One thing libertarians talk about a lot is coercion. If you really peel back libertarian philosophy that word looms just about as large as “liberty” or “freedom”. Coercion can take a bunch of different shapes. Taxes are coercion. Democracy is coercion. Unions are coercion. Anything that represents the will of the collective over the will of the individual is coercion.
Theoretically, the ideal libertarian society would have no democracy at all. That’s the only way to prevent collective decision making. So in order to actually craft Libertopia, democracy is out. Ideally not even a representative democratic republic would remain.
Michael Lind recently wrote a piece on libertarian hostility to democracy and at the time I felt as though something were missing from the otherwise excellent article. I believe that many libertarians sincerely do believe in liberty. Yet for all that, the antipathy to democracy – which goes well beyond Hayek’s preferred “liberal dictatorship” – reveals the fundamental internal conflict within libertarianism: in order for it to exist as a model for society, democracy must be snuffed out through coercion. Read more