Can we vote ourselves into slavery?

Why governments respond to coronavirus by converting so-called liberal democracies into police states is reasonably clear.

The message has reached our shores

Any political institution of modernity, regardless of its self-description, is mainly concerned with self-empowerment. However, democracies need a credible justification for their powerlust, and in that sense Covid-19 is a godsend. The message of “it’s all for your own good” can’t be gainsaid easily.

That, however, doesn’t mean it can’t be gainsaid at all. One would think that people weaned on the ideals of liberty would have them coded into their DNA. One would think they’d revolt against losing their liberties and livelihoods, some of both doubtless irrevocably.

One would think wrong. HMG’s draconian measures are enjoying overwhelming public support. Even the health secretary’s threat to ban the one permitted exercise outing a day didn’t cause much excitement.

When reality belies assumptions, especially on a massive scale, there must be something wrong with the assumptions. So no, the ideals of liberty aren’t really coded into the people’s DNA.

Yet democracy has had plenty of time to create a new type of man, one prepared to die defending his secular liberties, one ever ready to repeat Patrick Henry’s words: “Give me liberty or give me death!”

A new type of man has indeed been created, but his ringing words are different: “Take all my freedoms, including one from want, arrest me if I venture outside without a valid reason – but please, please protect me from any risk of death for as long as possible.”

People congenitally fear death; such is our nature, and in that sense we’re no different from skunks. But we differ from such creatures in that we’re capable of fearing death for reasons other than purely animal ones.

For the Judaeo-Christian civilisation was built on the belief that life never ends; that, an animal though a man may be, he isn’t just an animal. He is endowed with a high purpose that transcends earthly concerns, and his life everlasting will depend on how his temporal life serves that purpose.

Hence man used to fear not only death, but also the judgement after death. It followed logically that some metaphysical considerations trumped physical ones, including death. That logic was indeed emblazoned into man’s consciousness, and it largely determined his attitude to the state.

A materialist who believes that his life will end at death will always attach a great importance to his physicality, along with its trappings. Someone who knows he is immortal will pay less attention to the stage set within which the eternal drama of his life is played out.

The same applies to the complex interaction between the state and the individual. The Christian believes his life is eternal. He also knows from history books that the life of a state isn’t: even extremely successful ones only ever lasted between 1,000 and 1,500 years.

Compared to eternity, this stretch is minuscule. That individual will therefore perceive himself as more significant than the state and for that reason alone will never accept its tyranny.

Etched into his soul is the conviction that he is transcendent, but the state is transient. Hence in everything that matters he can only regard the state not as his master but as his servant.

If the state assumes the role of master, then the believer may either resist it or pretend to be going along to protect himself from persecution. But inwardly he’ll never acquiesce. 

At the same time the materialist may well accept the tyranny of a powerful state more readily. After all, his lifespan is much shorter than the state’s. The state had existed before his birth and will happily survive his death.

That’s why when it is communicated to him that he must obey the state no matter what, then, however much he may loathe the idea, he’ll find it hard to come up with a strong argument against it while at the same time remaining a staunch materialist.

Modern democracy pilfered its name from Athens, but Johnson or Macron can’t be confused with Pericles or Solon, today’s parliaments with agoras, and today’s voters with Hellenic citizens.

Citizenship in a democracy implies direct participation in government. Hence it presupposes an ability to self-govern on the basis of a well-developed faculty to judge affairs of the state, both in general and in particular.

That faculty can’t be spread too wide, whatever the level of public education. That’s why both Plato and Aristotle believed that, when the franchise exceeded 5,000 or so, it became unworkable – democracy turns into mob rule (“deviant constitution”, as Aristotle described it).

Anybody who believes that our comprehensively educated electorate is qualified to govern itself is deluded.

Most voters are staggeringly ignorant of politics, and especially how it fits into the general picture of life. When asked to substantiate their opinions – and God knows they have them – they’re not only incapable of doing so, but are in fact unaware of what constitutes a valid argument.

If Athenian schools taught rhetoric and philosophy above all, today’s schools teach Homosexuality for Beginners, The Use of Condoms, and Multi-Culti Virtue. A country whose education breeds mass idiocy can’t be a true democracy, especially if it extends suffrage to millions.

It can only be a sham one, a system that indoctrinates people to accept the illusion that they govern themselves. In reality, they are governed by a small, typically self-serving elite. That it ascends to power by a show of hands is an irrelevant technicality.

Such an elite consciously uproots every surviving sprig of higher freedom, along with the memory of what it was. It brainwashes people to believe that uniformity is diversity, egotism is individuality and voting is liberty.

In that undertaking our rulers succeed spectacularly. Give them a few generations of such brainwashing and they’ll produce a mass unable to define freedom, having no taste for it and ready to swap it, however defined, for a longer life.

This brings back the question in the title. Would we accept a popular vote in favour of selling us into slavery? Would we feel that democracy is thereby served?

For make no mistake about it: coronavirus shows that, given sufficient provocation, our public will happily underwrite such a transaction – at a derisory price.

16 thoughts on “Can we vote ourselves into slavery?”

  1. I have copied and pasted this article onto (digital) parchment.

    I fear that it will bear constant re-reading and referencing in the years ahead. An unfortunate masterpiece is how I would describe it.

    V.S. Naipaul lamented the ‘dumbed down, plebeian society’ created as part of the wreckage of the Blair years…Loathsome as I consider that awful time, it started well before Blair.

    1. Yes. When you doubt that at a weak moment, put on a CD of St Matthew’s Passion and then compare it with any music produced by any other civilisation. Then remind yourself of this saying: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

      1. Could you image waking up Bach as if he was in a Rip van Winkle sleep and let him hear the music styles popular today. “Listen in Johann to popular music composed 300 years into your future? … Hear a bit Hip-hop… a track or two of Punk rock and a bit of K-pop. What do you think of Gangnam-style lyrics?” Could you imagine his shock!

        1. However, he’d be happy with the music produced by my good friend James MacMillan, including his great Passions. As to pop, he wouldn’t recognise it as music at all (neither do I, truth to tell).

      2. Kinda like what President Don said. “We [the western world] write symphonies.” Other cultures and societies do not. OH, the man is sharp.

          1. The famous poseur John Kennedy was reputed to like classical music but in fact he was bored by the fine arts.

  2. Just how much slavery will we accept?
    Bill Gates sees himself as having a major say in world events. He recently stated that; “The question of which businesses should keep going is tricky. We still need water, electricity and the internet. Supply chains for critical things need to be maintained. Countries are still figuring out what to keep running. Eventually we will have digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”
    This concept of a “digital certificate” to store information and to grant access to rights or services is part of a massive project that is propelled by a powerful group called ID2020 which is backed by the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation and Bill Gates’ Microsoft. Gates envisages that “Digital certificates” will be used to determine who had COVID-19, who recovered from it, who was recently tested for it and who received the vaccine. However, these are to be imbedded ‘certificates’ that also provide additional information, similar to the chips that Veterinarians imbed in horses and pets.
    An article published by ID2020 in 2018 stated that vaccines are the perfect way to introduce digital identity to the world …. The “digital health card can be used to access secondary services, such as primary school, or ease the process of obtaining alternative credentials”.
    Will the plebs accept that much slavery?

    1. Why am I not surprised? To answer your question, the plebs have been sufficiently brainwashed to accept any slavery backed up with the statement: “It’s for your own good.” I hope I’m wrong, but fear I may be right.

    2. Bill in his particular field of expertise is very good.

      Bill beyond that is a dabbler not worthy of making pronouncements that should be heeded.

      Seen Bill and Warren Buffett on TV together one time. Thought I was going to hear something profound. It was banal pap, nothing more. Turned the TV off.

  3. The capitulation of the citizens of the western world is as depressing as anything i’ve witnessed in my life time . After 2 months , South Australia has recorded it’s first death (75 y/o) and the premier is devastated . we have been in lockdown stages 1-3 in that time, the economy lies in ruins worldwide, retirement funds disappearing with each passing day and the various govts are drunk on power, encouraging everyone to “dob in” neighbors, friends , strangers , and walking on the beach is in breach of the law ! Not to worry , the chronically unemployed are getting a huge raise, and a $750 windfall – ironically the only demographic untouched by the madness ! Meanwhile the middle class and small business decimated. Pollies and public servants due to get pay rises , as the private sector takes pay cuts and lays off thousands.

  4. Promise people the cradle to grave welfare state and they would agree not so much to slavery but rather a form of indentured servitude. To an extent it is already that way.

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