Politics & Policy

Win One for the Founders

But this is not the last battle in our endless war for freedom.

Hillary’s attack against the Electoral College is a symptom of the rot that seems to have infected half of the electorate. Bill, Hillary, and Gore feel right at home — undoubtedly more at home than they do in the sane and healthy parts of America — with European socialists, the “third way” gang: English Labour, Italian ex-Communists, German Social Democrats, Scandinavian welfare statists. Appropriately enough for a group that appropriated the label of the Fascist “third way” (they probably bought it from the same shill that peddled Rommel’s nickname “Desert Fox” to Clinton and Albright for one of their comic military operations), they believe what Mussolini believed: “Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, everything in the state.”

And they know how to do it, too. It isn’t a coup; it’s a counterrevolution. If the 20th century is a reliable guide to the 21st, it’s not hard to bring millions of people under state control. You don’t even need organized terror. All you need to do, as Tocqueville forecast in the 1830s, is provide the people with wealth and proclaim yourself a “man of the people,” and they’ll happily and voluntarily let you enslave them. After all, the scariest thing about Fascism was its popularity. Once Hitler and Mussolini got their hands on state power, the people loved them. There was very little opposition, and a great deal of enthusiasm, even as constitutional freedoms were abrogated and state power was relentlessly expanded. The people continued to vote, but they were voting for their masters, not their representatives. Electors in such a state are, in Tocqueville’s brilliant phrase, “more than gods and less than men.” More than gods because their enormously powerful masters are beholden to the people’s votes; less than men because, once elected, the people are enslaved.

Blessed by its separation from the European statists, 20th century America was the sole bulwark against the horrors of total state power, thanks to the prescience of the Founders. Hamilton’s dictum that “the people…are a great beast” was fully confirmed by the overwhelming popular support given to Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini, and reminds us how wise the Founders were to create a federal system, embodied in the Electoral College, that might stymie would-be tyrants capable of mobilizing great masses of people.

Statists like Hillary, and Gore hooligans like Daley, are quite right to hate the Electoral College, for it makes their task far more daunting than it would be if we had a winner-take-all popular election. They don’t want American democracy; they want a European-style state that regulates human behavior from cradle to grave (did you notice how cunningly Bill Clinton promulgated new OSHA regulations while we were trying to figure out who voted how in Palm Beach County?). So those annoying Constitutional obstacles have to be removed, and they are using the tried and true methods of Europe’s worst century to accomplish their evil goal: mass demonstrations, attacks on constitutional safeguards in the name of “the people,” and appeals to friendly magistrates to cloak their schemes in the deceptive mantle of “law and order,” at the very moment they are undermining the laws that have given us a uniquely stable order for over two hundred years. Remember, these are the people who told us that, while impeachment might have been warranted, it was politically undesirable, and they fixed the process to ensure that politics would prevail over justice. Having found no will to resist, they now bring their proven methods to a new battle.

They may very well win. Republican useful idiots such as Arlen Specter have already announced their support for the abolition of the Electoral College, and others will certainly follow. Regardless of the final outcome of the life-and-death struggle in Florida’s back rooms and public streets, the assault on American democracy will continue, for the statists are a very determined bunch, and the scent of greater power is very strong in their nostrils.

It would be encouraging to sense that Bush and his people understand the terrifying hours we are now living through, but I don’t see it. They are certainly afraid their victory may be stolen from them, but the stakes are much higher than that.

H. L. Mencken once wrote that “God protects the blind, the dumb, and the United States of America,” and we may yet miraculously squeak through this crisis. If we do, we will have won one for the Founders, whose dread of tyranny drove them to erect many cunning barriers to state power.

But this is certainly not the last battle in our endless war for freedom.

Michael LedeenMichael Ledeen is an American historian, philosopher, foreign-policy analyst, and writer. He is a former consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. ...


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