There seems to be lingering belief held by some, including even a the Flight 93 Election essay, that perhaps democracy can be salvaged if only the ‘right people are put in charge’, or that Trump’s win is a major setback for the left. Bloody Shovel writes:
Trump won! And he did so in a democratic election. The foundational theory of neoreaction, Moldbug’s argument that leftism was unhinged because the Cathedral rules the world and democracy makes it worse can’t quite account for what we are seeing. We have a pretty decent theory of leftist victories, but we don’t have one of leftist defeats.
The word ‘democracy’ can have two meanings: first, the democratic process (as in voting), and second, ‘…a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament.’ The latter implies distributed power involving ‘checks and balances’, not absolute or concentrated power. Even if the the first step were bypassed, #2 (checks and balances) would still be a hindrance. Although a democracy makes it harder to enact legislation and sweeping change, it also makes it virtually impossible to undo it, and as the past two centuries of United States history shows, progress is irrevocable. Suffrage begets civil rights, and then egalitarianism, moral decay, porous borders, same-sex marriage, immigration, and so on, leading to the ‘progressivism singularity’.
Trump’s victory, in terms of reversing progressivism, is analogous to trying to stop a steamroller by putting a mattress in front of it. But an argument could have also been made for Hillary, in that she would hasten the singularity, collapsing progress under its weight, much like a Type II supernova.
Fighting liberalism with democracy means liberalism wins, because you’re playing by the rules created by the opposition, much like a shell game in which the conman lets the mark win a few games before taking all his money. Democracy and representative government creates the illusion of control and change, but nothing happens, because by virtue of the constitution and the separation of power, it’s not supposed to. Is Islamic terror dissuaded by the empty and symbolic threats of democracy. No, and terrorists demonstrated such defiance by killing more people in Germany over the holiday, the same year Trump won and Brexit happened. This is because the modern liberal democracy, being neutered and emasculated, is a facade and isn’t a legitimate conveyor of power.
The question of human nature arises as it pertains to governance. Hobbes and Locke held diametrically opposing views, but both were correct to some extent. The founding fathers understood that man desires autonomy, but the Constitution, which was conceived on Natural Law, ultimately, proved inadequate at enforcing power and order, eventually leading to the situation we have now. On the other extreme, too much power, especially if held by an inept ruler or predicated on a flawed ideology, can also prove disastrous, as the history of communism has shown. High-trust societies should afford their citizenry autonomy…just look at the public school system to get an idea of how too much power, when held by overbearing teachers and administration, suppresses individual talent and exceptionalism.
But it’s safe to err on the side of more power than less, perhaps in the form of a minarchist state where individual autonomy, private property, rule of law, courts, and free markets are preserved–but there is no democracy, meaning that the arrangement of power between the individual and the state is immutable. Divine law, whether codified in the Koran, Torah, or the Holy Bible, is one approach, because ancient religious scriptures cannot be modified, but because man is ultimately doing the interpreting, it’s not fail-safe. The absence of absolute power creates opportunism, corruption, and division. Can democracy work in high-trust societies? No, because the same aforementioned forces will undermine it, if given enough time, as the history of Britain and the United States has shown.