Like Most of Humanity, Most Argentines Are Cowards
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The following isn’t meant as an insult; it’s meant to call attention to the world as it truly is.  Please read on:

“The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.”

~H.L. Mencken (1880–1956)

“Humanity does not care for freedom. The mass of the people realize they are not up to it: what they want is being fed, led, amused, and above everything, drilled.”

~Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1960)

“The essential psychological characteristic of our age is the predominance of fear over self-confidence… Everyone of every class tries to rest his individual existence on the bosom of the state and tends to regard the state as the universal provider.”

~Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903–1987)

“[Persons who are afraid to take on independent responsibility that necessarily goes with liberty] want to be told what to do and when to do it; they seek order rather than uncertainty, and order comes at an opportunity cost they seem willing to bear.”

~James Buchanan (1919–2013)

“Most people quite like being afraid of something, and many dislike freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.”

~Peter Hitchens

One might claim that those eminent thinkers’ remarks have no bearing on what transpired in Argentina, but one would be wrong.  76% of the electorate voted, and because Javier Milei garnered 56% of the vote, 57% of the electorate did not vote for Milei.  Similarly, 66% of the electorate did not vote for Joe Biden in 2020, and 72% of the electorate did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016.  Is it any wonder why the United States morphs into warring tribes every election season?  How can anyone claim that democratic results have anything to do with the consent of the governed?  Democracy is a sham; it’s what Mencken called “a form of wholesale bribery.”

Paraphrasing both Robert Higgs and F.A. Hayek: some of us are just no damn good, and democracy is what facilitates their rise to the top.  It turns out that democracy is even worse than what Benjamin Franklin believed; democracy is two lambs eagerly electing a wolf.  Democracy would be better if most Americans were brave, rugged individualists, but how much more proof does one need to realize that “democracy” combined with the “home of the brave” yield appalling results for those who wish to mind their own business?  Why do we continue abiding by this transparent farce?

Furthermore, why do people insist that democracy is the best form of government when it’s democratic governments that are tearing us—the people—apart?  Whether it’s Tucker Carlson, the Brownstone Institute, AIER, or any other person or organization that favors natural rights and individual liberty, why is democracy revered when it’s simultaneously—and obviously—ignored?  The Republican governor of Texas ignores the United States Supreme Court just as much as the Democrat president does, but people like Carlson continue to seem aghast at what’s happening to “our democracy.”  Instead, why not accept the sad reality that most people are cowards and consider its horrific implications?

If most people are cowards, and if democracy, in theory, carries out the will of most people, perhaps democracy is deserving of ridicule, not reverence.  Because the mob derive a strange joy from being told what to do, politicians are more than happy to provide commands, so decree by popularity cannot bode well when cowardice is quite popular, especially when ignorance is just as prevalent.  It’s futile to wait for democracy to provide a vastly superior outcome because that outcome—clearly—will never materialize under such means.

Higgs wrote, “The masses…it would seem, scarcely have an independent thought, but absorb (or not) whatever washes over them from above.”  Again, the masses aren’t even thinking of liberty, and if by some fortunate accident it crosses their mind, it terrifies them.  The majority don’t want to be free, but the minority try in vain to convince most otherwise.  “What the common man longs for in this world,” Mencken wrote, “before and above all other longings, is the simplest and most ignominious sort of peace—the peace of a trusty in a well-managed penitentiary.” 

How will “our democracy” look soon after the 5th of November?  When one-third of the population are bordering on euphoric, one-third are contemplating suicide or fleeing the country, and one-third are ignorant, indifferent, or disgusted, how can anyone claim with a straight face that democracy is deserving of its cherished reputation?  “It takes a great deal of unlearning to overcome” the pervasive indoctrination that transforms an otherwise passive populace into warring tribes, and the sooner that people stop fawning over all things democratic, the sooner we—the people—can prosper.

I’m a big fan of what Milei is unilaterally doing in Argentina, but let’s not pretend that his accomplishments have anything to do with democracy.  Maybe cowardice is the real reason why Milei and Trump are reviled.  Both politicians wish to drastically reduce the government jobs that parasitize—not serve—their country, but most people hold responsible those very same ‘jobs’ for keeping them safe.  Instead of trying to “do democracy better,” which is impossible in a country with a third of a billion people, “doing democracy less” sure sounds appealing.  Voting on how people live their lives is an odd but polite form of barbarism, and with less and less democracy, more and more will get their way.  The cowards will surely find someone to tell only them how to live, and the rest of us—the minority—will be better able to live in peace.

[The pangs of liberty] make him uncomfortable; they alarm him; they fill him with a great loneliness. There is no high adventurousness in him, but only fear. He not only doesn’t long for liberty; he is quite unable to stand it. What he longs for is something wholly different, to wit, security.

             ~ H.L. Mencken

Casey Carlisle is a writer in the Pacific Northwest. 

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