Judging from the outcome of recent federal court cases involving Voter ID, one could be forgiven for believing two things. First, there is an unqualified right to vote. Second, the more voting by more people on more matters, the better. Voting itself would appear to be an unalienable right.
Ever expanding democracy has long been the Progressive’s means to their fuzzy, yet dangerous social justice ends. Our national experience has shown that the explosion of the democratic element since the direct election of senators, voting by women, repeal of Jim Crow, abolition of poll taxes, lowering the voting age to eighteen, extension of voting from a single day to a couple of weeks, same day registration, motor voter, voting rights for ex-convicts, and judicial overthrow of state voter ID laws . . . have all served to extend the franchise to an ever expanding portion of the public. But, to what end?
More liberty, or less? Are Americans freer or less so since the progressive onslaught? Has the circle of liberty, the envelope in which we may act without government interference grown larger with the extension of voting to ever more people?
Ironically, expansion of the democratic element was thought to be beneficial to the general welfare. When Woodrow Wilson asked congress for a declaration of war in 1917, he famously said, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Did he mean to imply majoritarian tyranny? Of course not. Yet, since Wilson had long been a proponent of “administrative government” in which wise academics led by the people’s president regulate the nation, it follows that his support for the recently ratified 17th Amendment, which democratized the senate, served as the means to his end. While Wilson sought to make politics more democratic, the actual administration of government became less democratic.
Wilson held that the business of politics—namely, elections—should be separated from the administration of government, to be overseen by nonpartisan, and therefore neutral, experts. Subsequent history proves him prescient, for America 2016 far more resembles the vision of Wilson rather than that the Framers. To progressives, the president, as the only nationally elected public official, best embodies the will of the people; who is congress to stymie his popular mandate? Thus, presidential elections serve to identify the person who oversees an ever growing empire of regulatory agencies that increasingly enact the rules the common man must live by. Obama, in his corrupted Wilsonian perception of Constitutional government, could honestly declare his intention to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Since the purpose of elections is to identify the dear leader in charge of regulatory agencies armed with more legislative power than congress, it follows that the president should have the widest possible base of support.
All of this can make sense and appear rational only to those unfamiliar with, or who outright reject, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. To these people, who have been fed a steady social justice diet of group rights and supremacy of the democratic element, the will of the people expressed through majoritarianism trumps all concerns . . . except of course for the special carve outs for group rights extended to muslims, blacks, women, LGBT, etc. Voting becomes an end in itself. Elect the national leader and turn him loose to implement the interests of the majority that put him in office. Such men do not need a congress or scotus. This governing form is despotic.
On the other hand, Constitutionalists know that government exists to secure unalienable rights and not majoritarian will. Rights are imperiled when subject to simple majority rule. The democratic element in our republic was to be limited to voting for reps to make laws on our behalf. This fulfilled the Declaration’s maxim that just government is derived from the consent of the governed. This consent is one of several tools in the Framers’ design that provided the means to secure unalienable rights. Others include an independent senate appointed by the states, and a president elected by either leading men in the community or the House of Representatives.
The task before us is enormous. While generations of minds have been polluted in the progressive gutter, we are not relieved of our duty.
We are the many; our oppressors are the few. Be proactive. Be a Re-Founder. Join Convention of States.
Woodrow Wilson and the Rejection of the Framer’s Constitution by Ronald J. Pestritto PHD, Hillsdale College