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paradoxes and contradictions

      POLS2103 Australian Democracy
               Lecture 2
Is democracy a means of bringing
about that the people shall consent to
what the government proposes to do,
or that the government shall do what
the people want? These two things
are very different, and yet if all we
want is to produce consent, it can be
got in either way.
        - A. D. Lindsay The Modern Democratic State (1943)
“…there are always desires and designs to
return polities to a situation where the
inconveniences to ruling groups or individuals of
elections, rights, liberties, due process, and other
slow-footed impediments to the enjoyment of
power, always put these impediments at risk:
even in democratic countries, where nibblings
and chippings-away at rights and liberties which
stand in the way of ‘security’ (or the economy)
are a constant”.

          - - A. C. Grayling, Toward The Light of Liberty (2007)
“It will never be the
fate of this country to
live under a

  - British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1867)
         “Fascism denies that the
 majority, through the mere fact
    of being a majority, can rule
             human societies…By
  democratic regimes we mean
     those in which from time to
    time the people is given the
      illusion of being sovereign,
which true effective sovereignty
             lies in other, perhaps
         irresponsible and secret,
      forces…Fascism rejects in
            democracy the absurd
       conventional lie of political
                    - Benito Mussolini
The case against democracy

Democracy as modern
Threat to property
The case against democracy
 “My firm conviction is that, in our country,
 universal suffrage is incompatible, not with this
 or that form of government, but with all forms
 of government, and with everything for the
 sake of which forms of government exist; that it
 is incompatible with property, and that it is
 consequently incompatible with civilisation.
 If it be admitted that on the institution of
 property the well-being of society depends, it
 follows surely that it would be madness to give
 supreme power in the state to a class which
 would not be likely to respect that institution”

                                     - Lord Macauley.
The case against democracy

   Common sense
   Ignorance

    This wisdom of the learned man cometh by
    opportunity of leisure: and he that hath little
    business shall become wise…How can he
    get wisdom that holdeth the plough and that
    glorieth in the goad; that driveth oxen; that
    is occupied in their labours; and whose talk
    is of bullocks?
The case against democracy

                       Mob rule
The case against democracy
“Today the claims of the masses are becoming
  more and more sharply defined and amount to
  nothing less than a determination to destroy
  utterly society as it now exists, with a view to
  making it hark back to that primitive
  communism which was the normal condition of
  all human groups before the dawn of
                       - Gustav Le Bon, The Crowd, (1895)
“If one were to say that the highest value of the
economy is efficiency of production, no one
would be particularly surprised. But this is only
saying the same thing in a different way. The
“economy” is a way of organising people to work
efficiently, that is, to do unnatural kinds of work
under unnatural conditions for unnaturally long
hours, and of extracting all or part of the extra
wealth so produced and transferring it
elsewhere. The process is equally true of
capitalist and “socialist” countries. The economy
is thus political but pretends not to be. It is
political in the most fundamental sense: it
organises power, distributes goods, and rules
people. – Douglas Lummis, Radical Democracy (1996)
         “Democracy is
essentially a means, a
  utilitarian device for
 safeguarding internal
 peace and individual
     freedom.” – F. A. Hayek
  Joseph Schumpeter defined
            ‘democracy' as ‘that
  institutional arrangement for
  arriving at political decisions
   in which individuals acquire
         the power to decide by
        means of a competitive
struggle for the people's vote.'
Liberal democracy

“…concerned more to promote individual
liberty than to secure public justice…to keep
men safely apart rather than to bring them
fruitfully together. As a consequence it is
capable of fiercely resisting every assault on
the individual – his privacy, his property, his
interests and his rights – but is far less
effective in resisting assaults on community or
justice or citizenship or participation”.
- Benjamin Barber,Superman and Common Man, (1971)

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