Diagnosing Democracy

Moldbug’s final post: Coda

I know ‘neocon’ and ‘neoliberal’ have become pejorative labels as late, but these are the only two ideologies that seem to respect individualism within a mixed economy, as a middle ground between the ‘rule of law’ and personal autonomy. Bernie Sanders represents the far-left, who want to restrict individual wealth too much, and then you have the traditionalist-right, who may be to restrictive about capitalism and personal autonomy. After reading hundreds of pages worth of NRx and ‘alt right’ blogs, I have yet to see someone propose anything better, except for perhaps the Monarchist/mixed-economy approach, which already exists in a handful of countries. Any hypothetical system government, in trying to strike a Pareto-optimal equilibrium between authority and personal freedom, is eventually going to end up resembling what we have now, albeit with some small changes. And others like Land are frustratingly opaque and more theoretical than action/policy-orientated.

Say the word democracy. Notice how good it sounds. Everything democratic is good. A democratic meeting, a democratic policy, a democratic giraffe… if the adjective fits the noun at all, anything you paint with it comes out shiny and bright.

The good news is anti-democratic sentiment is already gaining mainstream appeal among millennials. Even some of the liberals I talk to are critical or skeptical of democracy, arguing that it’s inefficient and has lead to costly foreign interventionism and other problems, while not providing enough for American citizens who need help. But America was never that that democratic to begin with. It’s a constitutional republic with very high incarceration rate, with a lot of arbitrary laws. But maybe that is also a function of democracy, but it’s not liberalism like Western/Northern European liberalism. Maybe more like ill-liberalism, but not conservatism either. But at the same time, America tends to be too liberal regarding immigration and pop culture hyper-sexualization, so it’s mishmash of authoritarianism, market-liberalism, and social liberalism. Hard to find a single word that encompasses it. But it’s not the European-style ‘social democracy’. To simply attribute all of society’s ills to the apparition of a ‘liberal democracy’ seems like a misdiagnosis. That is not a defense of democracy either, and it’s evident that Europe’s social democratic model has lead to a lot of problems, particularly Islamic immigration and debt.