by Robert Metz and Marc Emery  –  December 1988

If we were to redefine “democracy” as “a road to inevitable total state control”, we know that most of you would probably cringe at the suggestion.

For most people, the benefits associated with living in a “democracy” relate to things like their freedom to speak without intimidation from the state or other people, or their freedom to start their own business without fearing state control or expropriation, or their right to a free press, or their right to freedom of worship, etc. Most importantly, most people associate a “democracy” with the right to elect their representative in government, under the assumption that a “democratically-elected” government will properly protect their rights and interests.

We only wish it were so, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, all of the so-called “democratic” benefits we’ve just listed are the very benefits which are currently under attack by our democratic process — not being protected by it!

Every day of their lives, Canadians routinely face democratic restrictions on their individual freedom of choice and yet will continue to sing heartily: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

And while they’re standing at the front door on guard for their “democracy”, the freedoms they associate with that “democracy” are swiftly and silently being swept out the back door, leading them to a “democracy” of eventual, complete government control.

There is great 20th century historical evidence to illustrate how this can happen. In 1919, after the first world war, Europe had twenty-four (24) “democracies”: Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Denmark, and Hungary.

By 1938, only nineteen years later, sixteen (16) of those twenty-four “democracies” had evolved into totalitarian dictatorships. Only Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland managed to maintain anything that would resemble a democracy we could recognize, while France continually wavered between fascism and complete government paralysis.

In Africa, virtually every “democracy” established after colonial departure has become a Marxist-, Fascist-, or tribal-style dictatorship. Most nations in Latin America and Asia that established “democracies” have suffered the same fate.

From these dictatorships which were once “democracies” come a flood of refugees seeking to escape from the social conditions of living in their countries of origin. These refugees are not attracted by “democracies”; they are attracted by those nations which offer the greatest degree of individual freedom (which may happen to be democracies), and consequently, increased opportunity and relative political and social stability.

Many of the refugees who have come to Canada over the past forty years have actually come from “democracies”. Often, there were many other democracies much closer to them, but fewer with any established tradition of individual freedom. Tragically for freedom, in most countries where it exists, it exists as a consequence of common law tradition only, not as a matter of established right. But fortunately for the citizens of such countries, the democratic process has not yet managed to destroy their individual right to freedom of thought and action; unfortunately, that’s only a matter of time.

In Canada, none of our “fundamental” rights and freedoms listed in the Constitution are guaranteed us. In fact, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been explicitly created to project an illusion of protecting individual freedom, while actually ensuring that individual freedom is the one thing it will not protect.

What is guaranteed in our Constitution is the right of government to limit individual freedom as it sees fit: “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” (Section 1, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)

And although Section 15 (1) of the Constitution claims that “every individual is equal before and under the law”, Subsection (2) immediately negates this protection by declaring that “Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

This is a state license to conduct what can only be appropriately termed as “democratic theft” — the legalized process of taking something from one individual against his will and giving it to another.

It would be a mistake to conclude that majority-rule democracy will only lead to a prohibition of action. Prohibition and control of thought are just as inevitable.

Because democratic theft cannot simply limit itself to the redistribution of our products and services to those who played no role in their production, it must extend to the instrument ultimately responsible for the creation of those products and services: the human mind.

Thus, extensive state censorship and control of all forms of culture and media becomes necessary. All, of course, to advance the interest of certain groups against the individual freedoms (thoughts and peaceful actions) of all individuals in Canada. Censorship is enforced through regulations requiring Canadian content in radio and television, through forced metrification, through forced bilingualism, through prohibitions on English in Quebec, through regulations and decrees outlawing obscenity, blasphemy, “hate” literature, through controls on liquor and tobacco advertising, sexual depictions or descriptions, to name but a few.

Of course, there are many advocates of censorship, all represented by the varied special privilege groups who have a vested interest in suppressing ideas they consider negative to their political or social cause. For them, the democratic process eagerly awaits their lobbying and the political power that will result when government begins to impose their collective will upon those who would dare to disagree with them.

Every arbitrarily restricted personal or economic freedom in Canada has been declared to be “democratically justifiable” as being for the “good of society”, even when it has openly been admitted that the restrictions come at the expense of individual freedoms and rights.

That’s what happened in 1986, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Ontario’s Sunday closing laws were a “democratically justifiable infringement” on an Ontarian’s freedom of religion. There can be no plainer declaration that, as a fundamental, freedom of religion no longer exists in Ontario; it comes second to the “democratic will”.

As we discovered through our own experience with charges relating to conducting a retail business on Sunday, one has to spend an incredible amount of money simply to determine if one has any individual freedom worth fighting for. Even worse, the state gets to spend money confiscated from the very victims it prosecutes all the way to the Supreme Court, whose self-proclaimed interest is not in serving individual justice, but in serving majority-rule democracy.

This, in a free society, is a moral, ethical, and legal obscenity.

It would have personally cost Marc Emery, co-author of this essay, about $60-70,000 to go all the way to the Supreme Court simply to find out if he could exercise his fundamental freedoms by opening his bookstore on a Sunday — had the forces of majority-rule democracy not created yet another exception to a Sunday closing law that clearly no longer bears equally upon all. (Remember our individual right to be “equal before and under the law”? It’s in our Constitution, but now through special exemptions, bookstore owners have been declared “more equal” than other retailers.)

There is nothing we could call individual freedom in a nation that requires a man to spend the product of five years of his livelihood (after taxes!) just to find out if he has the right to exercise his “fundamental freedoms” in merely one instance! But this is the price we are all forced to pay to live in a majority-rule democracy. Its visible symptom is the endless maze of red tape, regulation, high taxes, and bureaucracy that strangles so many nations.

Majority-rule democracy is a degenerative process that can only lead us to a situation where those who seize or manipulate the political system to their advantage will control us, regardless of whether they happen to represent “majorities” or “minorities”. Majority-rule democracy can lead to Communism, Nazism, tribalism, holy fascism, whatever — but one thing is certain, and we challenge any reader to provide evidence to the contrary: it can never lead to any guarantee of individual freedom or fundamental rights.

Majority-rule democracy is always at conflict with itself, trying to satisfy competing interests through some democratic process, while hopelessly attempting to avoid the inevitable concentration of government power that will result. Potentially, the political schizophrenia caused by majority-rule democracy can ultimately lead to outright violence, since citizens cannot obtain the benefits of individual freedom which would allow them to privately pursue what they want in a free market. Nor can they get what they want through the democratic process because they always happen to find themselves on the side of some “minority” group or interest.

Thus, as has been the case in so many democracies, various groups start destabilizing the democracy (or civil war breaks out) and a military solution becomes necessary to “stabilize” the social system, often resulting in mass executions of all those who pose some threat to that “stability” — in other words, any element of individualism.

The consequence of this political process is as inevitable in Canada as anywhere else, unless enough people reject democracy as a means to achieve their own personal ends, and reaffirm their democracy as a social system based on individual rights and freedoms.

In a free democracy, all individuals have the freedom to earn what they want, peacefully, in the marketplace. A free democracy does not impose any obligations on individuals other than to live up to their own voluntarily accepted commitments and to respect the individual freedom of others. A truly free democracy would legally prohibit all coercion from human relationships — including any coercion by government.

No government claiming to govern with the consent of the governed may possibly exercise any “rights” its individual citizens cannot possess and exercise.

For example, in a free society no individual or group should have the right to steal, harm, or defraud another of his wealth or property — nor should any government. In a free democracy, no individual should have the right to stop anyone else from reading, printing, or viewing materials of their choice — nor should any government. In a free democracy, no individual should have the right to take the life of another, except in legitimate self-defence — nor should any government.

Today, every democracy in the Western world routinely and consistently violates these standards and principles of social conduct. Once we ascribe powers and privileges to government that its individual citizens do not or can not have, then the transfer of rights from citizens to government is inevitable, varying from democracy to democracy only in the length of time it takes to complete the transfer.

In a free democracy, individual freedom would be protected, not threatened, by a defined, limited and subservient government whose primary role would be to provide national and civil defence and to prevent some individuals and groups in society from imposing their preferences and choices upon others against their will.

Because we, as authors of this essay, believe in individual freedom, we cannot bring ourselves to support any philosophy of majority-rule democracy. And now, having been made aware of the risks of the majority-rule process, where do you stand?

You have only two choices: Individual freedom or majority-rule dictatorship; there is no middle ground, other than the temporary ground on which our country currently rests.   {end}

– Robert Metz,   Marc Emery      Consent #6        December, 1988