Image via WikipediaThe only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. -- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873 British political philosopher)
A century and a half ago civil war broke out among the people of a young nation. Though the conflict ostensibly centered around slavery, at its core was really the issue of whether the federal government would be able to nullify the rights of individual states to chart their own course and even to secede from the union as provided for within the fledgling nation's constitution. While an oppressed segment of the populace was thereby able to realize their justified dreams of freedom, the victory of the North over the South also then led paradoxically to the creeping loss of freedom of the citizenry as many of the guiding principles of the Republic were sacrificed. Seen as dictatorship by the majority it is not widely known that The Founding Fathers Rejected Democracy! To illustrate let's say that I now live in a dictatorship where I am told by the head honcho what kind of home I can construct, the foods or drugs that are allowed to enter my digestive tract and how big a cut of my income must be taken to cover the cost of services I may or may not want - refusal to comply is met with brute force. Does the ability to elect a new master every few years make me free or verify that Democracy Is Slavery? [Sovereignty is a manifestation of the free will of an individual human being to make decisions for one's self and to control one's body and property and to freely interact with other people through consensual self government, which is the ability of an individual to govern oneself and one's actions and for people to freely join together to govern their interactions with each other.Political states masquerading as governments are nothing but criminal gangs, they have no sovereignty or rights of their own, they are merely artificial entities formed to subjugate human beings to serve the interests of those in power. All legitimate law is based on the natural law of the sovereignty of individual human rights, politicians who make up their own "laws" are in reality criminals who are at war against human rights, people who impose the evil of democracy, which is mob rule are also criminals at war against human rights, those who try to impose their political opinions or values on others by covering it in the shroud of democratic law are deceivers and tyrants. Just law exists independently of any political body and is manifest in the sovereignty of the individual. To answer the criticism that democracy always means mob rule democrats say that for a democracy to be just it must have majority rule with respect for minority rights. This is bull, because in a democracy, where the majority rules, it means that the majority will decide what rights the minority will be allowed to have, they will define what minority rights mean, or they may presume to deny the minority's rights entirely, which means that the minorities have no rights at all in a democracy. Their only right is to submit to the will of the majority. Even if minority rights are respected to some degree they are never safe because they are always at the mercy of the majority, they may deny their rights at any time and take away whatever allowances had been given. Democracy and freedom are mutually exclusive. Democracy is at war against freedom, you can't have democracy and enjoy individual freedom, democracy violates individual freedom at every turn, by its nature and practice every democratic action is a mob imposing its will on others. You can have freedom or a democracy - you can't have both. The philosophy of democracy is might makes right.] (from The Tyranny of Democracy)
Every age has its tyrants - the irony being that they are usually invited or initially welcomed with open arms by a populace that reposes all their faith in some individual or group to lead them out of a difficult situation. While some good may be done early on, eventually the lure of unbridled power leads to blatant abuses and disregard for basic human rights with the leaders being blinded to any way but their own. The all-powerful clergy of the Middle Ages have been largely replaced as public authority figures by scientists during the 20th century, while the kings and emperors of earlier ages have likewise been succeeded by politicians in latter-day democracies. For many the fallacy arises in assuming that it must be okay to deprive their fellow man of certain rights once it is forbidden by their particular faith, or by some panel of doctors or scientists (the modern-day high priests), or simply that it is something with which they happen to agree. "Take your medicine", they say "don't you know it's good for you? After all, we are only trying to help!" And, as they continue to take aim at all the perceived ills or moral vices of society, they fail to notice that, bit by bit - almost imperceptibly, the powerful weapon of state coercion turns slowly, inexorably, until one day soon the 'man in the mirror' is set fully within its cross-hairs.
Though not always succeeding in fulfilling their role to protect constitutional rights, the U.S. Supreme Court got it right in this 1943 ruling: "The very purpose of the Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the Courts. One's right to life, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." The Declaration of Independence, which many (including Abraham Lincoln) have insisted is a statement of principles through which to interpret the US Constitution, asserts the fundamental right of the people to abolish and institute new government where rights continue to be violated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
To understand why humanity as a whole continues to experience the seemingly never-ending cycle of painful, unintended consequences, one must gain a better understanding of a force that drives young and old alike as we navigate through life - Pain and Pleasure Principle. In summary our subconscious minds are wired to avoid pain and seek out pleasure, though the avoidance-of-pain reflex is far stronger. Hence our over-reliance on pain-killers and other pharmaceuticals in order to escape the symptoms rather than resolve the root cause. In politics we want lower taxes together with undiminished entitlements - Social Security & Health-care. Those desiring to hold the reins of power understand only too well what is necessary to appease the masses, and any true leader seeking to implement wise decisions will either have a very short shelf-life or receive little support from his colleagues (ask Ron Paul). We pass laws to make illegal the sale and consumption of narcotic drugs, convinced that we will spare many the ravages of addiction. Instead (as Prohibition proved early last century), we get a mushrooming of crime levels in the lucrative black market that results, higher mortality from infected needles and poisonous contaminants used as filler to boost profits, and unsustainable prison housing costs. Economically, attempts at price fixing - including interest rates, in an effort to abolish the naturalboom & bust of the business cycle can only result in a mega-bust down the road. In a very real sense, through the pitfalls foreseen by the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, what we collectively demand from our elected representatives to avoid experiencing pain only leads to far greater consequences ultimately. This is why we must inevitably go through the travails of what has already begun and still has a very, very long way to go. Good intentions are a poor substitute for wise decisions. If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom, and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too. -- Somerset Maugham (English playwright & author 1874-1965)
Sites of interest: Freedom & Slavery The New Feudalism Reexamining Democracy An Extremist and Proud of It Elite 'Cult of the Expert' Erodes