Individual Freedom v Democratic Freedom

fraser-islandImagine an island in the middle of nowhere and ten people ship-wrecked on it. 8 Men and 2 women.

This simple society agrees that they want to make decisions by democratic vote with one vote each.

This works well for some time and the community flourishes. 2 of the men become sexual partners with 2 of the women.

The 6 other men decide that it is unfair that they have no sexual partners and it would be just if the women gave “fair shares” of their sexual favours equally to all the men

They call for a vote giving any man the right to have sex with any woman on the island whenever he wants, using force if necessary.

The two women and their two partners vote against it, but the 6 other men win the vote by 6-4.

If you believe in democratic freedom it is now OK for the men to force the women to have sex, it is the democratic will of the people.

If you believe in individual freedom, a woman’s body belongs to her and forced sex is a crime, rape.

The community continues and one year later they have no food left and they are starting to starve. The group of 6 men get together and decide that the only answer is for the fattest one of them to be killed and a “fair share” of his body given to each member of the community to eat.

They propose a vote that Joe, should be killed and eaten. The vote is passed 6-4.

If you believe in democratic freedom then it is OK to kill and eat Joe, it is the democratic will of the people.

If you believe in individual freedom then a man’s life belongs to him and to take it is a crime, murder.

Over time (after eating Joe) the community settles down and people spend their time doing different things. 2 of the men start farming and start to produce lots of grain. The 2 women start fishing and catch lots of fish. These 4 trade their grain and fish with each other and enjoy a rich diet. The other 5 men lay on the beach, and talk.

After several months of this the 5 men who lay on the beach and produced no food are fed up with eating berries and roots and call a vote to share the grain and fish in “fair shares” equally amongst the group.

If you believe in democratic freedom it is perfectly just to take the produce of others to give it to the more needy, it is the democratic will of the people.

If you believe in individual freedom the fruits of a man’s labour belong to him and to take them from him against his will is a crime, Robbery.

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  • I do see your logic, however, it is purely logic. Life is a mixture of logical and illogical actions. Although the democracy that you present is logical, you point out the illogicalness of the unethical/immoral actions of the people within the democratic system (i.e. the rape, murder and robbery).
    Democracy does not solve unethical actions such as rape, murder and robbery. But neither does Libertarianism as what you define as libertarianism could give an individual the chance to make up his own rules without any community agreement… the same unethical/immoral actions could happen.

    There are two options which can stop unethical actions…
    (i) Authoritarianism – where the people in charge essentially oppress the people so that those unethical/immoral actions don’t happen, or, 
    (ii) Social/Community Justice – where every person has their own responsibility not to be unethical/immoral and to make sure that their fellow citizens also don’t do anything unethical/immoral.

    Authoritarianism or Social/Community Justice could be combined with what you define as Libertarianism or what you define as Democracy. This is partly what laws on Human Rights (and Animal Rights to a certain degree) provide, they provide laws so that every system (whether that be democratic, libertarian, authoritarian or “social”, or some mix, or somewhere in between them all) is not inethical/immoral.

  • Shetler of Crime

    Just asking… How will enforce the coercion free social life in our imaginary island? The 6 men could decide to rape the women without voting on the issue. That is 6 men against 2 women and 2 men. Democracy in this case would mean that the 2 women and their partners will simply give up any physical resistance after the voting. The direct way is that they will cause harms to the six men as much as possible. But how would the voluntarism help here?
    It doesn’t, not in it self. Even if the 6 men would accept that they will not get any sexual satisfaction from the women, they will be forced to live in a condition that was completely up to others to decide. In this case, the women’s voluntary decision being monogamist. In a community, women has to also consider the following: genetical diversity of their children (which will contribute to the welfare of these children as they will have more balanced sexual diversity, thus freedom to choose their partner(s)), the welfare of their fellow men, who has to struggle their life through unsatisfied sexual and emotional conflict. To resolve it, the practical solutions are polygamy of the women, or polyamory. These solutions however can not come from “rights”, but communal thinking. That is, a completely different organisation of life, that is neither democratic , neither directly forced (as you no longer consider your own welfare in it self, but in connection with your social environment.)