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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 140 of Georgetown University philosopher Jason Brennan’s 2016 book, Against Democracy (original emphases):

I can point to the average voter and reasonably ask, “Why should that person have any degree of power over me? I can similarly turn to the electorate as a whole and inquire, “Who made those people my boss?”

DBx: Excellent questions.

Why, for example, should the person in this photograph have a say in my life or me a say in his? He doesn’t know me and I don’t know him. And what’s true of him is true for 99.9999% of all people in America who vote: Nearly all voters know nothing of me and I know nothing of any of them. It’s crazy that we all get to have a great deal of say in how the others of us will live.

Do not infer from the above any antagonism toward strangers. My wishing strangers to mind their own, and not my, business is not antagonism. It’s good sense for me. And it’s good sense for them because, in return for them agreeing to mind their own business and not mine, I agree to mind my own business and not theirs. I respect all people, almost all of whom are strangers to me, and I accord to each of them the full set of rights to which I believe I am entitled.

In addition, I not only recognize but applaud the fact that a distinguishing feature of modern society is that each of us depends, nearly every moment of every day, on the efforts of strangers. Every one of the material goods that make my middle-class American life in 2023 possible is produced for me by strangers. And the greater is my economic reliance on strangers, the wealthier I become. I detest, for example, ‘my’ government’s officious and obnoxious practice of restricting my ability to engage in peaceful commerce with strangers who happen to have their passports issued by an agency different from the agency that issues my passport.

But markets differ categorically from governments. In markets, each person is free to accept or to refuse any offer of exchange that comes from anyone, including of course from strangers. This ability to say ‘no’ incites strangers to learn about you just enough to enable them to make you offers that you wish to accept. In markets, strangers serve each other; in democratic governments, strangers rule each other.


Democracy can be defended as a reasonable means of making truly collective decisions, such a ‘Should the Riverview Condominium enlarge its swimming pool?’ This is a collective decision on which all owners of units in the Riverview Condominium should have a say. But in the minds of many people, acceptance of democracy has metastasized into praise for mob rule.

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