overt and obvious forms (foreign war, police arrests, capital punishment, imprisonment) and the less overt forms (laws which curtail freedoms, determine and enforce boundaries and borders).
Remember kids, when the police stop a murderer, they’re the one’s who are violent.
The State As Sole Agent of Justice: Because the State is the only one who can enact violence, Justice can only be accomplished through government action and the legal system. So, in a rape case, it is up to the government to find and punish the rapist, or if a corporation pollutes the air of a poor neighborhood, the only ‘just’ way to fix the problem is to go through the courts or environmental agency. Individual or group action outside of the legal system to right a wrong can–and often is–harshly punished by the State.
Mob rule. Rhyd actually has a problem with our justice system because it does not legitimize mob violence and revenge killings.
The State as the Protector/Originator of Rights: What distinguishes Liberal Democracies from earlier forms of government is a contractural agreement between the State and the people it governs regarding the rights of citizens. Often times, these contracts were born of some struggle which threatened the ability of the State to maintain power (for instance, the Magna Carta in Britain, or the US constitution). Also, rights are constantly negotiated: female–and later Black–suffrage, the protection of disabled people, sexual and other minorities, the 35-hour work week and 5 weeks paid vacation in France are all examples of rights demanded by people and later “recognised” and enshrined into law by governments. In exchange for recognizing these rights, the government gains the consent to rule the people, and becomes the sole guarantor of those rights.
Actually, the general belief (especially with the US Constitution) was that these rights were God Given Rights. And that it was the duty of the state to respect the rights given to all peoples by their inherent existence by their Creator. Now, one might think a Pagan could grasp this fact, but at this point I’m amazed Rhyd doesn’t have to use velcro shoes and eat with rubber encrusted utensils. Honestly, based on “progressive” ideas about consent, I have to wonder if Rhyd is even capable of consenting to the sex he has with other men, or if those other men are in fact “rapists” for having sex with a person mentally incapable of grasping the concept.
Now, is it sometimes needed to awaken the larger populated consciousness to the idea that some people also deserve these same rights? Yes. However, that doesn’t mean that those people didn’t inherently have that right before due to their base humanity. And it doesn’t delegitamzie the concept of inherent human liberal rights or of governments designed to enforce those rights! Especially in the face of mob rule!
The State as the Protector of Capital: Liberal Democracy is ‘Liberal’ on account of its relationship to Capitalism. Though ‘Liberal’ has a very narrow definition in the United States, more broadly it is understood as a position towards the freedom of Markets. Even under ‘conservative’ governments, States privilege the economic activity of wealthy individuals and groups over the potential damage that activity may cause to the poor or less wealthy. Thus, Liberal Democracy guarantees the right to “Private Property” (land and its uses) so that Capitalists can make money and help fund the activities of the State (including wars) through taxes.
There is not an honest word in this entire paragraph. Rhyd has literally just lied about everything. I have no words for the level of dishonorable behavior he has enacted here.
The State as the Protector of Capital (corrected): Liberal Democracy are ‘Liberal’ on account of their relationship to rights of their citizens. Though ‘Liberal’ has a very broad definition in the United States, where it is understood as a position towards the freedom of individual people regardless of race, creed, sex, gender, or ideology. Even under ‘conservative’ governments, States privilege the right of individuals to live, work, believe, live and spend as they please even with the potential difficulties or discomforts that activity may cause other individuals, because to do otherwise would be an act of discrimination and state oppression. Thus, Liberal Democracy guarantees the right to “Private Property” (land and its uses) so that individuals can make money and help fund the activities of the State (including wars) through taxes, their fellow citizens through Employment, and their own personal, individual, use.
The State as the Sovereign Exception: Along with the previously mentioned attributes, Liberal Democracies claim the ability to suspend rights, protections, and other guarantees in order to protect the State from crises which may cause the State to be destroyed. Anything seen as an ‘existential threat’ to the government, then, can be met with a ‘State of Emergency’ where the contract between people and the leaders are temporarily suspended until the crisis is averted. This, by the way, is not an idea originating with Liberal theorists at all, but rather from Nazi jurist Carl Schmidt and later adopted by Liberal Democratic governments after World War II.
Gee, i wonder if that’s because if the government goes away, what with its ability to protect its people and defend their rights, all those people might be left at the mercy of totalitarian wanna be dictators who think we need to overthrow society because it happens to use money and reward individual efforts rather than give everyone free houses and unlimited starbucks?
To understand each of these need to look at the relationship of Liberal Democracy to Capitalism, and the best way to see this is through the state guarantee of Private Property.
(Future essays in this series will cover these aspects of Liberal Democracy. What is likely to replace it, if we do not create something better, should terrify anyone who cares for equality, peace, freedom, and the earth. What could replace it, though, is precisely why Gods&Radicals exists in the first place.)