To the editor ...
We have been taught that our democratic government is an improvement over monarchy. Ideas change slowly, so anyone who makes a comment favorable to monarchy is immediately suspect, such that upon skimming Hans-Hermann Hoppe's book Democracy: The God that Failed, readers may suspect the author has a fetish for monarchy. More careful reading may reveal that the author has presented a formidable case capable of altering the reader's views on democracy.
In his 1982 book Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary, Robert Nisbet wrote: "Feudalism has been a word of invective, of vehement abuse and vituperation, for the past two centuries ... [yet] ... the subordination of king to law was one of the most important of principles under feudalism."
Democratic government, so-called, enjoys high esteem in America even while exhibiting sinister aspects of imperial government. The people of America can now have inflicted upon them government intrusions upon their private property, arrest by executive order, indefinite incarceration without charges, and deportation to lands where torture can legally be inflicted during interrogation. Iraqis, having already had experience with such things, unsurprisingly appear to be rejecting the American suggestion that they form a democracy.
Unlike a monarchy, controlled by a king who owns the government and who therefore has an owner's long-term interests in view, democracy by definition operates under the control of temporary caretakers dependent on the vote for tenure of power; those caretakers are therefore necessarily given to taking a short-term view that is inevitably susceptible to inducements of money. Democratic government is tailor-made for corruption. Under democracy, a sagacious minority can take control of government while operating behind a facade of popular consensus that instills in the people, via the ballot, an illusion of political control without the reality.
The ballot appears to offer people a choice. In reality it is an illusion, for each of the major party candidates typically have already been bought and paid for by a sagacious minority who will continue to control the government no matter which way the election turns, and who therefore may be genuinely bemused when voters agonize over a "stolen" election.
When it comes to controlling government, it is the permanent bureaucrats and a permanent class of monied interests who have the inside track and know how to use it. Proof is plainly before us. Ask yourself, does the direction of government change when control switches from the Democrats to the Republicans? It changes not one iota. While ignoring the genuine interests of the American people, the government grows larger, continues a fraudulent war on drugs and a fraudulent war on terrorism, and continues pursuing the interests of the military-industrial-bureaucratic complex and the interests of Israel no matter who holds control.
All politicians are members of the government party. "Democrat" and "Republican" are meaningless labels distinguishing the indistinguishable. An election is a shell game in which it matters little which shell you select; the pea is in the showman's pocket.
November 22, 2003
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order (New York: Transaction, 2001). ISBN (hardcover): 0765800888. ISBN (paperback): 0765808684. 220 pp.
To letters page.