The Democrats’ favorite new word is democracy, which they use as a euphemism for (1) getting their way on everything and (2) more and bigger government. Anything that goes against their beliefs is not only dangerous, but “a threat to democracy.” Challenging the results of an election is a threat to democracy. Not allowing censorship of conservatives is a threat to democracy. Any Republican they dislike is a threat to democracy.
In a real democracy, of course, government stays out of the individual’s way so he can pursue his right to life, liberty, and happiness. It is the government’s job to protect that right, not interfere with it. As Rose Wilder Lane put it, “American Government is not an Authority; it has no control over individuals and no responsibility for their affairs. American Government is a permission which free individuals grant to certain men to use force in certain necessary and strictly limited ways; a permission which Americans can always withdraw from American Government.”
The truth be known, our democracy has destroyed itself through an excess of democracy. Majority rule has evolved into a free‑for‑all stampede of citizens appealing to politicians to give them more and more of the plunder, and there is never a shortage of vile human beings who are more than willing to accommodate them in exchange for votes.
The obvious question is, why do people allow this scam to continue year after year? I believe it’s because of a widespread notion that government can do most things better than individuals, which is absurd on its face, because all the empirical evidence suggests otherwise. Thus, the follow-up question is, what causes people to harbor such a faulty belief?
I believe the answer is gradualism. Generations of citizens have become used to government dominating their lives, and it is this acceptance of government intrusiveness as the norm that causes people to believe a plethora of myths about government. In this day and age, it’s hard to believe, but millions of people still see government as omnipotent.
The late and legendary Andrew Galambos, whom Harry Browne dubbed the “unknown libertarian,” taught in his private lectures that almost everything everybody believes is wrong. Many of Galambos’ ideas were, and still are, controversial, but my firsthand experience has convinced me that he was spot on with this particular insight.
I never cease to be mystified by how, given the passage of time, so many people so readily embrace government myths, even when such myths clearly contradict common sense. Even worse, myths tend to grow and become more entrenched over time. Thomas Jefferson was right when he pointed out that the natural progress of things is for truth to yield and myths to gain ground.
The reality is that democracy rewards mediocrity, and it starts at the top. Government is run by an army of mediocre people, most of whom have never worked a day in their lives. In the Swamp, however, mediocrity is irrelevant. What the Swamp values is loyalty and a willingness to say and do anything that protects and further entrenches the establishment. Newcomers soon learn that if they play ball and go along with the establishment, they will get along just fine.
Which raises yet another question: Why do so many people intuitively believe that electing someone new will change things for the better, when most newly elected politicians end up protecting the status quo? Plain and simple, the driver of this phenomenon is self-interest. People ignorantly believe that if they can just elect the right politicians, government will make life “fairer,” even though government has no constitutional authority to become involved in an abstraction such as fairness.
In The Federalist Papers, James Madison warned, “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
Madison’s warnings have not been heeded. The government does not control itself. “Government by the people” has come to mean government by those in power. Ironically, the way this is accomplished is through a sleight of hand called “representative government,” which gives people a false sense of control, because it’s an illusion. Letting people vote every few years is a clever way of appeasing the masses, but once the election circus is over, they learn once again that they have virtually no power and their elected representatives cavalierly break most of their promises.
What history teaches us is that political action is not a solution to our problems. In fact, political action almost always makes problems worse. If the fictitious Biden presidency has taught us anything, it’s a strong reaffirmation that government is not only incompetent, but totally corrupt as well. Which is why it should not surprise anyone that government is, in fact, the major impediment to democracy.