Often among those who call themselves "progressives" or statists in general (although not all progressives are statists and vice-versa), there's this idea that democracy is good. They usually favor democracy because of ideas like "equality" and "power to the people". Of course, I can't think of a single system occurring in nature that actually has "equality" (almost all naturally occurring systems have some form of a hierarchy). In other words, equality really doesn't exist--it's a mythical idea among human beings. Obviously, people have different skill sets and different capabilities, so this idea of everyone being equal at everything or the same in a system is not only dumb, but destructive and counter-productive to society at large.
Now, let's go to this idea of "power to the people" as if it's some virtue. This begs the question: do we actually want the public as a whole getting what they ask for all the time? Personally, I think that's one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. Even to this day, that quote obviously holds. For lack of a better word, the average person on the street is an idiot when it comes to policy. They should have absolutely no role in determining FEDERAL policy. If they did have a role in determining policy, they'd simply choose the side that benefits them the most, even if there's massive externalities or the policy harms a particular group of minorities or, worst of all, future generations. Basically, we can think of the average person as a typical 7 year old. Is it a good idea to give most 7 year old kids everything they want and ask for? What if all he wants to do is watch TV and eat sugar? Obviously, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that giving the kid everything he/she wants is poor parenting and will make him/her worse off in the longer run. Similarly, I bring forth one of the key principles of government:
The people should not be given what they want almost all the time (on a federal level)! I'd actually argue that the people should never get what they want and have virtually no say in what they want at a national level (although local politics can be however you want to set it up as).
So this brings us to the next aspect of somewhat democratic institutions: what is the role of democracy in government and how should we limit it?
The role of democratic institutions should be to remove bad leaders. In other words, the only purpose of democracy should be to oust tyrants--nothing more. Any role of democracy beyond removing tyrants is destructive as it actually gives the average voter far too much power to decide policy.
What should the hallmark of our society be if we don't want it to be equality?
The hallmark of our society should be a society based on FREEDOM! This brings us to the next questions:
1. What am I defining as a free society?
2. Why freedom?
1. Definition of a Free Society
I'm defining a free society as one where the centralized government's main focus is on preserving the idea that anyone can do as they please as long as they don't interfere with anyone else's ability to do as they please. The main (and virtually only) role of a centralized government in a free society is for purposes of war, national defense, and to prevent environmental degradation (note that the costs of environmental degradation are borne by the young and the unborn while the benefits are taken right away). Usually, some statist/socialist will respond by saying that if we have no government, we'll turn our country into Somalia. Of course, I'm not arguing for no government or no governmental interference; I'm arguing for localized government whereby most problems are dealt with by state and local governments.
2. Why Freedom?
Why do I find it more robust for state and local governments to make most decisions while banning the federal government from making such decisions? The reasoning is rather simple, but I will start by making a simple assumption.
Assumption: We do not know what will happen beforehand, regardless of what social science theories say. This implies we do not know what the "correct" policies are to current problems. The only thing we really know is that we know/understand very little, which means that uncertainty is the key situation that we need to deal with.
Since uncertainty is the key factor we need to deal with, we basically need a system that strengthens from uncertainty, disorder, and randomness. For the finance guys/options traders, it means that we need our political system to be long volatility. For the layman, it means we need a system that benefits and strengthens from volatility.
So what we need is a system that tries a whole bunch of different things in a whole bunch of different places. In other words, you need massive amounts of experimentation on a very small, localized scale. That way, we can figure out what doesn't work quickly and effectively with minimal damage since the costs stay localized. Whatever works will stick and other states will adopt the policies, whatever doesn't work fails immediately and the costs stay minimal. In the American political system, this concept is known as the laboratories of democracy. As I've mentioned in a previous post (see the example in red on the linked post), the decentralization of decision making to state and local governments drastically reduces the risk of ruin. The only scenario for which the federal government should be involved is in war.
Notice how I've crusaded against the idea of equality earlier in this post. Each and every person is different with different skill sets and capabilities. It makes no sense for everyone to be equal or the same and doing so would be a complete waste of their individual abilities and skill sets. What you need is a system that provides each and every single person the optionality to maximize the particular skill sets and capabilities that they have. Obviously, most people cannot and will not be able maximize their abilities if you point a gun to everyone's head, tell them what to do, and tell them how to live their lives. The very idea of freedom and the concept of a free society provides different people the optionality to take advantage of whatever comes their way.
Those against freedom would argue the point about what if something goes wrong or people who are free make mistakes. It's okay for people and individuals to make mistakes as long as the costs of their actions are localized. In other words, a simple skin in the game principle where those who take actions would suffer the consequences of their actions would suffice. In a free society, you are free to act as you please, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions.
There is very little in the world that's as antifragile as freedom. The more you try to suppress the idea, the less likely it is to happen--particularly with an educated populace that's been drilled with this idea. Those that are free will not die and submit willingly. They will fight tooth and nail for their freedom because once you get a taste of freedom, you simply will not let up. In other words, freedom (and a free society) are long volatility.
Some would argue: what if certain states or local governments take up policies that are authoritarian, autocratic? In this scenario, people will simply vote with their feet. They will leave places that rule with an iron fist towards places that do not rule with an iron fist. In other words, if certain states or local governments take up dumb policies, people will simply move elsewhere.