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Given that societies experience natural rises and falls, booms and busts, I wondered if an Objectivist society is realistically possible given democracy. After all, when things are bad, people are unemployed, there is homelessness etc., people have a desire to be "taken care of". This means they will tend to vote in people who promise that the people in need will be "taken care of". People generally don't think very long range if there is an immediate need they feel. "Get me some stuff" seems to be the mindset. Eventually someone has to pay for the bill and the politicians will generally find people to redistribute wealth from. This means that some folks' rights will be violated to help collective needs. Unless you somehow find an economic system that is perennially healthy and vigorous, it appears that this is the natural outcome of democracy: it is simply a system that values collective "need". Something bad will happen and then "need" will be a vote bank.

If democracy cannot support an Objectivist society, what system of government would you have to turn to in order to realistically have a shot at this project?

asked Nov 12 '12 at 10:50

Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image


edited Nov 12 '12 at 11:34

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Objectivism upholds securing peoples' rights against violation as the fundamental mission of a proper government. Pure democracy -- simple majority rule -- is utterly incompatible with this, because it is utterly unconcerned with rights: democracy simply substitutes might for right because whatever a majority chooses is "right," period. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on lunch.

It is important to note here that USA was not founded as a democracy. Rather, the Founders created a constitutional republic, and that is certainly compatible with Objectivism. The Founders weren't perfect, but they were really, really good. Our constitution (attempted to) define limits on government and its processes (like any use of a democratic vote) because our country (wanted to) recognize and secure the rights of its citizens to pursue their lives and happiness. This purpose was even named in the Declaration of Independence: "...to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."

But to the questioner's other point: alas, there is no system which will automatically cure a culture that is fundamentally corrupt. If the culture at large doesn't understand rights and appreciate the need to secure them for men to live together in peace, then (if nothing changes) decline and collapse is the result.

answered Nov 12 '12 at 12:00

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

edited Nov 13 '12 at 10:07

Your last paragraph is sobering and I agree. The problem that I see with the culture at large is that it is moving towards more collectivism and tribalism as it gets older. This is strange to me given that the USA was founded on principles that are tribalism's and collectivism's opposites. The great appeal of tribalism is a mystery to me. The appeal of collectivism is understandable (not right, mind you) given "hard times". I think the very idea of creating a large, powerful civil role for any government no matter how noble eventually ends in corruption first, disaster second.

(Nov 13 '12 at 09:31) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

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Asked: Nov 12 '12 at 10:50

Seen: 1,146 times

Last updated: Nov 13 '12 at 10:07