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Why democracy is wrong

Democracy does not deserve the semi-sacred status accorded to it. In Europe, democratically elected politicians such as Jörg Haider, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Silvio Berlusconi, Umberto Bossi, Gianfranco Fini and Pim Fortuyn are a reminder of democracy's defects: an anti-racist dictatorship is preferable to a racist democracy. Democracy is expanding globally, but not because of its moral superiority. Military intervention is now the standard origin of democratic political systems. Any universal ideology will tend to crusades and messianic conquest, and democracies feel entitled to 'bring freedom' to other countries. Below, more on the ethical problems, definitions of democracy, the issue of inequality, the defects of democratic culture, the nation as the 'demos', the claimed justifications for democracy, and alternatives to democracy.

Revised December 2002, last changes 13 May 2006.

In a large ocean there are two neighbouring islands: faultless democracies with full civil and political rights. One island is extremely rich and prosperous, and has 10 million inhabitants. The other is extremely poor: it has 100 million inhabitants, who live by subsistence farming. After a bad harvest last year, there are no food stocks, and now the harvest has failed again: 90 million people are facing death by starvation. The democratically elected government of the poor island asks for help, and the democratically elected government of the rich island organises a referendum on the issue. There are three options: Option A is a sharp increase in taxes, to pay for large-scale permanent structural transfers to the poor island. Option B is some increase in taxes, to pay for immediate and sufficient humanitarian aid, so that famine will be averted. Option C is no extra taxes and no aid. When the votes are counted, 100% of the voters have chosen Option C. After all, who wants to pay more taxes? So 90 million people starve. Yet all electoral procedures on both islands are free and fair, the media are free, political campaigning is free, there is no political repression of any kind. According to democratic theory, any outcome of this democratic process must be respected. Two perfect democracies have functioned perfectly: if you believe the supporters of democracy, that is morally admirable. But it clearly is not: there is something fundamentally wrong with democracy, if it allows this outcome. The defect is not hard to find: the people most affected by the decision are excluded from voting. The issue is the composition of the demos, the decision-making unit in a democracy: it is a recurrent theme in the ethics of democracy. Democratic theory can legitimise a political community in the form of an island of prosperity, and then legitimise the selfish decisions of that community. This theoretical possibility corresponds with the real-world western democracies. Millions of people are dying of hunger and preventable disease, yet the electorate in rich democracies will not accept mass transfers of wealth to poorer countries. They will not accept mass immigration from those countries either. A causal relationship has developed at global level, between democracy in the rich countries, and excess mortality elsewhere (famine, epidemics, endemic diseases). This is not the only such problem with democracy. Despite its quasi-sacred status, democracy has many ethical defects which are either evident in practice, or easily illustrated by hypothetical examples. The treatment of minorities is perhaps the most recognised defect of democracies. Between the mid-1930's and the mid-1970's, the Swedish government forcibly sterilised thousands of women, because of 'mental defects', or simply because they were of 'mixed race'. Yet Sweden has been a model democracy for the

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entire period. The democracy worked: the problem is that democracy offers no protection to marginalised and despised minorities. The usual answer of democrats is that excesses can be prevented by constitutionally enforced individual rights. There are two problems with that. First, no constitutional rights are absolute: President Bush showed how easy it is to overturn fundamental constitutional protections. Simply by redefining some American citizens as 'illegal enemy combatants', he was able to intern them. Some groups are in any case openly excluded from the usual democratic rights, most notably illegal immigrants (more on this later). The Australian government detains asylum seekers in internment camps in the desert: its hard line accurately reflects the attitudes of a racist electorate. The detainees can't vote, can't engage in political activities, and have no free press, but Australia is still considered a democracy. The second problem is that basic rights allow wide limits. Treatment of minorities may be harsh and humiliating, without infringing their rights. A recent example in the Netherlands is a proposal to impose compulsory genital inspections for ethnic minorities. The aim is to combat female genital mutilation, but every ethnic Somali parent, regardless of their own circumstances, would be obliged to present their daughters for annual genital inspection. Eritreans, Egyptian and Sudanese might be included under the legal obligation, even if they were naturalised Dutch citizens. The proposal has majority support in Parliament. It is not law yet, but since Somali's are a marginalised and often despised minority in the Netherlands, there is nothing they can do to prevent its implementation. So long as they avoid certain types of policy, and outright violence, democracy allows a democratic majority to impose its will on a minority. They can impose their language and a culture, and both impositions are normal practice in nation states. They can also impose their values, which may be unacceptable to the minority: the best example is democratic prohibitions of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol prohibition in the United States, enforced through a constitutional amendment, was a direct result of democracy. Since there was (and is) no 'right to drink', the Christian anti-alcohol majority could simply use the democratic process, to make their values the national values. 'Prohibition' was repealed in 1933, but the 'War on Drugs' of the last 20 years is at least as comprehensive in terms of policy and effects. Successful prohibition movements are a special case of the inherent anti-minority bias in democracies. There is a more general effect: it is very difficult for an innovative minority to succeed in a democracy and most innovations are first proposed by a minority. Like many political systems, democracy has an inherent bias toward the existing, as against the possible. Innovations must go through the political process, which in that sense is an anti-innovative barrier, but the existing social order does not have to prove its existence rights. A large-scale example of failed innovation in democracies is the European high-speed rail network, first proposed in the 1970's. Since then, not even planned national networks have been completed. The pan-European project failed primarily due to lack of political enthusiasm. But should it be abandoned, simply because there is insufficient 'will of the people'? If an innovation has no democratic mandate then a democracy will not implement it - but should democracy have this priority over innovation? The issues are scarcely considered in democratic theory: the priority is simply taken for granted.

Empirical: testable propositions about democracies The best-known classic hypothesis about democracies is the so-called democratic peace theory. It is promoted by pro-democratic campaigners and by politicians, as 'scientific evidence' of the need for democracy. The claim is that

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'democracies do not go to war with each other'. The research typically compares dyads - pairs of countries/states. A statistical measure (frequency of war) is possible for different categories - democracy against democracy; democracy against non-democracy; and non-democracy against non-democracy. It is one of the few classic 'testable hypotheses' in international relations theory. Unfortunately for the democracy lobby, research failed to demonstrate conclusively that democracies are more peaceful among themselves. Nevertheless, it suggests other testable propositions about democracy. Several of the criticisms of democracy presented here, can be stated as sociological or political-science hypotheses, indicating possible research projects: they are given in separate boxes such as this one.

Definitions of democracy
Definitions of democracy follow a standard pattern, a sign of a stable and established ideology. Often, as in the version by Thomas Christiano, the definition separates the historical ideal, and the structure of modern democracies. The historical ideal is usually Athenian democracy, but there is no real continuity between ancient and modern democracy. The comprehensive survey Antike Traditionen in der Legitimation staatlicher Systeme shows that most western political regimes appealed to classical predecessors. a) Reiche in der Nachfolge des Imperium Romanum. b) Absolutistisch verfaßte Fürsten-Staaten. c) Aristokratische Stadt-Republiken. d) Stände-Konföderationen. e) Herrschafts-Vikariate und Kolonialverwaltungen. f) Konstitionelle Republiken. g) Demokratische Republiken (i. S. eines parteilichen Volksbegriffs). h) Konstitutionelle Monarchien. i) Moderne Diktaturen. k) Moderne imperiale Systeme. l) Moderne internationale Gemeinschaften. Antike Traditionen in der Legitimation staatlicher Systeme, Christian Gizewski, TU Berlin. It is very unlikely that all these regimes correspond exactly to one regime 2500 or 2000 years ago. The appeal to classical models is itself a tradition in western culture - not an absolute historical truth. As modern industrial societies, Nazi Germany and democratic Britain probably had more in common with each other, than either of them with ancient Athens. Robert Dahl's version is the best known of the dual definitions. He was one of the first to revise the simple definitions of democracy, and introduced the word 'polyarchy' to describe modern democracies. The polyarchy definitions, which emphasise political pluralism and multi-party elections, have become the standard political science definitions of democracy. The newest definitions emphasise democratic rights, rather than the democratic regime itself. But remember that most definitions of democracy (including

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Why democracy is wrong

those quoted below) have themselves been written by supporters of democracy. No neutral definitions exist... ...the Greek democracies were not representative governments, they were governments run by the free, male citizens of the city-state. All major government decisions and legislation were made by the Assembly; the closest we've come to such a system is "initiative and referendum," in which legislation is popularly petitioned and then voted on directly by the electorate. The Greek democratic states ran their entire government on such a system. All the members of a city-state were not involved in the government: slaves, foreigners, and women were all disbarred from the democracy. So, in reality, the democratic city-states more closely resembled oligarchies for a minority ruled the state - it was a very large minority, to be sure, but still a minority. World Civilizations general Glossary: Democracy, Richard Hooker Let us focus more closely on the basic ideals of democracy. First, in a democracy, the people rule. Popular sovereignty implies that all minimally competent adults come together as one body to make decisions about the laws and policies that are to regulate their lives together. Each citizen has a vote in the processes by which the decisions are made and each has the opportunity to participate in the deliberations over what courses of action are to be followed. Second, each citizen has the right to participate as an equal. Political equality implies equality among citizens in the process of decisionmaking....Third, each citizen has the right to an opportunity to express his or her opinions and supporting reasons to every other citizen as well as a right and duty to hear a wide spectrum of views on subjects of public concern. Each has a right, as well as a duty to participate in open and fair discussion. These are the ideals of democracy. These ideals are partly realized in features of modern democratic societies. One-person one-vote is observed in the process of electing representatives to the legislative assembly; anyone may run for election to public office; in elections, a number of political parties compete for political power by advocating alternative visions of the society; the political campaigns of candidates and parties consist in large part in discussion and argument over the worth of these opposing views, and everyone is permitted to have a say in this process; and the society tolerates and often encourages vigorous debate on all issues of public interest. Thomas Christiano (1996) The Rule of Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory. Boulder: Westview. (p. 3). ...polyarchy is a political order distinguished by the presence of seven institutions, all of which must exist for a government to be classified as a polyarchy. 1. Elected officials. Control over government decisions about policy is constitutionally vested in elected officials. 2. Free and fair elections. Elected officials are chosen in frequent and fairly conducted elections in which coercion is comparatively uncommon. 3. Inclusive suffrage. Practically all adults have the right to vote in the election of officials. 4. Right to run for office. Practically all adults have the right to run for elective offices... 5. Freedom of expression. Citizens have a right to express themselves without the danger of severe punishment on political matters broadly defined, including criticism of officials, the government, the regime, the socioeconomic order, and the prevailing ideology. 6. Alternative information. Citizens have a right to seek out alternative sources of information. Moreover, alternative sources of information exist and are protected by laws. 7. Associational autonomy. To achieve their various rights, including those listed above, citizens also have a right to form relatively independent associations or organizations, including independent political parties and interest groups. ...all the institutions of polyarchy are necessary to the highest feasible attainment of the democratic process in the government of a country.

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Robert A Dahl (1989) Democracy and its Critics. New Haven: Yale University Press. (p. 221-222). Democracy literally means rule or government by, or power of, the people. Logically and historically implicit in this is the notion of majority rule. Representative democracy is a form of democracy in which the people govern indirectly, through elected representatives, rather than directly governing themselves. Constitutional implications from representative democracy, Jeremy Kirk ...democracy in its 20th Century form means: - regular elections for the most powerful government positions, - competitive political parties, - near universal franchise, - secret balloting, and - civil liberties and political rights (human rights). Democracies don't fight non-democracies, Rudolph J. Rummel. (Peace Magazine) It is by now a truism that what's most important is not a country's first election, but rather its second and third. And what matters is not simply that people have the right to vote, but that they are offered a real choice, under conditions that are truly free and fair. Elections, moreover, are but one note in the democratic symphony. A full orchestra is required, including markets that reward initiative; police that respect due process; legal structures that provide justice; and a press corps that is free to pursue the facts and publish the truth. lecture by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright In der alten DDR war es also mit der demokratischen Legitimation nicht weit her, wie in allen autoritär-kommunistischen Staaten, auch wenn eine erste Grundbedingung erfüllt war: es existierte eine formal-demokratische Verfassung. Diese Bedingung ist aber nicht hinreichend. Die Verfassung muß zweitens auch materiell rechtsstaatliche Verfahren, die Willkür ausschließen, garantieren. Drittens müssen Grundrechte und Grundwerte durch Verfassung und Rechtspraxis auch für kritische Minderheiten verläßlich garantiert und geschützt werden. Viertens müssen diese Verfahren und Grundrechte vom Bürger anerkannt werden, und er das Vertrauen haben können, daß er sich auf sie verlassen kann. Probleme der Demokratie und der demokratischen Legitimation, Ulrich von Alemann. Entgegen der wörtlichen Bedeutung des Begriffs sind bislang Versuche, das gesamte Volk direkt an der Herrschaft zu beteiligen (zum Beispiel in Form von Räten), nirgendwo dauerhaft verwirklicht worden. Grundlage der meisten westlichen Industriegesellschaften ist die bürgerlichparlamentarische Demokratie. Sie hat sich im Kampf gegen den Feudalismus herausgebildet, blieb aber auf die Vorherrschaft der Bürger bedacht. Nach der Durchsetzung des allgemeinen, gleichen und geheimen Wahlrechts hat das Volk die Möglichkeit einer indirekten politischen Mitwirkung:.... Das Hauptkennzeichen von Demokratie ist die Möglichkeit des Machtwechsels ohne Blutvergießen, das heißt ein Machtwechsel nach anerkannten Regeln. Sociologicus: Lexicon What exactly is democracy? We must not identify democracy with majority rule. Democracy has complex demands, which certainly include voting and respect for election results, but it also requires the protection of liberties and freedoms, respect for legal entitlements, and the guaranteeing of free discussion and uncensored distribution of news and fair comment. Even elections can be deeply defective if they occur without the different sides getting an adequate opportunity to present their respective cases, or without the electorate enjoying the freedom to obtain news and to consider the views of the competing protagonists. Democracy is a demanding system, and not just a

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net/users/Paul. Emanuel Möcklin. Most contemporary definitions of democracy have several common elements.Treanor/democracy. Gelijkheid. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis. a democracy is a political system in which the people choose their authoritative leaders freely from among competing groups and individuals who were not designated by the government. Freedom House Annual Survey Voor wie de klassieke idealen van de democratie wil handhaven. 28-31. democracies are countries in which there are institutional mechanisms. Encyclopedia Americana Democracy is a political system in which different groups are legally entitled to compete for power and in which institutional power holders are elected by the people and are responsible to the people. Here is the Freedom House political rights checklist: Is the head of state and/or head of government or other chief authority elected through free and fair elections? 6 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . rights checklists seem to be the emerging standard definition of democracy. In fact. 11). the power of the government is restrained by its accountability to the people. Uwe Becker (1999). Tutu Vanhanen (1997). The online paper The theory and measurement of democracy (Gizachew Tiruneh) includes a list and comparative table of indices of democracy: most are rights checklists.html mechanical condition (like majority rule) taken in isolation.rests directly or indirectly on the freely given consent of the majority of the adults governed.or the direction of policy behind these decisions -. The book summarises definitions of democracy of the last 40 years on p. Democracy is a form of government in which the major decisions of government -. lijkt het daarom voor de hand te liggen. London: Routledge. Third. (p. that allow the people to choose their leaders. (p. gelijkheid en volkssoevereiniteit en waarin deze idealen tegelijk in open competitie staan met andere doelstellingen. Democracy as a Universal Value. usually elections. publish.inter. freedom to form and join organizations). prospective leaders must compete for public support. freedom of the press. Some writers add additional criteria to the list of what makes a polity a democracy. Prospects of democracy: a Study of 172 Countries. First. Second." Why the United States Should Spread Democracy. assemble and organize that are necessary to political debate and the conduct of electoral campaigns. (US Congress publication). collected by William Su. Solidariteit en Soevereiniteit in de Praktijk. Deze is dan een specifiek procedureel en grondrechtelijk kader dat gebaseerd is op de democratische idealen van vrijheid. Zo is elk land waarin dit kader bestaat een democratie. in een zekere analogie tot Dahl. Larry Diamond argues that a democracy must have "extensive civil liberties (freedom of expression.Why democracy is wrong http://web. Sean Lynn-Jones more Academic definitions of democracy. Demokratietheorie: Eine vergleichende Analyse verschiedener Demokratietheorien." Samuel Huntington recognizes that democracy "implies the existence of those civil and political freedoms to speak. Europese Democratieën: Vrijheid. Journal of Democracy. The best known example of this approach is the Freedom House Annual Survey. onderscheid te maken tussen democratische idealen en democratie. Amartya Sen. 31). At a minimum. It is now standard to include political and/or civic rights in the definition of democracy. These are the essential characteristics of political

Civil rights. as a historical model. and is the system open to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? These rights are associated with the alternation of government: they allow one government can be replaced by another. choice of residence. The polyarchy definitions of democracy insist. and the last of these is indeed based on the Nazi regime. It reflects the current idea of democracy.inter. through democratic procedures. in fact the cold war was. in the 1940s and 1950s it performed admirable ideological service in denying what to the untutored eye was a dramatic reversal of alliances.html Are the legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections? Are there fair electoral laws. ad hoc issue groups)? Is there an independent judiciary? Does the rule of law prevail in civil and criminal matters? Is the population treated equally under the law? Is there protection from political terror. the term pointed to features of Nazi and Communist regimes that were said to make them "essentially alike" and that distinguished them from traditional autocracies. rather than an insight into the nature of democracy. civic organizations. in a climate of anti-Communist hysteria. Coined in the interwar years.Whatever the theory's analytic merits. Its central claim is that the ideology. the theory asserted. and social systems under Hitler and Stalin were more-or-less identical. political rights. fair polling. That is usually intended as an insult. but coming into wide usage only after 1945. a continuation of World 7 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . yet I am quoting it as a definition of democracy. regimes. exile. that there should be no other possibility to change the government.. and democratic government are all seen as integral components of democracy. demonstration. and honest tabulation of ballots? Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice. that there must be a possibility to change the government. However.Treanor/democracy. whether by groups that support or oppose the system? Is there open and free private discussion? Is there personal autonomy? Does the state control travel. equal campaigning opportunities. unjustified imprisonment. the opposite of democracy Supporters of democracy refer to Hitler and Fascism. or choice of employment? Is there freedom from indoctrination and excessive dependency on the state? Note again that this is largely a checklist of rights. In the Second World War the United States and the Soviet Union were allies against Hitler. political theorists do contrast democracy with dictatorship.. and and open public discussion? Is there freedom of political or quasi-political organization (political parties. among theorists and public in the democratic countries. The Freedom House checklist on civil liberties and the rule of law includes: Are there free and independent media and other forms of cultural expression? Are there free religious institutions and is there free private and public religious expression? Is there freedom of assembly. or torture. However democrats also insist. It only seemed this way.Why democracy is wrong http://web. That is how it is used in practice. The theory of totalitarianism was formulated in the United States in the early 1950's. from the standpoint of the West. but the 'reversal of alliances' at the start of the Cold War made the theory of totalitarianism attractive. to imply that anyone who opposes democracy is "like Hitler".

a society with none of these characteristics might also be seen as fundamentally undemocratic. Peter Novick (2000). or a totalitarian society . 86). motion pictures.inter. such as the press.but most of them do not fit this profile. the word totalitarian is used simply to mean 'a regime without a. Carl J Friedrich (1954) 'The unique character of totalitarian society' in: Totalitarianism. A technologically conditioned near-complete monopoly of control (in the hands of the party and its subservient cadres. In 1953 'human rights abuses' were not mentioned . that does not mean he sees terrorism as a system of government. but the term has acquired a secondary meaning of 'non-democratic'. So totalitarianism is not usable as a general ''definition of non-democracy'. Historically. radio. 3.Treanor/democracy. consisting of an official body of doctrine covering all vital aspects of man's existence. A system of terroristic police control. 5. first in its without political 8 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . b and c' .Why democracy is wrong http://web.. this ideology is characteristically focused in terms of chiliastic claims as to the "perfect" final society of mankind. as well as ideological "implications" and systematically exploiting scientific psychology. although the comparison Hitler-Stalin is still used by liberal propagandists. Carl J Friedrich listed 5 defining characteristics of totalitarian societies: 1.yet they are now considered a definitive characteristic of non-democracies. Like George Orwell's '1984". such arbitrary selection turning upon exigencies of the regime's survival.and terrorism would not be named at all. A single mass party consisting of a relatively small percentage of the total population (up to 10 per cent) of men and women passionately and unquestioningly dedicated to the ideology and prepared to assist in every way in promoting its general acceptance. By the 1960's the theory was out of fashion. And 'totalitarian' is still the word most democracy theorists would use. In 1953.html War II: a struggle against the transcendent enemy. oligarchical manner. the vast majority of regimes were non-democratic . the definition of totalitarianism is too obviously a description of regimes and political styles of the 1930's and 1940's. And today. Since the definitions of democracy are increasingly checklist definitions. With hindsight. such as the bureaucracy and the armed forces) of all means of effective armed combat. Second would probably be 'authoritarian' . 4. if they were asked to name a political system opposite to democracy.but it is difficult to imagine a permanently 'terrorist' society or a terrorist parliament. 2. It is possible to speak of a totalitarian regime. An official ideology. and so such party being organized in strictly hierarchical. to which everyone living in that society is supposed to adhere at least passively. then in its Soviet version. (p. The Holocaust in American Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin. totalitarianism. its image of oppression now seems dated. also written at the start of the Cold War. Although President Bush may speak of a 'war on democracy and freedom' by terrorists. A similarly technologically conditioned near-complete monopoly of control (in the same hands) of all means of effective mass communication. depending for its effectiveness upon points 3 and 4 and characteristically directed not only against demonstrable "enemies" of the regime. but also against arbitrarily selected classes of the population. usually under a single leader. New York: Grossett & Dunlap..without free elections. Probably. the early theorists did not intend that anyway.

most inhabitants of the democracies do indeed think like this. The 'normal course of affairs' is historically not normal at all.. that you think this should happen: you believe that the democratically elected 9 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . but despite a month of political feuding over the Gore-Bush election result in 2000. To be a democrat means. Two of its basic principles are given below.Treanor/democracy. So although most pre-modern regimes had none of Friedrich's characteristics. but it would not be considered 'democracy'. that it is rarely explicitly named. not a shot was fired for political reasons. then it becomes culturally taboo to overthrow it. many kinds of authoritarian regimes including traditional monarchies and aristocracies. It is not fictional or hypothetical . because there are no large armed revolts . Although specific definitions exist for specific types of authoritarian political system. we will ignore the important differences between these different authoritarian regimes. Because US citizens think this way. It is the principle of ethical and political legitimacy: "a democratic government should not be overthrown". you could hold free and fair multi-party elections in an open society . in their 'Conclusion' of Authoritarian Politics in Modern Society: the Dynamics of Established One-Party Systems New York: Basic Books. after each election. Samuel Huntington and Clement Moore (eds. the inhabitants would all adhere to this ethic. In a perfect democracy with no anti-democrats. There is no large army to suppress armed revolts.. they are sometimes thrown into the general category 'totalitarian'. than a definition of a democratic system. The first and most important component of the democratic ethic is so obvious. The government which is elected by the democratic procedures becomes the absolutely legitimate government. Authoritarian systems are non-democratic ones. That was a remarkable achievement. democratic states rely on legitimacy to preserve their own existence and cohesion. the one-party state seemed the definitive modern form of non-democratic state.inter. 1970). that now seems too historically specific.html pluralism. Are Democracies Stable? Compared to What?. For the purposes of this paper.Why democracy is wrong http://web. 509). and totalitarian regimes. of course. Marc Stier and Robert Mundt.. however. A similar problem exists with 'authoritarian' and 'authoritarianism' (and often with 'autocratic' as well). authoritarian or autocratic governments. That could happen every week. that can not in itself justify democracy. Civil War. Overthrow of the government is totally off the political agenda: it is taboo to even discuss it. non-traditional dictatorships and military juntas.and no small ones either. and military conquest of ethnic When Huntington and Moore wrote that in 1970. without a free press. This emphasises the formalism and proceduralism of democracy: once followed. (p. What would happen if legitimacy disappeared completely? In principle. Like the definition of totalitarianism. If legitimacy is strong. the term is often used to mean simply 'non-democratic'. In the normal course of affairs. without all the other elements on the checklists.and then overthrow the democratically elected government. the democratic procedures are claimed to produce legitimacy. There are. It even becomes taboo not to see it as 'our government'. too obviously based on the 'Soviet Bloc' state. The United States is a nation of However. There are a wide range of alternatives to democratic government. Democracy exists where the principal leaders of a political system are selected by competitive elections in which the bulk of the population have the opportunity to participate. We shall call regimes that have little or no element of democracy. defining the democratic ethic: legitimacy and secession The 'democratic ethic' is easier to formulate. the United States is politically stable. in a country with a history of secessionism.

that a democracy which tortures. and certainly not the use of force. no democrat would accept that as a democracy. but anyone who disagrees with the result can set up a separate state. legitimate in both the political and moral sense. in connection with Québec secessionism. the democratic principles concerning secession are often discussed . Other values may compete with democratic ideals and sometimes override The procedures are not an ornament...inter. The word 'undemocratic' is used as a synonym for 'criminal' or 'hostile'. Secessionists see the existing government as 'foreign'. that their judges are entitled to judge. even if the action is morally wrong. they are saying.Treanor/democracy. (p. which can legitimise non-democratic reversal of democratic decisions. for instance. is that no value may override democracy. which has acted on a decision made in accordance with democratic procedures and the rule of law. In the democratic ethic. No other method or process is accepted as a legitimate response to the democratic process. Not even principles such as justice: the democrat will simply say that democracy is itself justice. In practice. These claims for democratic legitimacy indicate the primary function of democratic theory in western democracies. The democracy theorist Christiano writes. For democrats there must be a unit. that they may raise taxes. however wrong that order may be.Why democracy is wrong http://web. democrats accord an absolute moral priority to democracy. Thomas Christiano (1996) The Rule of Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory. and an absolute legitimacy. If democrats deny that any moral principle can override democracy. It serves to legitimise the existing order. Instead the word 'democratic' is widely used as a synonym for 'legitimate". The evidence for this is simple: they will concede nothing that overrides it. This legitimacy claim is a major ethical defect of democracy . Many democrats see democracy as a morally legitimising force. Unlimited secession would make democracy pointless. Unlike the legitimacy claim. beyond which secession is not permitted: this unit is the 'demos'. they are the essence. Pro-democracy theorists have a lot on their conscience. However. They generally believe that there is no moral force. the claims of democrats imply ethical legitimacy. its modern expression is the democratic nation state. It is used to suggest an attack on society. or authority. because legitimacy collapses in the face of secessionism. The second important component of the democratic ethic is the prohibition of secession. In terms of regime preference. Christiano and other theorists of democracy are ignoring these political realities. The indivisibility of the demos is as important as legitimacy. then it is correct to say that they treat democracy as a moral absolute. At the heart of democracy is something which is morally unacceptable. What democrats are saying. or 4).a sort of moral detergent. a claim to moral authority. which asserts that certain declarations by the Pope are the absolute moral truth. but democrats are more explicit about the mirror image of this attitude.html government is legitimate and must be accepted as legitimate (unless it is itself anti-democratic). But democratic governments do not generally concede this. all states claim political legitimacy .because procedure is no substitute for morality. It is more like the infallibility claim made by the Catholic Church. These views are vaguely held.. This moral judgment is extended outside the narrow political sphere. institutions. Boulder: Westview. there is certainly no political authority external to the democratic process: there is no 'appeal to a higher tribunal'. In a democracy.that their laws should be obeyed.for instance in Canada. should not be overthrown. If free and fair multi-party elections are held in an open society. is preferable to a dictatorship which does not. if they suggest democracy is not an absolute. the only remedy for any defect of democracy is democracy itself. Most democrats go much further. which can be applied to any decision . and policies. or at least the path to justice.. Again. Now. So a democratic government 10 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . a form of terrorism. and they no longer feel any obligation to its laws. and would claim explicitly that a democratically elected government.

For instance. can successfully disadvantage a minority (one third. p. or three-quarters. inequality of wealth increases in democracies stable over more than one generation. In contrast. In the stable western democracies. Every democracy is a temptation (to the majority) to disadvantage minorities. The emergence of an underclass is usually seen as a structural change within a society. the majority might exclude the minority from the main labour market. In a theoretical democracy of 100 voters. if one voter is sick on election day. A party of 52 has more chance to divide the property of the minority. inequality of income increases 11 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . but the shares after division will be small. rising from $420. in wealth. These differences have persisted: there is no indication that inequality will ever disappear in democracies. that the lowest incomes do not grow: all the benefits of economic growth go to the higher-income groups. income growth at the very top of the distribution was greater yet: average income in 1997 dollars for the top 1 percent of households more than doubled. a coalition of two-thirds. The average income for households in the top fifth of the distribution rose by more than half. with some politically marginalised minority (typically the urban underclass).html ultimately depends on military power to sustain itself in office. 5 Some form of social inequality is inherent in democracy . In practice. They can divide it among themselves. A party of 99 will have guaranteed success against a minority of one. but now the minority is 48 and there is slightly less to divide.000 in 1979 to more than $1 million in 1997. and to prevent the unlimited secession of Testable propositions: inequality Several testable propositions are available for the hypothesis of structural reinforcement of inequality in democracies: in all democratic states there is inequality of wealth and income inequality of wealth and income has not declined permanently in any democratic state in democracies stable over more than one generation. one quarter). This aspect of the democratic ethic brought democrats into a long-term alliance with nationalism. The pattern established in the United States is. 1979-1997. Inequality and democracy Democracy has failed to eliminate social and in social democracy. and then force this excluded underclass into workfare. but that growth was shared unevenly across the income distribution. a party of 51 voters can confiscate the property of the other 49.substantial differences in income. It is undeniable that all democratic societies have social inequalities . Congressional Budget Office..Why democracy is wrong http://web.inter.Treanor/democracy. but it might be simply a side-effect of democracy. every existing liberal democracy is a dual society. 2001. Historical Effective Tax Rates. and this seems a permanent and structural failure. Average household income before taxes grew in real terms by nearly one-third between 1979 and 1997. No guns. In practice.a fact neglected by most democratic theory. they lose their majority. average income for the middle quintile climbed 10 percent and that for the lowest fifth dropped slightly. inequality is apparently increasing. However. Furthermore.

There is nothing the minority can do. the trends in life expectancy have meant that several million people have not survived the 1990s who would have done so if the life expectancy levels achieved in the 1990s had been maintained. The UN Development Program listed 7 social-economic costs of the process (the reference to "life expectancy levels achieved in the 1990s" should apparently read "1980's"): The process of transition in the region has had huge human development costs. a fatal transition to democracy The post-1989 transition in central and eastern Europe provided the first comprehensive indication of the negative effects of democracy. The second cost of transition has been the rise and persistently high level of morbidity..with a complete statistical record. western democracy is not about 'ordinary people' against the elite: it is about ordinary people joining with social elites to 'bash the underclass'.inter. A major contributor to the increase in poverty . A third cost of transition has been the extraordinary rise in poverty .net/users/Paul. Unfortunately this development is probably still in the early stages: the worst is yet to come. Guarantees of fundamental rights do not prevent a low-status minority being targeted. The fact that democracy is rarely investigated as a causal factor is itself a political choice.. characterized by higher incidence of common illnesses and by the spread of such diseases as tuberculosis that had been reduced to marginal health threats in the past. and most strikingly among young and middle-aged men. the present model of democracy was formed over 100 or 200 years.. the historical trend seems exactly the opposite. many of which still continue unabated.has been the rise in income and wealth inequality.along with falling incomes and rising inflation ..Treanor/democracy.for instance asylum seekers. those at the bottom of the social scale can expect steadily worsening conditions of life. and this has been a fourth cost of transition. Russia in 1985 can be compared with Russia in 1995: the difference is largely due to the economic and political transition.. aristocratic conservatives feared that democracy would allow the poor to confiscate the wealth of the rich.Most income and human poverty. During the Soviet era. Most sociologists are democrats: they are not likely to blame democracy for inequality. so long the political parties do not infringe their rights. in eastern Europe modern states acquired a new political and economic system within a few years .Why democracy is wrong http://web. to show how tough they are against an unpopular minority . However.... most notably in the Russian Federation.html The first proposition is more or less self-evident: the inequality is there. In several European countries political parties compete against each other. In reality. politically and socially. which is what western media and governments mean.. 12 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . The biggest single 'cost of transition' has undoubtedly been the loss of lives represented by the decline in life expectancy in several major countries of the region.. In the older democratic states. (Liberal democracy in combination with the free market.. In a democracy.... Britain in 1800 can not be compared with Britain two centuries later: the huge differences are not simply 'the result of democracy'. when they talk of democracy in eastern Europe).. Increasingly.... A fifth cost of transition has been rising gender inequalities. In the past.

but the advent of more democratic regimes has led paradoxically to lower percentages of women in such positions. The evidence for a worsening gap is also clearer in the health statistics...inter. but experience in eastern Europe indicates the possible benefits of a reverse transition.. and more access to employment there would be more resources for education. TRANSITION 1999: Human Development Report for Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. Instead these characteristics are consistent with the traditional historical pattern of expansion by conquest: more on this 'democratic conquest' below. UNDP (Chapter 1). A sixth cost of transition has been the considerable deterioration of education. Simultaneously.apparently resistant to all declared government policy.. So what would happen if the existing market democracy was abolished... Economically inactive men have three times the risk of premature death observed for employed men. in an older liberal-democracy such as Britain or the Netherlands? It is not possible to recreate 1980's 'Soviet-bloc' societies in these countries. more access to political-administrative structures.. A seventh cost of transition has been the rise in In historical perspective.Treanor/democracy. although the mean income would probably also fall income inequalities would fall women would have higher social status. and possibly also fewer in low-productivity 'junk jobs' (also a form of underemployment) Supporters of democracy themselves use social and political comparisons between very different societies .. inequalities in mortality are a moral defect of democracies. This comment is on western European countries: all of them are democracies: The differences in mortality and morbidity are quite shocking.. Summing up the seven costs of transition across the whole region underscores the dramatic and widespread deterioration of human security. cross-societal comparisons are acceptable in justification of democracy. Women have found themselves progressively pushed out of public this is clearly not indicative of a voluntary choice for emancipation and progress. and especially on poverty. The western lobby in favour of the transition process in eastern Europe also quote its successes . While strong health selection increases the risk of exclusion from the labour market. it seems likely that 13 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . The report itself has more detail on all of these aspects. and access to education would improve unemployment would fall: there would be fewer people in insecure jobs..html quotas for women helped to incorporate them into positions of economic and political decision-making and authority. The statistics on health give a more comprehensive picture of a fundamental.for instance between Stalin's Russia (or Hitler's Germany) and the present USA. long-term.. life expectancy would rise public health would improve: the incidence of infectious diseases would fall poverty would decline sharply.again using longitudinal comparisons of non-comparable societies. inequality . cross-cultural. their access to paid employment has declined and their total work burden both within the household and outside it has increased.. then why not in criticism of it? death in democracy Income inequality is probably not the best indicator of structural inequalities in democracies. If cross-generational.. underemployment and informalization of employment. Above all.Why democracy is wrong http://web..

.4 years. the increase happened across the whole spectrum of social classes. This increasing differential is because. The difference between those at the top and bottom of the social class scale in the late 1980s was 5 years. in the early 1970s. and democracy is apparently making them worse. Over the last twenty years. For those in classes IV and V combined.. 75 years compared with 70 years.. For men in classes I and II combined. it is estimated that there would have been over 17.. In Britain... But that is the point: those Conservative governments were democratically elected. without chronic debilitating illness..Total annual excess of deaths was estimated to be about 35 000 14 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . Research in Spain estimated a national 10% excess mortality by geographical areas: Excess number of deaths in the most deprived geographical areas account for 10% of total number of deaths annually. which confirm that health and mortality inequalities are a general then democracy would prevent a government which worsened those inequalities.000 fewer deaths each year from 1991 to 1993.Why democracy is wrong http://web. For example. There are some other striking findings. Death rates can be summarised into average life expectancy at birth. and while Nordic countries show large morbidity differences by education level. 80 years compared with 77 years. the differential was smaller. If democracy was a system which prevented inequalities in death rates. Great Britain shows large mortality differences by income. In several countries there have also been major national studies. By the early 1990s.Treanor/democracy.. Norwegian and Finnish men with post secondary education live 3-4 years longer than men with basic education.html there is also reverse causation due to social isolation and stress. deleted here.. Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health Report (Acheson Report).inter.. which Kunst et al suggest may be due to the level of alcohol consumption. the increase was smaller. that is. that is death before age 65. the Black Report in 1980. French men in lower socio economic groups had much greater excess mortality than the European average. death rates have fallen among both men and women and across all social groups. 1. the difference in rates between those at the top and bottom of the social scale has widened. If democracy was a system which prevented inequalities in death rates. the mortality rate among men of working age was almost twice as high for those in class V (unskilled) as for those in class I (professional). then there would be no inequalities anyway.. But there are. life expectancy increased by 2 years between the late 1970s and the late 1980s.. Footnotes and references deleted. Council of Europe Human Dignity and Social Exclusion Project. Health and health care policy : inequality and the risks of exclusion.not only did the differential between the top and the bottom increase.. The estimate of excess deaths . so perhaps the Conservative policies are responsible.. Premature mortality. and 10-12 years more of healthy life. Norway and Denmark have lost their relatively favourable international position in terms of the size of mortality differences between classes. See the CoE site for footnotes and references. For women.. One important change between the 1970s and the 1980s is that Sweden. Inequalities in Health: The Current is higher among people who are unskilled. However. Public health and epidemiology journals are full of such examples of health an idea of the scale of suffering involved.excess in comparison with equal death rates . the 1998 Acheson Report on health inequalities showed that they had worsened since the last major study. although rates fell overall.. Those were the years of the Conservative governments in Britain. If all men in this age group had the same death rates as those in classes I and II. Finland and Norway were used to illustrate the concept of healthy life-expectancies. Table 4 illustrates this with an analysis of deaths in men aged 20 to 64 years.. they fell more among the high social classes than the low social classes. it was almost three times higher.

Juan Benach and Yutaka Yasui. and the transition itself was its cause. the issue of Africa: global inequality Although the democratic states are the most prosperous in history. Roland Scharff estimated the total excess deaths in the reform years (1992-1996) at 3. compared with excess mortality at global level. Als vorläufiges Fazit bleibt festzuhalten. Transformation und Bevölkerungsbewegung in der Russischen Föderation. not as states.5 Mio. with a maximum of 6% of their GNP in any one year. famines in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. not globally. reason to question its moral legitimacy. Yet even this fades into insignificance.html people in Spain. The policies went uncriticized because there were no opposition parties in parliament.and also increasingly urgent. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 53 (1999): 423-431. Osteuropa-Wirtschaft 43. "toten Seelen" aufsummiert hat. still managed (unlike India) to have a famine.. or other dictatorial regimes. the richest states were.Treanor/democracy. This also seems a permanent and structural failure of democracy. Not as individuals.. and no 15 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . millions of people in the poorest regions of Africa live under conditions. the general global distribution of wealth has not shifted substantially in the last 150 years. 3 (1998): 255-268. in itself. the famines in Ireland or India under alien rule. is increasingly feasible . But that is a special case of a divided 'Volk'. democracy has failed to eliminate inequality at global Roland Scharff . Nevertheless. for instance in the form of transfer taxes. China.Why democracy is wrong http://web. dass sich während der fünf Reformjahre ein Natürlicher Bevölkerungsverlust in einem Umfang von 3. or earlier still. Geographical patterns of excess mortality in Spain explained by two indices of deprivation. no free press. indeed the largest recorded famine in world history: Nearly 30 million people died in the famine of 1958-61. not as societies.5 million.. Yet no such transfer programme exists for the poorest This mortality episode is the best documented in history. Some democratic states have organised programmes of resource transfer: the largest in history is probably the aid to East Germany after reunification. no matter where we look: the recent famines of Ethiopia. the scale of deaths associated with the transition to market democracy was far greater. no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. Somalia. Democracy does not induce the rich to give their money to the poor: not locally. The pro-democracy development theorist Amartya Sen claims that democracy prevents famines: .. In eastern Europe. The European Union has an explicit policy that no regional 'GNP' should stay below 75% of EU average. It is hard to show that democracy causes these deaths. Probably. Mass resource transfer. Despite the great personal wealth evident in some democratic nations. We cannot find exceptions to this rule. That is. comparable to mediaeval European averages. while faulty governmental policies remained uncorrected for three full years.. but it certainly does not prevent them. with famine in the spring of 2000. only the German programme matched the level of resource transfer from the Soviet Union to Mongolia: approximately 30% of GNP. Every year the wealth of the democracies increases: every year the gap between the richest democracies and the poorest countries increases. Although not all states were democratic during the 20th century. It also aids applicant the terrible history of famines in the world.inter. The collapse of the Soviet Union promptly led to widespread extreme poverty in Mongolia. although it was in many ways doing much better economically than India. China's 1958-61 famine with the failure of the Great Leap Forward. financed by an extra income tax.

It would be most acute.. Structurally. such as these about inequality.html multiparty elections. The democratisation of a nation state reinforces there inherent qualities. Such a world order would institutionalise the selfish behaviour of the hypothetical rich democracy. They did not. Yet the rich democratic states had enough resources to feed all these people: and they did not. is greater since modern democracies emerged statistical measures of 'national-income' inequality will show a greater coefficient of inter-state inequality in the period of democracies (about the last 150 years) than before it 16 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . where there was enough food. Amartya Sen does not regard this as a defect of democracy: indeed. If opposition parties in parliament. it is precisely this lack of challenge that allowed the deeply defective policies to continue even though they were killing millions each year. The electorate generally does not want to give 'their money' to foreign countries.the dream of Kofi Annan . it seems that a planet is better off without any democracies. They could have flown these millions of hungry people to the United States. Similar conclusions can be drawn in connection with these testable propositions. and the worlds richest state has all of these. The same can be said about the world's two contemporary famines. a free press. and migration to non-famine areas. Testable propositions: global inequality In terms of inequality. Democracy as a Universal Value. by definition.imprisons the poor in poverty and ill-health. or Japan. Although there is no historical tradition of mass migration for medical care in response to high mortality. In nation states.Treanor/democracy. as the gap between the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the poorest and the richest state. and they do not want to dilute their standard of living by mass immigration. in a world order of perfectly democratic nation states. Historically. Supporters of the democratic peace theory imply causal relations from this kind of simple correlation ("if there is no war. A democratic and national world order does not cause droughts or crop failures.Why democracy is wrong http://web. Nation states generally consider the national wealth as reserved for that nation . In some cases their situation is improving: in Africa it is acutely worsening.not available for total redistribution to others. However. it destroys two standard historical responses to famine: redistribution of food. as the ratio of per capita GDP in the richest and poorest states. and multiparty elections stop famines. it destroys that option also.inter. Indeed. described in the introduction. he seems blind to the issue. Amartya Sen. is greater since modern democracies emerged relative inequality between states. 1999. western Europe. then democracy caused the peace"). they did not. the national territory is reserved for members of the nation. occurring right now in North Korea and Sudan. then why are there still famines on this planet? A causal relationship between democracy and famine exists primarily at a global The national-democratic world order .net/users/Paul. absolute global inequality between states. the rise of democracies coincided with a period of unprecedented global inequality.

And for that time at least. according to the UNDP Human Development Report 2002. Inequality for the mothers is even worse: the 2004 World Bank estimate is that mothers in the poorest countries are 100 times more likely to die in childbirth or pregnancy. so this Europe-Africa gap is not equivalent to the gap between democracies and non-democracies. 'democracy' and 'rich country' have become almost equivalent. Others claim a causal link in the other direction .Why democracy is wrong http://web. United Nations Development Programme. (These figures are already corrected for the differences in purchasing power).has doubled in the last 40 years..Treanor/democracy. it would take more than 130 years. During this long period western Europe was not continuously democratic. and some poor democracies such as Cape Verde. In broad terms.inter. to conclude that the rich-poor gap among states is increasing.and today. Here too. In some areas 'progress' is negative . The income ratio . inequality in child mortality has gotten unambiguously worse.of the poorest 20 countries to the richest 20 . By 1990 it had increased to 20-to-1. that some democracy theorists see prosperity as a precondition of democracy. sub-Saharan Africa has a European 19th-century standard of living. indicated that the gap (in GDP/capita) between western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa was about 3-to-1.but the statistics suggest it does so by keeping others poor. the negative trend at global level is most acute in the mortality statistics: . 17 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . 26 times more likely (figure or the group of non-democracies Testing some of these would be difficult: historical economic data is limited. More detailed statistics from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) show that the estimate was too optimistic. Research by Angus Madison for the OECD.for the simple reason that the democratic countries are the rich countries. In sub-Saharan Africa the proportion living under this official 'extreme poverty' limit rose to 46%. Among all developing regions only Latin America and the Caribbean saw no worsening in the past decade relative to rich countries. 150 years may not even be enough..html inter-state inequalities of this kind are greater between democracies and non-democracies."democracy makes you rich'. than mothers in the rich countries. In the early 1990s children under five were 19 times more likely to die in Sub-Saharan Africa than in rich countries . The UNDP seeks to reduce child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa by two-thirds by 2015. Perhaps . the same as a decade earlier. There are a few rich non-democracies. but the 2003 Human Development Report estimates it will take 150 years more at current trends. with children still about 5 times more likely to die before their fifth current trends the goals will never be reached. in 1820. At the current rate of progress. But it would be very surprising if they are not true . 39-40. According to the 2004 World Bank estimates. There is already enough data on long-term patterns of economic growth. that has changed: in the last generation. such as the United Arab Emirates. than within the group of democracies.1 gives estimates of the time needed to achieve all the 'Millennium Goals' relating to poverty.. Human Development Report 2003.2).and western Europe had no massive HIV/AIDS epidemic. However. Figure 2. over 1. most of these rich countries were simply to rid the world of hunger. It would take 150 or years to follow the path to prosperity taken by western Europe .while there is heated debate on whether income inequality is increasing between rich and poor countries. But the correlation between a democratic regime and prosperity is now so strong. health and equality: it extends to 2200.1 billion people live on less than $1 a day.

tuberculosis) appears daunting. A month before the G8 summit in 2005.inter. In fact they even defaulted on earlier commitments.. but 1 in 16 in sub-Saharan Africa . The World Bank is. The goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other major diseases (malaria. the highest differential of any public health indicator monitored by WHO. In fact. but most of the rise in 'aid' was accounted for by one-off debt relief arrangements. The 'development' option is no longer an option at all. further aggravating conditions affecting child and maternal mortality and entailing broad and serious economic and social consequences. Again.26% in 2004. It is the worst measured health inequality: But huge differences . It is not morally acceptable to demand 130 years of avoidable hunger. Because birth rates are higher.. not surprisingly.7% of GNP has never been reached.Why democracy is wrong http://web. so that only half the agreed funding was available.Treanor/democracy.2004 period. if the health care standards of the developed world applied globally. to introduce the massive transfer taxes that would be necessary to close the gap. But little improvement has been seen in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the OECD Development Assistance Committee.. the 'lifetime risk of maternal death' is 1 in 2800 in the developed regions. their incidence continues to rise. the UNDP confirmed that earlier grandiose promises. the rich countries did not provide sufficient funds to extend their own health care standards to Africa and The risks of failure to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS are especially high in Sub-Saharan Africa. while suffering a demographic crisis comparable to the Black Death. where underweight prevalence remained roughly the same over the 1990 . the goals of reducing child and maternal mortality will not be attained in most regions.Saharan Africa. in 2000.33% of GNI in 2005.exist in the risk of pregnancy between women in rich and poor countries. The UN aid target of 0. pessimistic about the future.html Chapter 7 of the State of World Population Report 2004 gives the ratio between maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in the developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa. United Nations Population Fund. in Africa there is no progess at all. women in the developed world rarely die or experience permanent disabilities from pregnancy-related problems. It is not morally acceptable to insist that Africa should 'develop itself' by duplicating the poverty and inequality of 19th-century England. Democracies seem structurally unable to generate this political will.000. with its dramatic talk of 'Marshall Plans' and increased aid. About 500 000 lives would be saved each year. The difference is so great. the comparable risk is 1 in 4. Because they receive prompt and effective treatment. The lifetime risk that a woman in West Africa will die in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 12. Yet this is apparently what the democracies are demanding. and only a small proportion of countries (15 to 20 percent) appear to be on track.. 52. Summary And the UNICEF progess report on the Millenium Goals (May 2006) confirmed that goals for reduction in undernutrition are not beng met either. or 46 times worse.. IMF / World Bank Global Monitoring Report 2004. the total number of underweight children actually increased in sub. even if the result is universal prosperity. State of World Population Report 2004. that almost all maternal mortality would be prevented. its member states donated 0. given this lack of progress and due to population growth. On current trends. Nevertheless. and the Development Assistance Committee expects a 18 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . It is 20 to In developed regions.up to a hundred-fold . had not been met. Certainly there is no 'political will' in the democracies. That was up from 0.175 times greater. or even a fraction of what would be needed.

) Prospects for Democracy: North. 169).Treanor/democracy.from the 19th century on. and it is taboo to question it. as one of the elements of wellbeing). In the 100 years after Mill wrote. but better. and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius. these criticisms amounted to a nostalgia for aristocratic individualism. (p. and regimes: by definition it substitutes itself for them. In this age the mere example of new forms of 19 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . This substitution is not inherently good: democracies have specific defects. should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. cultures.inter. for almost as long as they exist . in order to break through that tyranny. instead of being John Stuart Mill 1859. not a transfer of wealth and income. the counterpoise and corrective to that tendency would be. it is desirable. that they will ever approve the 70% income transfers needed to evenly spread global 'GNP'? The realistic answer must be: it is simply not possible to close this gap. Most prominent is the conservative bias: democracy and democratic culture structurally limit innovation. mental vigor. For their 700 million inhabitants. That so few now dare to be eccentric. (Chapter III: On individuality. A democracy is different from other possible societies.html fall in aid in 2006 and 2007. As Bhikhu Parekh says of liberalism: Unless we assume that liberalism represents the final truth about human beings. that when the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power. so long as they are democracies. The conservatism of democratic culture At best democracy is no more than a system of government. East. The uniformity and conformity of liberal-democratic societies has been criticised. Instead. It is in these circumstances most especially. in their culture and society. On Liberty. that is $22 per year.Why democracy is wrong http://web. the aristocratic culture of noble eccentricity became culturally marginal. At first. the more and more pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. with maximum scores for 'political rights' in the Freedom House Survey. West Cambridge: Polity. that people should be eccentric. An indicator of the unwillingness to transfer is provided by the World Health Report 2004: 4 to 8 million people need immediate treatment for AIDS. unless they acted not only differently. marks the chief danger of the time. for this sacralisation. and at most 10% are getting it. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach. in David Held (ed. Yet there is no moral basis for this cult of democracy. However not all anti-conformist criticism can be dismissed as aristocratic nostalgia. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded. What chance is there. however. but in western democracies it has acquired a sacred status. that exceptional individuals. is itself a service. and it is still a favourite tactic of democrats to label all criticism of democracy as 'elitist'. or 6 dollarcent per person per day. the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom. South. The cultural particularity of liberal democracy. we cannot indiscriminately condemn societies that do not conform to it. Bhikhu Parekh (1993). directed at the emerging mass society: It does seem. That is a gesture. and moral courage which it contained. In other times there was no advantage in their doing so. The UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Report 2004 shows a total aid to the poorest countries of $15 137 million (Table 23). All the DAC members are democracies. John Stuart Mill is typical of this type of aristocratic criticism.

That is.. which is itself an ideal society for some people. They believe that the 20th-century totalitarian regimes derive from the European utopian tradition. or social conformity. nor open to innovation. Democracy has failed to bring utopia. in democracies. That hostility has shaped the present liberal-democratic societies. and the present liberal-democratic societies are historically unique . But nothing else. there are liberal-democrats who believe that the political system 20 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .nl. it has failed to bring into existence any proposed ideal society.Why democracy is wrong http://web. In reality. democracies have failed to match the image they present.html individualist 'eccentricity' emerged within mass culture. So. Democracy itself can be labelled a 'utopia'. The liberal tradition is resolutely hostile to utopias: anti-utopianism seems a defining characteristic of liberal ideology. Pro-democracy propaganda. Some liberals explicitly equate the two. a completely new party will gain more than 5% of the vote.. Liberal anti-utopianism and democratic anti-totalitarianism are in practice the same thing. all western democracies have stable party systems. in that sense. But in their political culture.. the only such example in the last generation) Democracy has brought societies which are monotonous and uniform. (Many postmodernists share this distaste for utopia. the ideal city-states of the type described in Thomas More's original book 'Utopia".inter. But not only that.. it is not a force for social and cultural innovation either. differing from the standard model of these societies. No dramatically new type of society has emerged among the democracies. at least to some of the people who live in them. for instance in eastern Europe just after 1989. Democracy in itself can not be blamed for a uniform culture. and see totalitarianism as the result of utopian ideals. democracy inhibits the formation of major new politicalideological groups of parties (comparable to the green parties in western Europe. or any other proposal of a 'utopian' type. The early-modern ideal city. the range of political ideas (in the manifestos of parties elected to parliament) shrinks. is small. especially from the 1960's onwards. It is extremely difficult to break open this 'political class'. In other The idea of increasing political conformity and uniformity is difficult to operationalise.nothing like them existed before the 19th century. in democracies. Testable propositions.Treanor/democracy. a static culture. Criticism of conformity is primarily criticism of liberal society. democracy has brought at least a new democratic society. dominated by elites: together they form what in Italian is called the classe politica. And most liberal-democrats would in fact be hostile to the label 'utopia' being applied to these liberaldemocratic societies. As a result. rather than democracy as a political regime. the difference in stated aims between major parties (those with more than 5% of the vote) also shrinks democracy inhibits the formation of major new political parties (fusions of existing parties excepted): the chance that. presents democracy as politically dynamic and internally diverse. and the belief that there is a direct line from Thomas More to Auschwitz). but these propositions could be investigated. from outside: the system is neither dynamic. in any 10-year period. were for them the source of all later evil.

the source of values in a democracy is often not the voters. by definition. a form of heaven on earth. that implies that there is an underlying belief that democracy is in some way 'pure' or 'perfect'. Paradoxically.historical inevitability dictated the triumph of individual human rights that was inherent in the political transformation that mankind was experiencing.Treanor/democracy. Norwegian democratic values are Norwegian values. 2..inter. the long run direction of change in some of the states was a democratization of state power. that a perfect society. The resistance of democracy to innovation. Rejection of these values would require an individual moral choice. In turn this creates a tendency to social self-worship. The intertwined histories of democratic legitimations. . 277-309) This mythology is sometimes linked to a belief in the superiority of a proto-liberal western civilisation 'from Plato to NATO'. social movement activism and institutional changes generated. No existing democracy began in an ethical and cultural vacuum of the kind used in social-contract theories. So in democratic societies.. but blindly accepts election results. particularly in the phenomenon of mass political awakening with which we wanted to identify the forces of democracy and freedom. Despite antidemocratic countertrends. Sacralisation is. I think they are right about the nature of democracy: but it is democracy. 1999.html should be so structured. to abolish it is sacrilege. or 21 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . is clearly related to the reluctance to accept any criticism of it. as to save society from utopian experiments. which must disappear.. Their own mythology places their origins in the political movements of 'the people' (starting with the older western democracies). To in some of the world's states. John Markoff. A conservative and anti-utopian bias has specific effects inside a nation state. criticism of democracy. V. and the truly democratic citizen does not exercise individual moral judgment. a contra-innovative social phenomenon: the sacred is preserved. at its most extreme in the United States. Let me sum up the past two hundred years of democratic history. creates a climate for complacency and social conformity. Globalization and the Future of Democracy. democracy is (at least partly) a mechanism to prevent utopia. Vol. but the voters' ancestors. in practice it does have a semi-sacred status. Logically. democrats are reluctant to accept that a democratic system can be corrupted. This was our response to the challenge posed by the notion that so dominated our century: that a coercive utopia derived from dogmatic hubris. not utopia. Widespread belief that the existing society is perfect or quasi-sacred. That mentality is unlikely to produce innovation in the core values: most will be transmitted unchanged from one generation to the next.Why democracy is wrong http://web. even without questioning its fundamental principles. Although pro-democratic theorists often say they are not claiming democracy is perfect. Zbigniew Brzezinski. not for innovation. which first constituted that nation-state. (Journal of World-Systems Research. Their values are the pre-existing values of the constituent demos (nation). is regarded with suspicion and hostility. Morgenthau Memorial Lecture 1995. The myth of moral superiority of democracy Democratic states can claim no morally superior origin. could be constructed by political compulsion. Danish democratic values are Danish values. The 'democratic values' in a democratic nation-state are the values of the dominant ethno-cultural group. But the reality of democratic expansion has more to do with NATO than Plato. They may try to associate this criticism with fascism: corruption and 'decadence' were indeed major themes of anti-democratic propaganda in the 1930's. a significant democratization of the institutions of government.

nl. Internal transition to democracy. automatically brought them into its system of government. Underground 22 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . Norway Democracy re-established in 1945. Poland Internal transition to democracy over 10-year period. this seems an inevitable development. San Marino Small principality with strong local democratic tradition. military rule to democracy. since the end of the Cold War. Further democratisation is a condition of foreign aid. Azerbaijan Democratisation made a Great Britain condition of foreign aid. re-established democracy after US pressure in 1945.html any other philosopher. to install the break-up of Soviet Union. democratic values are explicitly claimed to justify war. citizens of western Europe or the United States found it normal to enforce democracy by war. pro-western President Saakashvili. Not considered democratic by between 1830's and western institutions. just how bloody 'democratisation' can be. after Pre-existing system of break-up of Soviet Union. but rarely from the people. inside and outside Europe. fear of a nuclear holocaust eroded that attitude. Most democratic regimes in Europe were enforced from outside anyway by invasion.Why democracy is wrong http://web. During the geopolitical stability of the Cold War. Italian troops stationed to aid democratisation process. By the end of the Second World War in 1945. between 1945 and 1955. or from the power of the dollar. 1930's. democratic assemblies.. The Iraq war has shown.. Austria Democracy re-established by Greece four-power Allied occupation Peaceful transition from forces. but Russia is less dependent on this aid than other countries in eastern Europe. Now. after Hungary break-up of Soviet Union. Demonstrators Democratisation made a stormed Parliament in condition of foreign aid. Portugal Democracy established by military coup in 1975 Romania Regime change in 1989: democratisation of this regime made a condition of foreign aid. citizen representation transformed into full Belarus parliamentary democracy. Netherlands Interim military government established by invasion of US. Democracy in Europe came from the barrel of a gun. Germany (East) Accession of east German regional governments (Länder) to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990. With hindsight. democratic conquest is back. de Georgia Andorra Mini-state with tradition of local Democratisation made a condition of foreign aid. after 2003.inter. the military origins of democracy in Europe The NATO actions in Kosovo were the first explicit 'war for democracy' in Europe. or as a condition of economic aid. once again.. Democratisation made a condition of foreign aid. after break-up of Soviet Armenia Union. Albania Breakdown of central government after collapse of Communist regime in 1990/1991: stable democracy made a condition of foreign aid. occupation. after surrender of German forces without Allied however. Once again. British and Canadian forces in 1944. Russia Collapse of institutions of previous regime from 1989 onward: present government not considered fully democratic in the west.Treanor/democracy. Belgium Democracy re-established by Ireland US and British troops in 1944.

and recognised by Britain in peace treaty of 1921. weakened after break-up of Soviet the Milosevic regime. facto part of Italy. Defeated by the Soviet Union in de facto dependent on Yugoslavia (Serbia and 1944/1945.Treanor/democracy. Democracy re-established in Western-backed demonstrations 1945. Spain Internal transition to democracy after death of autocratic dictator. a condition of military aid in war with Serbian forces. installing a pro-western Estonia after break-up of Soviet president at the second attempt. and neutrality. occupation of part of parliamentary democracy Lithuania restored. Slovakia Democratisation made a condition of foreign aid. after Denmark occupation force. after surrender of German Latvia forces without Allied invasion. Liechtenstein definition. Democratic constitution a programme in progress. Bulgaria Regime change in 1989: democratisation of this regime made a condition of foreign aid. and a civilian High Representative with wide powers. Continuing democracy is a Kosovo condition of European Union Cyprus Democratisation membership. Democratisation made a forced new election in Democratisation made a Union. In 23 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . was Parliamentary democracy established by rebellion of Kazakhstan established by 1920's. Iceland Pre-existing local democratic tradition: democratic Republic established under US military occupation in 1944. Subsequently. Small principality with Finland local democratic tradition. on the Italy Croatia Democracy re-established basis of pre-existing citizens representation. Democratisation also a condition of reconstruction aid. Democratisation made a enforced by NATO-led condition of foreign aid. military rule and democracy. The present democratic state. in by invasion of US and the borders of the previous British forces in 1944. Internal transition to democracy. Switzerland Yugoslav republic. the OSCE and EU. economic sanctions. condition of foreign aid. on the pro-secession military units in Not considered basis of pre-existing citizens democracy is wrong http://web.html Bosnia Democratisation enforced by IFOR and SFOR military forces (predominantly NATO). western institutions. condition of independence from funded and controlled by Ukraine Britain. parliamentary democracy established by the IRA in 1918. Turkey post-war reconstruction aid. after break-up of Soviet Since the establishment of the state several transitions between Czech Republic Union. after break-up of Czechoslovakia. after Vatican Never a democracy.inter. Military defeat by NATO in an pre-war western-style air war. democracy democratic by most representation. condition of foreign aid. condition of foreign aid. but nevertheless Montenegro) Switzerland. by any break-up of Soviet Union. Sweden Parliamentary democracy established by 1920's. and of Democratisation made a condition of foreign aid. break-up of Soviet Union. on condition of Democratisation made a the national territory.

Democracy re-established by invasion Germany (West) of Allied forces in 1944. Malta Democratic constitution a condition of independence from There is nothing inherently noble. Moldavia Democratisation made a condition of foreign aid. Tutu Vanhanen reviews the explanations for democratisation in Prospects of Democracy: a Study of 172 Countries (London: Routledge. admirable. British. Democratic Federal Republic established by US.Treanor/democracy. British. Monaco Small principality with limited local democratic tradition. Local democratic and exile French forces. A far more appropriate term is 'democratic conquest'. France Democracy re-established in Luxembourg 1944 by invasion of US..inter. more on that below. de facto part of France. A theory of colonialism which did not mention the colonising powers. this precipitated its fall in October 2000. in such a war of conquest. tradition. after break-up of Soviet Union. They are not the product of successive popular uprisings against absolutist monarchies or totalitarian regimes. The list includes no mention of military intervention (or economic warfare) as causal factors in the transition to democracy. The present democracies in Europe do not match the democratic including the many theorists who say there is no single factor. combination with substantial financial aid to the democratic opposition. these hypotheses could be researched. testable propositions If democratisation was categorised historically on the analogy with colonial conquests. after peaceful secession from Yugoslavia. and suggested the transition to being a colony was a process internal to each colony. of the states which have made a transition from 24 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . or moral. would be unacceptable. 10-21). p.html Union. 1997. and Macedonia French occupation forces. the explanations which have been proposed in English-language political science. At least. Democratisation made a condition of foreign aid..Why democracy is wrong http://web.

moreover. and international organizations that protect human rights. Given this. and women. Credible and effective elections.Why democracy is wrong http://web. or their instruments of action is bound to produce a highly distorted image of the international dimension of democratization. Political parties and other national mechanisms of political expression in a strictly 25 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . (p. women's groups.inter. and alternative and informal mechanisms for resolving disputes. an interpretation which excludes from consideration the roles played by external actors. Laurence Whitehead (1996) Three international dimensions of democratization. most have done so following a military intervention by democratic powers.. rather than any traditional explanation such as economic development. including independent judiciaries and civilian-controlled police. professional associations. Local government entities. including the rights of workers. particularly those that have recently acquired additional institutional authority and responsibilities. their motives.Treanor/democracy. It indicates how thorough the 'external actors' can be . The invasion of Iraq.especially with military backing. including technical and organizational assistance to constitutional conventions and constitution-makers.. technical. where voters have confidence in the process. of the military interventions since 1900 with the stated purpose of imposing a political system on a state. had prepared a list of pro-democracy tactics. and a wide range of indigenous NGOs. there have been more explicit examples of the 'international dimension'. regional. Since that was published. 9). the majority (if not all) were to impose or restore democracy Even when the explanation of democratisation is expanded to include non-internal factors. past military intervention by a democratic power. Trade unions. particularly those that are partners in development programs. and decision-making capabilities of legislatures. that were undertaking within living memory) in Kosovo. to deliberate acts of imposition or intervention from without (acts. The essential point is that approaching two-thirds of the democracies existing in 1990 owed their origins. for the declared purpose of 'regime change'. USAID's democracy programs will support: Constitutional mechanisms. USAID (the official US aid agency). is the best predictor that a country will be a democracy. minorities.html non-democracy to democracy since 1939. Serbia and Timor. in The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas Oxford: OUP. Several years before the Iraq war. at least in is probably the best example of 'external actors' in democratisation. Laurence Whitehead suggest three basic models for the international spread of democracy: contagion. including programs to improve the material. control and consent. Legal systems. there is a reluctance to mention military force. indigenous peoples. Democratically elected legislatures. national. Local. educational entities..

as a natural complement to longer-term democracy-building efforts. consistent with statutory limitations. including effective civilian control of the military establishment. That is the stated aim in Iraq. die Lehrfreiheit (Artikel 5 Abs. state. including voting and candidacy In this respect. Institutions and organizations that increase government responsiveness and accountability at the national. Artikel 18 .Einbüssen von Grundrechten Wer die Freiheit der Meinungsäusserung. The new European Charter of Fundamental Rights contains such an exclusion: Article 54 Prohibition of abuse of rights Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised in this Charter. Finally. will support programs in transition situations for the establishment of democratic political institutions and for the demobilization and retraining of soldiers and insurgents. promote the development of local NGOs.Why democracy is wrong http://web. Educational efforts for children and adults that reflect community participation. groups and media. Draft Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union The Charter also includes the basic political rights now used to define democracy. no multiethnic political system has yet emerged.. in a manner that does not influence the outcome of an election. a democratic system is like all other regimes: it takes measures to ensure its own survival. USAID. die Versammlungsfreiheit (Artikel 8). Improved civil-military relations. The funds go to a small elite: perhaps for that reason. Generally. das Brief-. no process initiated by USAID or other external agency. 1). Liberal democracies also claim to be politically neutral.und Fernmeldegeheimnis (Artikel 10). even model democracies exclude (and often politically persecute) anti-democrats. Anti-democrats are often excluded from the use of human and political rights. die Vereinigungsfreiheit (Artikel 9). insbesondere die Pressefreiheit (Artikel 5 Abs. Post. in consultation with other U. Independent media outlets and groups formed to promote and protect freedom of expression. democratic powers could implement a democratisation programme because of a military occupation. Article 54 therefore constitutes an exclusion of anti-democrats from those rights. By definition.inter. In Bosnia and Kosovo. such programmes emphasise funding of pro-democracy parties. exclusion of the undemocratic: total democracy The democratic claim to moral superiority is partly based on the treatment of persons within democracies. and local than in other democracies. das 26 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . USAID'S Strategies . derives 'from the people' inside the territory concerned. The western Cold War slogan "at least there is free speech here". the 'defence of democracy' plays a greater role in German political culture.Treanor/democracy. and encourage tolerance within society..html nonpartisan manner and.S. usually did not apply to undemocratic organisations. That is still true in the liberal democracies.Building Democracy This is quite different from a popular uprising. Nevertheless. 3). The German Constitution is another example: for historical reasons. without much success so far. in either Bosnia or Kosovo. It is not likely in Iraq either.. and anti-democratic parties are sometimes forbidden. Government agencies and with adequate human rights safeguards.

freedom of teaching (Article 5 (3)). It is not a comprehensive definition. to expect democracy to place the means for its own destruction in the hands of those who either wish to bring about the annihilation of the state. It is often quoted in the media as factual truth.Why democracy is wrong http://web. without any further analysis.usually meaning political freedom. It is even possible to define democracy by these characteristics. Despite this total-democracy culture. democratic attitudes pervade all aspects of life. Their definition of freedom overlaps the definition of a liberal democracy: it is no surprise that liberal-democratic countries get the best scores for 'freedom'. with the characteristics attributed to totalitarian culture. in the stable democracies. in particular freedom of the press (Article 5 (1)). Democracy is not above the parties the democrats are themselves a party. nor morally coherent. which claims to show how many countries are 'free'. (The academic advisors included Larry Diamond. Nevertheless it indicates the pro-democratic fervour of democracy. All democracies also maintain a culture of democracy . democrats are pro-democracy . In the liberal you would expect . this formula justifies the suppression of democratic parties by a dictatorship. freedom of association (Article 9). Die Verwirkung und ihr Ausmass werden durch das Bundesverfassungsgericht ausgesprochen. which all nation states a political system where democratic forces hold absolute political power. standard political science courses include only pro-democratic theorists. Alexander Motyl. or to undermine democracy. Paradoxically.and democratic systems are pro-democracy. or the right to asylum (Article 16a) in order to combat the free democratic basic order forfeit these basic rights.democrats often claim that living in a democracy is equivalent to 'freedom' .a parallel to the 'national culture'. then it would (presumably) not need this harassment of its opponents. Western media and governments usually support such 'democratic forces' in other countries: the implication is that they have a special claim to be elected. and especially education. Seymour Lipset. In an article on party bans in Israel. Jeane Kirkpatrick. The line of argument is not itself coherent: it is morally arbitrary. It is the exclusive political culture: there can be no 'culture of totalitarianism' in a democracy. verwirkt diese Grundrechte. candidates support for democracy would be irrelevant. If democracy were truly a superior system of government. freedom of assembly (Article 8).inter. property (Article 14). Many of the leading theorists of liberal market democracy work on Freedom House projects: that group overlaps with the US foreign policy If democracy was politically neutral. but it is descriptive of most democracies. this has created a 'total democracy'. and the neoconservative Islam-basher Daniel Pipes). at least in relation to non-democrats. Raphael Cohen-Almagor (1997) Disqualification of political parties in Israel: 1988-1996 But if you substitute the word 'dictatorship' for 'democracy". privacy of letters and secrecy of post and telecommunication (Article 10).html Eigentum (Artikel 14) oder das Asylrecht (Artikel 16 a) zum Kampfe gegen die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung missbraucht.Treanor/democracy. Constitution of Germany The suppression of political parties is normal practice in established liberal democracies. The classic example is again the Freedom House annual survey. Raphael Cohen-Almagor gives the typical justification for this practice: This article argues that it is neither morally Bundestag: Grundgesetz Article 18 [Forfeiture of basic rights] Whoever abuses freedom of expression of opinion. But 27 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . At universities in liberal democracies. and who take active steps to realize those ends. and where they institutionally persecute anti-democrats. Such forfeiture and the extent thereof is determined by the Federal Constitutional Court. In reality.

The operation of the labour market. 129). then democracies have political freedom. New Haven: Yale University Press. which undermine their claim to be 'free'.in ways that seem specific to liberal market democracy itself. the market democracies have certain specific unfreedoms. Do illegal immigrants have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice? No.html this is no more than circular reasoning: if political freedom is defined as 'living under a democracy'. as follows: The demos must include all adult members of the association except transients and persons proved to be mentally defective. Have they equal campaigning opportunities? No. in practice. as a condition of employment. indicates the second-class status of illegal Can illegal immigrants vote for the legislative representatives in free and fair elections? No. Robert Dahl (1989). For instance. 28 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . since any public activity can lead to their arrest. or at least the system they defend. Democracy and its Critics. Nevertheless people are also unfree in democracies . Britain was no less British. These are impositions. since the illegals would have to disclose their address.inter. and the conditions of employment. poverty or inequality. such as the Netherlands or Britain.Treanor/democracy. this can not be remedied inside the political structure of these states. (p. appear to an illegal immigrant? Again the Freedom House checklist can be used .Why democracy is wrong http://web.this time to check on the people who wrote it. Formal legal registration of any association would be difficult: registration of the party for electoral purposes would be in practice impossible. they are not reported in any historical non-democratic society. the 'transients'. Still. Can illegal immigrants vote for the head of state and/or head of government in free and fair elections? No. then. But conceding full citizenship to anyone who can cross the border (legally or illegally). In a few cases. Unlike many previous 'democratic deficits'. First the political rights of illegal immigrants. for instance. Most democratic theorists are apparently unwilling to welcome 500 million new African fellow-citizens: and so they defend a 'demos' equivalent to existing populations of nation states. Such a party could operate only by using legal residents as a front. that they are apparently culturally specific to the liberal market democracies. Admittedly the definition of adults and transients is a potential source of ambiguity. would ultimately change the population structure of the western nation states. The point is. and restrict personal freedom.. The fifth and final criterion for the democratic process is. Some US employers in the services and retail sectors require their employees to smile permanently. women were excluded from voting in many western democracies. That democratic deficit was remedied by the introduction of universal adult suffrage in the 1920's.. the 'demos' in the democratic system continued to be the same nation. at least in the presence of customers. until the time of the First World War. rather than their political regime. The civil rights checklist. In general it is the market which limits social and economic freedom. Unlike. provide the best examples. when British women got the vote. that formed the nation state. especially. the illegal immigrant and democracy The pretensions of liberal-democratic states are undermined especially by their treatment of illegal immigrants. How does a typical western democracy. employers have required plastic surgery.

The 'Tampa incident' illustrated the realities. would be subject to possible police raids and detention of the illegals. demonstration. They must rely on the political influence of the organisers. or participating in any way in the political process there. The question for the defenders of democracy is this: if a recognised legitimate democracy can treat one group like this. Now. obviously have no political rights . Their media would also have to operate through a front. Is there freedom of assembly. They were kept on board the ship. any TV studio. and later one delegation. religious or otherwise.Treanor/democracy. and open public discussion for illegal immigrants? No. and entered Australian territorial waters in August 2001. Is the population treated equally under the law? No. if it was applied to political dissidents or ethnic minorities elsewhere. people held incommunicado on a ship. a policy emphasised when the asylum seekers were transferred to an Australian troop ship (the media were excluded from this military operation).a racist distinction). as judges and lawyers. specifically for illegal immigrants. The right-wing Howard government made a stand on the issue . Police in the EU member states rarely arrest immigrants at a mosque. In the Netherlands you must have a valid residence permit to travel on the train. The Norwegian container ship Tampa had picked up asylum seekers at sea. Is there protection from unjustified imprisonment and exile? No. Any offices of a newspaper. In fact this is the standard fate of the illegal immigrant: detention and deportation. Illegals who participate in existing political organisations must trust that organisation to protect them from arrest. and as jurors in countries with a jury system. or choice of employment? Yes. then illegals do not have full personal rent a house in the social sector. guarded by soldiers.html Can illegal immigrants have their own free and independent media and other forms of cultural expression? No.inter. It is clear that the treatment of illegal immigrants in western countries would be called 'repression'.explicitly refusing to admit the asylum seekers to Australian territory. who had committed no crime in Australia. expose the speaker to arrest and detention. This de facto military detention was nevertheless enforced on people. and prevented from leaving it by soldiers of the elite force SAS.none at In effect the asylum seekers were placed in detention which is in any case their normal treatment in Australia. in private. Illegal immigrants are excluded from participation in the legal system. would be an invitation to the police to detain all the demonstrators. and is there free private and public religious expression? Yes. or with legal registration. a western democracy 29 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . for instance. There is no question of them voting in Australian elections. (The term 'exile' implies that native-born citizens somehow suffer more from a deportation than an immigrant .Why democracy is wrong http://web. any organisation specifically for illegals could not operate from a fixed address. The treatment of asylum seekers is similar although they are not 'illegal immigrants' while their application is being processed. or get a legal job. choice of residence. demonstrating. or attempts to. the state controls all of these. Is there personal autonomy for illegal immigrants? Does the state control travel. why not others? From the point of view of an illegal immigrant. If these kind of controls limit personal autonomy. A demonstration or meeting. to prevent their arrest during the activity. In practice immigrants can only participate in demonstrations or meetings organised by legal existing groups. The soldiers prevented all access to the rest of society. Have illegal immigrants free religious institutions. Again. They were isolated from the media and lawyers: only the Norwegian ambassador was permitted to visit the ship at first. Is there freedom of political or quasi-political organization for illegal immigrants? No. But public expressions.

it would be more legitimate than a dictatorship which allowed free immigration). and to the nation state as form of state.Why democracy is wrong http://web. believe it is necessary to maintain the demos as a political unit: this has led to an association of democracy and conservative nationalism. in such a way as to meet the standard of 'democracy' and 'freedom' applied to illegal immigrants. which are supposed to protect minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Weiler summarises the democratic-nationalist position. Most democrats believe. But is it right? The constitution of the demos Modern democracy is inextricably linked to nations. and the nation of modern nation-states.. The State 'über alles": Demos. Weiler's article is a commentary on a decision of the Bundesverfassungsgericht. Yet they meet the criteria of Freedom House for political freedom. then why is such a dictatorship wrong? And if any dictatorship can meet these standards. no democracy has ever had a right to immigration.claiming that the cohesion of the political community will be undermined. for his hard line toward the asylum seekers on board the MV Tampa. it illustrates how democracy works. The people rule. (According to democratic theory. more than 90% of the citizens acquired that status from their parents. Joseph H. because there is no European demos. on this view. Opinion polls showed he had the backing of a huge majority. which treats people like the Howard government treats refugees. Liberal democracy and nationalism developed together in Europe.the Australian democracy works perfectly well. exactly as To a large extent. Even a completely closed racial community. 30 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .Treanor/democracy.inter. European integration. In practice the criteria of citizenship in democracies is biological descent: typically. that a democracy is legitimate regardless of the criteria used to select the demos. Weiler. Although several western democracies have a 'right to emigrate'. If a clever dictatorship can arrange repression. 'the people". Describing what he calls the No-Demos thesis. merely by clever administrative arrangements. Western politicians speak interchangeably of 'the nation". almost by definition. are the same thing. in a society with a free press and guaranteed civil rights. and in this case 'the people' are a xenophobic people. it is claimed.html such as Britain or Australia has most of the characteristics attributed to dictatorships or 'authoritarian regimes'. that no European-scale geopolitical entity can be legitimate. morally desirable? Why is it noble and good? It is not because the system failed . the Union and its institutions can have neither the authority nor the legitimacy of a Demos-cratic State.. a European Volk can be said to exist. Democracy presupposes a demos. democracy and nationalism are parallel. 1995. 'the community'. But. may have involved a certain transfer of state functions to the Union but this has not been accompanied by a redrawing of political boundaries which can occur only if. than why is dictatorship fundamentally wrong? And from the other side: why is a political regime. Since this. and can be ascertained only 'our nation". Opponents of immigration in democratic states even use democracy as an argument . a community in which 'politics' takes place. The Howard government is not a distortion of democracy. Australia recognises and implements all the human and civil rights. Howard was democratically elected. as the Tampa case shows. has not occurred. they are no guarantee at all. In the EU conservative nationalists use the explicit argument. can be a democracy. Democrats. in free and fair elections. The political system expresses their collective will. The demos of modern democracies. Telos and the German Maastricht Decision. with zero immigration. to nationalism. the German Constitutional Court (inspired by nationalist fears about the Maastricht Treaty).

Never before has it been cheaper to travel from one continent to another. the Volk. but migration into the rich western democracies is deliberately kept at a low level. not from Morocco itself. or to save an existing state. and the percentage is falling. and all existing democratic states. This is what is historically unique. That happened partly because nationalists (on both sides) believed their nation-state was essential to democracy.html Critically.Treanor/democracy. They are not in fact surrounded by extreme poverty it is generally further away from their borders. This democratic-nationalist position is accepted by most modern democrats. New nation states are comparatively rare (about one per year on average). in the form suggested by these propositions high-income democracies admit less immigrants than the 31 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . for instance. an institution of democracy not only because it provides a mechanism for representation and majority voting. Thus. is no longer a poor country: the poorest immigrants at the Rio Grande come from its southern neighbours. since most rich countries border on other rich countries. That is wrong in itself. The State 'über alles": Demos. those who are born amid extreme poverty will die there also. The significance of the political boundary is not only to the older notion of political independence and territorial integrity. but also to the very democratic nature of the nationality constitutes the state (hence nation-state) which in turn constitutes its political boundary. the demos from which derive the authority and legitimacy of its decisions.such as Slovakia. for footnote see original.5% of GDP in rich countries. The island metaphor is not entirely accurate. the nation. The inward transfer of population is minimal. Telos and the German Maastricht Decision. an idea which runs from Schmitt to Kirchhof. Mexico. but because it represents the Volk. The outward transfer of wealth is minimal: development aid is less than 0.Why democracy is wrong http://web. However the island metaphor is accurate at global level: those who are born in a rich society will live in a rich society. A parliament is.inter. Democracy therefore reinforces nationalism as a state formation ideology. and some were formed without bloodshed . and it encourages nationalist violence in state formation. Volk/nation are also the basis for the modern democratic State: The nation and its members. constitute the polity for the purposes of accepting the discipline of democratic. Testable propositions: fortress democracy The combination of the nation state and global inequality has created a historically unique pattern of 'islands' of wealth co-existing with oceans of poverty. never before has the gap in incomes been greater. democracy. most illegal immigrants who cross the Strait of Gibraltar come from sub-Saharan Africa. majoritarian governance. But blood was certainly shed to found some That is an integral part of what rule-by-the-people. Both descriptively and prescriptively (how it is and how it ought to be) a minority will/should accept the legitimacy of a majority decision because both majority and minority are part of the same Volk. means on this reading. on this view. belong to the nation. and it does seem to be specific to democracies. Similarly.

You can get any result in this referendum.Why democracy is wrong http://web. If the referendum is held in France or Germany the result will be: no prohibition. are between democracies and non-democracies the 'privilege' of immigration into a rich democracy is granted disproportionately to those who already come from a rich country. world-wide. the democrats are wrong: an election can not retroactively legitimise the involuntary formation of the electorate. by choosing the unit of decision. In the last 100 few high-income non-democracies (such as the United Arab Emirates) the countries which have historically spent the highest proportion of GDP on immigration control are democracies most countries which have installed electronic surveillance at their borders. The same issue arises in social-contract theories: the group formation itself is morally arbitrary. that I must enter military service under their command? If they try that trick with several million people. many people have suddenly found themselves in newly established nation states . and the other not? In practice the legitimation of the decision is historical. and then decide by majority vote. Supporters of democracy claim that a democratic decision is legitimate. If held in Saudi Arabia. tell me the three of us form a nation. So.although to get some decisions. in an equally free and fair democracy. they attempt to legitimise it . the poorest countries have the lowest immigration rates into that democracy. with different voters? Why is one free-and-fair decision to be That is a general characteristic of democracy . based on a historic group: only their decisions are recognised as legitimate. But what if the opposite decision can be obtained. 32 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . taking account of the relative populations of the two countries. then pork will be forbidden. the principle of democracy is used to retroactively legitimise the formation of the national unit. are democracies in democracies. at least since the late 19th century. having forced people into a political unit. because it is the result of a free and fair decision-making process. provided the elections are fair. National liberation movements usually claim to be democratic.Treanor/ holding an election within that unit. there will certainly be prohibition. Imagine a referendum on the prohibition of pork (pig meat). in order to limit immigration. then there will probably be no prohibition. If the referendum is only for women. for pairs of states. high-income non-democracies are more likely than high-income democracies to accept immigrants from poor or very poor countries the more democratic a country is. which Muslims consider unclean. Can two people come up to me on the street. But if the referendum is only for veiled women. Democrats usually accept this form of legitimisation. In such cases. For any specific high-income democracy. you would have to be very selective. they might succeed.inter. The unit of decision is the nation state.which then demand their patriotic loyalty. economic growth produces no corresponding rise in development aid the highest absolute gaps in GNP per capita. However. the lower the percentage of refugees among its population The equivalence of demos and nation also undermines the legitimacy of democratic decisions.

or totalitarianism. Instead they believe in small-scale community. sometimes millions of people. It would only work if the disadvantaged minority was locally concentrated and they can not guarantee them a society built on their values.Why democracy is wrong http://web. democracy was indeed equated with 'non-xenocracy'. If the idea of a fixed territorialpolitical unit was abandoned. to preserve existing community. and so are very small minorities. and both claims as implying the removal of foreign populations. Most 'excluded potential voters' were not expelled from the democracy: they never lived there anyway. The fact that a nation is democratic. but that does not justify such states: instead it suggests something is wrong with democracy.federalism.a rare term for rule by foreigners. Localist neo-anarchism can not resolve the general problem of the minority in democracies. In modern democracies there is a threshold for political influence: an organisation representing less than 1 in 10 000 of ordinary citizens is unlikely to have any political weight. often politically acceptable to democratic nation states. often in a democratic form. in reality the un-organised individual is politically marginalised. Democracies can guarantee basic rights for minorities. and there are many ethical issues in modern societies. The claim to democracy was treated as equivalent to the sovereignty claim. not oligarchs. as a unit of democracy. the typical nation-demos is arbitrary in terms of exclusion. Although communitarians criticise 'individualism'. is said to legitimise its immigration laws. Most democratic theory simply assumes. just to the scale. it can also be given as xenocracy . they would usually outvote the resident population (and grant themselves citizenship). then the legislature must either accept or reject that demand. urban democracy. If anti-abortion groups want abortion to be criminalised. 'atomism' and 'egoism' in modern At its simplest. But this is a circular reasoning: if the potential immigrants were allowed to vote.Treanor/democracy. they are also forced out of them. secede. Historical expulsions are not the main cause of exclusion from voting. Much democratic theory is concerned with showing this disadvantage is not unjust. Laws are either in force. even if that word was not used. an election can not in itself legitimise exclusion from that election. then all democracies would allow voting from outside. People are not only forced into nation states. In practice all democracies limit immigration. but not fellow-citizens either". for living in a society which they consider morally intolerable. Subsidiarity and devolution to smaller political units do not affect the position of a dispersed minority. 33 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . Anarchism today is more a form of localised communitarianism. However.inter.not kings.html Equally. Sometimes only a few colonial administrators were expelled. The reality in democratic states is exactly the opposite: non-resident aliens are never allowed to vote. that individuals will join political parties and other organisations and exercise rights collectively. Again. An election can not legitimise ethnic cleansing of the electorate before the election. no matter how fair it is. However most anarchists today are not anti-democrats. It can not resolve an ethical issue. Issues like abortion and euthanasia clearly show the limits of democracy. They no longer object to the democratic principle. just as they are at national level. There is only one resolution of the problem of the disadvantaged minority: leave the demos. regionalism. Guarantees of civil and political rights can not compensate minorities. more problems with the demos: minorities and the future population All democratic theorists have to acknowledge the issue of the disadvantaged minority. There is no third option: delay is rejection of the demand. there is a pure anarchist objection to democracy. The opposite of democracy is usually said to be autocracy. If democracy was intended to give maximum power of decision to individual persons. all these billions of potential voters could arrive to vote. authoritarianism. They will be outvoted at local level. An ethnically pure nation with totally closed borders might still be a perfect democracy. However. Nor can the mainstream 'scale ideologies' . the political individual counts for less and less. During the formation of many existing nation states. Such an anarchist would say: "No-one should decide on my life . In contrast.

(3) 'Execution' means an abortion. Either way. the term: (1) 'Abortion' means the intentional termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus. Upon the filing of such petition. No political procedure can correct that exclusion. then it could not be a democracy. in a jury trial: As used in this Code section. by forcing women to seek a death penalty for the fetus. that this is an inbuilt advantage for conservatism. When decisions are being taken about the future. The use of futures scenarios. If a present population takes decision for a future population.Treanor/democracy.html or they are (b) No physician shall perform an execution in this state without first obtaining a death warrant as provided in this Code section. the court shall hold a trial for the purpose of balancing the fetus' right to live against the rights of the person seeking to have the execution performed. for democracy theory. It attempts to ban abortions. has introduced a related issue. Within 30 days after the filing of such petition. Bill to amend Article 6 of Chapter 5 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Many people would find it abhorrent to live in a society which treats women this other demos .inter. The failure of democracies to allow 'freedom of exit' is a major ethical contradiction of its own logic of representation and participation. as an example of how religious fundamentalists impose their values through democratic process. In this way. but a democracy has no room for conscientious objections. Again it seems to be a structural defect: no change is in sight. which has a conservative Christian majority. some people will live under laws which they can not accept in conscience. even on these religious issues. or have no vote. It is obvious. It would not even be a government. (2) 'Death warrant' means an order of a superior court providing that an execution may proceed. The guardian ad litem shall be authorized to demand a jury trial to determine the rights of the fetus. If political concerns shift from immediate issues. the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the rights of the fetus. In the case of long-term planning (50 years or more). If a democratic government allowed objections of conscience to all its decisions. democracy allows the present population to 'rule' the future population . Yet there is no reason why people with conscientious objections to a society should be forced to live in it. can democracy claim any special legitimacy? A typical futures study claims that a democratic city government may legitimately decide on the future shape of the city. Yet many of the people who will live in the future city are not alive today. The successful prohibition of alcohol in the United States was already mentioned. If there is no other state . this defect of democracy will become more important. the future population is (by definition) excluded from the process. given ethical democracy is wrong http://web. This kind of democratic legislation can produce the most acute issues of conscience: democracies can generate humiliating and grotesque repression of 'ethical minorities'. Consider this proposed anti-abortion legislation in the American State of Georgia. 34 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .which corresponds to their values. for instance in spatial planning. (c) Any person seeking to have an execution performed shall first file a petition in the superior court in the county of the petitioner's residence. most of those who elected the present administration will be dead. in the usual meaning: it would be a debating society. then even emigration is not an option. to the future shape of society.

a democratic planet. Indeed most of them would claim .inter. In innovation should take precedence over democracy. If necessary. can also go without implying a 'return to the past'.html The permanence and expansionism of democracy A more abstract ethical objection to democracy We resolve jointly to cooperate to discourage and resist the threat to democracy posed by the overthrow of constitutionally elected governments. In liberaldemocratic states. for ever. it is for ever becoming more democratic. However. 100% democratic would not be enough. no less Since the world is not yet 100% democratic. The implicit historicist claim in this type of argument is: "everything in the present is better than it was in the past. by definition. We appreciate the value of exchanging experiences in the consolidation of democracy and identifying best practices. Britain and its 'white colonies'. Self-preservation probably characterises most social structures. can never be imposed. But change does not consist of accretion only. These include the constitutional restrictions on anti-democrats mentioned already. That does not mean democracy should never US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott . many democrats will still insist on more democracy.Why democracy is wrong http://web. It is not simply a monopoly in time and space. More than any other regime of government. there are usually specific legal prohibitions against overturning democracy. We will promote discussions and. the first modern democracies followed absolute monarchies.indicative of the mood of democratic expansionism. democrats claim that democracy itself has priority over other values: the abolition of democracy would at least prevent them from enforcing this value preference. After the end of the Cold War the idea enjoyed a revival . At the time both of these meant the US. There are also real organisations of democratic states. such as the Community of Democracies. Final Warsaw Declaration: Towards a Community of Democracies Proposals for a Union of Democracies existed before the Second World War.that this cannot possibly be an imposition. that it blocks the transition to a post-democratic world: democracy is for ever. create forums on subjects relevant to democratic governance for the purpose of continuing and deepening our dialogue on democratization. and there were older proposals for unions of 'civilised states'. which first met in Warsaw in June 2000. where appropriate. without limit in time or space. Democratic expansionists believe that they are entitled to impose democracy. Democracy. further democratisation.Treanor/democracy. All such prohibitions are unethical. Not only is democracy for ever. Historical process can not legitimise the permanence of democracy. Such organisations indicate a willingness to form some sort of democratic bloc: We will seek to strengthen institutions and processes of democracy. In any country under any circumstances. for it is unethical to block change. 'democratisation' generally refers to spatial expansion. 35 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . It goes beyond monopoly: even if all the world is democratic. There are organisations in western states (government-funded and private) which exist for the specific purpose of converting other states into democracies. We will focus our deliberations on our common principles and values rather than extraneous bilateral issues between members. and a few west-European and Scandinavian states. which are now duplicated at the level of the European Union. That which came. and certainly not that any future non-democracy is a restoration of absolute monarchy. therefore it should never be abolished". For them. It is normal for democrats to demand more democracy: it would be unusual for a monarch to demand more monarchy. it is concerned with its own maximisation.

USAID. Huntingdon. and Matthew White.and the advance of freedom leads to peace. this is accompanied by an explicit normative theory. American soldiers in Saddam's palaces dramatically illustrated the process. and upon their willingness to sacrifice. Francis Fukuyama was right on this point. Samuel P. an important lesson: Freedom is worth fighting for. foreign policy. we also know that So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture. Bush at the National Endowment For Democracy. Bush. Nevertheless.. President George W. and in missions of rescue and liberation on nearly every continent. Americans have amply displayed our willingness to sacrifice for liberty. if not defended. they say clearly that they want it to happen. now seems correct .. a spatial monopoly of the entire planet. there is no inherent moral reason.Why democracy is wrong http://web. Yet a democratic world order would be like a prison covering the whole world . democracy can ultimately tolerate no competitors. In the trenches of World War I. The last includes online maps of regime types at 10-year intervals. no 'other gods'...those of Francis Fukuyama.) And now we must apply that lesson in our own time. However. Yet. the success of freedom rests upon the choices and the courage of free peoples. That model approximates to the emergent world order. and can only be. despite all the scepticism he attracted in the 1990's. Historically.. The success of freedom is not determined by some dialectic of history. US Agency for International Development. Second Inaugural Address. through a two-front war in the 1940s. the Freedom House's End of Century November 2003.html it's dictatorship that is. Five different versions of the history of democratic expansion are compiled at Steve Muhlberger's site Chronology of Modern Democracy: Five Different Views . dying for. By definition. (Applause. any global claim is a monopoly claim. acting as a force for peace and prosperity.and the resolve we show will shape the next stage of the world democratic movement.Treanor/democracy. The democratic theorists are not just describing what is happening. The progress of liberty is a powerful trend.and by definition. Multiparty democracies are coloured blue (the traditional colour of conservatism). President George W. the difficult battles of Korea and Vietnam. Democracy and Governance. by definition. that after '1989' the remaining non-democracies would be pressured out of existence. His view.The United States is vigorously engaged in all corners of the globe. or should have learned. while democracy is. January 2004. it became likely that democracy would expand to cover the world. Strobe Talbott to NATO foreign ministers. but only into an identical least on present trends. an imposition. and in the map series a wave of blue is slowly covering the planet. of liberal (and neoliberal) market-democratic nation states. a choice. with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. Like universal religions such as Christianity and Islam... Tatu Vanhanen. 36 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .inter. Democracy intensifies itself.S. as soon as one democratic great power emerged. That would indeed generate a democratic monopoly. can be lost. Every nation has learned. The idea of democracy is inextricably linked to the national identity of the United States. December 1999 Inherent in democracy is a claim to a democratic world order . and standing for -. Expanding the global community of democracies is a key objective of U.'prisoners' could escape. unlike many historical phenomena. and maximises its spatial extent. We've reached another great turning point . why all the planet should have one system of government.

in global perspective. Ruanda and Burundi. The protectorate imported administrators. Yet this one-sided process is described as 'democratisation'.inter. Here and in other countries. at least in the beginning.including in Kosovo the choice of music played on local radio Occupied Iraq was governed.excluding 90%. the minimal western definition of democracy. Bosnia. Kosovars were not given a piece of the United States. A few Latin American states with endemic internal conflicts.Why democracy is wrong http://web. is simply 'rule by democratic forces'. or simply the threat that they exist. the majority of the population are excluded from the political and administrative structure by language and cultural barriers. In the new protectorates. But the 'democratic forces' in such territories are generally a small elite anyway: pro-American.the return of the protectorate. Kosovo and Timor have seen a remarkable development in geopolitics. Nor are they allowed to vote in Australian or Portuguese elections. English-speaking. or regime of law. And there are always other justifications available. usually with western help. to administer by their standards. and often there are pro-intervention lobbies in the west. of the population. The next 20 years might see a spectacular growth in the number of protectorates. namely the imbalance in the exercise of power. A general recolonisation .the de facto governor is US Ambassador Negroponte. On this definition. The accurate term for such political regimes is 'colonial'.but it is firmly within the general category of 'colonies'. perhaps even 99%. A pan-democratic world would not allow this escape. some form of official UN protectorate might still be installed). However. 'democratic transition' and 'democratisation' are processes administered in English. On Timor. which is not known to be perfect. the planet will be democratic: from their perspective a war of conquest is logical.unthinkable during the Cold War . unforeseen by most IR theorists . there were riots when the UN administration made knowledge of English a condition for employment . these democratic forces must kill (or at least defeat) the anti-democratic forces. Democratic expansionism implies. All of these are potential justifications for intervention. The powers of these administrators are very great . democratic recolonisation So democracy is not only a system of the new democracy leads to the creation of a specific political structure in such territories. a planetary civil war between democrats and anti-democrats. Any system or regime of government. where they can tell the local radio stations what music to play. and was externally financed. should allow escape and evasion. 37 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . it is a war against anti-democracy. (If internal security collapses. by a military governor. In order to rule. at first. such as Colombia. The most serious are the Sudan civil war and the interconnected wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A new type of territorial unit has emerged .the democratising protectorate . the democratisation becomes the justification for their stay. Much of Africa is affected by intermittent or endemic conflicts. such as 'weapons of mass destruction'. but the Timorese population was not given a piece of Australia. and now now a medium-term possibility. Recolonisation is apparently the present specific form of democratic expansion. Whatever the justification for the arrival of the troops. including 'official' wars among states. Timor. The real power in Iraq still rests with the United States . in places such as Kosovo. might also become protectorates: they are already targets of military intervention in varying degrees. in true colonial style. Australian troops imposed a new Portuguese-financed civilian administration in East Timor. When the democrats have won. They display the classic characteristic of a colonial regime. as people alien to its own foundational values. and usually upper-middle-class. Non-democrats would have no choice but to live in a society which regarded them as evil "supporters of tyranny".html and why all others should be forced out of existence.

giving them permission to govern me. Most democrats claim that government must derive from the consent of the governed. The first two are often linked together. The democratic peace theory is almost always used in this way . indicating a well-developed and stable ideology. William N. However. to explain in the language of ethics. And in liberal political philosophy.html Colonialism can be distinct from democratic expansionism. there are justifications of democracy on the ground of procedural fairness.inter. some of the formal justifications can also be used to justify totalitarian or authoritarian regimes. that this does not mean factual consent. the basic equality of individuals or at least citizens. they will not be able to participate in the democratic process. Even the doctrine of consent can be used in this way. But unless they are and the educative capability of democratic citizenship. Factual consent would be. The first is the historical comparison with totalitarian atrocities.Why democracy is wrong http://web. All these are formal criteria used to justify democracy. and legitimised by doctrines of racial superiority and the 'civilising mission'. That is no different from the political regime of 19th-century colonies. that there must be a democracy. which can almost be defined by its claim that 'process justifies outcome'. Justifying democracy Democratic theorists attempt to justify democracy . the 'scramble for Africa'. Thirdly. who is stopped at the border of a nation state. for instance. is clearly 'being governed'. in typical democratic theory. the requirement for consent of the Influenced by a global pro-democracy elite. And democrats often promote the military imposition of 38 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . and a local English-speaking elite. The second is simply the widespread belief. This justification is typical of liberalism. why there should be democracy. in the protectorates 'democracy' is simply the militarily-enforced rule of non-European ethnic groups by imported administrators. especially when cultural and linguistic barriers separate the administration from the population. western public opinion might genuinely believe that this is the final triumph of democracy. As with the definitions of democracy.on the assumption that everyone wants peace.that is. and given citizenship. some specific categories are excluded from this principle anyway. 'Liberated Iraq' will no doubt provide more examples.Treanor/democracy. and there can be no valid opposition to it.and democratising protectorates the standard form of colony.ruled by administrators from Europe and North America. or consent of the people. London: Routledge. They fall into 3 or 4 clusters: moral autonomy and sovereignty of the individual. However. and good laws and polices are not just any which happen to result from a certain kind of procedure. was not driven by any ideals of democracy. 33). there is a standard list of justifications. of life under a democratising imperialism. However. It was driven by commercial pressure and great-power rivalry. three other justifications are common . The objection to such claims is also well known: Morality requires that procedures tend to produce good laws and policies. (p. In the democracies. Nelson (1980) On Justifying Democracy. especially with the 'unholy trinity' of Stalin. There are also justifications with a more nationalist emphasis: they see the sovereignty of 'the people' (meaning the nation) as the primary justification of democracy. some purely instrumental arguments are also used to justify democracy: they say it will produce a specific desirable effect. the crusade for democracy and human rights could become the 'civilising mission' of a global recolonisation . a letter from me to the government. As noted above. The immigrant or asylum-seeker. However they also say. Hitler and Pol Pot.less formal and less philosophical. The wave of colonisation in Africa from 1870 to 1910. about 1000 million people could live in such protectorates in 2020 . In a worst-case scenario. and it is difficult to claim it has any special moral legitimacy.

the second to the list of 'bad actions'. Exactly the same It is therefore not necessary to have a government which always acts on the basis of consent. Justice does not require the consent of the people. by which people. But in a real democratic state. the problem would not arise. what they claim implicitly . This 'necessity' can not be a justification of democracy. At first sight. a legitimate demos.html democracy . Imagine there was a list of all possible actions of the state. for any decision of any government. However. It is very simple: the population of a state can be so arranged as to produce the consent of the governed . And that simply brings the issue back to the question of what constitutes a legitimate people.which contradicts any real consent. Participation in a democracy.that a democracy is the only structure which generates consent of the governed. Is this a real option? Historically.Why democracy is wrong http://web. by lack of consent to them. by the people' can not be the basis of a justification of democracy either. Democratic theorists claim. there is no automatic equivalence of this kind. If the people are fit to govern themselves. makes the individual 'self-governing'. that human political freedom exists only in conditions of where the individual is not governed by another. then all government decisions have the consent of the governed. There is a second reason why a democracy can not be justified from a requirement for the consent of the governed. does not in itself justify elite rule. Innovation does not require the consent of the people. or it is a philosophical fiction. then it is just as plausible to say that those who remain have 'consented' to the dictatorship. goals. Acts which are good in themselves require no consent.Treanor/democracy. Government of which people. then the same principle should be applied to the composition of the people. for which people? The fact that the arguments against elite rule can also be used against majority rule. Consent and autonomy justifications are related to the ideal of individual freedom.inter. If the principle is that 'the people' govern themselves and not a group external to that people. It is for the supporters of democracy to demonstrate explicitly. any minority dissatisfied with the majority decisions. The section on alternatives to democracy lists other options for adjusting the demos. let them select themselves also. They can not be made wrong. In a more politically realistic form: certain acts. then why are the minority within the people not fit to govern themselves? It is true that in a perfect consensus-democracy. If. But if consent is a fictional construction. at least not of existing liberal-democracies. and policies do not require the consent of the governed. So the 'consent' in democratic theory is either implied. then a totalitarian state can equally claim to derive legitimacy from the consent of the governed (especially if there is free emigration). They are all majority-rule democracies.once again. or the consent of the people. And since this would open the door to unlimited secession. a group of people can be found who consent to this decision. They recognise that most voters never participate in the day-to-day decisions of the government: their theory on this point 39 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . with no relation to political reality. in their view. or a legitimate secession. could claim to be a 'people' . If a dictator allows all critics to leave the country. and these people are formally considered to be the people governed. the issue of the exact nature of the demos in democracy. But any justification of democracy should be consistent. The classic phrase 'government of the people. If they must govern themselves. it clearly is: there is a long tradition of forced migrations and population transfers of unwilling subjects. because no minority would feel disadvantaged. can be used against rule of the minority by the majority. No special political regime is necessary to guarantee this consent. divided into two categories: 'acts with consent' and 'acts without consent'.net/users/Paul. which are used by democrats against rule by an elite. it would in itself end the present order of liberal-democratic states. the doctrine of consent is self-evidently right. The first category seems to correspond to the list of 'good actions'.and that is exactly what secessionist groups do.

that all democracies are free market economies? After all. then why is it wrong for a dictator to laugh at pro-democracy demonstrators? Why not just let them take their citizenship elsewhere. As Hirschman pointed out. This issue is known. Rather than democracy.not the Democratic theory therefore rejects a choice of societies (states). democracy gives most 'control of your life' to your fellow citizens.html is intended to get around this objection. consists in my ability to choose between products of different entrepreneurs. If we could enter societies that have laws of which we approve and leave societies that have laws of which we do not approve. or totalitarianism. We do not need the right to a vote to satisfy this liberty but merely rights to enter and exit. Even a world of small dictatorships is compatible with this liberty as long as each person can leave one for another. My 'freedom' as a consumer. If that is 'individual free choice'. to another state? This analogy with the free market does not. authoritarianism. no individualist-libertarian argument for democracy.inter. On the contrary. But is this rejection consistent with the reality. in the market the principle of 'exit' applies. 22). that a world of many small states would require some larger authority anyway. rejects this option. millions of fellow citizens. There is. Second. on three grounds. the market economy is never run on the basis of participation. who could convert this advantage into political power. Boulder: Westview. This approach is summarised well by Thomas Christiano: Social organization could accord with our own will if society were like a club that we could join or leave at will. Democrats can not claim that governments must allow participation.Why democracy is wrong http://web. the people rule . If you don't like the ice-cream. 40 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . you take your custom elsewhere. not unless you are a shareholder. by definition. This conception of self-government does not require democratic participation: it merely requires that we be able to leave one society to join another. Thomas Christiano (1996) The Rule of Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory. they will laugh at you. if you apply the tests of democracy? If you go to buy ice-cream or software. however. can not logically be demanded of the state. which makes it unrealistic. in itself. Apart from a few producer-consumer co-ops. But again. I am not: yet according to the theory of the free market. What is not demanded of the firm. First.Treanor/democracy. or vote for your representative there? The answer is no. If you go to the ice-cream factory and demand to vote on the flavour of next weeks production. democrats should be consistent in their justification of democracy. as an alternative to democracy in each society (state). How does the free market look. as 'exit versus voice'. democracy is collective. and the issue of participation would re-appear at that level. are you allowed to participate in the running of the ice-cream or software firms? Do you become a 'citizen' of these firms? Are you allowed to attend their deliberative assemblies. after a book by Albert Hirschman.and so back to the issue of secession. If the state is voluntary. (p. I can choose another. justify such a multiple-state alternative to democracy. Democracy does not give you 'control of your own life'. the high social cost of migration (including perhaps learning a new language and culture). And most democratic theorists reject individual freedom to choose tyranny.or at least an explicitly voluntary state. Christiano. the defenders of free markets emphasise. that true freedom is freedom to choose. If I do not like one. personal political autonomy implies a Robinson Crusoe 'society' . then we would be self-governing on this view. the individual can reassert individual control by leaving it .net/users/Paul. when at the same time they allow business firms to reject it. that these costs would be more easily met by the rich. as a democrat. They will tell you to buy your ice-cream from someone else. that does limit my freedom in any way. The demos decides. And third.

Never At War: Why Democracies Will Not Fight One Another New Haven: Yale University Press. because Guatemalans did all the fighting (p. Spencer Weart (1998). in a border dispute over desert land. The best known instrumental justification is the democratic peace theory.. If you allow this kind of manipulation of the categories. it became more apparent that democracies do go to war. in order to bring universal peace. but ". (p. are not wars either. many of them allies of the United States anyway. Weart's case studies are typical of the methods used: redefinition and reclassification. The hypothesis therefore relies on a special definition of 'peace'. is an example.. And there were wars between regimes that somewhat resembled democracies. the author suggests. But by 1998 the two exemplary democratising states were at war. Supporters of the hypothesis responded... even against other comparable countries. that this limited group of states will not fight each is that the whole world should consist of democracies. British Honduras 1948-60 Malaya Emergency 41 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . In 1990 there were free elections in Yugoslavia.There were confrontations in which democracies deployed military force against one another. Since the majority of states in history were not democracies. We cannot study wars between well-established democracies. the evidence for the democratic peace hypothesis is not convincing. As mentioned already. Spain in 1898 (when it fought the USA in Cuba) was nominally democratic. but "The public had not learned how to choose wisely in such an election. therefore there should be democracy". Their claim. And the CIA intervention in Guatemala in 1954 was not a war between Guatemala and the USA. at least one combatant is reclassified as non-democratic: the counter-example disappears.. In every embarrassing case of war between democracies. some of the members of this group are engaged in quasi-permanent military conflict. But outside of this 'peace'. The fall of the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia in 1991 led to a peaceful secession of Eritrea: that was quoted as an example of the success of democratisation in Africa. Volage hit by mines off Albania 1946-48 Greece Supporting Gov. forces during Civil War 1947 Aden Riots 1948 Gold Coast Riots.inter. 314).316). None of its supporters are neutral scientific investigators: they all use it as a justification for the spread of democracy. Supporters of the democratic peace hypothesis will simply re-classify them as 'not fully democratic' or 'not well-established'. So ultimately the democratic peace hypothesis is. And some wars..." (p.. This list of post-1945 British interventions and colonial wars is from a website specifically dedicated to Britain's Small Wars: 1945-48 India Decolonisation and Partition 1945-48 Palestine 1945-46 Dutch East Indies Restoring Dutch Colonial rule 1946 H..html instrumentalist arguments for democracy: democratic peace Instrumental justifications are claims that "democracy will achieve a certain result. to fit the democratic peace hypothesis. as citizens.S. for no such wars have existed.was actually controlled by an oligarchic and aristocratic elite. A recent book on the democratic peace hypothesis uses the categories "genuine democracies" and "well-established republics"." (p. let alone 'well-established'. the hypothesis shrinks to a group of about 20 or 30 states in the post-1945 period. As more research was done. certainly the United States and by changing their definitions to fit the observations. It refers to the kind of peace that applies between Britain and Canada.Treanor/democracy.Why democracy is wrong http://web. 6).. The claimed capacity of democracy to educate citizens. 311). you can prove anything at all. although they did not quite go to war. which they often state explicitly..

Zanzibar 1962 British Honduras. Yemeni border clash 1957-59 Muscat and Oman 1958 Nassau strike. Uganda Army mutiny.Evacuation British nationals (civil war) 1999-? Kosovo. civil unrest 1964-67 Aden and Radfan 1965 Mauritius. Aden 1963-66 Borneo 1964 Zanzibar revolution. Operations against the Mau Mau 1953 British Guiana 1954-83 Cyprus 1955 Singapore Riots.NATO peacekeeping 42 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .Refugee evacuation 1970-76 Dhofar 1973 Bermuda 1979 Iran .net/users/Paul.Evacuation of various embassy staffs 1997 Congo . British Guiana.Evacuation British nationals (civil unrest) 1998 Congo . Seychelles 1967 Hong Kong riots 1968 Bermuda & Mauritius State of Emergency 1968-69 Antigua Civil unrest 1969 Anguilla March to September. Tuanganyika Army mutiny.html 1948-1951 Eritrea (Operations against Shifta Terrorists) 1949 Akaba Threat of Israeli Invasion 1950 Singapore (Hartog riots) 1950-53 Korean War 1951 Akaba (Moussadeq Oil Nationalization) 1951-54 Suez Canal Zone 1952-56 Kenya. Aden riots. Brunei 1963 Swaziland. So called Upraising 1969-84 Northern Ireland 1970 Cayman Islands April Demonstrations against Colonial administration 1971 Pakistan .Civil unrest 1982 Falklands War 1983 Beirut 1983 Aden . Clash on Yemenis Border 1957 British Honduras. Buraimi Oasis operations 1956 Bahrain riots.Evacuation of civilians 1979-84 Operation Agila Rhodesia/Zimbabwe 1980 New Hebrides . British Guiana. Bechuanaland 1966 Hong Kong riots.Northern 'No fly' Zone 1991-? S Iraq Southern 'No fly' Zone 1992 onwards Bosnia 1994 Yemen . Nyasaland (Malawi) Riots 1959 Gan riots 1960 Jamaica 1961 Kuwait.Treanor/democracy. Zanzibar.Mine sweeping / clearance 1991 Persian Gulf War 1991 Kurdistan Humanitarian Relief 1991-? N Iraq . Jordan/Lebanon intervention. Das Island. State of emergency declared in Aden.Why democracy is wrong http://web. Kenya Army mutiny . Suez of British Nationals (civil war) 1987-88 Gulf . Singapore riots.inter. Hong Kong riots.

There is a racist undertone here. with redistribution of territory and populations. no other regime is legitimate.the Cod War. and later by rights-and-procedures checklists. At any one time. None of these give a complete picture of modern democracy. and the fixed number of legitimate democratic states has been reached. there is a fixed number of legitimate regimes. a non-democratic political system. a fishing dispute with Iceland in the 1970's. even while others are subjected to brutal military campaigns. Just as the ideology of the nation state implies a planet of nations.html 2000 East Timor . the pan-democratic world would have a fixed number of regimes. that only a world order of nation states is legitimate. explicitly intended to 'democratise' the country.inter. In other words.far more than any of the characteristics listed in the polyarchy definitions. The emergence of a single global democracy would not help a cross-demos group . but in the last instance each democratic state has its own democratic elections. is just one item on a long Although the number of cases is small so far (Bosnia. Since a cross-demos grouping is (by definition) not itself a demos. They can form associations. This kind of double standard can not form the basis of a moral justification of democracy. the prohibition of secession appears to be a defining characteristic of democracy .net/users/Paul. Spencer Weart could find only one possible exception . therefore. democracy is an implicit prohibition of new state formation. no group can constitute a political unit comprising members of more than one demos. In a world where democrats consider each state to correspond to a legitimate demos. Timor) the democratising protectorates are also considered part of 'global democracy'. each corresponding to a democratic state. When this process is complete. the simple overthrow of democratic governments.Treanor/democracy. By now it is clear that democracy is not a one-country regime. in the way that colonial wars and post-colonial interventions by the democracies are ignored. This corresponds to the claim made by nationalists. and innovation in the system of states. might simply be accepted as 'global democracy'. or simply to 'the rule of the people'. no further change in the order of states would be legitimate.Disarming fighting factions So the invasion of Iraq. Yet for the supporters of democratic peace hypothesis Britain is indeed at peace. They claim that these non-democratic regimes may be converted (by military force or external pressure) into democracies. The older definitions of democracy referred to historical origins. democracy implies a planet of democracies. This should be qualified by the recent trends in democratic interventionism. For democrats. Democratic peace evidently means 'white peace'. but not a regime or a government: that would require formation of a new state. with or without protectorates. see Zoltan Grossman's list From Wounded Knee to Afghanistan. and their democratising protectorates. Kosovo. They were followed the polyarchy definitions. There is also no place in democracy for any 'trans-demos' or 'extra-demos' political decision. Once again.they would simply become an internal minority in a global demos.Why democracy is wrong http://web. This long list is clearly not 'peace'. corresponding to a fixed number of states. the level of world order. But first it is useful to reconsider what they would replace: the relevant characteristics of the existing democracies. democrats would not allow it to form a state anyway. not a characteristic of single states. Democracies can work together. Alternatives to democracy Alternatives to democracy fall into four main categories: the systematic modification of democracy to remove its ethical defects. 43 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . even in the limited sense of absence of war. However. A world order consisting of (mainly western) full democracies. A democratic world order starts from the premise that only certain groups are a legitimate 'demos'.UN peacekeeping 2000 Sierra Leone 2001 Macedonia . A new definition would have to start at the global level. For United States interventions.

Even without his connection to Microsoft. But Gates is also the world's richest man.Why democracy is wrong http://web. as a US citizen. it is possible to reformulate the definition of democracy. if not all of the checklist applies to all of the people. plural demoi). and those units only. From this perspective. Voting and candidacy rights could be removed from such categories as: persons with personal wealth above a fixed limit: in the EU approximately € 100 000 in liquid assets would be appropriate. Control of territory and migration are preconditions for democracy. Bill Gates has an individual right to vote. in practice a nation state. vote. This definition The next step would be to restrict political pluralism. entrepreneurs. and in state formation processes. The exercise of his individual vote in elections will not change that. Often. A democracy claims political legitimacy from both the claimed legitimacy of the demos.html The alternatives to democracy are alternative to this emergent world order of stable democracies . That may seem a broad range. Nevertheless there are also 'internal' alternatives. his influence on the US government is almost certainly more than that of the million poorest voters in the USA. by 44 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . Depriving them of formal voting rights partly corrects this structural injustice in western democracies. and more than double. rolling back democracy 'Rolling back democracy' (borrowed from Margaret Thatcher's commitment to "rolling back the state") is a non-spatial strategy. The most helpful literature for this new definition was not the existing definitions. This should include the policy staff of influential think-tanks. the procedures are claimed to legitimise the demos. In turn this world order is considered legitimate. Freedom to form political parties. The right to vote is the best example.a world in which there is literally no place for social and political innovation. Limiting the right to vote can only be a first step in rolling back democracy. The exclusion should cover not just the typical individual entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates or Richard Branson. It could be applied inside an existing democratic state. That includes the so-called passive voting rights the right to stand as a candidate for political office. to receive the votes of others. A democratic world order is a world order with a fixed number of decision-making units (demos. but Joseph Weiler's description of the eurosceptic No-Demos thesis. persons with high personal income: in the EU above approximately € 50 000 per annum. and the demos is claimed to legitimise the procedures. but also the more anonymous executive managers who run most enterprises. The 'rollback' uses the checklist definitions of democracy. since the organisations of entrepreneurs already exercise a disproportionate influence on governments.inter. and to be elected. and it would often be incompatible with the spatial anti-democratic strategies described in the next sections. who exercise influence on government policy through their work anyway. advisors to the government. and the only legitimate basis for state formation. a group within which political decisions are taken. and their freedom to operate. all of the time. So why should he have the right to vote? In practice the rich (and some other categories) have a double. feature on all the checklist definitions of democracy. The conservative effects of democracy can be reduced. since it is considered the core political right of individuals in democracies. and the claimed legitimacy of the decision-making procedures.Treanor/democracy. The outcome of the democratic process can be improved. that the most comprehensive alternatives to democracy can only be found at the level of the world order. and in which those units are considered legitimate. A democracy is a political regime in which political power is exercised by controlling the membership of a but it would probably be less than 5% of the population in EU member states.

On the grounds of its values. Bundestag: Grundgesetz Article 1 [Human Dignity] (1) Human dignity is inviolable. allow the innovation to proceed without it. Inevitably. alternatives to the market-led planning in the democracies redistribution of wealth and housing transfer taxes. many more people might discover. Policies for replacement migration . People can legitimately say that an entity with such a value hierarchy has no existence rights. 'The People' can not be trusted with the immigration issue . despite much talk of 'national values'. However. conservatives often hide behind another label. In the USA many organisations openly describe themselves as 'conservative': the Heritage Foundation database lists over 300 of them.deliberately removing them from the political arena.. The example of the European high-speed rail network shows how democracies filter and restrict innovation. If all nation states had explicit lists of national values in their constitution. where localist and traditionalist opposition preserves obsolete territorial divisions spatial planning in general. In Europe. Constitution of Germany The constitution of a state can list its fundamental values. A more specific type of exemption from democracy relates to basic values. exemption could apply to.because the manifestation of 'the people' on this issue is without exception a racist populism. infrastructure planning in general.the constituent 'demos' of German democracy.with tens of millions of immigrants . are clearly not part of it. such lists are not usual in national constitutions. The next step could be to exempt certain types of decision from the democratic process.inter. The European constitutional treaty explicitly lists the 'values of Europe'. would not be covered by this prohibition).Würde des Menschen (1) Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar. in such cases. and clearly prefer zero immigration. Sie zu achten und zu schützen ist Verpflichtung aller staatlichen Gewalt. European electorates are hyper-sensitive to immigration issues. which seek to impose the principles of a religion on non-believers. that they do not belong in their own nation.Why democracy is wrong http://web.can not be formulated in this political climate. for their own members only. should also be forbidden . For instance it could place equality above property rights (a classic conflict of values). To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority. to fund development in eastern Europe and Africa. there are legitimate objections of conscience to the existence of the German nation itself . or value hierarchy . The German Constitution does open with a deliberate choice of national fundamental value: Artikel 1 . (Religious parties with a protective least. In Europe.Treanor/ However. and specific infrastructure projects which would remain unbuilt in a market democracy reform of the units of local government. including associated conservative think-tanks and lobby Exemptions from the democratic process. In general.html prohibiting conservative parties. 45 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .. this would lead to more pressure for secession: the secessionists would be able to clearly indicate what values they rejected. The political case for secession is then clear: those who reject even the existence of the 'demos'.that would include all the European christian-democratic parties. One issue which should certainly be removed from the democratic political arena is immigration. Demographics are probably the most urgent planning issue in Europe: demographic collapse will affect most of the continent within a generation. including demographic and regional planning . Religious parties.

and simply reject secession.and secession is only one way to change the pattern of states. geography and territory are considered irrelevant to ethics. with known political preferences.697 1.210 Disturbances in Northern Ireland Report of the Commission appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland. Democratic theory says there should be a 'fair' arrangement of electoral districts.852 10. and Muslims are a clearly identifiable group who will vote in a predictable way. Recognising even one secession as legitimate. Perhaps because the options are not taken seriously themselves. A classic example was the manipulation of the electoral boundaries in the city of Derry..manipulating electoral districts to include or exclude specific populations.Treanor/democracy. in Northern Ireland. introduces a territorial element into the ethics of democracy . Democratic theory says this is wrong . There are historical examples of all of these processes. or a 'fair' national voting system. And that is. Some theorists. the creation of new states.047 Total: 14. territorial interference of this kind is called gerrymandering . there is no serious attempt by democratic theorists to criticise them. So why not change it? And why stop at a few secessions? Why stop at one new state per year? Why not 100 new states. If it is internal to an existing electoral process. it is not clear what a 'fair' global arrangement of states would changes the electorate. For a start. to maintain Protestant control over a Catholic majority. it is the existing system of states which is 'gerrymandered' and unfair. The referendum examples (on prohibition of pork) show how this is possible within a democratic system. try to keep these issues out of democratic theory also. The basic complaint in these areas is that the present electoral arrangements are weighted against non-Unionists. certainly does not seem fair. the division of states by barriers.Why democracy is wrong http://web. transfer of territory.inter. after all. Usually issues of space. where the African poor are excluded from voting in the rich western states.530 rejects all internal manipulation of the electoral process.html spatial alternatives to the system of democratic states Secession is one of the few geographical issues in political and moral philosophy. it is difficult for democratic theorists to claim that secession is never acceptable: most of them live in states which once seceded from a larger empire. acquisition of territory. or 100 new population transfers? The spatial. and transfer of population.In Londonderry County Borough there was the following extraordinary situation in 1967: Catholic Voters North Ward: Waterside Ward: South Ward Those changes are 'geopolitics' rather than 'politics' . Changing the electorate changes the referendum result.946 3.429 Other Voters 3. But democratic theory can not say that about the global system of states: there is no clear conception of what exactly global gerrymandering would mean. yet they do not necessarily imply a transfer to authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. and territorial alternatives to democracy form a reservoir of non-democratic options for the future. creation of artificial territory. They contravene the democratic order. without what secession means in a democracy . you can can almost any result out of any political process. but very little discussion of the ethics. However. geopolitical. The truth is. such as Lea Brilmayer. that by manipulating geopolitical factors.138 8. 1969.. The simplest spatial definition of a democracy is that decisions are taken by those who live in an area or Seats 8 Unionists 4 Unionists 8 Non-Unionists 20 46 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . If anything. The present system.781 23.

is even more unlikely. obviously there can be no democratic process. persecution. A second category of possible states allows for evasion of moral wrong or injustice. a simple definition can be given of a post-democratic state: a state is a territory with a purpose. on one territory. The main obstacle to such a migration is not economic In a world of nations. a democratic regime governs a historically constituted people inhabiting a specific territory . the transition to post-democratic space involves the migration of the population of the Earth. The planet's surface is finite . Any suggestion of this type is treated with deep suspicion among liberal political theorists. If the purpose of a territory is fixed before it has a population. There is already one state which claims refuge from persecution as legitimation for its formation: Israel. with its own Parliament. However. and therefore does not even need a population.html zone. A third type of possible state is founded on non-universal ideologies or beliefs. and that these decisions then apply to that area (zone). On the issue of abortion. Three formal characteristics define the spatial order of a post-democratic world: state formation is free and multiple states formed do not necessarily have an initial population the population migrates to occupy states formed. concerning in principle the whole world.relying instead on the more usual claim to a national homeland for a specific people. in effect an extension of the principle of asylum. As an example. a government which controls all or part of it.a classic nation state. a convention in Praha (Prague) proposed European Union recognition of the Roma as a non-territorial nation. The hypothetical opposite to this is only possible on an infinite land surface: namely. in social terms. is that a state consists of: a territory. The conventional definition of a state. Yet that is what the definition of a post-democratic state implies: a state is a territory with a purpose. Exceptions to that principle are very rare. that recognition is unlikely. one where it is not. State formation on this basis could only be a form of territorial clarification. the extent to which that population controls the government determines the degree of democracy. In other words. At its simplest. what kind of states could be formed? The least productive grounds for state formation are the irreconcilable ethical universalisms. Starting from these two opposites. racism and oppression. Ignoring that issue. In July 2000. Democracy concerns specific territory: here again is the symbiosis of democracy and the nation state. Recognition of a non-national territory. It would be possible to partition countries with abortion controversies (Poland or Ireland. a new state offers the only effective guarantee of protection from discrimination. for example) into two states: one where abortion is legal.inter. If no existing state offers asylum injustice. However this is so completely contrary to the standard pattern of one parliament. but political resistance. that every possible use of a zone is allocated a sufficiently large territory to allow effective existence of that zone. there is no ethical or cultural relativism. and its population. or the transport system. learnt by all International Relations students. In the electoral geography of 47 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . Or. This category includes forms of 'refuge states'. and there is no territorial solution to the problem of conflicting universal beliefs. or at least a plurality of states. an illustration of the ethical divide. to achieve a maximum of possible states.Treanor/democracy. and assuming such a migration.Why democracy is wrong http://web. to state formation by victims of injustice.but that does preclude some form of territorial allocation. that every possible form of society is allocated sufficient territory to exist. very few people would be satisfied with this: they regard it as a moral issue. for one nation. as such. it is possible to imagine state formation on the basis of existing political parties. However Israel has never used that as the only justification of its existence .

For European Christian Democrats. for instance. a centralised theocracy with a professional standing army and a closed economy based on subsistence peasant agriculture. In practice. or confederal? is there any separation of powers? is there any separation of church and state? public administration: is it bureaucratic. when the territorial integrity of Italy seemed under threat during the last 20 years. but not 'multi-constitutional'. but their active membership is rarely more than 1% or 2% of the population. etatist. A fourth category relates to certain semi-political historical preferences. and the number of possible states. It could be a libertarian federation with local citizens militias and an export-driven economy. Among existing nation states it is possible to find differences in social organisation and constitutional tradition. could serve as a basis for state formation. would not be a state in standard terms . interventionist. for example. for classic liberals the free-trade era of the early 19th century. But these are the tip of a huge iceberg. there are legitimate objections to using political parties as the basis for division of territory. or a citizen militia? ownership and property rights: is there any restraint on transfer and use of property? is wealth systematically redistributed? constitutional structure: is the state centralised. or by some form of non-competitive organisations? taxation: is there a unitary tax system? is control of expenditure centralised or can the individual influence it? does the tax system allow conscientious objection to. The Italian nation state has proved more durable than expected. If people wish to return to the past in this way . and neither can any state.Why democracy is wrong http://web. some regions have long-term political preferences. Traditionalist Catholics from all over Europe would gain a 'homeland' to which they could migrate. or centrally planned. This is an indicative list of the types of option involved. But no society can be both of these at the same time. usually ignored in political theory. military expenditure? military organisation: is there any armed force at all? is there a centralised army.html western Europe. The 48 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . arbitrative or traditionalist in style? parliamentary and electoral systems: is there a parliament? does it have more than one chamber? which electoral system is used? external relations: is the state pragmatic or 'idealist' in its dealings with other states? does it recognise other states? does it trade .. State formation. Even medium-term concentrations of support for political parties. (Political geographers in France have been the most successful in tracing these regional preferences). social organisation: is society hierarchical or egalitarian? is the family treated as the basic unit of society? is the educational and workplace tradition hereditary or meritocratic? legal systems: are there universal laws.'nostalgia states'.net/users/Paul. A modern nation state assumes some underlying cultural unity or shared basic values: 'multi-cultural' might work.inter. based on the reconstruction of a preferred or separate group laws and courts (such as existed in many colonial territories)? economic structure: is there a central bank and a single currency? are there any banks and other modern financial institutions? is there a free market? organisation of production: is it competitive-entrepreneurial. They would collectively gain a near-monopoly of territory. federal.. Whatever arrangement such incompatible societies might enter into. that they could not be accommodated in the same state. There are many other possible bases of state formation. Many options of this kind are so far apart.they could be given territory to do so.or strive for autarky? A society could be. it is often the Catholic Middle Ages. proposals for the reconstitution of the Papal States surfaced. For instance. over centuries. These first four categories are related to familiar issues in political theory.but two separate states are entirely feasible. Many people have a preferred 'Golden Age' related to their political views.Treanor/democracy. is a feasible way of dividing territory .in whole or in part . but they are far from exclusive. One purpose of compiling such a list is to indicate the huge gap between the number of existing states. over one generation approximately. but the political consequences of a revived Papal state are interesting.

architecture. However. are alien to conventional political theory . there is a tendency to standardise not only national culture and language. This tendency will in the long term produce a world order of national technologies. 49 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . but into a collection of nation states. that the liberal-democratic nation state evolved to limit innovation. familiar in cultural and linguistic geography. There is no guarantee.cores and transitional areas . It has an unrealised potential as a 'design principle' for a new system of states. The word 'technology' can itself be broadly interpreted. each technology requires its own state. they are opposed to each other.secede. parallel to the world order of nation states. Methania. nuclear energy. an outer zone where it is dominant. Petrolia. There are many technologies.coal. on the basis of possible urban for instance. they compete with each other. wind. in a post-democratic world. justification of non-democracy Abolition of democracy. Creating a plurality of states. natural gas. in the plural. construction. This principle . A post-democratic urban policy could mean the creation of a plurality of new city-states. Such possible states. States based on a specific urban form are an example of a new state of this kind.Why democracy is wrong http://web. The common view is that technology is a and urban design.html reservoir of territorial alternatives to democracy is vast.yet this list is only one possible division. In the case of energy technologies. among others. can be justified on grounds surprisingly similar to those used to justify democracy. it is possible to apply a technology with extra intensity in a core zone. Again. and others are marginalised. the mix is dominated by some technologies. but technology. and a border zone of transition to an adjoining state with a different technology. and many possible combinations. and Nuclearia. that these national technologies will differ among themselves: they might be only superficially different. an entirely different factor would probably be the main driver of new state formation. what the technology can not do itself . Aeolia. developing in a linear fashion through history. This picture of unity is false: there are technologies. Each of the hypothetical states listed above could consist of a core zone where only one technology is applied. including. It would be a continent divided into the states of Carbonia. Existing cities in nation states tend to reflect the national urban culture: one French city looks like another French city. Such a spatial order does not necessarily consist of closed blocks. infrastructure. and a subsequent non-democratic state. they were wrong because they were not the outcome of democratic process. A few justifications are specific to non-democracy. Technologies contradict each other. Were the ideal cities of early-modern Europe wrong? The theoretical answer of liberal democracy is "yes. It is a factor generally ignored in state theory and political geography: technology. In the long term that will limit or block technological old value conflict between liberals and utopians. to guarantee its existence. In existing nation states. In historical perspective. it is hard to avoid the impression.inter. They are in any case limited by the number of nation states. to guarantee a plurality of energy technologies. would produce a totally different Europe. The trend at present is to co-ordinate national policies involving a 'mix' of technologies . Solaria. but of autarchic will". Technological state formation does for a 'dissident' technology. The abolition of the present liberal market democracies might bring the multitude of ideal cities into existence. And here consideration of a post-democratic world returns to the issue of the 'ideal city' . Energy technologies in Europe are a good example. In reality. And in principle. The historical answer is also clear: Europe did not evolve into a multitude of ideal cities. many of these options are related to familiar political controversies. solar energy. with a specific technology as core value.Treanor/democracy. (This applies to any characteristic which can be graded across territory).

this is not moral autonomy: abolishing the democratic process (including e-democracy) would correct this. Such a separation is impossible in a democratic nation state . A non-democratic state can be justified by the necessity of creating 'consent' to options which do not have democratic majority support. Democracy should disappear. and the national culture.inter. by the introduction of global transfer taxes. As with illegal immigrants. The end of democracy would end the legitimisation of the nation state from democratic principles. A non-democratic state can be justified on instrumental grounds of protection . they are not a demos). the less chance that the outcome will correspond to any individual moral choice at the start of the process. So long as some of these possibilities have intrinsic value. weighing or summing preferences.html Abolition of democracy can be justified on grounds of individual sovereignty and political freedom. of the individual and minorities from the democratic process. Implicitly. However. and prevent the emergence of a uniform global 50 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM . to facilitate the end of global inequality. The more complex the process. A non-demos (and therefore non-democratic) state is necessary to implement sovereignty and liberation of minorities.Why democracy is wrong http://web. which can not meet accepted democratic criteria for secession (that is. because it is time for a change. The western democracies have been and allow innovative types of state to be formed. This is not inherently wrong: it would allow the state to adopt fundamental values different from those of the people.Treanor/democracy. even if it is legal. end conformist suit-and-tie societies. (This is the 'anarchist justification' of non-democracy). depending on the definition. Specifically. This justification applies especially to reconstitution of the system of states. it would no longer have 'a people'. It would facilitate social innovation. In more abstract terms. it would no longer be a democracy: the demos is gone. for 50 to 150 years. they constitute an instrumental justification for non-democracy .where the state is intended to express in some way the 'will of the people'. Conclusion This concluding list summarises the arguments given in all the other Why do that? To start with. abolition of the market democracy protects individuals and groups from market forces. If it innovates or facilitates innovation. famine and avoidable disease. This is probably the most fundamental justification of non-democracy. 'to create the political conditions for utopia' . where democracy does not. the democratic majority often subjects 'despised minorities' to treatment which is harsh and humiliating. a non-democratic state can be justified from the intrinsic value of innovation. Cyberliberal theorists of democracy see the Internet as a means to further increase this complexity (allowing multiple iterations. and will not. including its own employees. destruction of the unity of the demos creates at least temporary individual sovereignty. administering a territory with residents. can not. they form a program to abolish democracy. A non-democratic state is the only way to separate of the state from the population ('the people'). for example). A non-democratic state can be justified on grounds of individual moral autonomy: the individuals political choice is not mixed with thousands or millions of others.the utopian justification of non-democracy. Many possible projects. do not come into existence because there is no corresponding democratic decision to support them. It would simply be a bureaucracy. By definition. In market democracies. to form new non-democratic states. and most people there have no experience of non-democracy. then it is justified. by definition. and redistribution of territory. It is characteristic of liberal democracies that they have complex procedures for ordering. In the hypothetical case that a democratic state declared all its residents illegal order to bring them into existence. and entire possible societies.

nl. morally wrong decisions of democratic governments. and allow a society with multiple attitudes to democracy. which are a regular feature of democratic democracy is wrong http://web.html society. and a different world order.inter. And last but not least. or reverse. the end of democracy would mean the removal from office of Jörg Haider. Its abolition would also allow construction and implementation of projects . and the negative inspiration for this critique of democracy. in March 2004 again the winner in the democratic election in Carinthia.which are unpopular and uneconomic. In short. This applies especially to policies targeted at unpopular minorities (witch hunts). Abolition of democracy would prevent. Why is NATO wrong? The ethics of secession Nation Planet 51 of 51 4/7/2012 4:08 PM .Treanor/democracy. and the 'democracy-only' mentality of democratic societies. The construction of utopias and ideal cities (without the consent of the people) requires the end of democracy. It would end the political and social marginalisation of anti-democrats. the end of democracy would create at least the possibility of a different world.especially infrastructural projects .