By the phrase “democracy is slavery”, I refer to the tyranny that inevitably arises from the principles of majoritarianism and communalism. One standard definition of democracy is rule by the majority. Rule by the majority is fundamentally in opposition to the liberty of the minority, and the individual is of course the greatest minority of them all. The logical implication of the principle of majoritarianism, viewed as an ethic, is that superiority in numbers justifies decision-making over others. The group with the largest amount of people in it may control and subjugate all other groups, all other individuals not within it. To use a common phrase that accurately describes majoritarian democracy, it reduces to “might makes right”. Majoritarian democracy creates a master-slave relationship in which the masters outnumber the slaves. The range necessary for a group to become a majoritarian ruling class could be anywhere between fifty-one percent and ninety-nine percent of a given population.
Numerical majoritarianism, a subcategory or altered version of majoritarian democracy, is somewhat different in that no true majority is actually required. One does not have to exceed fifty percent in numerical superiority in order to rule over others. The numerical majority could theoretically be constituted by anywhere between one percent and forty-nine percent of a given population. In practise, it actually reduces to a minority ruling over a majority in terms of the overall population of those involved. Numerical majoritarianism creates a master-slave relationship in which the slaves outnumber the masters. The more groups that are involved, the smaller the numerical majorities may potentially get, and conversely the larger the dominated or subjected group may potentially get. Most examples of democracy in action are cases of numerical majoritarianism, although democracies could be said to vary between exercises of both pure and numerical majoritarianism interchangably depending in the particular situation in question.
Democracy is slavery because the minority, most importantly the individual, is forced into an association with and subjected to the decision-making power of the majority that they did not explicitly consent to. I define slavery quite simply as involuntary servitude and forced association, a state of affairs in which one or more individuals imposes decision-making from above upon one or more individuals against their explicit consent. Under democracy, whatever positive obligations that the majority wishes to impose on the minority must be lived up to regaurdless of the consent of the minority. The majority exercises decision-making power over social and economic life of others. Certainly a man is no less a slave if they have a multitude of masters rather then one master. While in monarchy the individual has one ruler or is the subject of a tiny familial or noble aristocracy, in democracy the individual has more of a plurality of rulers. The majority exercises shared or quotal rulership over the subjected individual. Democracy increases the amount of rulers. It could conversely be said that it reduces the amount of subjects as compared to monarchy, but this does not solve anything and the subjects are only reduced by the creation of more rulers.
It is important for one to realise that, as a principle seeking to justify authority and decision-making, majoritarian democracy, wether it be constituted by true majorities or numerical ones, is blind or neutral to the logical or ethical nature of the preferences of the majority in question. It justifies whatever decision is made by the majority, regaurdless of wether or not is right or wrong based on any independant ethical criterion and regaurdless of wether or not it makes any sense at all. In an exercise of majoritarian democracy, anything from murder to theft to rape to kidnapping could theoretically be given sanction, so long as the group approving of or engaging in such actions constitutes a majority. To reduce majoritarianism to the absurd, using the principle of majoritarianism on a small scale, if there are two men and a woman and the men want to have sexual intercourse with the woman and she does not, the two men are allegedly justified in raping her. Or, to use a large-scale example of the absurdities resulting from the principle, fifty-one percent of a population may allegedly legitimately murder the other forty-nine percent.
Majoritarian democracy fails the criterion of universality in ethics because the respective majorities and minorities are not held to the same basic standard of ethics. It functions as a defacto justification for the majority or group being able to get away with doing that which the individual or minority may not do. In short, the majority is exempted from being subject to the same ethical criterion and responsibility as everyone else. This is logically inconsistant if ethical principles and rights are supposed to apply to all individual human beings, if the individual is our standard of sovereignty. Using the law of universality as our criterion, even if it is one individual against everyone else in the world, it still is not just for even everyone else in the world to enslave, plunder or murder the individual. “The community”, “the majority”, and the deceptive phrases such as “the will of the people” and “the public good” cannot legitimately be invoked to justify tyranny. These terms function as obfuscations and illegitimate apologetics for the subjugation of people.
Utilitarianism could be seen as being linked to democracy in terms of the old and common maxim “the greatest good for the greatest number”. Using this as a criteria for ethics could be used to justify majoritarianism because the precise definition of the term “good” is left up in the air so that whatever the majority happens to consider to be “good” is sanctioned. Afterall, the majority is “the greatest number”. The majority may certainly benefit and gain utility, wether it be in a purely psychological and emotional sense or in terms of material and physical well-being, prosperity and survival. But the criterion for justifying it is arbitrary and inconsistant, especially when terms such as “happiness” are employed. The means toward obtaining the utility are not taken into proper consideration. The end of utility or happiness for the majority is used to justify the means. What is not addressed is that there is a burden of proof on the majority to justify their means. The burden of proof always lies with those who assert authority, and a mere numbers game does not constitute a sufficient justification for authority. If explicit consent is used as a criterion for the burden of proof, then democracy and utilitarianism cannot ethically legitimise anything at all. It functions as little more then majoritarian hedonism. In the absence of explicit consent, democracy as a general principle is nothing but an arbitrary apologetic for slavery.
The idea that one has a right to participate in and have decision-making power over other people’s private relationships against their explicit consent is fundamentally contradictary to the concept of individual sovereignty and free association. A sovereign individual is one who is free from the imposition of third parties of people, including majorities. Noone else has an abstract entitlement to decision-making over the individual and the private relationships that they enter into. Only the individual has legitimate authority in decision-making over their own person. The only alternative to individual sovereignty or self-ownership, as Murray Rothbard once pointed out, is either for another individual to exercise decision-making over their person, which would create a master-slave relationship in which one person rules over another, or for the collective or everyone to exercise quotal ownership or decision-making over each other’s person, which would create an absurd scenario in which everyone attempts to own a quotal share of everyone else. Since this is practically impossible to realistically enforce, the communalist alternative, in practise, reduces to the first alternative of individual rulership, only in the name of the community or collective. Democracy is somewhere in between the two extremes of individual rulership and the mutual and universal slavery of everyone to eachother. Democracy is as close to the communalist ideal that a society can get, reducing to some combination of pure and numerical majoritarianism in which there is a mixed and somewhat dynamic network of master-slave relationships.