A REPUBLIC AND WE CAN’T KEEP IT: ON MOBILIZED DEMOCRACY
For a few years now, whenever I read stories about “voting rights” or witness debates about making voting “easy,” I feel uneasy and react with slight revulsion. Almost as if I notice the slight whiff of the scent of a skunk.
Why? I believe such cries for expanding “voting rights” represent a deep corruption of our idea of our system of government. Indeed, a rot.
Famously, upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by citizens asking what kind of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” This might by a myth, but it’s a good myth, one that represents the intent and meaning of our original system of government.
What is a republic? To the Founding Fathers, learned men steeped in classical education, it meant what it had always meant: A form of representative government aligned with the res publica, the common interest. Meaning, first and foremost the republic is a common asset of which we are the trustees and custodians. Something to preserve and pass down to our posterity. This is eloquently stated in the preamble to our Constitution which was devised “in order to form a more perfect Union… and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Note that the republic is not there to grant each individual free things. Rather, it is there to survive throughout the ages as a trust, with us as its trustees, to secure the blessings of liberty. To do that, the ancients have noticed, the best republics are an admixture of several forms of government. The Founders were well aware of the writings of Aristotle and Cicero, and their argument that the best constitutions and the best republics are indeed forms of representative government, but are not complete democracies. They combine an element of monarchy (such as the consuls of Rome), an element of aristocracy (such as the Roman Senate), and an element of democracy (the various assemblies of Rome).
Such balance, the ancients believed, should prevent a republic from deteriorating into tyranny, or an oligarchy, or mob rule. Indeed, nothing represents this custodian idea of the republic than old statues and reliefs of Roman senators, standing in serene piety while remaining loyal to the memory of the nation’s ancestors.
The Founding Fathers, as clearly expressed in the Federalist Papers and other sources had attempted to achieve a similar thing. A republic where representatives are chosen by the people of the various states but are balanced by an appointed Senate and a President, who himself, in turn, is elected by the people.
That system worked for a while, but almost from the very beginning, the democratic element has been turbo-charged to expand. First by the states expanding the privilege of voting to all men, regardless of property or standing; then by having senators elected rather than appointed by the legislatures of the states; then by lowering the voting age to the puerile threshold of 18; and then by expanding the vote to include women.
As in England, such an expansion has introduced a new kind of politics. The kind where rival groups compete for the resources of the public, rather than serving as those resources’ custodians. In turn, such rival groups promise a plethora of goods and free things, at the public expense, to get themselves elected into power.
Fast forward to where we are now, and especially after 60 years of mass immigration, profligacy, self-repudiation, and the pandering to any new low floating on the sewage of public discourse, and we have almost transformed into a third-world monkey-republic, where astronomic debt, dysfunction, and social strife are the norm. Where piety is not directed towards the serene busts of one’s ancestors, but towards twerking idiots without the ability to string together two proper sentences.
But as if such corruption of our republic is not enough, the Left seems to wish to land the final blow. Instead of at least limiting the democratic element to citizens adjudicating quietly their choices on election day, considering privately the benefit to the common good, we are once again asked to expand the charter. No, granting each citizen the equal ability to vote is not enough. In the name of the pseudo-intellectual idea of “equity”, we are supposed to help citizens in their voting. We must make voting into a non-act, so effortless and easy that like a Jennifer Lopez song, it requires no thought at all!
We are asked to allow third parties to collect what may or may not be citizen’s votes ahead of Voting Day (a practice used to be call ballot harvesting). We are asked to allow citizens to vote without approved means of identification. We are asked to allow citizens to hand over their votes by mail, or to other people as if voting is not a pious act of determining the republic’s future, but a perfunctory careless act of submitting a coupon for an extra cheeseburger.
Such blows transform a republic into a mobilized democracy. No more a balanced system where citizen-custodians consider the interests of the common good. Instead, we are creating a system where brainless hordes, promised free things, are mobilized and pushed to grant their vote to whomever shows up at their doorstep to collect and authorize their illegible ballots.
Is a mobilized democracy good for anybody? Clearly, it is nice for the Caesars of the world that control the mobs, then rise to power as surfers riding the waves of the sewer. For the common good, however, that trust that was designed to be passed down through the ages for the benefit of those who are yet to be born, a mobilized democracy is a complete perversion. It is good for the republic to the same extent that divorce, abortion, and secularism are good for the traditional family. Meaning, it is not.
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