Sunday, 1 February 2015

"Liberal Democracy" is an Oxymoron

(Neil's Note: This was a comment I made - among many others - on an occasion when a fellow blogger had used the phrase "democratic liberalism." You can find the original at

I find democratic liberalism (aka liberal democracy) to be an oxymoron.

Liberalism, at least as I understand it, is quite an individualistic idea. It says, in effect, “As long as you keep to this particular set of rules, in the rest of your life the choices are yours.”

Democracy, on the other hand, is inherently collectivist. For the demos of democracy is singular, not plural. Even putting the best possible light on it, democracy is “rule of the populace by the populace,” not “rule of the persons by the persons.” Democracy doesn’t empower the individual; in fact, quite the reverse.

If democracy did what it says on the tin, the result would be tyranny of the majority – the 51 per cent riding roughshod over the 49 per cent. But as it actually is, it’s even worse. However many parties there may appear to be, you have at best only three choices: vote for the ruling establishment, vote for an obvious loser like the Monster Raving Loonies, or don’t vote at all. (And they want to take away our right to do the last). So, after a while, democracies become in effect one party states; but one party states in which the ruling class can claim that “the people” have sanctioned their legitimacy. And so, like an absolute monarch, in their own minds they can do no wrong.

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