Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Large Crown, Small Government

In my days as a classical liberal (and shortly as an anarcho-capitalist) I found it difficult to rationalize truly limited government with democracy. By democracy’s nature, it aims to get the most people involved in the operation of the state. In the age of post-truth politics, all parties tend to engage in emotional manipulation or promises of government handouts in order to gain votes. This is rather troubling, as human emotions tend to lead towards greater control by either figures that “protect” you and "provide" for you (communism), or figures that wish to please you (usually promotion of sexual degeneracy or pleasure derived from other distractions).

 Ever since the age of Jacksonian democracy, the “common man”, and eventually woman, would become more and more involved in the functioning of government. These individuals would, in theory, have their needs heard and met. On the surface, the common man having a voice in the government sounds like a good idea.

Post-”Enlightenment” ideologies promote the idea that there is always oppression from those above you. It is expressed in communism as class warfare, in classical liberalism as a struggle for liberty, and modern leftism as a struggle against patriarchy. The most common tactic for selling a product is to create a need to buy when there was originally no need for the item, and convincing someone of their oppression is the first step of selling someone the great late-night infomercial knick-knack of liberalism™.

In a post-Enlightenment society, everyone wants to be oppressed, as oppression grants you access to government benefits and points to use for emotional manipulation. The socialist college student feels he is trampled by the capitalist who built all of his Apple products, all the while getting an education on his parent’s dime.

Even in relatively benign populist movements, like that of the People’s Party in the Gilded Age, can people be emotionally manipulated into accepting illogical positions. William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech claimed that keeping a form of currency which all but eliminates inflation is equivalent to murdering the common man, and he came very close to winning an election in a Republican party-dominated era.

The message of Bernie Sanders almost led to an independent outsider winning the nomination for the Democratic Party, which included socialized medicine, free college, and mass equality for all sorts of groups. A message served in a softer tone by Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in the most recent election.

Another exercise in the effectiveness of democratic republics are the actions of Parliament before the American Revolution. While Parliament attempted to pass tax after tax, as well as forcibly requiring colonial citizens to lodge soldiers, King George III removed all taxes but that on tea. A comparison of the tax rates of the colonists under British control compared to now, the new existence of the income tax and the IRS, pseudo-welfare state with social security and food stamps, as well as a multitude of departments and regulations would lead to pre-republican America to seem like a libertarian paradise! 

As J. Wilson of ALibertarianFuture puts it, “There was no income tax, property tax, business tax, capital gains tax, payroll tax, sin tax, transfer tax, or Obamacare tax. It sure must have been nice being able to keep so much of your hard earned money and invest it as you saw fit.”

Hans-Herman Hoppe also discusses how something as essential as private property is in direct opposition to democracy in his masterpiece Democracy: The God That Failed. This excellent lecture summarizes his arguments quite succinctly. Hoppe argues that throughout history, the democratic and republican systems have been viewed as a soft variant of communism. If we examine the works of the great philosophers Plato and Aristotle, as well as all philosophers until the so-called “Enlightenment”, we can see that viewing democracy as something with an inherent moral good is a recent invention.

Even in the birthplace of modern liberalism, France, the whole “republican tradition” idea was invented after World War II in order to cover up for the fact almost half of France was affiliated with either the Vichy government or Nazi collaborators. Even though they gloss over the fact the Revolution was essentially a genocide against everyone who didn’t live in Paris, and the “common man” the revolutionaries and Jacobins claimed to represent fought quite heavily on the side of the counter-revolutionaries (the War in the Vendée is only one example). If storming a palace and killing a family in cold blood, or mass-guillotining is what it takes to institute your ideas, are they truly valid? 

Those who follow the American republican school of thought also forget their ideology is as revolutionary as communism and has left the West with almost as much destruction. American neo-conservatives are essentially Trotskyites in their lust to “spread democracy” to foreign countries through invasion and the toppling of governments. Is this not a constant seeking to spread the revolution at any cost?

This all leads to one thing which can be asserted with tremendous confidence: monarchy is infinitely less oppressive than democracy and mob rule, and also avoids the bloated bureaucracy (and inherent corruption) of republics. A quote by Lord Horatio Nelson summarizes this rather well;

I have seen much of the world, and I have learned from experience to hate and detest republics. There is nothing but tyranny & oppression, I have never known a good act done by a Republican, it is contrary to his character under the mask of Liberty. He is a tyrant, a many-headed monster that devours your happiness and property. Nothing is free from this monster's grasp. A republic has no affection for its subjects. A King may be ill-advised and act wrong, a Republic never acts right, for a knot of villains support each other, and together they do what no single person dare attempt.”

It is logical to assume those who ascend to power by emotional manipulation and false promises to gain power will only act on decisions which line their own pockets. With the spoils system in America, a new President can appoint any sort of crony he wishes, and launder money and consolidate power as much as he likes. Whichever business is the largest bidder on a congressman or a senator can manipulate the passing of whatever sort of regulation exempts themselves and harms their opponents, leading to a less free market. Not only does this threaten the economic situation of a nation, but it grows the size of the state.

Hoppe creates a rather interesting analogy in his Democracy. A man who owns a home places a great deal of personal pride in it and wants to pass it down to his children, and his children’s children, and wants to accrue the most long-term benefit for not only himself but for those who live in the house. One who rents will only be a tenant of the home for a time, and the property never truly becomes his own. There are little to no consequences for damage to the walls, or floors, or a stained carpet besides some sort of wear-and-tear deposit. This second man must also remove and repair what the previous tenant has done to the house before making his own personal choices, and this man must also limit what he can do to the house, as he knows in four years there will be yet another tenant who will totally undo all of his progress. Knowing this, he will try to accrue the most benefit from the house while he can without any regard for the future, as once he leaves, it will no longer be his problem.
This is the nature of democracy. 

While a king may view his kingdom as a home and a place he wants to keep in good standing for the long-term, a place he wishes to grow and progress, and create the most capital from sustainably, the beast of democracy ultimately devolves into a two-party tug of war where the officeholders spend so much undoing the previous officeholder’s changes and policy decisions. Having a figure above this, both independent of sectarian strife and willing to give and receive counsel and advice is infinitely more likely to make a sustainable and cautious decision than demagogues and populists. At a psychological level, there is a longing inside of a king to care for his nation, while at the heart of a majority of modern politicians is simply a lust for power. Time-preference is a strong argument for monarchy, as the monarch will place much more emphasis on the future value of a nation and will wish to see it grow and prosper. 

The republican can do three things: the first to either rob and plunder all he can until he is impeached or must leave office or will spend so much time enacting campaign promises without any care for the future or consequence of those decisions. The most common action is spending so much time fund-raising and working towards re-election, performing all sorts of legislative favors instead of making any meaningful change, all the while spending even more time trying to undo the policies of the politician which came before him.

I make this case to all those who shared in my former ideology, all of the libertarians, minarchists, and paleo-libertarians. Monarchy, as a system of government, has been less oppressive than any republic or democracy since the founding of America. For almost all of human history, monarchy has been the most stable system, along with the monarch only being involved in the courts and military of a nation. Often, a monarchy owns his own private property and can fund state functions with his own income. 

A monarch who runs his state understands the value of it, and that too much involvement in the lives of the common folk will damage and poison the state and people rather than help them. Along with superior time preference and avoiding the ultimate devolution to socialism, monarchy promotes the ownership of private property while promoting moral values through example rather than legislation. On moral matters, almost all monarchs have reigned by example rather than having to rule at all times. Even an argument for a theocratic element to monarchy is that often monarchs would fear the fires of hell which would await them if they treated their subjects poorly. As Saint King Louis IX said;
You should, with all your strength, shun everything which you believe to be displeasing to Him. And you ought especially to be resolved not to commit mortal sin, no matter what may happen and should permit all your limbs to be hewn off, and suffer every manner of torment, rather than fall knowingly into mortal sin...
Dear son, I advise you that you accustom yourself to frequent confession, and that you choose always, as your confessors, men who are upright and sufficiently learned, and who can teach you what you should do and what you should avoid. You should so carry yourself that your confessors and other friends may dare confidently to reprove you and show you your faults.
Dear son, have a tender pitiful heart for the poor, and for all those whom you believe to be in misery of heart or body, and, according to your ability, comfort and aid them with some alms. Maintain the good customs of your realm, and put down the bad ones. Do not oppress your people and do not burden them with tolls or tailles, except under very great necessity… See to it that those of your household are upright and loyal, and remember the Scripture, which says: "Elige viros timentes Deum in quibus sit justicia et qui oderint avariciam"; that is to say, "Love those who serve God and who render strict justice and hate covetousness"; and you will profit, and will govern your kingdom well.”

Crown charity over welfare, leadership by example rather than legislation, and a state so small it only is in charge of courts and protection of private property, all the while retaining common decency and morality, a figure above petty politics to inspire and unite the people, and the complete abolition of a bloated bureaucracy. There is simply no greater system!

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