Ilana Mercer, November 6, 2002

A succinct distinction between a republic and a democracy shows that the American republic rests in peace and that voting in the Unites States is undeniably democratic, not republican. In Does Democracy Promote Peace, legal scholar James Ostrowski does just that:

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 that they exercise narrow powers delegated to them by the people, who themselves, as individuals, possess such powers.

The allusion to “narrow powers” is far removed from the realities of the American social democracy, particularly in light of the welter of new powers Washington has grabbed since September 11. With the governed in the U.S. exerting so few controls over those doing the governing, the original notion of the people having the same powers as their elected officials strikes one as positively quaint.

The powers available to power wielders in a democracy are, by definition, exceedingly broad and broaden with almost every bit of legislation passed. That we were once a republic and are now a social democracy makes clear that the Constitution has not halted this progression. The Constitution has, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed.

“The process of mutilation” Frank Chodorov dated to the Jackson Administration, but put the Constitution’s final expiration down to the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment. “The income tax,” wrote Chodorov in Imperium in Imperio, “insinuated a theory of government quite unknown to the Founding Fathers, holding that the function of government is to act as pater familias to society as a whole. To perform that role, the government must have access to all that is produced, as a matter of right, just as a feudal baron might lay claim to the fruits of his vassals’ labor.”

Successive Supreme Courts have contributed to the “mutilation” by interpreting the Constitution so that it no longer reflects the eternal verities the Founders spoke to, but the prevailing egalitarian redistributionist credo.

With natural rights being held hostage to the “greater good,” the vote in a democracy is not to select people who would protect the inviolability of the rights the Founders wanted to instantiate—the right to life, liberty and property. At best, the vote in a democracy is a toss-up between a candidate who would loot for welfare and the candidate whose preference is to pillage for warfare.

The one fellow will ransack the taxpayer in order to secure prescription medication for those who think their health is the collective’s responsibility; the other ‘virtuous’ chap thinks nothing of a shakedown in the cause of imposing democracy on far-flung nations, never with their democratic consent.

The vote in a democracy is about 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.”

In a democracy, “even the individuals who voted and who managed to pick a winner are not actually ruling themselves in any sense of the word,” say Linda and Morris Tannehill. They voted for a man, not for the specific laws that govern them.” And the laws that man and his faceless bureaucracy usher in have their own momentum.

Who among the traditional support base of George Bush would have foreseen his plumping for protectionist policies for the steel, softwood lumber and agriculture industries? Or for legislation like the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulation bill? Who would have predicted his newfound dedication to rights infringing anti-discrimination laws, not least the support for gender-based quotas in college athletics? All of these reflect presidential pandering in a democracy to the real constituency: the special interest group.

This voracious voter forms the largest and most powerful constituency. He is the backbone of the system, and possesses the greatest political pull, because the tax burden in a democracy rests on a minority. The majority of taxpayers in the modern-day social democracy pay very little tax but receive myriad government benefits anyway.

Oddly enough, conservatives continue to stubbornly associate Republican candidates with the no-longer extant republican principles, believing that systemic ills can be remedied at the ballot box: Get the right—Republican—guy in and all will be swell.

Their confusion is understandable. Republicans are the drag queens of politics. While the Democrat is open about his devilishness—he finds the idea of a constitutional government with narrowly delimited powers as repellent as Dracula finds garlic—modern-day conservatives are subtle about their aversion to a Jeffersonian republic.

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 support for the very welfare infrastructure which is at the root of the social rot they decry.

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. 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.”

Mr. Bush has certainly earned his Great Society Democrat credentials.

Ultimately, the vote in a democracy is for the social democrat who thinks nothing of mob rule as a moral philosophy. 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 only 51 percent of the vote, making the slogan “freedom begins at the ballot box” a very cruel hoax indeed.





CATEGORIES: Constitution, Decentralization, Democracy, Federalism, Republicans, Taxation