Monday, September 19, 2011

The Danger of Democracy

I've often heard people say that we in the United States live in a democracy.  While untrue, it seems that due to this misconception, many operate with a democracy mindset as to how society should function and government should work.  Everyone gets a vote.  Everyone is counted equally.  No one is left behind.

The danger of this mindset is that it guarantees that the United States will become an average culture at best.  The statistical clustering of people at the top of the bell curve in all things suggests that American exceptionalism, our belief in our own superiority, will no longer withstand the smell test.  The days of America the superpower will come to an end, and we will be left with a legacy of obsolete dreams.

We can see this danger in evidence in two major areas in our culture: public schools and taxes.  I have already written about the problems in our schools, but one area I left out is the deleterious effect that the shift from the perception that teachers and administrators maintained a level of expertise over students AND parents to the current mindset that all opinions are valid and accommodation for all must be observed has, in part, led to our declining educational system.  The lowering of expectations (most notably under the Republican-introduced No Child Left Behind) has precipitated a student populace largely incapable of excellence.

The tax system's elements of democracy has also created a horrific effect on our culture in that the half of the country that pays no taxes retains its ability to vote.  This power is what allows President Obama to suggest ridiculous notions such as his most recent pledge to tax the wealthiest members of our country further.  Spurred on by the self-appointed spokesman for the super-rich, Warren Buffett, the president has declared that the most "fortunate" (a word used in place of more accurate ones like "successful" or "innovative") should pay more simply because they can pay more.  Such lunacy is only possible because of the majority of voters who pay no taxes and have no qualms about someone else's going up.

Now...the obvious conclusion from the above is that I am advocating one must pay taxes in order to vote.  I'm not. As much as such a system would resemble the situation for stockholders in a company, the reality is that requiring a tax to vote is not only horrific in terms of the abuses possible in the system, but also was declared unconstitutional by the 24th Amendment.  Besides, advocating the revocation of a freedom is something no true libertarian would ever do.  However, democracy or democratically-appointed measures and situations should only exist within the narrowest of parameters due to the potential for abuses against the minority opinion. I, for one, as a holder of minority opinions, see no other fair alternatives.

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