I often encounter a somewhat misunderstood understanding of "freedom." It is fashionable to point to individual countries and say: ti They have free choices, that is free country. The others they have no free choice, it is not a free country. The possibility of "free elections" is often the only criterion for assessing the "degree of freedom" in a given country. But does it make sense?
Democracy does not guarantee anything
Such an understanding is absurd. Democracy with free elections does not automatically guarantee anything, not even the freedom of the individual. It is just a tool of governance. Nothing more, nothing less, just a tool.
Let's show it with an absolutely simple example - imagine that in our country there will be a "Party of the rights of croissants", which will have in its program that it will reduce the price of rolls.
How many rolls are sellers in our country and how many buyers? There are logically more buyers. Now imagine that the Party wins the election and calls a general referendum on the price of the croissant. Everyone can (or does not have to) participate in the referendum. Everyone can give their vote. The question will be:
"Do you agree that a law should apply in the Czech Republic that will give the Government of the Czech Republic the power to decide on the prices of rolls that are sold in private establishments throughout the Czech Republic?"
Of course, our winning Party would announce that it would set the price at (say) a pleasing 0,1 CZK, ie 10 pennies per croissant. Recall that there are more buyers at rolls than sellers.
The party, of course, won in free elections. It even introduced elements direct democracy, the law was approved in general, free referendum.
But is it freedom? After all, we can go further through "free referendums" and "free elections" - pass similar laws for many other products, declare "strategic industries", where (freely in a referendum) we nationalize large companies (the same is owned only by dusty capitalists) on the death penalty, to set strict limits on entry and exit (there is a risk of Islamic immigration)…
The constitution is not a problem. The constitution is a paper that democratically elected politicians can change.
Wasn't it here already?
The fact that proper democratic elections are taking place in a given country does not in any way mean that the country is free.
But can anything like "elections" be free at all?
That's the question. You have the right not to "vote", but you do not have the right not to abide by the laws of the election. Again, imagine "free" elections, where the only candidate parties are the Communist Party and the NSDAP. And now beware, the most important thing: you can not vote, you are free!
You can even start a new party and go to the polls, just… you don't have the money for the campaign. Why? Because the previous government (for example, the coalition of the Communist Party and the NSDAP, an interesting combination), controlled prices, wages, financial flows.
It still doesn't matter. No one is stopping you from starting a party! You even have a choice! You don't even have to vote! You are free because you have "democratic" elections.
Do you understand what absurdity I wrote about at the beginning? The equation of democracy = freedom does not apply. Absolute democracy is the dictatorship of the majority.
Matěj Stropnický (SZ) once had the motto "more democracy, less market". Democracy is an artificial system for the functioning of state power, for enforcement. The market is a natural system for the functioning of voluntary cooperation. If Stropnický had the motto "absolute monarch, less market", he would in fact promote the same.
Do we have to or do we want to?
From this point of view, freedom should be seen. Society is not a real entity: there is no free society without free individuals. You can either act, achieve something, think something, say, do, anything simply because you "want", that is, voluntarily, or you can act (…) simply because you have to (or you must not).
As a result, we "must (we must not)" only "when it comes to the state or some state institution, which alone has the power, the monopoly of enforcement. Only the state and its institutions can force you to do something.
The state is included here in all components - central government, authorities, regions, cities, municipalities, state courts, state parliament. State institutions are all originally also private institutions (enterprises) that have begun to participate in state power - enterprises receiving subsidies, benefiting from regulations, "private" funds administering statutory retirement savings, "private" schools subject to the state and partially paid from state money and many more.
Yes, even at work we are voluntary (of our own choice) and we also take local decisions there. If not, we will revolt or terminate the employment. Our decision.
Don't like it, move out?
We were born into a state, we did not choose a state. We are not in the state voluntarily, so "escaping" from the relationship with the home state (emigration) may (may not) be an act of coercion, not a free choice. For this reason, the common saying is also absurd: “don't you like it? Move out! ”
Don't you like that we democratically took all your property? Don't you like that we have democratically determined that your race is inferior? Don't you like having to pay 90% income tax? Move out!
Thus, freedom can only be where there is an absence of coercion - the state. It is a question of where this situation is effective everywhere (this is for a different debate between anarchists, minarchists and interventionists of all kinds).
The idea that the absence of a state in an area is full of danger to the jungle is also absurd. However morality and the rules of human cooperation (market law) is a product of the market (voluntary human cooperation), the market arises.
However, if morality arises as an "internal" social institution in the market, then morality is the product of voluntary human cooperation, the system of freedom. It is precisely the market that brings ethics and morality among humanity over time. Where State intervention suppresses the efficient functioning of the market, state intervention also means the suppression of natural ethics and morality.
The identification of democracy with freedom is dangerous. It is equivalent to claiming that a totalitarian state is free because the government (once) came to power through free elections.