This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The rising costs of democracy

“Money, money, always money—that is the essence of democracy. Democracy is more expensive than monarchy; it is incompatible with liberty.”

~ P.J. Proudhon[1]

It was Oswald Spengler who first developed the intimate connection with the democratic mentality and plutocracy:

…it must be concluded that democracy and plutocracy are the same thing under the two aspects of wish and actuality, theory and practice, knowing and doing. It is the tragic comedy of the world-improvers’ and freedom-teachers’ desperate fight against money that they are ipso facto assisting money to be effective. Respect for the big number—expressed in the principles of equality for all, natural rights, and universal suffrage—is just as much a class-ideal of the unclassed as freedom of public opinion (and ‘more particularly freedom of the press) is so. These are ideals, but in actuality the freedom of public opinion involves the preparation of public opinion, which costs money; and the freedom of the press brings with it the question of possession of the press, which again is a matter of money; and with the franchise comes electioneering, in which he who pays the piper calls the tune. The representatives of the ideas look at one side only, while the representatives of money operate with the other. The concepts of Liberalism and Socialism are set in effective motion only by money.[2]

Various other massive expenditures that accompany the establishment of democracy are not difficult to identify: since conscription always accompanies universal suffrage, armies become gigantic hordes of common men, each of whom must be paid out of the state’s coffers since, unlike the nobility who traditionally waged the wars, they cannot survive without wage. The United States military is now the largest “employer” in the world, and the “defense” portion of the budget reflects this reality.

Further, if we look at the tax burden on the common man, we see that it has increased profoundly with democracy. The same man who must leave his craft to fight ends up paying himself for the trouble. The American of the 1940’s paid more in taxes that the typical peasant of the Middle Ages paid in dues, and we must also note that the peasant labored about half the amount of his over-worked modern counterpart. It is of course a commonplace that government operations are inefficient, that campaigning costs a fortune,[3] but it is rarely acknowledged that these expenditures are necessitated by the nature of democracy itself and are not some sort of “aberration” due to negligent officials, as is commonly implied by those who would fault the government for being what it must necessarily be.

[1] P. J. Proudhon, Solution Du Problême Social.

[2] Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West: Perspectives of World History (New York: Knopf, 1928), pp. 401-402.

[3] We ought to carefully note the relation of campaign costs to those of democratic warfare itself. They are, in a way, expensive for the same reasons, because they are both expressions of popular conflict: “Every change of regime and, to a lesser extent, every change of government is, as it were, a reproduction, on a more or less reduced scale, of a barbarian invasion” (Jouvenel, On Power, p. 119).

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