Democracy 102

From: Vin Suprynowicz [] Sent: Friday, March 19, 1999 8:30 PM To: Subject: March 21 column - democracy FROM MOUNTAIN MEDIA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATED MARCH 21, 1999 THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz Why democracy is evil and un-American J.D. writes in from Orange County, California: "Hi Vin -- In arguments with my friends who lean heavily to the left and also declare that we live in a democracy (predominantly), with only a few necessary socialistic type programs, I've argued that we do not live any longer in a democracy but instead are governed by a purely socialist autocracy. "Am I correct in asserting this? If not, please describe precisely just what kind of government in your opinion we now live under." I replied: Howdy, J.D. -- I can tell you one place you're going wrong: You appear to be accepting "democracy" as a definition of the form of government intended by our founding fathers, and counterpoising it to socialism as though the two are somehow mutually exclusive. If enough children are led into the error of believing socialism is wise and good (as is likely to happen, for instance, if you entrust their "education" to the tender ministrations of our current government youth propaganda camps), then the people almost certainly will, as von Mises observed, realize they can "vote themselves a stipend out of someone else's pocket." At that point, there will no longer be any distinction between democracy and socialism; they become one and the same. The founders guarded against this by erecting many barriers against untrammeled democracy, recognizing unlimited democracy as the pernicious system which has been appropriately defined as "three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for supper." Yes, the "democratic vote" was the method the people were to use to elect their House of Representatives. But this was to be only one component of our great experiment in a government of checks and balances, giving the common man standing to choose one branch to express his views. The House could only "propose" laws. Those proposals would go nowhere if not embraced by the U.S. Senate, which was never envisioned as being democratically elected. Instead, the senators were supposed to be the oldest and wisest representatives of the states, chosen by the state legislatures, never in any popular baby-kissing contest. Their job was precisely to block bad laws (which is to say, most federal laws), to make sure the states always remained sovereign, independent republics -- Jefferson himself warning us we would know tyranny had arrived if the separate states ever degenerated into mere "administrative districts" of the central authority, "like the departments of France" -- should the states, for instance, ever have to bow to some uniform federal standard when it came to how they must fund the education of the handicapped ... if at all. Next, any proposed law which would alter out traditional liberties -- for instance, a tax which weighed more heavily on the man who creates more wealth, rather than a "capitation" tax which assesses the same fee against each adult, like a bridge toll -- would naturally be vetoed by the president, who again was not to be elected "democratically," but rather chosen by a college of electors, who were not and (start ital)are not(end ital) required to cast their votes according to the popular votes in their states. (The first electoral vote cast for a woman was not for Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, but for Libertarian Toni Nathan 12 years before. The man who cast it was not punished in any way; in fact, elector Roger MacBride later became the Libertarian Party's 1976 presidential nominee.) If even the senate and the president violated their oaths and allowed an unconstitutional law to pass (for instance, a law which in any way "infringed" the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear military-style weapons like machine guns, or the right to persist in an unenumerated 9th amendment "retained right" like buying and selling cocaine), then as few as five members of the Supreme Court (not "democratically elected" by anyone) could and were expected to toss out any enactment offensive to our rights. Finally, regardless of what any of those turkeys in Washington might say or do, no American can be punished for any newly made-up "crime" if merely one juror in 12 declares it's no crime and all, and sets him free. So the answer is that -- poisonous constitutional amendments having eroded our right to be free of an income tax (with all the government oversight and control of our finances that implies), the safeguard of senators not being popularly elected having also gone a-glimmering in 1913, and current court voir dire procedures having eliminated our right to trial by a randomly selected jury -- we do indeed live today in a full-bore democracy, which (very much as democratic elections in Weimar Germany created the same result in 1933) is now in the process of delivering us into the hands of a national-socialist police state -- fascism being defined as a form of government under which private title to property and industries is still permitted, but where the detailed control of their operation is in fact in the hands of government "regulators," taxmen, and functionaries. And it doesn't make a damned bit of difference what we call it. Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His new book, "Send in the Waco Killers" is available at $21.95 plus $3 shipping ($6 UPS; $2 each additional copy) through Mountain Media, P.O. Box 4422, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127-4422. The 500-page trade paperback may also be ordered via web site, or at 1-800-244-2224. Vin Suprynowicz, The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it. -- John Hay, 1872 The most difficult struggle of all is the one within ourselves. Let us not get accustomed and adjusted to these conditions. The one who adjusts ceases to discriminate between good and evil. He becomes a slave in body and soul. Whatever may happen to you, remember always: Don't adjust! Revolt against the reality! -- Mordechai Anielewicz, Warsaw, 1943 * * *