by George Neumayr
Those who prattle on about democracy the most support it the least. “In America, if you lose, you accept the results,” said Joe Biden on Tuesday. Meanwhile, his fellow Democrats were conducting an undemocratic stunt to thwart the people’s will in Texas. Democratic lawmakers, abusing quorum rules, fled the state this week to prevent the Legislature from passing a voting bill that a majority of Texans support.
Contrary to Biden’s pious talk, Democrats feel no need to “accept the results” of elections. If the people don’t vote in accordance with their wishes, Democrats resort to despotism. They urge activist judges to block laws and remove democratic choice through the invention of more and more bogus rights. They call for the suppression of free speech and tighter controls on “information.” They use a propagandistic media to shut down debates and eliminate their political opponents.
It is no wonder that the Democrats feel so ambivalent about the protests in Cuba. Underpinning their reluctance to decry one-party, left-wing political states is a sympathy for them. The Democrats would like to build their own one-party state, free of Trump and his “deplorables.” The Democrats don’t so much fear the censorship and political controls of left-wing tyrannies as envy them.
Like left-wing dictators, the Democrats use the rhetoric of democracy to subvert democracy. They claim their undemocratic tactics are undertaken “for the people.” Hence, the Texas Democrats can impede the will of voters while blathering on about the sacredness of voting. There is a “war on democracy,” say these Democrats, even as they paralyze democracy in Texas.
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience,” said the French philosopher Albert Camus. That alibi echoes in all the repressive measures we have seen in recent days. But it is precisely because Democrats mistrust the people that they favor greater control over them.
The Democrats don’t believe in government of, by, and for the people. They prefer rule by an elite, one that feels entitled to treat the people as a kind of adversary. The comment of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra that it is “absolutely the government’s business” to know who has and hasn’t been vaccinated captures that view. The remark gives off a totalitarian whiff for good reason. It smacks of a statism that pits central planners against a resistant people. It suggests the interests of the “government” are independent of the people and superior to the people’s conception of their own interests.
Of course, that is not the view of the Founding Fathers, who said the people form the government for their own good and can dissolve it the moment it turns tyrannical. The Founders emphasized the limitations of government and its proper ordering: that the state exists for man, not man for the state.
The Democrats have reversed the emphases of the Founding Fathers, casting government as limitless and the freedom of the people as narrowly prescribed. Through the tyranny of judicial activism, Democrats favor taking more and more issues away from the people, lest their democratic choice stymie liberalism. Nobody has supported this suppression of democracy more than Joe Biden, whose court-packing plans only accentuate his lack of faith in the people.
That a handful of judges can cancel out of the votes of millions of Americans on the most fundamental moral issues is due entirely to the wariness Democrats feel for the people. What Democrats couldn’t achieve at the ballot box, they pushed through the courts. For the Democrats to pose simultaneously as the party of sacrosanct voting and judicial activism is beyond laughable. They are the party that won’t let voters even vote on voting.
It is out of this undemocratic mindset that the farce in Texas has come. The same Democrats who spent four years bemoaning Trump’s threat to “democratic norms” applaud their colleagues in Texas for blowing them up. It couldn’t be clearer that the only votes that count for Democrats are Democratic ones.
For Democrats, “democracy” means nothing more than liberal power and whatever preserves and expands it. Whenever the people’s will and liberal power conflict, Democrats support the latter. Perversely, the more undemocratic they become, as in the case of the Texas Democrats, the more they lecture others on the erosion of democracy. The Democrats posture solemnly and say that they are “afraid for” the people, but what they really mean is that they are afraid of them.
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats’ Crypto-Socialist?