by Augustus Sol Invictus
Candidate for United States Senate
Democracy has undergone an apotheosis: whereas the term “democracy” once denoted nothing more than a form of government, it is now a sacred name denoting nothing less than a religion, with its corresponding creeds and commandments, dogmas and rituals, saints and martyrs, demons and archenemies. The good tremble before the holy pronouncement, “Thou shalt not discriminate,” while we all cast our ballots on Election Day as once we took Communion on Easter Sunday. The once-noble Germans are now a race demanding our utmost vigilance, lest they become possessed once again by pure evil, while the communist terrorist Nelson Mandela is now portrayed as the Christ-like leader, who saved South Africa from the evil white oppressors. To be “undemocratic” – let well alone fascistic! – is to be in league with the devil, and the very name of Adolf Hitler sends liberals and conservatives alike screaming into the night like Hogwarts students from the Dark Lord Voldemort. Never you mind something as trite as facts or evidence; proof is unnecessary to establish the supreme good of democracy. It is common knowledge that without democracy, our precious concept of the rule of law could never be.
Yet in this case, what is considered common knowledge is more aptly called “faith,” and this particular faith has little to do with reality. For in fact, democracy is antithetical to the rule of law. In coming to understand the truth of this thesis, we might begin by pondering what we really mean by the term “the rule of law.” If by this term we mean that the law is independent of the folly of human prejudices and interpretations, then we must prepare ourselves for disillusionment. For legislation is always the work of interested parties, and the judges interpreting the law hold their own biases. If by “the rule of law” we mean that a society should be ruled by laws and not by men, then we misunderstand the very nature of law. For the laws are made by men, and the laws are interpreted by men, all of whom legislate or interpret as men, not as impartial divinities. If we mean by this term that no one should be above the law, then we must realize that this is an asymptotic concept, one for which we will ever strive, and ever fall. For we all know of the celebrities, the politicians, and the rich, who escape justice by virtue of their power and status. If, however, what we mean by “the rule of law” is the implementation of just laws by a just and effective government in furtherance of an orderly and free society, then we must recognize that democracy can only subvert and hinder that process.
We might then consider what we really mean by the term “democracy.” The short and quick of it is that a democracy is a form of government characterized by “rule of the people,” the literal translation of the Greek demokratia. In Athens this was understood not as mass democracy, but as rule by citizens – namely adult males of the city-state who had never been a slave and who had completed military training. In Rome, democracy was representative, with elected officials acting on behalf of their respective groups. In Anglo-American law, democracy was characterized by the involvement of white male citizens, especially in antagonism to the King (in England) and even the very concept of monarchy (in the US).
Modern democracy breaks from these older concepts in declaring that the government is not to be run by qualified citizens, but by everyone: males and females, young and old, white and black, citizen and resident alien, literate and illiterate, wealthy and poor, Christian, Muslim, and Jew. Only the most minimal of qualifications exist for exercising the right to vote, as most qualifications have been abjured as racist, sexist, xenophobic, undemocratic, or otherwise bigoted. Those qualifications that do still exist – e.g., restrictions concerning citizenship or felony convictions – are the targets of organizations determined to broaden the right to vote to include more and more people. These misguided persons believe that the greater the number of voters, the more responsive and virtuous the government will be. In other words, democracy today means mass democracy.
Certainly there are some positive aspects of democracy, generally conceived. For one, the likelihood of violent revolution is lessened – at least in Western countries. It is also true that many gifted statesmen have thrived in democratic government, including Pericles, Alexander Hamilton, and Abraham Lincoln – though the great men are always the least democratic. And yes, it is true that women and racial minorities have been allowed to participate in the processes of government to an extent previously denied categorically – though it cannot be said that this has ever made government “better.” We must ask ourselves: Do these meager benefits outweigh the chaos and disorder, the cultural degradation and political mediocrity, which are characteristic of democratic government?
Some will doubtless argue vehemently that the lessened probability of violence, the restraints on the great men of history, and the inclusion en masse of minorities and women in government are not “meager benefits,” but are, rather, great advances in human civilization. We will have to agree to disagree on that point. The real conflict is “under and behind and inside everything [we] take for granted.” It is in the inevitable discord between those who believe in democracy as the Summum Bonum, as the final end of human socio-political organization, and those who do not. The true believers wish to see monarchy, caste, custom, and tradition all swept away in favor of the “right” of all individuals to cast a meaningless ballot for issues of which they know nothing. They see all previous and alternate forms of government as the instruments of tyranny and bigotry, of evil and ignorance; for surely we are better than our ancestors, embracing as we do our enlightened democratic ethos.
Yet our ancestors realized that without a political authority, the very existence of the people was at stake. Without a public leader, private interests control. Nature abhors a vacuum, and with the establishment of a democratic government a vacuum of power is created that will be filled by capital, ideology, and interests inimical to the people. With democracy, there can be no authority; without authority, there can be no rule of law.