Friday, August 1, 2014

Not an argument against democracy

Okay, democracy has been suspended. Meh? ...Evil bureaucrats bribed, stole, and swindled Detroit into utter ruin. It seems inhumane to me that anyone could think this result was what city residents deserved as long as some chunk of them cast ballots authorizing it on behalf of everyone else. What about all the people who didn't approve of their city government's criminal dealings?
This is mostly inane except for one curiosity - Soakes clearly thinks he is making some kind of provocative, radical argument against democracy.

In a functional democracy, we would expect the democratic minority to be critical of democratic outcomes. They should think it unfortunate that the majority prevailed, and should maintain that their interests have been compromised against their will. All of this is exactly as it should be. None of this is a critique of democracy - it's a demonstration that democracy is working precisely as it should.

Soakes, of course, would maintain that his assessment happens to be correct. But even if true, how would this demonstrate that "democracy isn't worth saving"? How does this instance function as an indictment of the entire system?

There are venerable and legitimate critiques of democracy to be made, most involving deontological minutia or expansive utilitarianism. There's even a standard Libertarian critique to be made alleging the relative efficacy and minimal coercion of markets.

No one is expecting a decisive treatise from Robby Soaves, but it should be obvious that the case against democracy isn't even minimally or hypothetically made by smugly pointing a finger at Detroit. It's difficult to distinguish this kind of I'm-sure-totally-subversive rhetoric from the general grievance of every democratic loser there will ever be.