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Context: PoliticalStuff, OnFreedom

Quora Answer : What do libertarian socialists think about a large community voluntarily electing their own king? Would they dethrone this king, since he represents concentrated power?

Aug 23, 2018

Firstly, I'm not sure why you would want to use the word "king" for an elected official.

While words can change their meanings; and a "constitutional monarch" is already a different beast from a non-constitutional one; the word "king" does create lots of resonances and seems to imply a bunch of characteristics.

Let's say you mean a lifetime autocrat. With little constitutional constraint on his powers. And presumably his subjects having few individual rights to push back against him.

In which case this seems rather like a, slightly watered down, version of the question "do libertarians think we should be free to sell ourselves into slavery?"

I think any one-off decision which leaves you without any mechanism to revise that decision in the future, is a bad idea. Whether its selling yourself into slavery, or a one time vote for a "king".

I'd say that we shouldn't support the principle of a "one time binding vote". Basically a "one time binding vote" is a claim that all future freedom should be constrained by the past.

Clearly you need some future commitment to have any kind of contracts at all.

But I don't see the need to make a fetish of it. Arguably all contracts defining future commitments should be de facto limited. To preserve a degree of future liberty.

So I certainly wouldn't support either having such a one-shot vote for such a big thing as an autocratic dictator. Or the idea that people should be obliged to respect the results of such a vote long into the future.

Even though I do accept that there need be some future-constraining contracts, I think it's reasonable for a liberty-minded person to decide that their scope should always be hard limited.

Thinking about that answer, I wonder if there's a fairly clear parallel with property. At least the kind of permanent ownership of land or other natural resource. Again, handing this out as private property was a one-time decision which puts WAAAAY too much constraint on future behaviour to be acceptable.

See also LeftAndRightAndTyranny

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