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Democracy and Freedom: Friend or Foe?

Much of the "freedom" sold today is realistically a twisted form of political freedom — or, alternatively, political conspiracy — that has much more to do with political process than absolute freedom. 

Through this political conspiracy, a veritable form of mob rule, voters collaborate with legislators and government actors to pursue mutually-beneficial outcomes and special interests at the expense of freedom and the minority inhabitant. 

The tireless efforts of politically-motivated campaigns and participants alike combine to conflate political participation — or, more precisely, democratic process — with something inappropriately yet fashionably labeled political freedom

Genuine freedom refers to the individual's capacity to pursue his ends of his own might or negotiation, without imposed hinderance or restraint. 

In this sense, pure political freedom equates to the individual's freedom from government, where government has least occasion to interfere with, and minimal influence in the affairs of, the lives of the individuals who inhabit the land.

Democracy operates antithetical to freedom. It serves exclusively to undermine freedom, as it facilitates through coercion the collective wants of some through imposed hinderances or restraints upon others.   

This kind of so-called political freedom surely differs from the native form which once emphasized the perils of democratic and centralized government. 

When Founder Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, he was asked by a member of the crowd, "What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?"

To this, Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." 

Franklin and the other Founders understood the risks attending democracy, and they were well-versed in the certain threats such a system would pose to liberty. 

It is for this very reason that the Founders introduced strong checks and balances, an extremely limited central government, an unequivocal Bill of Rights, and that both presidential and senatorial elections were decided by electoral college and legislative appointment, respectively.

And it is for this reason that the Founders drafted the Constitution to "guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government."

The Founders understood human nature and the moral hazards presented by any political system that operates principally for the benefit of the majority.

Predictably, any democracy, which will always be fueled by envy, will invariably witness the abandonment of principle for the benefit of short-term demands oblivious to long-term consequences.

Despite its dazzling exterior, democracy is socially destructive, impervious to reason and shamelessly driven by greed, only the kind of greed desperately lacking the plentiful benefits enjoyed as a byproduct of its accountable counterpart in the market economy.

Notwithstanding the material benefits enjoyed by the many for the pursuits of greedy entrepreneurs, greedy politicians still grandstand their way into favor by promising to punish those productive entrepreneurs for accepting trades on consensual terms, whereas politicians make their living by forcibly taking from those who gain nothing from the ordeal in order to "give" some of their loot to others who merely voted them into office.   

Of course, the rest of the loot finds its way into their own pockets or those of still others who serve their further political interests. 

James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10 (1787) of The Federalist Papers: "Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

This is the nature of democracy: it is remarkably unrestrained by principle, much less by the Constitution or any compact, and it is focused exclusively on that which attracts popularity and prestige. 

All of this comes at the expense of absolute freedom, whereby so-called “rights” and “entitlements” are manufactured through the abuse of unseen or under-appreciated liberties formerly enjoyed, or otherwise temporarily dismissed or overlooked, by others who are then made slaves to the incumbent system, which extols its record of virtuousness in the face of boundless inequity. 

Whether a function of biology, geography or some other inherent factor, a shrewd politician will brazenly exploit it within any democracy, at whatever expense to reason, wealth or freedom. 

And while a select segment of society may, in fact, gain access to the process, a select form of so-called political freedom, whether by suffrage or some lucrative short-term advantages, the net effect invariably amounts to a total loss of absolute freedom, whereby government syphons power from its constituency through the illusion of majesty and the unassailable support of its military, law enforcement and the spoken majority to boot. 

While stylized political freedom, or political participation, is easier to visualize and, specifically due to this quality, more tantalizing for the average voter, it is incumbent upon every voter and every defender of freedom to remain vigilant of this important distinction. 

As twentieth-century essayist Edward Abbey cautioned, “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

In this fight, the patriot must also be ready to identify his government's tools, of which democracy is possibly the most disingenuous and insidious of them all.

As President John Adams warned, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."


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