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Why voting doesn't count

Posted By Ilana Mercer On 11/06/2002 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Writer Henry Lamb’s boosterish gush about voting is typical of the confusion over the democratic process.

Mr. Lamb does demonstrate a fleeting understanding of the principles undergirding a republic as opposed to a democracy. “This country is nearly evenly divided between people who believe that government should control and manage the affairs of its citizens, and people who believe that the purpose of government is to protect the freedom of individual citizens to manage their own affairs.”

Regrettably brief, this understanding dissipates as Lamb goes on to generally anoint Republican candidates as adherents of the no-longer extant republican principles, and ventures that the antidote to the system’s ills lies in voting to get the right guy in.

But first, libertarian legal scholar James Ostrowski’s succinct distinction between a republic and a democracy:

Democracy is nothing more than the numerous and their manipulators bullying the less numerous. It is an elaborate and deceptive rationalization for the strong in numbers to impose their will on the electorally weak by means of centralized state coercion …

Both forms of government feature voting by the people to select officials. The primary difference between them is that while republican voting is done for the purpose of choosing officials to administer the government in the pursuit of its narrowly defined functions, democratic voting is done, not only to select officials but also to determine the functions and goals and powers of the government.

The guiding principle of republics is they exercise narrow powers delegated to them by the people, who themselves, as individuals, possess such powers.

While Lamb is able to detect the devil – he tells readers that the bad guys are “liberals” or “socialists,” who are often associated with the Democratic Party, the Green Party and others – he proves deficient by commending as good guys “members of the second group, referred to as ‘conservatives,’ and often associated with the Republican Party and other groups.”

Since most establishment politicians are social democrats of one or another variety, the “liberal” appellation, with few exceptions, includes almost all Republicans.

The Democrat is open about his devilishness – he finds the idea of a constitutional government with narrowly delimited powers as repellant as Dracula finds garlic. Modern-day conservatives, on the other hand, are less up front about their aversion to a Jeffersonian republic. In a sense, Republicans are the drag queens of politics. Peel away the pules for family, faith and fetuses and one discovers either, what economist and political philosopher Hans-Hermann-Hoppe calls “neoconservative welfare-warfare statists and global social democrats.” Or, conversely, national socialists of sorts, who fuse economic protectionism, populism and a support for the very welfare infrastructure which is at the root of social rot.

In a word, the social democratic bona fides of the Republican are beyond reproach. “Contrary to popular myth,” demurs Ostrowski, “every Republican president since and including Herbert Hoover has increased the federal government’s size, scope or power – and usually all three. Over the last 100 years, of the five presidents who presided over the largest domestic spending increases, four were Republicans. Include regulations and foreign policy, as well as budgets approved by a Republican Congress, and a picture begins to emerge of the Republican Party as a reliable engine of government growth.”

Bush’s stupendous spending on terrorism-related government job-creation schemes has seen the counter-productive public sector balloon, something that’s akin to a hidden tax. Protectionist policies for the steel, softwood lumber and agriculture industries, legislation like the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulation bill, and support for gender-based quotas in college athletics combine to make Bush’s Great Society Democrat credentials respectable.

Yesterday’s vote was not about the inviolability of rights to life, liberty and property. Instead, the toss-up was between a candidate who would loot to ensure prescription medication for those who think their health is the collective’s responsibility, and the candidate who pillages for warfare – this “principled” fellow thinks nothing of pilfering taxpayers to finance the imposition of democracy on far-flung nations, without their democratic consent, naturally.

Indeed, the American republic rests in peace. Your vote was invariably for a social democrat, who thinks nothing of mob rule as a moral philosophy. Your support was for the coerced distribution James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, eschewed in his 1792 disquisition on “Property”: “What a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent.”

Lamb’s claim that “freedom begins at the ballot box” isn’t valid in a social democracy, where government’s confiscatory – and other – powers are a work in progress. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn almost got it right when he said, “Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.” Correction: All that can be achieved with 51 percent of the voters!


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