Over in John Quiggins land of Social Democrats, resident commenter Ikonoclast takes a jab at Liberal Democracy.
To simultaneously support democratic government and minimalist government is a patent nonsense. I can only assume therefore that anyone espousing such a position either does not truly support democratic government or is blind to the inherent contradiction of their position.
In response I offer the following:-
There is no contradiction in believing that government should be minimal and democractic. None at all. There are two ways to look at this.
Firstly one may believe that a minimal government is the best type of government and then espouse this view to voters. If the majority then voted for libertarian minimalism would you reject their decision as undemocratic? This is the approach most advocates of minimalist government operate on. They accept democracy as the political reality and work within that framework. The LDP took a platform of minimalist governement to the voters in 2007 and intends to do so again and again. There is no reason in my view for minimalist government to be removed from the democratic menu. Comparable parties such as ACT or Liberarianz do the same in New Zealand (all be it with slightly more success) and the Libertarian party does it in the USA. The major parties also run in Australia on a platform of minimalism in some areas of policy.
Secondly one should consider the form and nature of democracies. No democracy operates purely on majority will. All modern democracies expect popular elected governments to submit at a minimum to the rule of law. Various democracies constrain their governments constitutionally in a variety of other ways. The Australian constitution insists on just compensation for property confiscated. The EU constitution (or treaty set) has a veto clause for each state when it comes to tax centralisation. The US bill of rights is intended to limit democratically elected governments.
Democracy is at the end of the day a way to resolve power conflicts. It is not a fount of pure wisdom on how best to govern but a means to achieve an approximate form of government that considers the public good rather than merely championing sectional interests. The point of democracy should be to ensure everbody has a voice not to ensure that the majority may freely plunder the minority. If we actually ever achieved a state where the government cared only about the collective public good (ie perfect democracy) and was wise and intelligent then it stands to reason that we would have minimalist government. The government that governs least governs best.