John Singleton with Bob HowardRip Van Australia (Stanmore: Cassell Australia, 1977), pp. 77-80, under the heading “Democracy”.

A man can ethically tap only his own resources. A thin veil called democracy cannot conceal plunder. Coercion by a majority is no less reprehensible than that perpetrated by a tyrant, even if its application is less bold and bloody and bright. ~ JAMES W. MULLER

The State is the great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. ~ FREDERICK BASTIAT

Democracy is inherently immoral. In theory, democracy means government by the people — Lincoln’s famous “of the people, by the people, for the people”. In practice, this means rule by numbers. According to democratic practice, we hold elections, and vote into office, by majority vote, representatives to, supposedly, do our bidding.

This never works perfectly, even by democratic standards. We have had many instances of minority votes electing governments, and the concept of mandates is a very nebulous one anyway. But the basic aim of democracy remains majority rule.

On the surface this sounds plausible, but, in fact, it rests on a false dichotomy. The assumption is that we have to choose between a minority ruling a majority, or a majority ruling a minority. If that was all there was to it, then it would seem more just to have the minority submit to the wishes of the majority. However, the dichotomy rests on the assumption that there are only two possibilities, when in fact there is a third: neither group rules the other. In other words, have all individuals free and autonomous, subservient to no group, no matter whether a majority or a minority.

In this third case, the fundamental principle of non-interference would be the guide, for, if all people are free, then a necessary implication of this is that no person, or group of people, may interfere with the freedom of another or others. If they do, then the initial condition of all people being free is violated. The intended function of the elected members in a democracy was simply to ensure such freedom from interference was in fact maintained. In this situation, no majority or minority would rule. Individual people would rule their own lives and all associations would be on the basis of voluntary consent. Any problems would be solved by voluntary co-operation. This would be a truly free society — free because the people were free from external coercive domination by any form of State (King, Queen, Emperor, Liberal, Labor, etc.).

An imperfect constitution has allowed politicians to lay the foundations for our modern corporate State. Alexis de Tocqueville, a very famous European historian, visited the United States soon after it achieved independence, and, when asked for his comments on this new democracy, with incredible foresight replied, “Democracy in America is doomed when the people learn to vote themselves money from the public trough.” This, of course, is exactly what has happened in all democracies. Instead of electing representatives to perform the very strict peace keeping role, envisaged by those who framed their constitutions, faults in these constitutions have allowed wider scope. It wasn’t long before vested interest groups began to look to using the government as an instrument for achieving personal gain.

The early American Constitution, for example, gave the U.S. Government the power to levy taxes, run the Post Office, regulate foreign and interstate trade, establish post roads, and, most importantly, granted the State a monopoly on the issue of money and allowed it to fix its value and the foreign exchange rate (Article 1, Section 8). It also contained some dangerously ambiguous words and phrases, which have subsequently been used to justify all manner of evils — “promote the general welfare”, for example — as did the Declaration of Independence — “that all men are created equal” probably being the main offender.

These early, limited, powers of government, and ambiguous terms such as those mentioned, have gradually been used as a lever by bested interests to progressively burden and extend the powers of government.

As soon as a constitution is adopted or a law passed, at least four distinct things happen: (1) the majority of people obey them; (2) a minority disobeys them; (3) a substantial group sets to work to figure out loopholes in them or ways to get around them; and (4) a substantial group sets to figuring out how to use them to their own advantage. This is simple human incentive at work.

With this gradual increase in the influences of government, people have indeed learned how to “vote themselves money from the public trough”. The democratically elected government no longer simply keeps the peace. A quick look through the sections in the front of your local telephone book dealing with Federal, State and local Government will give some idea of the range and variety of government activity.

Our governments are increasingly moving to regulate all aspects of economic and social life in this country, and now represent the major enemy of our individual freedom. Because of the power of these governments, the democratic process has been given a very dangerous twist. Instead of a majority vote simply electing people to keep the peace — something that would only be a source of interference to criminals — majority vote is now being used to distribute privilege and enforce conformity on all Australians. It is being manipulated and used to give enormous power to a few people. Politicians buy the votes of vested interests (which are often represented by organised pressure groups or lobbies) by distributing privilege. This is how people vote themselves money from the public trough. This is how the State has become an organisation of the political means of gaining wealth.

In this situation, group is set against group, person against person, industry against industry. For example, our secondary industry was long ago granted the privilege of protection by tariff. This in turn raised the costs of our primary producers by preventing them from purchasing cheap supplies from overseas. But, primary producers have to sell their product on the open world market, so these high costs severely disadvantaged them. To survive, the primary producers pressured the government and were granted the privilege of subsidies. They don’t particularly want subsidies, but the government won’t redress the situation by abolishing tariffs. Both groups then cop it from the tax paying consumer, who pays both the high prices that result from the situation and the taxes necessary to support it.

Unfortunately, all the groups waste their time and energy fighting one another instead of taking on their common enemy and the original cause of all the trouble — the State. This is modern democracy — pressure group warfare, with the State acting as a distributor of privilege. Thus, through the democratic process, organised and vocal pressure groups are able to gain some advantage at the expense of others. Furthermore, by claiming to have a “mandate” for all the policies in its election platform, the government of the day enshrines the notion that half the people plus one have the right to kick the rest around. (It never has a “mandate”, because not all voters accept the total platform. This is one of the vicious aspects of party politics.) We are thus being conned into accepting the totalitarian idea that might makes right. But truth and principle do not necessarily have anything to do with numbers. One million people have no more right to enforce their will on one person than that one person has to enforce their will on them. If they did, then it could indeed be said that a lynch mob is democracy in action.

What we see in the Western world today is a most evil and vicious perversion of the original idea of democracy. Instead of being limited to keeping the peace, to protecting individual rights, the State has become an instrument of tyranny. It is when the State has the power that we see the inherent immorality of the democratic process — the domination of one group by, in theory at least, a larger group. The solution to his dilemma is not necessarily to rid ourselves of democracy. Rather, what we have to do is to strip the State of its excess power and regain the original idea of democracy: that is, to have a government, elected by the people, which only has the power to protect the rights of all the people, and has no power to grant privileges to some people at the expense of others.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Holed up, hold-up and holdout
  36. The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
  37. Workers Party Platform
  38. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  39. Singo and Howard on Business
  40. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  41. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  42. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  43. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  44. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  45. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  46. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  47. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  48. The last words of Charles Russell
  49. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  50. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  51. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  52. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  53. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  54. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  55. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  56. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  57. Voices of frustration
  58. Policies of Workers Party
  59. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  60. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  61. Singo and Howard on Context
  62. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  63. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  64. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  65. Singo and Howard on Decency
  66. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  67. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  68. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  69. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  70. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  71. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  72. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  73. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  74. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  75. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  76. Bludgers need not apply
  77. New party formed "to slash controls"
  78. The Workers Party
  79. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  80. The great consumer protection trick
  81. The "Workers" speak out
  82. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  83. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  84. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  85. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  86. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  87. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  88. Singo and Howard on Young People
  89. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  90. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  91. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  92. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  93. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  94. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  95. Political branch formed
  96. Government seen by new party as evil
  97. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  98. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  99. Singo and Howard on Licences
  100. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  101. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  102. Singo and Howard on Voting
  103. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  104. Singo and Howard on Education
  105. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  106. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  107. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  108. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  109. A happy story about Aborigines
  110. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  111. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  112. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  113. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  114. The Discipline of Necessity
  115. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  116. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  117. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  118. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  119. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  120. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  121. The impossible dream
  122. Why can't I get away with it?
  123. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  124. Time for progress
  125. The loonie right implodes
  126. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  127. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  128. Censorship should be banned
  129. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  130. John Singleton on Advertising
  131. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  132. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  133. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  134. John Singleton defends ockerism
  135. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  136. The Census Con
  137. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  138. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  139. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  140. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  141. John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
  142. John Hyde's Progress Party praise
  143. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  144. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  145. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  146. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  147. Save Parramatta Road
  148. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  149. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  150. Singo and Howard on Unions
  151. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  152. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  153. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  154. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  155. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  156. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  157. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  158. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  159. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  160. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  161. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  162. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  163. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  164. The mouse will roar
  165. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  166. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  167. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  168. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  169. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  170. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  171. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  172. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  173. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  174. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  175. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  176. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  177. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  178. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  179. Product innovation comes first
  180. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  181. A party is born
  182. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  183. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  184. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  185. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  186. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  187. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  188. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  189. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  190. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  191. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  192. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  193. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  194. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  195. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  196. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  197. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  198. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  199. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  200. Return Australia Post to Sender
  201. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  202. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  203. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  204. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  205. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  206. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  207. Gortlam rides again
  208. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  209. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  210. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  211. Singo asks two prickly questions
  212. VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
  213. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  214. Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
  215. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  216. An Ode to Busybodies
  217. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  218. How many tits in a tangle?
  219. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  220. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  221. A speech from the Titanic
  222. A crime must have a victim
  223. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  224. Minimum wages the killer
  225. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  226. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  227. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  228. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  229. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  230. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  231. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  232. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  233. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  234. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  235. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  236. New improved moon
  237. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  238. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  239. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  240. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  241. John Singleton schools ad course
  242. John Singleton: advertising awards
  243. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  244. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
  245. John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare
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