Contradiction and Collapse

The modern conflation of democracy with the welfare state to the contrary, there is, in fact, a vast, actually unbridgeable, gulf between these two things.  Democracy had previously assumed a citizenry independent enough—socially, financially, intellectually, and morally—to be able to form fair, balanced, and informed opinions concerning public matters and issues of state.  The welfare state is based on the opposite premise: that a substantial proportion of its citizens is incapable of managing their lives without the state giving them money and moral support, and telling them what to think and do.  This is why liberal democratic capitalism is not, as has been claimed for it since 1945, the ne plus ultra of the modern enlightenment; why it makes no sense either in theory or in practice; why it is assiduously destroying both itself and the civilization that created it; why, in short, liberal democratic capitalism doesn’t work.  Proof of its unworkability is the current financial, political, and social crisis in Europe and in North America.

A fundamental problem here is universal suffrage.  Before the mid-19th century in the United States and the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe, suffrage throughout the Western countries was restricted by the “stake in society” principle.  The idea was that only those who had something to lose from political activity should be considered morally...

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