CVII – Democrazies

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Democracy
is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.

~
H.L. Mencken

Readers
of my writings know that I embrace no religious doctrines, which
helps account for the enjoyment I derive from assailing all who
choose to forcibly impose their belief systems upon others. I find
great amusement in the secular statists who sanctimoniously condemn
what has come to be known as the "religious u2018Right'" for
holding various social/political views on the basis of "faith."
As one who opposes every manifestation of the state, I have no more
defense to make of the religious "Right," "Left,"
or Center," than I do the secular "Right," "Left,"
or "Center." I believe that people have a need for spiritual
expression, and that such need can only be fulfilled within each
individual, not by trying to reform the thinking or behavior
of others.

That
said, I must concede to members of the religious "Right"
a quality that is absent among most secularists: a willingness to
acknowledge that those with whom they disagree may nonetheless be
intelligent, well-educated men and women. Indeed, they are prone
to stigmatize their opponents as "intellectuals," often
resorting to such adjectives as "ivory-towered" or "pointy-headed"
for emphasis. The secularists may be considered wrong, sinful, or
downright evil, but they are recognized for having thought-out opinions
that must be challenged.

Most
secularists, however, have a glaring blind-spot when it comes to
their basic articles of faith. Few are prepared to admit that one
can contravene any of their core principles and still be regarded
as intelligent. Egalitarianism, the need for central state planning,
feminism, "affirmative action," the welfare state, gun
control, and the need to redistribute wealth, are just a few of
the canons comprising the religion of secularism. Those who shriek
at any mention of the "Ten Commandments" will as vociferously
attack those who transgress the tenets of "political correctness."
The questioning of any of these maxims can, as the president of
Harvard University recently discovered, lead to charges of "heresy"
and dismissal from a college appointment. What is just as remarkable
— particularly on a university campus – is the inability of
most of the secular faithful to defend their positions through either
rational or empirical means. They fall back upon the same non-intellectual
line often ascribed to religious adherents: "to those who understand,
no explanation is necessary; to those who do not, no explanation
is possible."

Having
spent most of my adult life on university campuses, I can testify
to the insular nature of such secularized thinking. My opposition
to "affirmative action" admission of students, for example,
is well-established, but when I have cause to restate my views on
the matter to my colleagues, my words are still met with dumbfounded
stares. They look at me with utter amazement, as if to wonder how
anyone can go all the way through college and law school and not
think as they do. After all, is it not the purpose of formal
education to mold adults into a common mindset? What is to be done
with those who manage to fall through cracks in the net of collectivist
thinking?

My
undergraduate education was at a state university. Across town was
a Methodist university, whose campus was well-known — even at the
time — as a setting in which questions regarding the existence of
God were openly and intelligently discussed. To my knowledge, however,
the basic premises of statism were never directly confronted amongst
the state university's faculty. I did have a political philosophy
professor with a decidedly conservative bent who was a great fan
of John Locke, but apart from this man, the campus was as devoid
of even a whisper of individualistic, anti-collectivist opinion
as most remain today.

A
political imperative whose questioning will not be tolerated by
most secularists is a belief in "democracy." I still recall
the look on the face of one faculty member who, years ago, thought
he had cornered me in an intellectual debate. "You do believe
in democracy, though, don't you?" When I told him I did not,
he had that same look on his face that Galileo must have seen in
his inquisitors.

In
a post-Renaissance world of enlightenment thinking, the "divine
right of kings" explanation could no longer be counted upon
by the political class to justify its rule. A new sales gimmick
was required. On the surface, the democratic principle had an air
of plausibility to it: if government was inevitable, better to have
its policies and practices determined by the general public than
by an elite of rulers. In such a way, it was imagined, bloody warfare
could be reduced and individual liberty preserved, as people would
be disinclined to foster their own destruction and enslavement.

Only
the foolish would accept this newfound rationale for state power
as a virtue in itself. But, as Mencken also advised: "No one
in this world, so far as I know . . . has ever lost money by underestimating
the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."
To the statists — ancient or modern — "democracy" became
but another useful concept with which to condition weak minds to
accept political rule. Like the earlier proposition that obedience
to medieval tyrannies was divinely inspired, the replacement god,
Demos, was pressed into service for politically pragmatic purposes.
It was never intended to be taken as a universal principle.

That
Americans could be stampeded into that abattoir known as World War
I – allegedly in furtherance of this doctrine – while
their modern counterparts continue to sanction the lies and deceit
underlying President Bush's worldwide campaign for "democracy,"
shows how deeply this idea has infected people's minds. Democracy
has become no more the expression of a popular will than
theocracies were of a divine one. Like its predecessor, representative
government simply became a new set of bromides with which the power-hungry
could rationalize their appetites for control of the lives of their
neighbors. In each instance, all the statists had to do was convince
their victims of [1] the legitimacy of their system of rule, and
[2] their capacity to serve either divine or popular will. The costumes,
rituals, and rhetoric of Henry VIII and George W. Bush may differ,
but the underlying logic and dynamics of their rule are identical.
These men could exchange seats of power with nary a break in the
meter of their edicts: only new speechwriters and court historians
with new slogans would be called into play. Thomas More would now
be charged with "terrorism" instead of "treason,"
and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay instead of the Tower of London;
and repression of dissent would remain the order of the day.

You
will have a hard time discerning any true respect for the democratic
principle among today's ruling class. French voters overwhelmingly
rejected the constitution of the European Union, but President Chirac
quickly embraced his German co-conspirator, Chancellor Schroeder,
to circumvent this expression of popular will. The British and Norwegian
governments, meanwhile, are considering whether it is now wise to
allow for a public referendum on the EU! When, in 2001, Irish voters
rejected the Treaty of Nice by a 54-46% majority, government officials
demanded another vote on the question!

If
one pays close attention to details, an interesting pattern emerges:
European political rulers tend to favor the EU — even in countries
where the public rejected it — and, following the French and Dutch
voters' disapproval of same, began campaigning for new referenda
on the question. They will allow the voters to express themselves
on this matter, but only until they eventually vote the way their
masters demand. You will note that in the countries in which voters
approved of the EU constitution (e.g., Spain) no talk of another
vote will be entertained!

In
differing ways, the people of Iraq and Europe are discovering that
democracy is just one more scam by which a power elite organizes
the systematic machinery of violence to dominate and despoil their
lives. Were there any minds in the establishment media or academia
with the intellectual courage to ask the question, the obvious inquiry
could be made: how is the slaughter of over 100,000 innocent Iraqis
at all consistent with the stated purpose of bringing democracy
to that nation?

"Democracy"
is but one of the many lies we keep repeating to ourselves in an
effort to believe, in the words of Voltaire's Dr. Pangloss, that
our self-destructive society represents "the best of all possible
worlds." Democracy is the illusion that you and I, combined,
have twice the political influence of David Rockefeller, and Americans
cling to this illusion as fiercely as Linus does to his blanket.
Despite their insistence upon this principle, the will of voters
is no more a central feature of American politics than it is in
any other regime. If the electorate was permitted to exercise a
truly effective control over the state, voting would be declared
unlawful. Statists share the sentiment expressed by a pro-EU French
politician who, after the voters rejection of that constitution,
declared that this issue was too important and complex to be left
to the electorate — who could not understand the intricacies of
the constitution — and should be left to the professionals who knew
what was best!

This
same thinking permeates the American political system, although
it has become institutionalized in the hands of the courts. If the
voters should approve a referendum that is contrary to the interests
of their political overlords, the courts may simply declare the
outcome violative of some arcane interpretation of an abstract constitutional
principle. This was seen, the other day, in the United States Supreme
Court ruling that the use of marijuana for treating medical maladies
was still illegal under federal law — despite having received widespread
voter approval in various state referenda. That most voters never
bother to question whether they — or a politically-appointed panel
of jurists — should have final judgment on the legal policies of
the state in an allegedly democratic system, attests to how well
they have internalized their expected subservience to the ruling
class.

The
practice of "judicial review" — a power nowhere provided
for in the United States Constitution — offers yet another clue.
When, in Marbury v. Madison, an unelected Supreme Court usurped
the authority to determine the constitutionality of legislation,
the non-democratic nature of the American state was laid out for
all to see. We should have learned then what Europeans are now experiencing:
resort to popular voting is important only if the electorate
do what their leaders want them to do!

Mencken
understood what he called this "carnival of buncombe"
as well as anyone has. Were he around today, I suspect he would
still be trying to awaken the "boobeoisie" to the one-party
nature of our ostensible two-party political system. While it is
considered impolite (indeed, "impolitic") to look behind
the curtains by which magicians carry out their illusions over us,
we might nonetheless find it useful to ask this question: from what
source arise the candidates for major offices from which we are
to make our selection? Have you and your friends sat around dinner
tables or your workplace and offered up to the political
parties the names of people you would like to have run for the presidency?
Or were these handed down to you by a well-scripted media
offering the four or five fungible candidates from which you would
be permitted to make choices in primary elections?

Did
it never interest you that George W. Bush and John Kerry — both
Yale grads, both members of Skull-and-Bones (a society that has
produced presidents, cabinet members, supreme court justices, and
numerous industrialists) — just happened to be the two candidates
between whom you could barely fit a piece of thinly-sliced ham?
Did you ever have occasion to wonder how — and by whom — this amazing
coincidence was brought about?

In
pondering this question, you might also inquire into the recent
trial balloon fueled by George Bush I when he declared that Jeb
Bush might also make a good president. Responding to their well-rehearsed
cue, some cable news networks began discussing such a possibility,
. . . perhaps in time to start another establishment avalanche in
New Hampshire for the next member of the imperial family.

In
the background of such a future debate stands the ubiquitous Richard
Cheney, a man of whom it is now being said that, should he run for
and be elected to the presidency in 2008, he would become the first
three-term president since FDR. The point of such humor will
be lost on those who partake of the electronic autolobotomizing
services of the Fox Snooze Channel, who will tell you that Cheney
was only a vice-president! How faithfully do conditioned
minds come to the defense of the creed.

The
impending collapse of our politically-structured world just might
take with it the structured mindset upon which it has been built.
And within its rubble may be found the remains of the secular religion
"democracy," whose catechisms are today preached from
academic cathedrals and the media. In that day, perhaps, our archeological
descendants may search the debris for an answer to the question
our generation is too terrified to ask: by what justification do
men and women organize to inflict violence upon their fellow humans?

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