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Democracy or individual rights?

Democracy or individual rights?

No, I have not made a mistake opposing democracy to individual rights in the title of this post. Individual rights do not necessarily emerge from democracy, while, on the other hand, one could imagine other political systems in which individual rights come to full expression. Since they are not necessarily tied together, they can, in principle, oppose each other. Nevertheless, they do not exclude each other upfront. 

Am I complicating for no reason? 

Not really. We were all (in Western traditions) raised under the implicit presupposition that nothing but democracy can enable individual rights. It is my speculation, but supported, that the U.S., with its Constitution (1789) resting on the importance of individual rights, primed such a strong association between democracy and individual rights in our heads.

Are we today, in 2024, talking about the same U.S. that delivered Constitutiontion in the 18th century and that one that heavily supported the export of democracy to third-world countries, communist countries, and even Western Europe in the 20th century? And it is precisely this exportation that reveals the crucial intrinsic paradox of democracy. Is it democracy resting on individual rights exportable?

One can only export goods exchanged in markets between free individuals or free corporations that do not violate individual freedoms. Exportation of systems like democracy or collective institutions like the World Bank, for instance, cannot but be enforced, not exchanged. I exchange my money for Coca-Cola for the mutual benefit of myself (not thirsty anymore) and the vendor receiving my money. But I, as a recipient, can only accept democracy or not. If any political system or collective institution comes from outside, it can only come by force, thus eradicating the individual freedoms of the receiving party.

The Tyranny of Experts

Democracy as export appeared at the end of 1st W.W. by a deliberate policy of the U.S. under the disguise of development aid and ideology that goes directly against free markets and free individuals. It lies on the ideology of central planning, creationism, and blank slate, as is nicely explained in »The Tyranny of Experts« by William Easterly. A new form of colonialism and racism tends to implant development plans in so-called underdeveloped countries with no respect for the individual rights of recipients and even less for laws of nature and human actions. Such ideology, which still prevails in almost all supranational institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, UNDP, WHO, and and… denies not only individual rights but forgets the fact that humanity evolved nicely for the first 200.000 years without any institutional top-down interventions/tyranny. It also goes directly against the will of the U.S. Founding Fathers expressed through the U.S. Constitution.

Thus, democracy, the political ideology on which all Western institutions are based, does not necessarily support individual rights. Quite the contrary. As understood by the present Western political elite, democracy acts against individual rights, as explained above.

Individual freedoms first, democracy (maybe) later

It follows that in the hierarchy of values, individual rights come first and all other values later. Based on such a hierarchy of values, neither democracy nor any other social system or supranational institution could be exported in principle and even less in reality.

Taking individual rights seriously, it would be up to particular individuals to decide upon their political system and institutions as much as it should be the individual who decides which goods he wants to exchange and for what price.

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