Democracy · The Donald Trump Presidency

The Sham of Democracy

Tony Abbott on federal election night in 2013

Alternative Hypothesis recently produced two brilliant videos concerning the true nature of democracy. In them, he demonstrates that democracies are less likely to enact the will of the people than dictatorships. The full videos can be found here and here; I obviously exhort my readers to watch them.

In addition to the video’s substance, three points further its conclusion.

First, it is not axiomatic that government should always accede to the will of the people. For the popular mood is highly variable, particularly susceptible to psychological manipulation undertaken by nefarious actors. As Edmund Burke said, “The will of the people, and their interest, may often differ.” Governments should advance the national common good, even when opposed by popular sentiment.

Which leads to my second point. The main trouble with democracy not effectuating what ordinary people want, lies in its inherent deception. It is not a stretch to say that the legitimacy of democracy itself, rests on a single presupposition. Namely, if citizens are unhappy about the direction of politics, then through the ballot box, they can achieve or genuinely attempt to bring about change. Given elections are largely meaningless–as progressives discovered with Obama and nationalists with Trump–the main cause for people abiding by the democratic process is fictitious.

Third, it is specifically egregious that democratically elected governments disregard public sentiment when this conflicts with the common good–which regularly occurs. Take mass Third World immigration, a trend which both harms Australia and is unpopular. Twice this century, the Liberal National coalition has won election campaigns–2001 and 2013–by exploiting anti-immigration sentiment. Despite these results expressing a clear opposition to mass immigration, nothing tangible has changed with immigration levels–nor does this seem likely for the foreseeable future.

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