Murray Rothbard once wrote that even the most brutal dictator ultimately bases his power on the opinions that are held by a majority of the population that is under his rule. After all, even dictators with large armies tend to be vastly outnumbered by the populations they rule over, and revolution is always on the dictator’s mind. That’s probably how he gained power himself in the first place — the previous dictator was, well, too dictatorial and created the conditions for his own overthrow.
Democratic regimes also base their legitimacy on their ability to claim that their rule is “the will of the people.” They believe in democracy with all their will, they tell us, so much so that generations of American politicians have believed that it was legitimate to wage war on other nations and to kill thousands of their citizens to impose “democracy” on them. Lincoln’s armies killed some 300,000 fellow citizens and maimed for life an even greater number, supposedly so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” i.e., democracy, shall not perish from the earth.
This of course was pure B.S.: Had the South seceded peacefully, democracy would have still existed in the U.S., the Confederate States of America, Canada, England, France, etc., etc. Nevertheless, that was an official purpose of the war, and of numerous other American wars. Woodrow Wilson brought America into World War I to supposedly “make the world safe for democracy.” We are now supposedly bringing democracy to Iraq at bayonet point with numerous other Middle East countries in our sights.
But America was not founded as a democracy. It was a constitutional republic. The whole purpose of the Constitution, James Madison wrote in Federalist #10, was to control “the violence of faction,” by which he meant democracy. That’s why, until the Lincolnian “Civil War Amendments” were added to it, every part of the Constitution was a prohibition of some kind of governmental power or activity. Democracy was made into a “civil religion” by Lincoln and subsequent generations of Lincolnites who have successfully overthrown the constitutional republic of the founding fathers.
These constitutional prohibitions or limitations are all but ignored today, of course. The Constitution does not provide for the central government to get involved in education, let alone sending a man — and untold millions or billions of dollars — to Mars. There are no longer any constitutional limitations on the central government. Washington politicians laugh and sneer at libertarian think tank employees who occasionally appear before their committees to oppose this or that government program on constitutional grounds. They laugh and say to them, “we’ve got the power to do it, and we’re going to do it.” I’ve seen it with my own eyes on C-SPAN.
President Clinton’s Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, went so far as to assert that the constitution allowed for a federal masturbation education program. Even Bill Clinton thought that went a little too far and fired the good doctor.
The Republican Party today stands for an explosive growth of the welfare state and is spending money on such programs as fast as Lyndon Johnson ever did. The Democrats are as bad or worse.
On foreign policy the Republican Party is dominated by crazed Wilsonians who want to involve the U.S. military in perpetual global warfare “to spread democracy.” As with all such imperialistic ventures, this would eventually bankrupt the country and create countless enemies who would like nothing better than to destroy us by the millions with nuclear weapons or poison. The Democrats are as bad or worse.
Both political parties are competing to grant amnesty to all illegal aliens, as the first step along the way to allowing completely open borders. Combining open borders with an explosively growing welfare state will invite all the deadbeats of the world to come to America, with all their extended family members in tow, to “celebrate democracy” by voting themselves more and more of the hard-earned dollars of those of us who work for a living in this country. This would cause the welfare state to eventually eat up a huge portion of national income, probably half or more. American taxpayers would be nothing but docile slaves to the Washington, D.C. plantation.
The government schools long ago gave up teaching anything significant about the founding fathers, the Constitution, and the philosophy of limited government — other than to trash and demean them. In a democracy it is not in the state’s best interest to educate its own citizens about the virtues of limited government, and ours doesn’t. And it certainly will never make any attempt to do so with the hordes of new immigrants it hopes to attract (and register to vote). Belief in the Constitution is essentially a lost cause.
That’s why it is unpatriotic to vote. Being patriotic in America means being devoted to the Constitution, if not the natural rights philosophy that motivated much of it. Since neither of the major political parties has any interest whatsoever in enforcing the constitutional limitations on the state, they are all traitors to the Constitution (with one lone exception, Congressman Ron Paul).
Anyone who supports them is also behaving in a traitorous manner. That is, anyone who votes for any of them. Voting only allows these traitors to the Constitution to proclaim that “the people have spoken” and “I am your president,” or congressman, senator, governor, or whatever. Their legitimacy rests solely on their ability to make this claim.
Imagine what a patriotic thrill you would receive if, in the next presidential election, a mere 10 percent of the electorate, instead of the usual 50 percent or so, voted. The unconstitutional regime in Washington would be de-legitimized. The upside is that it might just be possible that some politicians in Washington would get the message and start behaving more like a George Washington or Thomas Jefferson than a Tony Soprano or Vito Corleone (with apologies to all the distinguished Italian-Americans out there). The downside is that they will keep on behaving as they do now — with complete contempt for the Constitution and the population it is supposed to benefit. So be patriotic: Don’t vote.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today, will be published on October 21.