What a day to be reading “Democracy, The God That Failed”

I started a new book last Shabbat. Hans Hermann Hoppe’s “Democracy: The God That Failed.” He’s not as good a writer as Rothbard, sentence structure more confusing and convoluted, but his mother tongue is German like Mises, so considering, it’s pretty good.

The thrust of it is that democracy is actually a step backward for humanity, and monarchy is preferable. For many reasons, one being that monarchy is privately owned government, where the right of confiscation is capitalized into one dynasty, allowing for lower time preference rates (farsightedness) insofar as preserving the right of confiscation and maximizing its value long term.

Democracy is publicly owned government, which is worse, because the government officials cannot capitalize their right of plunder, and therefore their time preference rates become much higher (shortsighted) and they try to extract as much as they can as fast as they can without worrying about preserving the wealth of the government they are the caretakers of.

Axiomatically, the progress humanity has enjoyed since democracy became the leading form of government has been in spite of democracy, not because of it.

I have only finished the first chapter, but I love the way he splits it between “privately owned” government and “publicly owned” government. One other way to see it is that tax rates in monarchies rarely exceeded 10%. 20% is absolute highest recorded in the Torah by Pharaoh. 20% tax rates in Israel or America would seem puny. We pay much, much more than that. Not just income taxes, but everything taxes. Our standards of living are still higher because we have so much more capital equipment, more for the government to steal without starving us.

So it is very interesting that the pinnacle of democracy, a plebiscite, a referendum, may lead to the starvation of an entire country (Greece).

I would much rather live, ceteris paribus, given current levels of capital and technology, in a monarchy where I know that he won’t steal so much from me as to bankrupt himself. A democracy is much more dangerous. If you’re going to tell me that a king can just kidnap me whenever he wants me as fodder to fight his wars, yes, that’s true.

And I point you to Vietnam and the forced draft in Israel.