Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary Vs. Trump: Where’s the Opposition to Welfare State Violence?

Ivanka's fraud and Hillary's facts headlined a New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial during the Democrat convention. The subject was Leftist “social welfare” planks that both Clinton and Trump announced they support—Hillary explicitly and Trump through his daughter. The Star-Ledger writes:


Ivanka Trump said all the right things [at her GOP convention speech introducing her father].


She said that quality child care should be affordable and available for everyone, and that as President, her father will "fight for equal pay for equal work," and "change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce."


The Star-Ledger says you can’t trust Trump to follow through on promises to impose this Leftist agenda. “But what evidence is there that this is more than lip service, and like Clinton, her father will actually follow through?,” it asks.


Of course, if Trump were the Democrat nominee, you can bet that the Star-Ledger would be singing a different tune. I left these comments:


What this editorial shows is that, essentially, we have a choice between two Leftist Democrats, one actual and one dressed up as a Republican. The only debate is over who will expand the welfare state the most, how fast, and in what way.


And if Trump “oozed condescension,” the Star-Ledger is drenched in disingenuousness. Hillary


“pledged to cap child-care spending at 10 percent of family income, expand early childhood home visiting programs, increase pay for child care workers and guarantee 12 weeks of paid family leave.”


How will Hillary meet this pledge? She won’t. She’ll use the government’s guns to force that increased welfare state burden on productive Americans, through taxes and regulations. Make no mistake. Hillary’s agenda is a violent one. Law is deferred violence. If you disobey the law, you will be assaulted by armed government agents, fined, and/or jailed. This is as it should be, up to a point; the point up to which it’s a necessary tool—a “just power”— to protect our rights from criminals like thieves, murderers, rapists, and fraudsters. Beyond that point, the government becomes not a defensive agent but the aggressor, using its law-making powers to assault innocent citizens who have violated no one’s rights.


The regulatory welfare state violates people’s rights to spend their own money as they see fit, and to voluntarily forge employer-employee agreements. Law is force. Law is deferred violence. Government mandates and redistributive taxes come under threat of deferred violence that is inherent in any law. Hillary’s agenda is a violent one.


There’s no escaping that indisputable fact. However, like almost all Leftist opinion pieces, the Star-Ledger dishonestly ignores the means, and focusses only on the ends. “Polling shows the vast majority of Americans, both Republican and Democrat, support equal pay and making child care more available and affordable?” So what? Taken completely out of context, who would not want those things? But are the violent means moral and just? Of course not, even if camouflaged behind a ballot box. It is no more just to vote for politicians to seize your neighbor’s money at gunpoint than to grab a gun and do it yourself. The same goes for forcing innocent fellow Americans to act against their will through government regulations.


There’s no doubt that the ever-increasing economic burden of the regulatory welfare state is making most people’s lives harder and more expensive (e.g., “the rising costs of child care”), which in turn leads to calls for still more welfare statism to compensate. What we need to reverse this destructive never-ending cycle is to recognize the actual nature and immorality of the welfare state. But we’re not having that moral debate—not in the political arena—because we’re faced with a choice between the least bad of two Democrat regressives—the least bad being, of course, Donald Trump.


Related Reading:







This Year’s Election Choice: 3rd Party or Best Platform?

Donald and Hillary in Plunderland—Richard M. Ebeling for FEE

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Attacks on Excellence in School Sports

New Jersey Star-Ledger letter writer Bill Bahrs claims that Private school powerhouses ruin competitive HS sports. Why? Because private schools pull kids from all over a region, while public schools are restricted to kids pulled from within their own town or district. In a letter published in early February 2016, Bahrs complains:

Delbarton won its 8th consecutive Morris County Wrestling Championship this past weekend, with wrestlers from probably a dozen different communities.

How does that make the second, third or fourth place teams feel? Probably like they are competing against an all-star team composed of kids from all over the county? Is it fair to the kids that only live in the towns that are represented on the front of their singlet?

I have no idea where those Delbarton wrestlers live, but what if they had competed for their hometowns? Would the tournament have had a completely different feel and outcome?

. . .  On any given week in New Jersey, 17 of the top 20 schools in boys basketball, and 11 out of 20 in girls basketball, are private.

In hockey it’s 12 out of 20. In wrestling, it’s six out of 20. In football, it was seven out of 20. And so it goes, no matter what the sport.

. . . You may think I’m prejudiced, but if your school’s name begins with Saint, ends in Prep, or is not a town name I recognize, I’m simply not rooting for you, and there certainly are no crocodile tears when you lose.

I probably should not be too quick to judge Bahrs. He may honestly believe that private schools have an unfair advantage. On the other hand, he may harbor a sinister undercurrent of envy. I don’t know. Personally, I think if there is an element of truth to Bahrs’ argument, the blame rests with the government schools, which coercively assign children to schools based on their home address, rather than with the private schools. Private schools are not “advantaged.” Tax-funded public schools are at a government-imposed disadvantage. If all schools were privately run and administered, as they should be, you’d have an equal playing field.

Whatever Bahrs’ motivations, there is a broadening trend of hatred and resentment of earned success in this country. And it extends to school sports. Consider a January 2016 column by Dr. Michael J. Hurd, Minnesotans Ban a Basketball Team for Being “Too Good”.

Hurd writes about a girls youth basketball team, the Rogers Area Youth Basketball Association girls high school team, getting kicked from a tournament by the Northwest Suburban Basketball League (Girls basketball team gets booted from league for being too good). Quoting from the article, Hurd writes:

“This is absurd,” parent Sherri Palmgren told the station. “Do we take the (NFL’s) Patriots or Cardinals, who are going to the championship game, and kick them to the curb because they’re too good?
Give it time!
The league ejected RAYBA just ahead of a showcase tournament this weekend, according to Fox 9.

“Are we supposed to play worse just to make them happy?” team member Tessa McCarthy told the station.
Yes. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. According to whom? Not just according to the idiots who make these policies and decisions. According to the ideology of self-sacrifice. The idiots who make these policies are everywhere. That’s why we keep seeing these kinds of stories over, and over, and over again. Without the notion of selfless humility as the ideal—which most of us have accepted—these policies would never see the light of day. Instead, they’re now normal.

“You are your brother’s keeper.” “Don’t be selfish.” “There is no ‘I’ in team.” “Level the playing field.” “The meek shall inherit the earth.” We’ve all heard these ideas and slogans a thousand times. They have a way of penetrating, and sticking, in our subconscious minds. That’s why, when it comes to decisions like this, most people are afraid to speak out.

It comes down to a choice, writes Hurd, between “This team is kicking ass. It’s doing so well that it makes the losing teams uncomfortable and embarrassed. The winning team should take a break. Humility rules” and the opposing idea: “Forget it! They won, fair and square, and they deserve to enjoy their success.”

“Sooner or later,” Hurd observes, “when confronted with two contradictory premises, you have to decide.”

Perhaps, as I said, Bahrs’ complaint against private schools is motivated by a sense of fairness, however misplaced. Or maybe, like Hurd’s Minnesota example, Bahrs is just resentful for Delbarton being good, because of the way it makes “the second, third or fourth place teams”—and himself—“feel.” Bahrs’ letter certainly could be another example of what Hurd is talking about—the destructive corruption wrought by altruism, which fosters hatred of the good for being the good.

Related Reading:


Society’s ‘Lottery Winners’ and ‘Give Back’ vs. Win-Win

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hillary’s Neo-Communist Collectivism

During a June 2016 speech focused mostly on the Orlando terror attack and the policies she would follow in combating Islamic terrorism, Hillary Clinton pivoted into “a larger point about the future of our country.” Starting at about the 34:00 minute mark, Clinton provided a peek through the collectivist prism with which she views America. Here are key passages followed by my commentary:


  • [34:15] “America is strongest when we all believe that we have a stake in our country and our future. This vision has sustained us from the beginning—the belief that, yes, we are all created equal and the journey we have made to turn that into reality.”
Notice that Hillary stops short of the next key passage from the Declaration of Independence—“that [we] are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That passage puts “equality” in it’s proper, political context—equality of rights protected equally before the law. This omission is significant, as it turns out. Though she subsequently mentions the worthy fights to end slavery and expand the vote to women, she lumps them in with “throwing open the doors of education [government schooling]” and “building the strongest middle class the world has ever seen,” thus conflating two antipodes—political and economic equality. In her passage about “building the middle class,” the emphasis on “building” is hers, implying the standard Leftist line that the mid-20th Century regulatory welfare statism, not self-responsible free individuals living under the predominantly capitalist economy of America’s first 150 years, gave rise to the middle class.


  • [34:40] “We are not a land of winners and losers”


This is an indication of how Hillary views life, particularly economics—as a game. If one person succeeds, another person necessarily loses. But, loses what? Loses how? She doesn’t say. It’s a straw man meant to frame the debate according to the egalitarian anti-inequality narrative.


  • [34:45] “We should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential and we have the responsibility to help others do so as well.”


“Opportunity” in the American sense is in the freedom to act on our own behalf, unimpeded by artificial human barriers, and nothing else. The second part, about “responsibility,” shows that freedom is not what Hillary has in mind when she speaks of equality. This is another indication that ignoring the Declaration’s phrase about rights is deliberate. By “responsibility,” Hillary means government-imposed obligations through economic regulations and redistribution of wealth, not the responsibility to respect others’ rights to their freedom and earned property.


  • [34:09] “As I look at American History, I see that this has always been a country of ‘We,’ not ‘Me.’ We stand together because we are stronger together. . . . ‘Out of many, one’ has seen us through the darkest chapters of our history. Ever since 13 squabbling colonies put aside their disagreements and united because they realized they were going to rise together or fall separately.”


“Unity” is a loaded term. You can understand that term in so many different ways. Unity in the American individualist sense means united by a certain set of ideas oriented around the principle of the sovereign individual free to live his own life for his own good unhindered by anyone else’s coercive interference. Early on, “we” were united by respect for each others’ individual rights to life, liberty, property, trade, and pursuit of personal happiness—and by the principle embodied in the next great passage in the Declaration of Independence; “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” That phrase, conveniently ignored by Hillary, puts government in its proper context.


The second, subservient sense is what Hillary means by unity: Unity in the socialistic, collectivist sense essentially means the individual as subservient—part of a chain gang directed by the state as representative of the collective good. You can easily see how a country can be united behind the idea that each of us owns and is responsible for his life and well-being, and neither seeks nor has any right the unearned nor is expected to grant it. But how does a country in which everyone expects others to fill his needs and desires, and whose own labors are expected to fill others’ needs, stay united. United by what? Universal predation? Hillary doesn’t say. But in a stunning historical reversal—especially given her earlier reference to the Declaration of Independence, Hillary goes on. . .


  • [36:18]: “We are stronger when everyone can share in the rewards of our economy and contribute to our communities—when we bridge our divides and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.”


The “rewards of our economy” are really the sum of the rewards of productive individuals working and trading, which vary according to a whole host of personal attributes and circumstances, including intelligence, ability, ambition, values, goals, interests, moral character, and upbringing. But this human diversity, inherent in human nature, means nothing more to Hillary than some anonymous “the rewards of our economy,” as if “the economy” is an entity that exists separate from and independent of individual human beings, who must “share” equally in its “rewards.” Again we see why she stopped at “equal” in citing the Declaration of Independence—which, interestingly, she doesn’t even bother to name.


Of course capitalism, being the system of trade, is precisely a system in which people “lift each other up.” Trade is the exchange of value for value, leaving both traders better off. In order to get, one must give—win-win, but, importantly, the right not to engage in any exchange that, by the individual’s own judgement, does not entail a selfish personal gain. But Hillary is not a capitalist. The purpose for which Hillary believes “We should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential” and to “share in the rewards of our economy” is . . . what? The pursuit of personal happiness? No; to “contribute to our communities.” Under collectivism, the individual’s only moral purpose is to serve the “common good,” not his own good. Hillary is an undeclared socialist, the system that tears people down in proportion to their accomplishments, in order to lift others with the unearned—which, of course, ends up tearing every achiever down. Except, of course, for the dictatorial rulers, who enjoy unlimited power, wealth, and “prestige” as guardians of our collective good, which is never defined. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”


  • [36:55] “[We have] too much inequality and too little upward mobility”


Upward mobility—or more precisely, the freedom “to live up to our God-given potential”—is definitely hindered artificially by bad government schools, minimum wage, paid family leave and other labor laws, occupational licensure and other regulations, and a massive tax-and-spend apparatus. That can be fixed with pro-liberty, pro-free market policies. But inequality—by which she means economic inequality—is a glorious consequence of the convergence of two conditions—freedom and diversity; specifically, of the natural diversity of the human condition that I cited above, liberated by a society based on the individual freedom to rise as far as your personal context will carry you. It’s interesting that while the Left’s “celebration” of diversity fixates on race, they ignore diversity where it really matters. If Hillary, Barack Obama, and their ilk really valued diversity, they’d value diversity’s consequences and social requirements: They’d celebrate economic inequality and maximize individual liberty.


There is no correlation between “too much inequality and too little upward mobility.” Just the opposite, in fact. Maximum economic inequality is a consequence of unfettered upward mobility. To quash economic inequality, one must by definition quash upward mobility.


  • [36:20] “We’re going to get an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. We’re going to forge a new sense of connection and shared responsibility to each other and our nation.”


There you have it. Collectivism. Socialistic statism.


It is critical to understand that what we refer to as “the economy” is really the sum of the contributions of every individual who produces some level of economic value shared through trade with others. How the rewards of work are “distributed” can only be determined by “the market”; the sum of the voluntary choices of producers in their capacity as consumers. An “economy that works for everyone,” therefor, is one in which each person is secure in his property and liberty—where “connections” are voluntary and there are no unchosen responsibilities imposed by government.


But that is not how Hillary understands “the economy.” She is not reality-oriented. She is an economic statist. She is a collectivist—i.e., a mystic: Her view is a secular religion that substitutes the collective (the “public,” “society,” the “economy”) for God as the supreme master and final authority on all truth, with the state as the supreme master’s enforcer of that truth. Hillary, in simple terms, is a neo-communist. Her vision of “connection” is the connecting links of an economic chain gang, not of trade; of coerced “responsibility” to provide the unearned, not self-responsibility to gain the earned. Get ready for another lurch toward Cuban-style equalitarian economics, rather than American style political equality of rights under a rights-protecting government—a nation of increasing economic equality of poverty rather than an unequal economy of generally rising prosperity.

Socialism, the term that best describes the modern Democratic Party, is based on aggressive force. It is government force used to mold society into whatever the political faction in charge wishes. It is perpetual war by government against its own people, and nothing else. Far from forging “a new sense of connection,” Hillary’s vision would break the country apart into warring factions—we’re already part way there—each seeking control of the political apparatus, either in defense or to impose its views, or a combination of both. Democratic socialism, the Dem’s modern incarnation of this ancient evil, is war of all against all, with the government as the “hired gun” of the most recent electorally victorious faction. No wonder elections have taken on such urgency. It can be no other way when the individual lacks protection of his rights. In a rights-protecting society, where the right not to be “connected” is protected, neither the government nor one’s neighbor is a threat.


This is what we are up against in this election, which we face without a Republican candidate willing or capable of offering an individualist, capitalist opposing vision.


Related Reading;







Economic Equality vs. Political Equality: Which is Your America?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Can Trump Break the Social Authoritarian Conservatives’ Grip on the GOP?

In my last post, I opined about why the Republican Party platform is better—or perhaps less bad—than the Democrat Party platform, and why focussing on the respective platforms is the way that liberty lovers can approach this year’s elections.


Today I want to build on that theme.


I don’t find much to cheer about in Donald Trump. But one positive aspect of Trump is that he is not a social/religious conservative. He’ll pay lip service to the GOP’s social conservatism when need be. But he has no burning desire to push the conservative social agenda. I didn’t listen to Trump’s acceptance speech. But my understanding is that he didn’t once mention God or abortion. That’s very telling for a Republican nominee—and for me, a positive sign. As New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine reports, social conservatives have trapped the Republican Party into a box that severely limits its electoral chances. But,


Thanks to the Donald, the party has a chance to escape that box. Trump is not a social or religious conservative. He's a sophisticated New Yorker who gets along fine with  "the LGBTQ community," a point he pounded home in his acceptance speech Thursday night.


[Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute Pat] Murray noted that . . . Trump accomplished something . . . that didn't get much notice in the media.


The Donald managed to draw attention away from the party platform, which is packed with positions that please the social conservatives of the South and alienate the rest of the country.


A few years ago, I reviewed a book for The Objective Standard titled American Individualism—How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, by Margaret Hoover. Hoover argued that, to save the GOP from irrelevance and set it “on its way to majority status,” the Party much extract itself from the clutches of the social conservatives and adopt a more consistently pro-liberty platform molded under the banner of individualism.


Can Trump break the social conservatives’ hold on the GOP? Admittedly, it’s a tall task. As Mulshine observes, the 2016 Republican platform is heavy on social authoritarianism. But, America desperately needs a consistently pro-liberty major party. As it stands now, one party is economically authoritarian, and the other socially authoritarian. We need a major party that supports individual liberty in both the economic and social realms.


In my view, Hoover’s book was prescient then and more so now. Donald Trump has many flaws from a pro-liberty perspective, and he may well lead the GOP down to defeat this year. But if he does nothing else but initiate a transformation of the Republican Party along the lines envisioned by Margaret Hoover, he will have been a worthwhile candidate, longer term—for both the Republican Party and America generally.


Related Reading:





My Challenge To the GOP: A Philosophical Contract With America

Monday, September 19, 2016

Dem's Economic Authoritarianism Outweighs GOP's Social Authoritarianism

The New Jersey Star-Ledger blasted the Republican Party’s social conservative credentials, arguing in an editorial that the GOP's anti-LGBT platform will make America less great again.

I left these comments, somewhat edited for clarity:

I have long believed that the Republican Party’s being held captive by the social/religious conservatives has held the party back. Though the GOP has traditionally leaned toward economic liberty (more or less, at least in theory), that pro-liberty message has been undercut by its social authoritarianism. That’s a major reason why I’m an Independent.

But liberty has been winning in the social arena. The big threat to America today is not the GOP’s social authoritarianism but the Democrat’s economic authoritarianism.

From a pro-liberty perspective the Republican Party platform leaves much to be desired. But the Democrat Party platform is catastrophic. The Democrats have lurched more heavily toward statism and nihilism than ever before. The Dems have been captured by environmentalist witch doctors who would sacrifice human energy needs to the climate gods and radical neo-communist egalitarians who value economic equality over individual rights, political equality, and economic progress.

If their platform recommendations are adopted, the Democrats will double down on their war on reliable, economical energy, in the form of going 50% “green” energy  within 10 years and elimination of fossil fuels by 2050; accelerate their war on individual human diversity and achievement, in the form of an anti-economic inequality crusade; ratchet up their war on free speech and intellectual freedom, in the form of federalizing the blatantly fascist state Democrat AGs United for Clean Powerprosecutorial assault on ExxonMobil and numerous intellectual institutions who dissenting from the Left’s climate catastrophist dogma under cover of “fraud”. There's plenty more wrong with the Democrat Party, including their deliberate mis-identification of the causes of the 2008-09 financial crisis and Great Recession—blaming private business rather than government “affordable housing” crusades—for the purpose of rationalizing the massive regulatory expansion over the economy generally and finance in particular.

If the Democrat Party were still led by “Old Left” liberals like Scoop Jackson, JFK, Patrick Moynahan, and Joe Lieberman, a Democrat victory wouldn’t be so worrisome. I could easily envision myself “voting my conscience” by abstaining or going third party rather than vote for Trump for president. But the modern New Left Democrats stand clearly with collectivism, tyranny, and regression. Their agenda is economically destructive and immoral. Therefore, as my conscience now dictates, I will almost certainly vote Trump and straight Republican in November. The Democrats must be kept out of power even at the price of a Trump Administration, lest we slide even faster toward fascist-style socialism.

Related Reading:




Trump, Campaign Violence, and Campaign Finance Reform

Saturday, September 17, 2016

On This Constitution Day, Remember the Declaration of Independence

230 years ago, on September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention ended and the Constitution of the United States of America was signed. This day is officially known as Constitution Day.


It was also an occasion for one columnist to declare that the US Constitution is "broken." The New Jersey Star-Ledger's Tom Moran writes:


Kids in America are taught to venerate the Constitution, almost as if it were the word of God.


And that’s exactly what Thomas Jefferson feared. He believed it was flawed, that experience would teach each generation new lessons and that it should be redone every 19 years.


But Jefferson lost the argument. And so the Founders signed a Constitution 225 years ago tomorrow that is an impregnable fortress, firmly set against the forces of change that Jefferson welcomed and almost impossible to amend.


Does that make sense? Haven’t we learned valuable lessons over the past few centuries about how democracies thrive, and how they stagnate? In a day when our federal government is so dysfunctional, shouldn't we at least consider fundamental changes?


University of Texas Professor Sanford Levinson is advocating a series of such fundamental changes to the US Constitution, which Moran discusses in his column. Levinson's proposals include instituting a direct popular vote for president and measures to greatly weaken the checks and balances that limit the power of any one branch of government. In essence, Levinson's purpose, according to Moran, is to expand the power of majority rule and break Washington's political "gridlock," which has made our federal government "dysfunctional."


Moran approvingly cites Thomas Jefferson who, as Moran strongly implies, would welcome these constitutional changes, or any changes suited to any generation.


Before we discuss ways to expand the power of electoral majority rule so as to enable the government to get more done, we need to have a conversation about what the government's proper job it is to do.


The American constitution's basic function is to limit government's power to the protection of individual rights. This is spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, the philosophical blueprint for the constitution. Any discussion about the constitution has to begin with the Declaration--which, incidentally, was written by Thomas Jefferson:


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . .


In its essentials, this 55 word statement of proper government says:

  • Rights are held equally and at all times by all people.
  • Rights belong inextricably to the individual by virtue of his nature as a human being.
  • Rights are guarantees to freedom of action; to the pursuit of happiness, not to happiness guaranteed by the labor or wealth of others.
  • Rights precede government.
  • Government is created exclusively to “secure”—i.e., protect—rights.
  • Government’s “just powers” being authorized by the people, through a popular vote.
  • “Just powers” being only those powers required for government to fulfill the purpose for which it was created to begin with—to legally protect the people’s unalienable individual rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.


Of course, this is not the "Word of God," to be accepted uncritically. Each of these points requires extensive philosophical backup. None of these "truths" are in fact "self-evident." They must be learned and validated scientifically; i.e., morally and philosophically, as determined by the observable facts of reality concerning man and his requirements for survival and flourishing. But these are the essentials, as I see it.


The Founders did not intend to create a democracy, despite Moran's devious attempt to smuggle in that premise. They created a constitutionally limited republic protective of the liberty and rights of the individual, under which the constitution "carefully limits the power of the majority by drawing a legal boundry around it" (P. 113)—a boundry that stops majority and elected officials' power where individual rights begin. The Founders understood that government presupposes individual rights. So the constitutional discussion must begin with the questions: What are rights, and what is the proper function of government?


As the Declaration states, every individual is "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Since productive work is the only means of sustaining one's life and achieving happiness, it's obvious that the Founders understood--including in Jefferson's own words--that property rights are among those rights. The Declaration then states "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." Rights—which in fact are not endowments by either nature or God but moral principles derived from observations and facts about human nature—are sanctions to freedom of action in a social context, not a claim on the lives and property of others or a government guarantee of material well-being and happiness. Notice that the constitution does not authorize government to redistribute private wealth.


Moran is wrong. America hasn't stagnated. It has "progressed" from what was a largely free country a century ago to a burgeoning regulatory welfare state—a dangerous regressionary trend. Why? Because the fundamental principles upon which the constitution rests have been largely abandoned, opening the door to the piecemeal progression toward unlimited majoritarian rule, a manifestation of totalitarianism. Consequently, our best short-term protection against further encroachments on individual rights--and it's a weak protection--is political gridlock. I can't think of anything more dangerous to America's future than to begin tampering with the basics of the constitution in today's cultural environment. Before we consider unshackling majority rule, we must rediscover our Founding principles, roll back the regulatory welfare state, and provide ironclad guarantees that no one's rights be alienated by majority vote; i.e., respect the original intent of the constitution.


The Founders did not intend to replace absolute monarchy with absolute majority rule unconstrained by the principle of individual rights. As Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) asked during a debate over the propriety of the Revolutionary War in the movie "The Patriot", "Why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as a king can."

The answer: We shouldn't. As Jefferson said, "the majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society." The Founders were not primarily concerned with giving the people the right to vote. They intended to liberate the people from predatory government, whether monarchistic, theocratic, or democratic.

As we celebrate Constitution Day, remember what I call the Constitution’s philosophic blueprint, or what has also been called the conscience of the Constitution—the Declaration of Independence.


Related Reading:







The Declaration of Independence

The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty—Timothy Sandefur