"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." Winston S. Churchill
There seems to be widespread panic about an impending GOP nomination of Donald Trump, although (as I tell all my Facebook friends), I cannot see why he is any worse than any of the others and might be better than the execrable, Marco Rubio. Since, as a single issue non-voter, I have no row to hoe in this already well plowed field of decrying the awfulness of the candidates for the highest office in the land, I shall take up discussing Hans-Herman Hoppe's Democracy The God That Failed-The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order.
Hoppe does not accept Churchill's proposition that democracy is the best form of government. He argues that the evidence is all against that being so--that democracy brings about "moral degeneration, family and social disintegration, and cultural decay in the form of continually rising rates of divorce, illegitimacy, abortion and crime....[M]ulticultural, egalitarian, immigration policies [mean] that American society is affected by government management" in every aspect of people's lives. The consequence is to increase hostility and strife among people and to bring about a "civilizational decline," a process Hoppe labels as "decivilization."
Hoppe (according to his own description) has not set out to write a work of history. He is writing as a political economist and philosopher; as such he is (he tells us) able to avoid the errors of a historian of drawing erroneous conclusions from facts. He begins with certain a priori knowledge-things that he can know from observation that do not require proof: Examples of ideas that can be known as true without proof include such things as:
- "[a] larger quantity of a good is valued more highly than a smaller quantity of the same good;" or,
- "[w]hat is consumed now cannot be consumed again in the future;" or,
- nothing can be owned exclusively by more than one person at the same time.
He begins with theoretical a priori propositions such as these and then tests facts against these propositions. He is not testing a hypothesis to see if facts comport with a theory. He begins with a priori knowledge and establishes relations between facts.
So what does Hoppe propose to do?
- First, to view monarchy in a more favorable light than is customary today.
- Second, to refute the prevailing view of the benefits of democracy and to examine its inherent contribution to decivilization.
- Third, to study the "constructive alternative to the democratic status quo, i.e. a natural order as a state-less social system."
This is my synopsis of the introduction to Democracy. It is my plan to go through it on a chapter by chapter basis summarizing Hoppe's view for non-philosophy majors and, to the extent possible, avoid commenting on Hoppe's text. Any comments or analysis of mine will be specifically noted or contained in the comment sections. I hope you will read and enjoy and comment yourselves.