Inundated from early childhood with government propaganda in public schools and educational institutions by legions of publicly certified intellectual, most people mindlessly accept and repeat nonsense such as that democracy is self-rule and government is of, by, and for the people. — Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy, The God That Failed
James Madison was not a democrat. He denounced popular rule as "incompatible with personal security or the rights of property." Democracy, he observed, must be confined to a "small spot" (like Athens). Indeed, the Bush administration's deafening demagoguery notwithstanding, democratic majoritarianism is thoroughly un-American.
Madison and the other Founders attempted to forestall democracy by devising a republic, the hallmark of which was the preservation of individual liberty. To that end, they restricted the federal government to a handful of enumerated powers. Decentralization, devolution of authority, and the restrictions on government imposed by a Bill of Rights were to ensure that few issues were left to the adjudication of a national majority.
The essence of democracy, instantiated so perfectly in Bush's neoconservative administration, is Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "general will," a "national purpose" that ought to be implemented by an all-powerful state. Voltaire, a rather cleverer Frenchman, said that Rousseau is as to the philosopher as the ape is to man. Still, that ape's idea animated the blood-drenched French and Russian revolutions. And sadly, it wafted over the Atlantic, took root in the republic's soil, and flourished like kudzu.
Over time, this foreign weed began to choke the Founder's Republic. As Felix Morley observed in Freedom and Federalism, earlier Americans were undeniably influenced by Rousseau, harboring a considerable admiration for the manner in which the common democratic will found expression in revolutionary France. The later infestation of Marxist ideas completed Rousseau's work...
Good democracy is said to be commensurate with class, wealth, and occupational convergence. The Norwegian scholars lament that less-than-perfect democracy has been achieved in Norwegian private life, where women and minorities have failed to achieve aggregate economic parity. Although when it comes to their presence in education, political life, and public-sector employment, politically imposed affirmative action and quotas have done the trick. In other words, democracy is optimized in spheres where the state is most active. Since natural inequalities are part of the human condition, egalitarianism requires concerted acts of government force. Democratic social structure is a product of the systematic use of political power. In as much as democracy's aim is the achievement of equality, it is inimical to liberty.
So we see that the road to serfdom — in both Norway and America — is no coincidental detour, but rather a well-charted destiny. As Hans-Herman Hoppe has observed, the failure of democracy is rooted in its very nature. Coercive majoritarianism, nominal ownership of property, a highly centralized and authoritarian state with ever-expanding distributive and other powers, over whose decisions "The People" exert little control — these have inevitable consequences.
The Founding Fathers warned against this. But instead of Madison, we chose to follow that ape, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Ilana Mercer is a columnist for WorldNetDaily.com and author of Broad Sides: One Woman's Clash With A Corrupt Culture. For more about her work, please visit www.ilanamercer.com. Write to her. Post comments on the blog.
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