The Death of Democracy, Part Two

Edmund Burke was an 18th century politician and philosopher. He stated brilliantly why democracies, ultimately, will fail:

"What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without restraint.

"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as they are disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good in preference to the flattery of knaves.

"Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.

"It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

Folks, "self-government" is not Washington, D.C. Self-government is you governing yourself, you controlling yourself, you disciplining yourself to act in harmony with moral law and that which is good--to live virtuously and wisely. If men will not control themselves inwardly, then some force, from outside (government) will step in and do it for them. There must be order for a civilized society to exist. Democracy, without morality, simply cannot survive. Tyranny will be the result.

It is no surprise, to anyone who understands moral law and the nature of man, that since there has been a decline in religion in this country, there has been an expanse in the size of government. This is, of course, good for government and politicians; and it is why you NEVER hear politicians today talk about virtue and self-discipline. If people were virtuous and self-governing, politicians would be superfluous. If all men were angels, James Madison said, we wouldn't need government. But it is in the interest of government to encourage vice and immmorality, creating disorder in society, thus necessitating government to step in and use the power at its disposal to provide (force) order upon society--an order which could exist if men would freely choose to live virtuous, restrained lives. But again, it is in government's interest that men not do that. Support immorality and buy votes, thereby, as Sir Alexander Tyler wrote (see "The Death of Democracy, Part One"), democracies will fail over loose financial policy. Immorality cannot be financially supported forever.

How does it work in this country? A few examples. An unwed woman gives herself to some cur and gets pregnant; Hollywood certainly endorses that. Since the father, too often, is irresponsible (or he wouldn't have gotten her pregnant in the first place), government tells her, "It's ok. If you want to abort the baby, that's fine, we'll even pay for it if you can't. Or if you want to have the baby, we'll provide you the financial assistance through welfare." So virtuous people, those who live godly, decent, disciplined, hard-working lives, are forced to pay for some woman who fornicated--who lived promiscuously rather than virtuously. Folks, if you are forced to support something you would not support of your own voluntary will, don't call it freedom!

The current health care situation is another example. "I don't have health insurance," some poor soul cries. So let's force somebody else to pay for it for you. "But I don't have the money to pay for health insurance!" Do you have a cell phone? An Internet connection? Cable television? Booze and cigarettes? There are plenty of low-cost health insurance programs available out there (check some of the ads on this blog) that can tide people through until they get into a situation where they can afford their own or obtain a job where it is provided. But, it's a whole lot easier to vote for politicians who will use somebody else's money to dispense medical coverage to those who don't want to pay for it themselves by giving up luxuries they don't need. Now there are people who require help--the "needy" poor, those who are in desperate circumstances through no fault of their own and have done all they can to relieve themselves. Nobody objects to helping them, and nearly all of it can be done through private assistance (those who have wealth should be virtuous as well, and help take care of those who are truly in need). But that isn't what politicians are going to say. Government is necessary because people refuse to govern themselves. And the more government we have, the less freedom we have, because it is our tax dollars that go to pay for that government. And every dime government takes out of my pocket is one dime less free I am. Government has legitimate purposes, though again, it wouldn't be necessary if all people would live godly lives. I don't mind paying for those services I get--police, fire protection, military protection, to name a few. But when I'm forced to pay for things I don't believe in or would not pay for voluntarily, I am no longer truly free, for government can then take whatever it wishes of mine and use it how it desires rather than as I desire. As Burke wrote, "It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." And, unfortunately, their intemperance means others cannot be free, either.

John Adams wrote, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." Democracy always fails when religion falls. And without some major conversion, this country is headed for tyranny. Our Founding Fathers would say we were already there.

One last anecdote. In I Samuel 8, the prophet warned Israel that the king they demanded would be a tyrant because he would tax them at 10% of their belongings. The average American today pays almost 40% of his earning in taxes. Which is the true tyranny here?