It’s Summer Fundraising Time!

Thank you to all our generous donors who have already contributed to our cause; your support makes a tremendous impact. If you haven’t yet, please consider making a donation today to help us continue our vital work.

$3,060 of $60,000 raised

Sham-ocracy, Scam-ocracy

by | Jun 17, 2024

Sham-ocracy, Scam-ocracy

by | Jun 17, 2024

democracy politics system concept flat 3d web isometric infographic. politic tribune over abyss, electorate votes sympathique leaves the bord imbalance collapse. creative government social collection.

The word “democracy” is bandied about rhetorically by politicians on a regular basis to rationalize whatever it is that they want to do. This tendency has increased markedly in recent times as so-called wars of democracy and campaigns to save or preserve democracy are cast as the most pressing priorities of the day.

In the U.S. presidential election campaign currently underway, both members of the War Party duopoly claim to be the champions of democracy, while depicting their adversaries as loose cannon authoritarians. President Joe “Our Patience is Wearing Thin” Biden attempted in 2021 to force free people to submit to an experimental pharmaceutical treatment which many of them did not need. The Biden administration also oversaw what was one of the most assiduous assaults on free speech in the history of Western civilization. Social media platforms were infiltrated by agents of the federal government with the aim of squelching criticism of regime narratives, even, remarkably, facts recast by censors as malinformation for their potential to sow skepticism about the new mRNA shots never before tested on human beings.

Biden & Co. nonetheless insist that voters must reelect him, because his rival is a dictator in waiting à la Hitler or Mussolini. This despite the fact that Donald Trump already served as president for four years, and never imposed martial law, not even at the height of the highly chaotic and destructive George Floyd and Black Lives Matters protests. Ignoring such conflicting evidence, Joe Biden and his supporters relentlessly proclaim that a Trump victory in November 2024 would usher in the likely end of democracy.

After the conviction of Trump on felony charges crafted through novel procedures and using legalistic epicycles in entirely unprecedented ways, obviously tailored to convict one and only one person, with the aim specifically of preventing his election as the president of the United States, Democratic party operatives and Deep State bureaucrats alike have voiced concern that, if Trump is elected in November, he will go after those responsible for what fully half the country views as his persecution. Given the manifold conflicts of interest involved in the case, in which he was found guilty of all thirty-four charges, it seems likely that, as in the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling to remove Trump’s name from the ballot in that state, the creative felony convictions of Trump will not stand on appeal. One thing is clear: the crime of “miscategorizing hush money payments” has arguably been committed by every member of Congress for whom taxpayer money was used to dispense “undisclosed” payments in suppressing allegations of sexual harassment and other forms of malfeasance. (Thanks to Representative Thomas Massie for sharing on Twitter/X that $17 million dollars were paid to settle 268 such lawsuits from 1997 to 2017.)

Meanwhile, the Russiagate narrative which dominated the mainstream media for the entirety of Trump’s presidency, and continues to this day to color people’s views of the Russian government—thus buoying support for the war in Ukraine—has already been thoroughly debunked for the Hillary Clinton campaign product that it was. The Clinton campaign and the DNC (Democratic National Committee) were fined by the Federal Election Commission for their use of campaign funds miscategorized as legal fees to conduct opposition research which found its way into the Steele dossier on which angry denunciations of Trump’s supposedly treasonous behavior were based. To this day, none of the individuals involved have been indicted for what endures in many minds as the fanciful idea that “Trump is inside Putin’s pocket!” as a man I met in rural New Zealand in 2017 so vividly put it. (I assume he watches CNN.)

Since Trump’s recent conviction for the erroneous classification on his tax form of a hush money payment as a legal fee, he has been busy making lemonade out of lemons, using his new, improved tough-guy “gangster” image to wheel in voters and financial supporters who relate more than ever to his plight, having themselves either been or known victims of the not-so-evenhanded U.S. justice system. To Trump and his supporters, of course, going after those who went after him would be tit-for-tat retribution, just the sort of sweet revenge which persons wronged may crave. But to the many Trump haters (and there is no other way to describe them at this point in history), any attempt to retaliate by using the legal system to press charges against individuals who used the legal system for diaphanously political aims would constitute a grave injustice and threat to democracy.

The situation differs in degree, not in kind, in Europe, where the results of the recent elections have inspired heartfelt exclamations by the usual suspects (European Union Commission president Ursula von der Leyden, et al.) that “democracy” is endangered by the right-wing political groups now in ascendance. Pointing out that those groups were voted in by the people (demo-) to rule (-cracy) does nothing to quell the hysterics, who are somehow oblivious of the fact that when new parties are voted into power, this is precisely because of the electorate’s dissatisfaction with their current government officials. Voting is the only way people have of ousting the villains currently holding elected positions, along with the bureaucrats appointed by them.

In Europe, many working people are disturbed by not only the immigration situation and the specter of totalitarian “wokeism” but also the insistence of their current leaders on provoking and prolonging a war with Russia. It does not seem to be a matter of sheer coincidence, for example, that French president Emmanuel Macron suffered a resounding electoral blow after having expressed the intention to escalate the war between Ukraine and Russia, thus directly endangering the people of France. Macron was also assiduous in excluding swaths of his population, who protested in the streets for months on end, from participation in civil society for what he decreed to be their crime of declining to submit to the experimental mRNA treatment during the height of the Coronapocalypse.

Protests tend not to have any effect on the reigning elites, primarily because the mainstream media no longer covers them to any significant degree, but when politicians are removed from office by the electorate, and replaced by persons who share the concerns of the populace, then change does become possible, at least in principle. Unfortunately, most viable candidates today are card-carrying members of the War Party, whatever divergent opinions they may hold about domestic issues such as whether persons in possession of Y-chromosomes should be considered biological males or whether non-citizens should be permitted to vote.

It would be nice to be able to believe, as some of Trump’s libertarian-leaning supporters apparently do, that his populist appeal reflects a genuine interest in preserving freedom and democracy. This notion is however impugned by the fact that it was under Trump’s administration that the active pursuit of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commenced, when he was wrenched from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and thrown into Belmarsh prison, where he continues to languish today. It was also under Trump that Assange’s internet access was taken away, which already represented an assault on free speech. But by allowing then-CIA director Mike Pompeo to “mastermind” the eternal silencing of Assange, for the supposed crime of exposing U.S. war crimes (recast as serial violations of the Espionage Act of 1917), Trump betrayed his own commitment to the now octopoid MIC (military-industrial-congressional-media-academic-pharmaceutical-logistics-banking complex), notwithstanding his occasional moments of seeming lucidity with regard to reining in the endless wars. Among other examples, there is not much daylight between the platforms of Biden and Trump regarding Israel. President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken occasionally pay lip service to the innocent Palestinians being traumatized, wounded, and killed, but they nonetheless have furnished Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the means to do just that.

In reality, highly seductive, albeit fraudulent, claims to be defending democracy have been the primary basis for waging, funding, and prolonging wars which have resulted in the deaths of millions of human beings in this century alone. For two decades, the war in Afghanistan was rationalized by appeal to the need to democratize that land, which is currently ruled by the manifestly authoritarian Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (formerly known as the Taliban), just as it was in 2001. Indeed, every country targeted by the U.S. military behemoth is claimed to be the beneficiary of what are the twenty-first-century equivalent of the missions civilisatrices of centuries past. Today, brutal bombing campaigns, invasions and occupations are invariably sustained through the rhetoric of democracy. Since every U.S.-instigated or funded war is said to support “democracy” (by definition!), this rhetorical strategy succeeds in garnering the support of politicians who know that their constituents know, if nothing else, that murder is evil, and democracy is good.

That wars imposed on people against their will—and in which they themselves are annihilated—serve democracy is a preposterous conceit, and yet it becomes ever more frequent as leaders continue to point to World War II as proof that sometimes people must die if freedom and liberty—and, of course, democracy—are to survive. Whoever is running Joe Biden’s Twitter/X account posted a suite of recycled versions of this fallacious notion not long after Memorial Day:

American democracy asks the hardest of things: To believe we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. Democracy begins with each of us. It begins when one person decides their country matters more than they do.

Democracy is never guaranteed. Every generation must preserve it, defend it, and fight for it.

History tells us that freedom is not free. If you want to know the price of freedom, come here to Normandy, or other cemeteries where our fallen heroes rest. The price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave.

Any sober examination of the historical record reveals that vacuous claims to be supporting “democracy” in wars abroad—the literal weaponization of that term—have as their primary result that the people being slaughtered lose not only their political voice, but also their very life, usually against their own will. War represents, in this way, the very antithesis of democracy.

The conflation of defense and offense codified in 2002 by the George W. Bush administration in its notorious National Security Strategy of the United States of America was made public in a pithy phrase: “Our best defense is a good offense.” This perverse rebranding of state aggression as somehow honorable has given rise to a global military system in which wars are funded by the U.S. government under the assumption that they are everywhere and always a matter of protecting post-World War II democracies. But if people are killed in these wars against their will, often because they are forbidden from leaving their country, and therefore subjected to a greatly increased risk of death through bombing, as was the case in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere throughout the Global War on Terror), and is currently the case in both Ukraine and Israel, then there is no sense in which the military missions which culminate in the deaths of those people constitute defenses of democracy. Instead, the prolongation of such wars ensures only that there will be fewer people voting than before.

Such flagrant assaults on democracy (rule by the people) in the name of democracy do not, however, end with the depletion of the civilians sacrificed by leaders for the lofty aims of securing the freedom of future, as-of-yet unborn persons. Notably, the idea that already existent young persons should be coerced to fight and die in such wars is often supported by the warmongers as well. The current British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, recently proposed that mandatory national service be reinstated, a clear sign of only one thing: that the British public has grown weary and wary of the endless regime-change wars waged and/or funded by the U.S. government and unerringly supported by its number one poodle ally, the United Kingdom. As a result of the willingness of the British government to deploy its military to serve the dubious purposes of the U.S. hegemon, the number of voluntary enlistees is naturally in decline.

Conscription, the use of coercive means to increase the number of persons to fight in wars, directly contradicts the very foundations of democracy. If democracy is rule by the people, then in order for a war to have any democratic legitimacy whatsoever (ignoring, as if it were somehow irrelevant, the “collateral damage” on the other side), it would have to be fought not only for but also by persons who support it. If it is not to be a contradiction in terms, a democratic war would involve only persons who freely agreed to sacrifice their own lives for a cause which they themselves deemed worth dying for. The fact that coercive threats of imprisonment or even death are used to enlist new soldiers shows that at least those persons, a clearly demarcated segment of the society, do not agree with what they are being ordered to do. A war does not become democratic because a majority of the persons too old to fight in it support sending their young compatriots to commit homicide and die in their stead.

This is the sense in which antiwar activists who exhort chicken hawks such as Senator Lindsey Graham and former Vice President Dick Cheney to go fight their own bloody wars are right. For in any conflict purported to be a “war of democracy,” only persons who freely choose to fight, kill and possibly die in it would be donning uniforms. By this criterion, neither World War I nor World War II were wars of democracy. All of the draft dodgers imprisoned or executed for evading military service were horribly wronged wherever and whenever this occurred.

Conscription is always floating about as a topic of debate in so-called democratic nations because of the list of wars capriciously waged with abstract and dubious aims, and incompetently executed, such as the series of state-inflicted mass homicides constitutive of the Global War on Terror. The prospect of active conscription lurks in the background wherever more and more leaders, under the corrupting influence of military industry lobbyists, and seduced by “just war” rhetoric, exhibit a willingness to embroil their nations in war. Young persons correspondingly manifest an increasing reluctance to serve in what since 1945 have proven to be their self-proclaimed democratic leaders’ nugatory and unnecessary wars.

Mandatory national service is a condition for citizenship in some countries, such as Israel, where at least some persons (the Israelis) can freely choose to leave or to substitute a form of civil service rather than agree to kill other human beings at the behest of their sanguinary leaders. In wars in progress, such as that in Ukraine, conscription is used in more of an ad hoc way, as it becomes clear that the forces are dwindling and must be replenished, if the war is to carry on. But the very fact that conscription has come to seem necessary to the leaders prosecuting a war itself belies their claims that what is at stake is democracy itself.

This antidemocratic dynamic is currently on display in Ukraine, where President Volodomyr Zelensky recently remained in power, effectively appointing himself monarch, after canceling the elections which would have given the people the opportunity to oust him, specifically on the grounds that they oppose his meatgrinder war with no end in sight—barring either negotiation or nuclear holocaust. In a true democracy, the people themselves would be able to debate and reject the government’s wars, but in a nation such as Ukraine, the president decides, based on “guidance” provided to him by the leaders of powerful and wealthier nations, above all, the United States and its sidekick, the United Kingdom, to carry out a war for so long as he is furnished with the matériel needed to keep the war machine up and running.

The problem for Zelensky is that no matter how many bombs, missiles, and planes are furnished to the government of Ukraine to bolster the purported defense of democracy, there will always be the need for personnel on the ground to deploy those means. When the voluntary members of the army are injured, exhausted, or dead, then the government, rather than taking a seat at the negotiation table, opts to create an artificial pool of soldiers by coercing able-bodied persons who are ill-inclined to participate, having already had the opportunity to volunteer to serve but declined to do so.

The primary support of both the war in Ukraine and the Israeli government’s assault on Gaza is based on a curtailed, amnesiac view of history, conjoined with the fiction that the states currently in existence are somehow eternal and sacred plots of land the borders of which may never be changed. In reality, states are artifacts, the perimeters of which were established by small committees of (usually) men who negotiated among themselves at some point to permit distinct states to exist. In order for a border war to be in any sense democratic, it would have to take into account the interests of all of the persons likely to be affected, not only the young people enlisted to fight, but also the hapless civilians forbidden from relocating, as in Gaza, and then summarily slaughtered by the government as it pursues its own agenda. The frequently recited refrain that it is necessary to continue to fund the commission of mass homicide in Ukraine and Israel in order to preserve democracy is self-contradictory and delusional, both a sham and a scam.

Laurie Calhoun

Laurie Calhoun

Laurie Calhoun is a Senior Fellow for The Libertarian Institute. She is the author of Questioning the COVID Company Line: Critical Thinking in Hysterical Times,We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age, War and Delusion: A Critical Examination, Theodicy: A Metaphilosophical Investigation, You Can Leave, Laminated Souls, and Philosophy Unmasked: A Skeptic's Critique. In 2015, she began traveling around the world while writing. In 2020, she returned to the United States, where she remained until 2023 as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by governments nearly everywhere.

View all posts

Our Books

libertarian inst books

Related Articles

Related

TGIF: Culture without Romance

TGIF: Culture without Romance

"The entire history of the human race, the rise of man from the caves, has been marked by transfers of cultural advances from one group to another and from one civilization to another." So said economist, social philosopher, and historian Thomas Sowell in a 1990...

read more
The Means of Our Future Horror

The Means of Our Future Horror

Presidential campaign season is in full heat. Given the vast power of the state, the warring identity lines within our society, and the people’s susceptibility to all manner of propagandistic discourse, it’s looking a lot like midnight in America. Americans consume...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This