Wednesday, June 4, 2008


John Stossel's latest column raises, as Stossel often does, several interesting points. The one I want to touch on though is the last one he made. He states, incredulously, "I had no idea democracy was about voting on who gets to tell you how to raise your kids."

Yes, John, that's exactly what Democracy means. That's why Plato and Aristotle both denigrated democracy and termed it "rule by the poor". That's why the Founders instituted so many checks on democratic influence. The courts are utterly non-democratic, but even in the legislative process a bill that came from the democratically elected House still had to go through a Senate chosen by state legislatures and a President chosen by a committee chosen by state legislatures. Even then the decisions they could legitimately make involved only a small number of matters outlined in Article I, Section 8.

I bring this up not because of a minor linguistic difference, but because it seems as a society many of us have concluded that we owe our freedoms to democratic elections. We see this most especially in our comments regarding foreign policy where we seem to think that setting up democracies elsewhere will lead to the same results we've had with a constitutional republic here.

In fact as we have succumbed to a pressure towards absolute democracy we have seen more and more federal invasion of our personal lives. The Constitution was not written to establish a democracy, it was written to protect us from one.