Is the right to vote a fundamental inalienable right or a derivative civil right? The answer to that question will largely determine the future of Americanism.
The right to vote is important. But there is a stark difference between the Progressives’ concept of the vote and the vote in a free society. In a free society—that is, in the original American concept of republican government—the voting majority's will as expressed by the government officials it elects (and their appointees) is limited by iron-clad constitutional protection of individual rights.
For Progressives (or “liberals” or Leftists), the voting majority’s will is not limited in such a way. In a free society, individual rights trump the vote: that is, the losing minority in an election have nothing to fear from the politicians elected by the other side, because the politicians have no power to legislate or regulate away the losing side’s (or anyone’s) individual rights, thanks to “iron-clad constitutional protection of individual rights.”
To a Progressive, the vote supersedes individual rights. The only right that is unalienable is the right to vote. All other rights, such as rights to property and trade, and speech, are subordinated to approval of the vote.
In a constitutional republic, the ballot box is an instrument of liberation, reinforcing and extending individuals’ rights to control their own destiny. Since the government’s job is to protect individual rights, it stands to reason that the people have the right to decide, through popular elections, the individuals and methods—the “just powers”—for protecting their rights. The people’s right to choose their political leaders is derived from—but can never supersede—the individual’s right to his life, liberty, property earned through production and trade, and pursuit of happiness.
In a Democracy, the ballot box is an instrument of government-granted powers of control and oppression by the majority over the minority (or influential minority over everyone else). Since the smallest minority in any society is the individual, democracy is an instrument of aggression for the purpose of subjugation of the individual to the state. So-called “liberals” or progressives are democracy fundamentalists who worship at the altar of unfettered majority rule—majority rule unconstrained by constitutional protections for individual rights. In their radical democracist vision, the right to vote is not just a fundamental right, which it is not, but is the only fundamental right. All other rights, to the Democracy Fundamentalists, are permissions granted at the pleasure of the state on behalf of the voting majority.
To Democracy Fundamentalists, the ballot box is an instrument of aggression, control, and subjugation of the individual to the state.
It is important to note that majority democratic elections succeeded the advent of individual rights. The goal of a constitutional republic is to establish individual rights as the foundational purpose of government, then figure out the best democratic process for choosing political representation. Note the preciseness of the order in the Declaration of Independence: “[A]ll men . . . 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. . .”
Individual rights precede government, and are thus protected absolutely from the political representatives and thus from infringement by the democratic process. The goal is not to allow the ballot box to become the club by which the most powerful political factions beat the less powerful into submission to its self-serving agenda. Democracy fundamentalists’ goal is precisely to turn the ballot box into that club.
July 4, 1776: Words that Will Never Be Erased
America the Undemocratic
Atlas Shrugged: America’s Second Declaration of Independence—Onkar Ghate
On This Constitution Day, Remember the Declaration of Independence
The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty – Timothy Sandefur