Democracy Is War By Other Means

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Dan Sanchez, via,

Democracy is war by other means. Superficially, it is waged with ballots instead of bullets. At the end of the day, those ballots become bullets. Elections load real guns and aim them at real people. If you disobey the commandments handed down by elected officials, beefy men with shaved heads and Ray-Ban sunglasses will come to take you away. If you resist them, hot lead will fly. Elections are scrambles for control over the service weapons that propel those rounds. In such contests, every faction is trying to point the gun barrels at someone else.

One faction democratically seizes power and influences policy. Members of vanquished factions are shot, caged, or looted at a higher rate. Some of this loot becomes the spoils of war for the victorious: government checks and freebies of various kinds. But then a coalition of aggrieved factions wins the next election, and the tables turn. The expropriators are expropriated until power changes hands again. All take turns as victims and victimizers in an endless round of reciprocal violence.

In this war, all sides are net losers, save one: the government.

That is because “war is the health of the State.” When Randolph Bourne coined that phrase, he was referring to military warfare, and World War I in particular. But the reasoning behind his maxim also applies to the formalized civil war that is democracy.

The State and War

For Bourne, the State and the government are two different things. The government is a ruling organization that is distinct from the populace it rules. The State is much more than that, and much less.

More in that it includes everyone in the country. It is a mystic union of the entire populace, including both rulers and the ruled. It is the many becoming one and acting as one. E pluribus unum.

Less in that it is imaginary. The State is a fiction that exists only in the minds of its believers. It is a superstition, an incoherent concept, because the many cannot act as one. Only individuals act. Individuals act similarly when they obey the same commandments. But it is still the individuals who are choosing such obedience.

The State is a make-believe entity to which over-awed believers ascribe preferences, will, and agency: essentially, a god. True believers in this god (“patriots”) slavishly adhere to its preferences. They swallow the confused, incoherent notion that the State exists as a manifestation of their own collective will that works for their own collective benefit. The church and its god are one. This superstition that, in some vague sense, they are only enslaved to themselves makes such bondage easier to accept.

In other words, the State is a herd mentality: an inclination in a person to renounce his individuality and subsume himself into a herd, a pack, a tribe, a horde, a gang, a cult, a collective. The believers revere and defer to their own “togetherness” as if it were a god. Deutschland uber alles.

War is the health of this deified herd called the State because a state of war is a state of desperation, of flight or fight, of primal terror and hate. In such a besieged frame of mind, individuals dismiss the moral principles of civilization as unaffordable luxuries. The human soul regresses to unthinking indulgence in base animal impulses, renouncing civility for the law of the jungle. Toward enemy populations, it is eat or be eaten, kill or be killed, capture or be captured, plunder or be plundered.

Other human beings are no longer deemed useful as voluntary partners in creative work, mutually beneficial trade, and friendly company. Instead, they are either fellow conscripts or enemies.

Insiders are considered useful only insofar as they are dutiful members of your herd, your pack, your tribe, your horde, your gang, your cult, your collective: only insofar as they contribute to the strength in numbers necessary to overrun, eat, kill, capture, and plunder outsiders.

Refractory individualists who fall out of line are shamed and coerced into conformity. Failing that, dissidents are ultimately shunned as heretics, rogues, outsiders. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” And outsiders are excluded entirely from the moral community. They are considered menaces and only useful as prey, as slaves, as sources of loot.

In times of war, the pack must swarm in tandem; the herd must stampede in unison. In order for a collective to work coherently and deliberately toward a single war effort, it needs not only regimentation, but leadership. So people under siege seek a leader of the pack, a shepherd of the flock. This leadership is sought in the government.

But even an oligarchy can prove too fractious for coherently prosecuting a war. So the people ultimately long for a single strongman, a dear leader, a führer.

This is why governments are so eager to embroil their subjects in wars. The exigencies of war trigger bestial antagonism and collectivism that drive people to flock to the government’s feet like sheep and bleat to be shorn of their liberties.

Democracy as War


Democracy is a form of warfare. What sets it apart from other forms is that it is a civil war of legal plunder.

Legal plunder is a term coined by Frédéric Bastiat. We might also add legal murder and legal kidnapping. These activities, which we rightly regard as crimes when committed by anyone else, become uniquely legitimized when committed by agents of the imaginary State-god. Robbery becomes taxation, kidnapping becomes incarceration, murder becomes foreign policy.

Before the rise of democracy, legal plunder was simple and stark. The government was a distinct clique that “legally” plundered the people. The rise of democracy blurred the distinctions between rulers and the ruled and thus disarmed popular resistance to the regime. With democracy, the plunder became highly participatory. Bastiat called it “universal legal plunder.”

By supporting the welfare state and high taxes, the less-rich plunder the affluent and the rich. By supporting industry regulation, protectionism, and subsidies, rich producers plunder their less-rich consumers and competitors. Bastiat said, “The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” And everybody plunders by proxy via the same middleman: the government, which gets a cut of every pile of loot. So the government has a strong material incentive to pit its subjects against each other.

And it’s not just plunder. In the wars on terror and drugs, for example, Americans murder foreigners by proxy and cage their neighbors by proxy, all in order to “feel safer.”

What we have with an interventionist democratic state then is a Hobbesian state of affairs: a formalized proxy civil war of all against all. This kind of war is the health of the State, too. Democracy has the same impact on the human psyche as military war, only more low-grade and chronic.

Since lives and livelihoods are on the line, political battles also induce desperation. The desperate times offer an excuse for desperate measures: for excluding political enemies from the moral community. Non-violent drug offenders can be buried alive in prison for decades. Christian bakers can have their finances and lives ruined for exercising their right to refuse service. All’s fair in politics and war.

In order to overwhelm political enemies, voters resort to the same kind of rank tribalism as do jingoists. Instead of nations, the relevant collective “herds” are political parties, interest groups, “movements,” etc. Partisans shout down any disloyal dissent emerging from within their ranks.

Political violence is mob violence. The larger the crowd, the more anonymous its violence. And the impunity of anonymity, like the impunity of authority, unleashes man’s capacity for evil. Under the shielding anonymity of the lynch mob and the voting booth, any atrocity is on the table.

Partisans vilify members of enemy political tribes. To prosecute their inter-tribal warfare, they become reliant on the government apparatus, which they use to inflict and defend against proxy violence. Never mind that it is that very institution that enables and emboldens others to hurt them: that pits all sides against each other. All factions are so preoccupied with using the government against each other, they are oblivious to the fact that the machine of power is their true and common enemy.

Partisans, like patriots, clamor for leadership in order to be herded toward the sole objective of defeating the political enemy. They rally behind and take marching orders from their political leadership.

Democratic politics is a vital power ritual for the government. It makes the government all-important, all-relevant, all-preoccupying; this is especially so during election season. Each side’s enemy candidate is demonized as an existential menace who can only be warded off by throwing all support behind your party’s candidate. “Candidate X is not perfect, but we must stop Candidate Y!

If your candidate wins power, you become doubly loyal to the regime to keep the enemy herds down. If your candidate loses, you become doubly determined to help your tribe regain its grip on the levers of power. Dismantling the machine is the last thing on your mind.

Using democratic politics to foment civil strife is how the government divides and more fully conquers its subjects.

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TeaClipper's picture

I wouldnt worry yourself to much Dan, the USA is a stranger to Democracy

Dabooda's picture

It's not the fact that our democracy is a fraud that's important; it's all the true believers who are indoctrinated into the cult of State worship.  They feed the beast, they serve it with their lives.  They make its evil possible.  Larken Rose wrote a very fine book about this thesis:  The Most Dangerous Superstition.

Never One Roach's picture


"If you want to keep your Democracy, you can keep your Democracy. I promise!"

Infocat's picture

Democracy doesn't work in general but it especially doesn't work in a multiracial empire like the US. People vote their ethnic interests.

Urban Redneck's picture

I need some coffee to deal with the author's rank stupidity this early in the morning.

In all of human history there have only three clusters of organized Democracy, and none of them occurred in North America.

Moreover, if "The State is a fiction that exists only in the minds of its believers", then Civil Rights, such as the freedom of speech are also a fiction that exists only in the minds of its believers.

So that raises the question, is Danny boy of AntiMedia a believer in the State, or can we shut his ass up and strip him of his freedom of speech?

Ignatius's picture

"The State is a make-believe entity to which over-awed believers ascribe preferences, will, and agency: essentially, a god."

People have far more religion than they will typically cop to, whether its American Exceptionalism or Choseness, etc..

Neoliberals or Neocons, it represents a substitution of "the state" for God.  People have a hard time seeing/admitting this.

TeaClipper's picture

There was a time when your religious leaders were the state, those times quiet rightly have passed. I doubt whether even you would prefer life under the Religious talaban of the past present or future

Ignatius's picture

My point was how careful people need to be about choosing their God, not some prescription that exists in your head.

Actually, you make my point.

I say "God," because as clever as we humans are the world (God) was here and complete when we showed up and will be here long after we're gone.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

Religion is the confusion of 'belief' with *knowledge*

The word 'God' - as a word - is a black box; it is a semantic placeholder and sham explanation.

'God' is 'X' where X is unproven, undefined, and extraneous to any question regarding Be-ing, that is, existence itself.

And it is one thing to posit an Omnipresent Omnipotent Being... Quite another to make claims about such a purported Being's *will* or intent...

Still another to claim certainty that it is revealed in a book (this one, but not that one) which is so incoherent and abstruse that even members of the same alleged faith can not seem to agree on what is being said - this last one requires belief in an all knowing all seeing Being who can not get a clear message across to his created servants.

Ignatius's picture

I'm thinklng of God symbolically:  that which is great, unknown and in a sense beyond explanation, like the universe itself.

My main point is true humility in the face of the creation.

Eg., Feynman explained that he could tell us many things about gravity and how it behaves, but not what gravity is.

Life IS a miracle.

Jack McGriff's picture

I don't beleive in evolution, but you make the strongest case yet for your common ancestry with my sweaty ball sac bacteria! Also your religious belief that you share common ancestry with, literally, dog shit (bacteria).  The word 'evolutiondidit' - as a word - is a black box; it is a semantic placeholder and sham explanation!  FIFY!! LOL    

Whiskey Badger's picture

Doug Casey is right, Americans are whipped dogs.  

Ignatius's picture

It logically follows that America and Americans were conquered first, and before, the empire we see today.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

Except... The 'State' and the 'Government' are in essence the same thing.

My *country* is not 'the state' nor those who control it as 'government.'

Libertarians attack love of country, identification with a people and culture, all having to do with affinity with other human beings, conflate it with political abstractions, and lose the plot in the process.

Note: I have read several articles by this author and genuinely respect his work and his insights. I generally agree with him.

But here, my disagreement (which you may of course take or leave) stems mainly from the definitions employed.

The state *is not* 'different' from government.

The state is a broader political concept then the small number of people who take part in control of the political powers, the government, but the media, corporations, lobby groups, etc. all influence those 'in government'.

More simply, if you go to fight in Syria, you're going to die for your government, and for the Deep State, not for your fellow Americans, your culture, or values.

But opposing the government is not opposing your country or your fellow Americans.

I want less government- not less 'America'.

Indeed, I want 'America' to survive the state its in...

Counterfiat's picture

Is the reason that Clinton supporters can overlook all the corruption due to Identity Politics?

"Because I belong to a group Hillary supports, I don't care about the truth?"

Some are waking up.

I don't incite hate to anyone, I disagree with LGBT.

LGBT community (as we all) really needs to be aware of IDENTITY POLITICS

“Juan Hernandez is a gay Hispanic Trump supporter who also witnessed Thiel and Trump’s history-making speeches at the RNC this summer. But said he has encountered violence for being pro-Trump, adding that an anti-Trump protester attacked him at a Trump rally in San Jose.

“I saw a fist come in and hit my nose and my nose just instantly started pouring blood,” Hernandez said.

He said the incident left him with a broken nose and the realization that supporting his candidate in the mostly liberal San Francisco Bay Area can be dangerous.

“I do know a lot of Trump supporters that are in the closet in the Bay area and we all have the same fear that we don’t know what can happen to us,” he said.

Hernandez said he’s so afraid of more retaliation that he won’t even put Trump signs in his front yard.

“I do not want to put a Trump sign out there. And that sucks,” he said. “It shouldn’t be like that in that I should feel fear of putting out a Trump sign and the person who I want to support, of the person that I want to be in office.”

Hernandez says he’s also criticized for being Mexican and still supporting Trump.
“They need to listen to the whole thing that he believes,” he said. “He’s not against the Mexican culture or the Mexican community — he’s against illegal immigration.”

But he hopes that being a gay Mexican Trump supporter and sharing his story will give hope to others in the gay community.”

People get persecuted when speaking against IDENTITY POLITICS.

Counterfiat's picture

And here (I don't agree with LBGT, but I don't care to incite hate towards people.)

“This page started in July 2015. For a long time we barely had 200 likes and many people laughing at us. Then a light bulb went off. LGBT folks started to recognize that Hillary was a fraud and that the talking points they were be fed by the LGBT Left were a reliable as day old milk. From 200 likes we are now approaching 5000. We gay & straights, white & black, male & female. We have broken the chains of identity politics.”

roddy6667's picture

Democracy is 51 people voting to hang the other 49 people and take their stuff.
You vote because you  want to impose your personal preferences upon your neighbors, using the force of State.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

True, broadly, but it beats totalitarianism (where 1 person decides);

It also beats Anarchy, where everyone sits around discussing rights, and they exist only so far as you, personally, can protect them from your stronger neighbor.

There's 'theory' (Idealism); and then there's what actually happens (Praxis).

Anarchy passes into despotism...

surely, I'd prefer benign anarchy, too, but it not only requires angels... It requires there be no demons.

billhicks's picture

Your argument assumes that many heads are better than one and that people are capable of logical selfless thought. The biggest threat to humanity is humans.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

It does not assume many are 'better' than one but that it is better (or at least more just) for the many to have some say in how they are ruled by state violence.

It also assumes that one person with total power over state violence is worse, at least generally, than having that power distributed over many people.

Put another way, you need to completely trust in the benevolence of a tyrant, you need not completely trust any person who shares power with many others.

To your point, you still have to trust them collectively, but it is easier to remove a Congressman than a Dictator.

billhicks's picture

Look at the last century and more of US politics and tell me democracy works. I can think of three probably decent presidents. Jimmy Carter mainly because of his views on Palestine. Eisenhower for his MIC speech. And JFK. But what did any of them actually achieve?!? All we have is debt and war.

falak pema's picture

haha ! that is some awesome snake eating tail reasoning : the biggest threat to humanity is humans!

So should we call in the martians or the Pope ?

Your punctuation does nothing for your neurones and hormones as they ooze out into moar glue of toxic hubris.

Go red buttons, you dance one helleva jig!

With your head stuck you know where its one awesome sight.

billhicks's picture

Hello Twat Face. Well I guess the reason most of us are here is that we know the majority know shit. And yeah I am bringing myself down to your level with my syntax ;-) I know you're a bit slow so yeah I posted it twice.

billhicks's picture

Hello Twat Face. Well I guess the reason most of us are here is that we know the majority know shit. And yeah I am bringing myself down to your level with my syntax ;-)

GreatUncle's picture

Those 51 can pass a law to legislate anything don't you think? Saves the repeat vote.

Now the 1% have hijacked this process because they think (change the numbers) 1 person should be through a fraudulent vote be able to take the stuff you mention of the other 99 and it is all legit because "the fraudulent vote gives it" and uses the state to enforce the fraudulent vote.

They also own the UN, NATO, IMF, WHO, all these institutions +  the MSM not excluding the government entities like the FBI, military, etc.

This vote (it is democratic by nature) even though the US is a republic is a question for the elite

"do the people have the right to democratically elect their president"

For it not then the president will never be theirs solely owned by the elites. The elites by owning the president like Obama and soon to be Clinton own your ass, so STFU or you do then their is a limit to what elites are allowed to do.

Weisshaupt's picture

If the government were limited in the way it was supposed to be,  they wouldn't be able to abuse government power to abuse their neighbors.

Democracy: Two wolves and a lamb voting on the issue of what to have for lunch.

Republic: A Democracy where two hundred wolves and one hundred lambs elect two wolves and one lamb as their representatives to vote on the issue of what to have for lunch.

Constitutional Republic: A Republic with a Constitution guaranteeing that lamb is not on the lunch menu. Eventually the Supreme Court rules - five wolves to four lambs - that mutton is not the same as lamb

Anarchy and Civil War : A Constitutional  Republic with a Constitution guaranteeing that lamb is not on the lunch menu, and a right that the lambs may own  arms. . Eventually the Supreme Court rules - five wolves to four lambs - that  a tax is thre same as a penatly, that gender is what you feel like that day ,  that mutton is not the same as lamb, and that an 'assault rifle' isn't  legal to own,  and the lambs decide to protect themselves forman illeigitmate government and kill the wolves.

Why the left fails to see this progression I will never understand.

SwaziRed's picture

Yes, Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others - as Winston Churchill put it. (Good man, that Winston - really fucked over those Nazi rat bastards. With a little help, of course.)

I'll take Democracy's flaws any day over DPRK-style 'Great leaders' or Afghan-style warlords or the libertarian paradise of Somalia . . . . or Trump-style guaranteed in-your face oligarchy, nepotism, kleptocracy, and neo-Fascism. But that's just me . . . .  

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

Curious though that in the great democratic British Empire on which the sun never set - the blood never dried.

Also curious: declaring war on Germany for invading Western Poland (most of which had been Germany in then-living memory) but not on the Bolshevik Empire, which invaded Eastern Poland, to which it had no cognizable claim, a mere ten days later.

History is written by the victors...

GreatUncle's picture

If Trump is democratically elected by the vote of the people it is democratic.

Not allowed though because the electoral college is rigged like the voting machines so it makes no difference.

TBH the US should just cancel the voting side, it is fucking worthless then it is the same as the EU where the commission is appointed.

Now what was freedom again?

Weisshaupt's picture

Being armed and willing  to die*  for opposing TPTB

* Dying is not plan A.

big-data's picture

Justice and the US Constitution are not about Red and Blue states but having any states at all. This addresses an upcoming Constitutional crisis and why.

warsev's picture

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." – Lord Acton

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." – Winston Churchill

Ross123's picture

Slightly O/T. But this is a MUST WATCH. This lady has a very powerful message , especially for black voters. Spread it around.

billhicks's picture

Democracy Is Just A Ride

MickV's picture

In a REPUBLIC it does not matter if 99% of the people "vote" for someting illegal under the laws of the Republic. That vote would be null and void. The end of the Republic was the election of the Usurper Hussein Obama, who, as one born of a foreign father, should not have been allowed into the Whitehouse, no matter the "vote" (the electoral college failed to do its duty to object under 8 US Code 15). Since 1/20/2009 the Republic has been dead. There is no law when the executor of the laws is an illegal entity. Do you need any more proof of the REPUBLIC'S death than the current "occupant" (putative POTUS) of the White House encouraging illegals to vote? Do you need any more proof than the canpaign manager of a POTUS candidate talking about "wet works" on the day a Supreme Court Justice "died"? Do you need any more proof than the DOJ becoming a barrier to prosecuting any crime those that govern have committed against we the people? 

The REPUBLIC is dead, and nothing can bring it back unless you acknowledge its death, and hang the tyrants and Usurpers.

GreatUncle's picture


Democracy is just a name means fuck all but it is applied to that, rather quaint. The author if you read the contents of the article is a supporter of the globalist agenda trying to attack what? Democracy?

By converting people to object to democracy, then by association and all the up votes you are throwing the first line away. Got to admit all the upvotes for objecting to democracy -> implied objecting to the right to have a voice starting to think we got alot of sheeple here.

If so then I have to say Clinton 2016, the removal of that voice ... roll on WW3. You can't vote Trump 2016 because that is to use democracy to elect him although it is fake because the electoral college and vote rigging will deny it.

One rule, we all have a voice, be it democracy, parliementary democracy, republic, dictatorship and 2 sides to the coin those for or against, AKA Clinton or Trump. Call it democracy if you wish, but it is a majority vote of approval or dispproval and currently what you are majority wanting is going to be disproved by the elite.

You want your fake democracy to elect a president, you can keepy you fake democracy Clinton 2016.


Atomizer's picture

Another smart American who doesn't buy into Obama's recent Ku Klux Klan DNC narrative. Well spoken and intelligent women. Welcome aboard the Trump train. 

SR 1325 – Black Voter – Michelle ObamaDon't Tell Us How To Vote ...

GreatUncle's picture

Should you be allowed to choose your next president using a democratic method of voting.

<< YES

<< NO

Lets see how far down the hole the ZH'ers have gone.

Seeing as I supposedly live in a parliamentary democracy I voted +1, goes with the territory, but it also means freedom.

bogbeagle's picture



Freedom and Democracy cannot co-exist.


When you accede to voting, you agree to be bound by the decisions of the Collective.


Right there, you GAVE AWAY all your autonomy.


And yet, they managed to convince you that you are "free".

taggaroonie's picture

Excellent essay.

I especially like the statement that it is in the government's interests to set its subjects against each other.

You could replace "government" with "bureaucrats" or "public services" or, I'm sure, others and you'll get a good perspective on democracy. 

Atomizer's picture


Was searching my phone for a ass nailing bit. You came up. It's been 1.5 years.

I haven't laughed this good, forgot about this segment. Share with Zerohedge. Thank goodness you were bookmarked. Off the find the other tidbit. Don't stop posting, hilarious work.

How To Insult A "Progressive" - YouTube

Wannabe_Oracle's picture

The United States is not a democracy - we are a Constitutional Republic. ./

Last of the Middle Class's picture

well. . . we were at one time.


homonohumanus's picture

Democracy? We live in Republic, Republic wanted by freemasony. One can't push aside the greatness of the achievements but neither can evade the terrigying conclusion, they are some of the worse systems ever, they have triggered mostly continuous wars with incredible amount of civil casualties, we have the most amoral financial system since 2000 years. They have been the driving force toward colonisation, etc.

Republic are BAD (constitutional monarchy are the same), Democracy fails in Switzerland. Neither of this form of government offers a proper separation of power.

homonohumanus's picture

One down vote... you can't fix stupid...

homonohumanus's picture

We are in democracy but almost in its historical sense. and circumstances. The citizen (mostly powerful merchants and warlords) of the ancient time Greece were in charge of deciding what going on for the slave (local or not) and how to run the trade with cosmopolites. 

We are indeed in "democracy". Now the market of the ancient time is more like a "fair" for the middle ages. The actual "markets" are what we lack and what bring balance beetwwen local and global exchange.

Global market is another travesty and a way to steal a word (and the concept it contains) from us. It is a global fair.

That is just a random link to make clear I'm not dreaming, one should dig further the laws ruling both type of event and see the light pretty much.

MickV's picture

There is no "right to vote". That franchise is given by the individual states in a Federal election. Those states could just as easily choose electors with no popular vote according to Art. 2. Once the Franchise is given by the states, then that franchise cannot be refused based on one's sex or age, if above 18 years old, or by poll tax.


If there is no "right to vote" then the United States certainly is not a "Democracy". That assumes, of course, that the Constitution exists after the Usurpation by Hussein Obama.

Last of the Middle Class's picture

Never before have I understood so clearly how an election is nothing more than a soft coup. Trump is/was the wildcard no one counted on for the next 100 years or so.