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Thread: Monarchy, Democracy and the Decline of Civilization3016 days old

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    Default Monarchy, Democracy and the Decline of Civilization

    This is an interesting article based on the book "Democracy: The God that Failed". I haven't read the book yet, but it concludes that monarchy is actually the "lesser-evil". As much as you may want to disagree with the conclusion, it is based on pure economic reasoning. I have grown discontent with democracy in the last couple of years and it's growing stronger. The site is a libertarian anarchists site, but I am not advocating libertarian anarchy. Thoughts would be appreciated.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120805...-civilization/

    Link updated since the original link leads to a site which today is a spam-site.

    /NixYO
    Last edited by NixYO; 2017-11-07 at 21:16. Reason: Link updated. /NixYO

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    Despite incredible advances in knowledge and technology over the past few decades, living standards have actually declined (also see here and here). [edit Aug 2010: In retrospect this statement was too strong, living standards are certainly higher today. It would be more accurate to say that the rate of increase has fallen.] Taken alone, this makes no sense—comparable advances in the past, such as the industrial revolution, have sparked enormous increases in prosperity. On top of falling living standards, civilization is crumbling: war, poverty, crime, debt, disease, social dysfunction, family breakdown, hedonism, etc. Why are so many things going wrong, despite unparalleled advances in knowledge and technology? This is the great unanswered question of our time.

    Hans Hoppe has found the answer. In his outstanding book, Democracy—The God That Failed, he shows that democracy is the cause of these modern ills. This is a very bold claim, given democracy’s current status as a secular religion. But Hoppe’s careful theoretical reasoning is airtight—this is a paradigm-shifting book.
    The process of civilization

    To understand how democracy destroys civilization, we must first understand how civilization comes about. Civilization is the outcome of saving and investment, in other words: capital accumulation. As people save and invest in capital goods (e.g., tools and machines), the production of goods increases—they become wealthier. With more resources at their disposal, saving becomes less costly, and people can invest even more in capital goods. This again results in greater production and a corresponding drop in the cost of saving and investing. This self-reinforcing cycle of capital accumulation is known as the process of civilization.

    As Hoppe explains in Chapter 1, people’s time preferences—their degree of present- or future-mindedness—determine the amount of saving and thus the rate of capital accumulation. A high time preference denotes a high premium on the present over the future: the cost of foregoing consumption in favor of saving is higher. Alternately, a low time preference denotes a low premium on the present over the future: the cost of foregoing consumption in favor of saving is lower. To illustrate, a person with a high time preference would engage in activities that pay out in the present (and even at the expense of the future), such as impulse spending, eating junk food, promiscuity, drunkenness, drug abuse, etc. A person with a low time preference would take on activities that pay out in the long term, such as saving and investing, maintaining good health, improving skills or education, developing a good reputation, etc.

    The process of civilization is characterized by a fall in the time preference of society. As people become wealthier from the increased production of capital goods, the cost of saving (foregoing consumption) falls—their time preference falls. As this process unfolds, people become ever wealthier and more farsighted.
    The decivilization effect of democracy

    The existence of government weakens the process of capital accumulation. Under democratic rule, this weakening effect is considerably enhanced. Unless it is stopped, democracy will eventually raise time preferences to the point of capital consumption, and a self-reinforcing process of decivilization will be set in motion—ultimately leading towards the destruction of society.

    There are many ways that democracy destroys civilization; the most significant being taxation, war, legislation, and redistribution. These effects are further amplified because public resistance to government is systematically weakened under democracy.
    Taxation

    Any and all taxation falls directly on producers—taxation is a penalty on production. As a result of taxation, the rate of return on investment is diminished. Saving to invest becomes less lucrative, so people consume more and save less than they otherwise would have. People become more present-minded and the process of civilization is impeded. The amount of taxation determines how significant this effect will be.

    If the government is privately owned (i.e., a monarchy), then this effect will be limited. Since the government is his personal property, a monarch has an interest in both the present tax revenues and the long-term capital value of his kingdom. His incentive is to tax moderately, so as not to diminish the future productivity of his subjects, and hence his future tax revenues. On the other hand, if the government is publicly owned (i.e., a democracy), then this effect will be significantly more prominent. Since elected rulers are only temporary caretakers, not owners, of government property, their time horizons are very short—they’re very present-minded. They have no interest in the long term value of the government. Rather, their incentive is to maximize their own benefits while they are in power. Accordingly, democratic rulers tend to tax (and inflate the currency) as much as politically possible, even if it decreases the productivity of private citizens and hence future tax revenues. But this should come as no surprise, as public government, like all public property, is plagued by the tragedy of the commons.

    Consider the analogy of public farming. Imagine a farmer who is given the use of some land to grow crops on, but he doesn’t own the land and only gets to use it for four years. His incentive will be to maximize his benefit over the four year term, without regard for the soil quality after the fourth year. Because he can’t reap the benefits of maintaining good soil quality after his term ends, his incentive is to deplete the soil to squeeze out as much benefit from it as possible before he loses its use—in other words, he engages in capital consumption. The same incentives are at work under public government. Without private property ownership, there can be no long-term economic planning.
    War

    While all governments can externalize the costs of war, a public government will be much more warlike than a private one. A king personally owns the resources that pay for the war and thus his incentive is to keep warfare limited (war is outrageously expensive) and pursue his foreign policy through peaceful means, such as contractual acquisitions of territory and intermarriage with other ruling families. Democratic rulers have no such interest in saving money—it’s not their money to begin with and they can’t privately pocket the funds if they don’t go to war. Consequently, democracies lack a major deterrent to engaging in warfare.

    If you don't come to democracy, democracy will come to you!Democratic warfare is also excessively brutal. Once again, because the rulers have no incentive to save money, war spending is much higher, resulting in larger wars. And because the government is public, the government’s wars are the public’s wars: nationalist fervor sweeps the people and support for the war becomes the unquestioned norm. Wars also become open-ended ideological wars (e.g., “making the world safe for democracy” or the “war on terror”). The entire populace becomes part of the war machine, resulting in total war: domestic tyranny (extreme taxation and regulation), conscription, enormous war expenditures, mass destruction, and mass murder of both militants and civilians.
    Legislation

    Since the kingdom is the private property of the king, he has a strong incentive to uphold the integrity of private property law (the validity of his ownership of the kingdom depends upon it). The king also has an incentive to uphold economically beneficial law—private property law—to increase value of his kingdom. Democratic rulers have no private ownership stake in the government and thus have no incentive to uphold the integrity of private property law. Nor do they have an incentive to maintain economically beneficial law. On the contrary, they can benefit by creating artificial laws—legislation—that serve to undermine private property law for their own benefit. Under democracy, mountains of legislation erode private property law: property owners become increasingly restricted in what they can do with their property. As private property law is continually weakened, long-term planning becomes more and more uncertain and people become more and more present-minded.
    Redistribution

    Because of the electoral nature of democracies, special interest politics becomes the name of the game. In order to win an election, politicians must compete for the support of interest groups. The largest and most lucrative interest group (most votes) is the “have-nots”, and politicians can cater to them with wealth redistribution policies. Thus, democracies take on a redistributionist role: the welfare state is born. As basic economic reasoning tells us, if you tax productivity and subsidize non-productivity, you will end up with less producers and more nonproducers. A destructive cycle sets in: as producing becomes less and less lucrative and nonproducing becomes more and more so, welfare spending increases while production and thus taxable income decreases. Thus, welfare policies only exacerbate the problems they intend to cure. They reward present-mindedness and discourage future-mindedness and, if left to run their course, will inevitably lead to a Soviet-style economic collapse.
    Public resistance

    It’s worth noting that democracy’s tendency towards big government is significantly helped along by its public image. Any government ultimately rests on the consent of the governed, and democracy can more easily secure such consent. By fostering the illusion of self-rule (i.e., “We are the government”, “We are doing it to ourselves”), democracy systematically weakens public resistance to government interventions. Under monarchy, one has no hope of joining the ruling family and benefiting from the state’s activities. Under democracy, however, one has the opportunity to be part of a majority or even to become one of the rulers, and so can potentially benefit from state activities. Thus, monarchical subjects tend to be more resistant to government than citizens of democratic states. This acceptance allows democracies to become much larger and much more interventionist without igniting revolutionary sentiment.
    Evidence

    The devastation of democracy is clearly evident in the historical record. As Hoppe writes:

    From the perspective of economic theory, the end of World War I can be identified as the point in time at which private-government ownership was completely replaced by public government ownership, and from which a tendency towards rising degrees of social time preference, government growth, and an attending process of decivilization should be expected to have taken off. Indeed, as indicated in detail above, such has been the grand underlying theme of twentieth century Western history. Since 1918, practically all indicators of high or rising time preferences have exhibited a systematic upward tendency: as far as government is concerned, democratic republicanism produced communism (and with this public slavery and government sponsored mass murder even in peacetime), fascism, national socialism, and, lastly and most enduringly, social democracy (“liberalism”). Compulsory military service has become almost universal, foreign and civil wars have increased in frequency and in brutality, and the process of political centralization has advanced further than ever. Internally, democratic republicanism has led to permanently rising taxes, debts, and public employment. It has led to the destruction of the gold standard, unparalleled paper-money inflation, and increased protectionism and migration controls. Even the most fundamental private law provisions have been perverted by an unabated flood of legislation and regulation. Simultaneously, as regards civil society, the institutions of marriage and family have been increasingly weakened, the number of children has declined, and the rates of divorce, illegitimacy, single parenthood, singledom, and abortion have increased. Rather than rising with rising incomes, savings rates have been stagnating or even falling. In comparison to the nineteenth century, the cognitive prowess of the political and intellectual elites and quality of public education have declined. And the rates of crime, structural unemployment, welfare dependency, parasitism, negligence, recklessness, incivility, psychopathy, and hedonism have increased. (pp. 42-43)

    Let’s take a closer look at the historical evidence concerning taxation, war, legislation and redistribution under monarchy and democracy (discussed by Hoppe in Chapter 2):
    Taxation

    * Monarchy: 5-8% of national income; no inflation (commodity money).
    * Democracy: Over 50% of national income; plus paper-money inflation. Remarks Hoppe: “Now, year in and year out the American government expropriates more than 40 percent of the incomes of private producers, making even the economic burden imposed on slaves and serfs seem moderate in comparison.” (pp. 243)

    War

    * Monarchy: Limited wars for settling territorial disputes. Battles fought by hired mercenaries with minimal bloodshed. Civilian life was unaffected by wars.
    * Democracy: Total wars fought for ideological goals (“Liberty”, “Democracy”, “fighting terrorism”, etc.) and thus open-ended and grotesquely brutal. Civilian life is heavily disrupted by wars, not only because of domestic burdens (taxation, regulation and conscription), but because civilians are no longer considered “off limits” to combatants.

    Legislation

    * Monarchy: Kings were considered judges, not legislators. Law was considered fixed and immutable (and the king’s own property rights rested on its validity). Legislation was unheard of.
    * Democracy: Rulers rise above the law, they become judges and lawmakers. Vast mountains of legislation regulate virtually every aspect of private life. This is effectively totalitarian power.

    Redistribution

    * Monarchy: Consumption state—wealth redistributed from subject to sovereign.
    * Democracy: Welfare state—wealth redistributed not only from citizen to state, but between citizens. Public welfare spending typically amounts to 25% of the national product.

    Ideological progress

    Was the change from monarchy to democracy a step backwards? In practical terms, there is no question: democracy has had tremendously bad effects compared to monarchy. But in terms of ideological progress, democracy has been a (confused and pathetic) step towards more justice. While monarchy and democracy are both forms of unjust political rule, monarchy is exclusive rule by accident of birth while democratic rule is open to anyone. Democracy is fairer in the sense that the opportunity to rule is universal, whereas monarchy only allows for arbitrary family rule. In other words, if there must be rulers, then it’s more just that the rulers are selected through open competition than by arbitrary heredity. But this was the fateful error of the classical liberals: to see exclusivity rather than privilege as the problem. They merely replaced personal privileges (of the king) with functional privileges (of the democratic ruler). Of course, the real solution is to remove the privilege of ruling altogether, so that there is no ruler-ruled distinction.

    To be sure, when democracy is rejected as illegitimate, we won’t be headed back to monarchy. Democracy will join monarchy as laughable and politically unthinkable. Given the natural human inclination to justice, we will move towards something perceived to be right and just. Anarchy, a society without rulers, is the pinnacle of this progress in political ideology. Once it dawns on the public that democracy is the dead-end sign on the road of statism, we will have a stateless society. Then the process of civilization will take off and humanity will prosper like never before.

    The downside is that, until democracy is delegitimized in the public eye, we should expect an accelerating decivilization, and even the ultimate destruction of society through complete economic disintegration. Chances are that it won’t get that far, because the failures of democracy will become ever more apparent and people will eventually be forced to recognize their error if they want to maintain modern living standards. The sooner people realize that democracy is a social death wish, the less devastation we will have to endure. What we need then, is an ideological revolution to make the world safe from democracy! Democracy is insane—it ought to be called democrazy!
    Conclusion

    While all of this may seem no more than an intellectual curiosity, it has extremely important ramifications for the general public, as well as for minarchists. What better way of delegitimizing democracy than to show people that democracy is the destroyer of civilization and even worse than monarchy? People in democratic countries are deeply indoctrinated with a quasi-religious faith in democracy, so this is an explosive subject, but if used carefully it could ruin democracy forever in many minds. Democracy is the last remaining bastion of statism, and by attacking democracy we strike at the very heart of statism.

    As for minarchists, if they are truly interested in limited government, then they must grapple with the fact that public government is prone to cancerous growth and that private government is the only sustainable form of limited government. Since they generally believe that democracy is legitimate while monarchy isn’t, this forces them into an awkward choice: either limited government through private government ownership (i.e., monarchy); or democracy (i.e., constitutional republic) and its inevitable big government. The cognitive dissonance is delicious!

    Perhaps most importantly, Hoppe’s insight is the key to understanding and interpreting the 20th century. We now have the answer to the previously baffling question of why civilization is in decline despite enormous scientific and technological progress. It is public government that causes a vicious cycle of rising time preference, and is responsible for the accelerating destruction of society. It is public government that inexorably pushes mankind from civilization back to the jungle. Practically all social ills can be traced back to the effects of the democratic state, from war and poverty to dysfunctional families and widespread bad health. Happily, we also have the solution to this problem: a market anarchist society based on universal private property rights. Only by abandoning democracy and statism will we be able to reap the enormous increases in prosperity that we should expect from such incredible progress in science and technology.
    Further reading

    For more on this topic, see Democracy—The God That Failed, especially chapter 1. Chapter 2 contains a highly informative historical analysis of monarchy and democracy.
    It was a fair essay…

    I actually want to write something about 3rd Party Politicking in Amerika, and the rise of National Libertarianism (ie. exemplifying the popularity of candidates such as Ron Paul).

    The politickal attitude & discourse in the US is rather dismal and bleak. I mean, when people view Sarah Palin as a potential president of the United States, in control of Nuclear Arms, what in the fuck are they thinking? Are you telling me you trust Sarah Palin with nuclear payloads and such, if any such serious conflicts broke-out? I wouldn't feel comfortable with that (her) at all…

    Such a thing is about who you Trust, keyword here: Trust, to protect & secure yourself, health, and wellbeing as a US citizen.


    Anyway, I'll write-up a full response to this (perhaps) tomorrow…
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Andullero View Post
    You will have to excuse me, but general Latin American experience seems to go AGAINST republicanism. Just to put you the two most glaring examples, Mexico and Brazil have had more peace and stability under their imperial regimes than they have had under their republican aegis. The Brazilian experience, in particular is quite painful to study, even to a foreign onlooker like me.
    At the bolded part - Indeed it is and was.
    The Empire of Brazil under Dom Pedro I and II was a constitutional monarchy that enjoyed political stability, vibrant economic growth, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, and respect for civil rights of its subjects (except for slaves and women) and a strong military that could rival many European powers at the time (basically Portugal became shit).
    Dom Pedro II signed and campaigned the law to finally abolish slavery (sure Brazil was the last polity in the Americas to abolish slavery..................'better late than never' I suppose). However because of this, most of the Republicanist sentiment in Brazil came from former slavers which in turn led to the abolishing of the Monarchy and started the typical Latin American republics led by crazed dictators and corrupt politicians.

    Long live all monarchies and may they last...............

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    My concern with people who are arguing in favor of monarchy, how do you ensure a succession with the next monarch continuing to be good to their subjects?

    How will the monarch be kept in check if they are led astray?

    Also, are you in favor of absolute monarchy or constitutional?
    "Living or dying, it's not a big deal. What we should be concerned about is whether or not we're allowed to crawl to our graves."

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    Quote Originally Posted by a_garcia49 View Post
    My concern with people who are arguing in favor of monarchy, how do you ensure a succession with the next monarch continuing to be good to their subjects?

    How will the monarch be kept in check if they are led astray?

    Also, are you in favor of absolute monarchy or constitutional?
    I'm in favor of a constitutional monarchy. Although if given the choice of a strong monarch (Brazil) vs a powered down one (Britain), I will choose the first case without hesitation. The best answer to your question about a good monarchy would be to do away with primogeniture, and instead, the monarch would be given to choose his successor among his (hopefully many) children. Let the more capable one of the brood, rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a_garcia49 View Post
    My concern with people who are arguing in favor of monarchy, how do you ensure a succession with the next monarch continuing to be good to their subjects?

    How will the monarch be kept in check if they are led astray?
    The basic way. If a monarch becomes too corrupt and dictatorial - Put a bullet in his/her head and install a new one.
    In reality there is very little you can do to stop a dictator whether a republican el presidente or monarch.
    Look at the long list of dictators that ran republics during the 20th century (e.g. Hitler, Mao, the 6 leaders of the USSR, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Franco, Mugabe, Salazar etc.)
    Do you honestly believe that Republican leaders are better for their citizens?

    Quote Originally Posted by a_garcia49 View Post
    Also, are you in favor of absolute monarchy or constitutional?
    I'm in favour of a constitutional monarchy with some powers. More akin to medieval monarchies.
    I'd also be in favour of the semi hereditary elected monarchy of say the Oyo Empire.
    Last edited by Iron Hand; 2017-11-07 at 20:41.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Hand View Post
    The basic way. If a monarch becomes too corrupt and dictatorial - Put a bullet in his/her head and install a new one.
    In reality there is very little you can do to stop a dictator whether a republican el presidente or monarch.
    Look at the long list of dictators that ran republics during the 20th century (e.g. Hitler, Mao, the 6 leaders of the USSR, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Franco, Mugabe, Salazar etc.)
    Do you honestly believe that Republican leaders are better for their citizens?


    I'm in favour of a constitutional monarchy with some powers. More akin to medieval monarchies.
    I'd also be in favour of the semi hereditary elected monarchy of say the Oyo Empire.
    Lol, I think many of us wish it was that easy to oust tyrants.

    True, a totalitarian regime is oppressive no matter which original form it was, my biggest gripe against monarchy is "divine right" and the succession by heredity. If it wasn't based on religion and the monarch could pass their throne to whomever they thought was most fit(not just their blood relative), then I'd be more open to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Andullero View Post
    I'm in favor of a constitutional monarchy. Although if given the choice of a strong monarch (Brazil) vs a powered down one (Britain), I will choose the first case without hesitation. The best answer to your question about a good monarchy would be to do away with primogeniture, and instead, the monarch would be given to choose his successor among his (hopefully many) children. Let the more capable one of the brood, rule.
    I can see how getting rid of firstborn privilege would be much more helpful, though why not extend it to outside the blood relatives, or at least allow monarchs to adopt people they'd rather have for the throne.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Hand View Post
    The basic way. If a monarch becomes too corrupt and dictatorial - Put a bullet in his/her head and install a new one.
    In reality there is very little you can do to stop a dictator whether a republican el presidente or monarch.
    Look at the long list of dictators that ran republics during the 20th century (e.g. Hitler, Mao, the 6 leaders of the USSR, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Franco, Mugabe, Salazar etc.)
    Do you honestly believe that Republican leaders are better for their citizens?


    I'm in favour of a constitutional monarchy with some powers. More akin to medieval monarchies.
    I'd also be in favour of the semi hereditary elected monarchy of say the Oyo Empire.
    Isn't the UK a constitutional monarchy? Canada is, with your Queen as head of state.

    Doesn't mean much. Although the Prime Minister not being able to sign an executive order without approval from the Queen could be a good thing. I'd like to think if he was in a bad mood and tried some crazy shit, she'd like "No, you can't do that!"

    I thought the UK was the same.

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    Y-DNA
    E-U174/P252
    mtDNA
    U6a3f
    Race
    Sub-Saharan African
    Metaethnos
    Akan/Bakongo/Igbo
    Ethnicity
    Jamaican
    Phenotype
    West African looking
    Politics
    Monarchy over Republic
    Religion
    Nunya
    England Jamaica Skull and crossbones

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonRouge View Post
    Isn't the UK a constitutional monarchy? Canada is, with your Queen as head of state.

    Doesn't mean much. Although the Prime Minister not being able to sign an executive order without approval from the Queen could be a good thing. I'd like to think if he was in a bad mood and tried some crazy shit, she'd like "No, you can't do that!"

    I thought the UK was the same.
    The Queen has very limited powers. She can only dissolve parliament in the most extreme emergencies!

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to Iron Hand For This Useful Post:

    DragonRouge (2017-11-07)

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