Explaining the Democrats’ Success


The election post-mortem has identified all manner of causes for the Republicans’ defeat, from the “woman problem” and the “Hispanic problem,” as Peggy Noonan put it, to Romney’s fatcat persona and his inept campaign. But there’s a simpler reason, one consistent with the critics of democracy starting in ancient Athens––Obama and the Democrats promised voters more free stuff.

The differences between the political mechanisms of ancient Athens and those of America today do not erase the similarities of mentality and sensibility popular rule creates in its citizens. Most important is the way democracy leads to radical egalitarianism: the belief, as Aristotle put it, “that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.” Because citizens are equal in their possession of political rights and some level of access to the machinery of the state, they then desire to be equal in every way. Yet everyday experience shows that there exist real differences of talent, ability, beauty, brains, hard work, and sheer luck among people, and these differences account for their varying levels of economic and social success. Hence the desire to use the coercive power of the state to level these differences, especially through the appropriation and redistribution of wealth through government distributed entitlements. The right to equality of opportunity then becomes the right to equality of result, with the power of the state as the instrument of achieving that utopian goal, usually at the expense of freedom.

Traditionally democracies have been faulted precisely for this tendency to use the power of the state to redistribute wealth and so erase the most glaring difference among citizens, that between the rich and the poor. Such policies are also attractive because they serve the shortsighted, personal material interests of the citizens, often at the expense of the state as a whole. As Thucydides’ recreations of debates in the Athenian Assembly during the Peloponnesian War show, decisions of life and death, like the disastrous invasion of Sicily in 415 B.C., were often the result of a selfish calculus of how the individual voting citizen would personally benefit, no matter how dangerous to the future wellbeing of the state such decisions might be. During the 4th century B.C., Athenian citizens could expect even more state pay almost every day of the year. They were paid to serve on juries, attend Assembly meetings, go to the theater, and participate in religious festivals. Even when the threat of Philip II’s aggression against Athens became clear, it was dangerous for any politician to propose transferring money from the fund for paying theater and festival attendance to the military fund. By the time Athenians had realized the danger of Philip’s power, it was too late. The Athenians lost the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., and with it their political freedom and autonomy.

For ambitious politicians, moreover, taking money from some citizens to give it to others was a way to further their careers. Demagogues and would-be tyrants aggrandized power explicitly by promising the masses that they would take from the “rich” and give to the poor. They typically preyed on the class envy and resentment of the latter, as the 4th century B.C. orator Isocrates wrote: “Wherefore these men [demagogues] would be most happy to see all of our citizens reduced to the condition of helplessness in which they themselves are powerful. And the greatest proof of this is that they do not consider by what means they may provide a livelihood for those who are in need, but rather how they may reduce those who are thought to possess some wealth to the level of those who are in poverty.” Or as Obama might put it, “spread the wealth around.”

The 2nd century B.C. historian Polybius famously described the threat to freedom and order that results from an ambitious politician exploiting the selfish interests of the people by promising them the wealth of others: “For the mob,” Polybius writes, “habituated to feed at the expense of others, and to have its hopes of a livelihood in the property of its neighbors, as soon as it has got a leader sufficiently ambitious and daring, being excluded by poverty from the sweets of civil honors, produces a reign of mere violence.” Today, violent revolution is unlikely, not least because it is unnecessary. The expansionary federal government and its hoards of bureaucratic minions have replaced the ruthless tyrants of antiquity, creating the “soft despotism” de Tocqueville warned against. This entitlement leviathan increases its power and reach by giving more and more benefits and services to more and more people, all funded by expropriation of wealth from the productive.

Moreover, modern free-market capitalism and its dynamic of competition have sharpened the differences between “rich” and “poor,” even though by any historical measure those we call “poor” today would have been considered more than comfortable in the past. Yet these disparities of wealth are even more painful for today’s democratic egalitarians, who chafe at what they see as unfair inequality. Hence the appeal of dirigiste or socialistic economic policies, which promise to erase a humiliating “income inequality” and provide the wealth citizens can’t obtain for themselves but that they envy and resent when possessed by others. In addition, as Jean François Revel points out, the suspicion of free-market economies and the lingering affection for socialism “relate to warding off two fears that are present in each of us: the fear of competition and the fear of responsibility. These feelings are not just vague apprehensions; they are dominating anxieties. Membership in a redistributive economy allays these fears and reduces stress. The statist machine promises the psychological comfort of not having to bear the burdens of responsibility for oneself.” Redistribution of wealth, then, provides both material and psychological benefits.

This summary of democracy’s dysfunctions is relevant as well to the decades of our wanton entitlement spending that has accelerated during the last four years. In 2010, government at all levels transferred more than $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services to recipients. Since the 1960s, the government has spent nearly $20 trillion on the War on Poverty. The federal government now runs about 80 programs providing aid to the poor, and government at all levels spends nearly $1 trillion annually to fight poverty. Food stamp spending has doubled during Obama’s first term, reaching $75.7 billion for the fiscal year ending 30 September 2011. From 2007 to 2011, spending on unemployment has nearly quadrupled to $120 billion. And don’t forget the ongoing costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which in fiscal year 2011 ate up 43% of the federal budget at a cost of $1.56 trillion. On top of these already existing entitlement programs, Obama spent nearly $1 trillion on a stimulus package that benefitted political clients like state government workers, and another $25 billion on the auto bailout that mostly rewarded yet another political client, the UAW. As for Obamacare, the CBO calculates it will cost about $2 trillion over ten years, and still leave 30 million people without health care. As a result of Obama’s increases in these wealth transfers, federal spending has now reached 24% of GDP.

To pay for all this largesse, the federal leviathan borrows money, as Obama has done to the tune of over $5 trillion. But it also redistributes income through the most progressive tax system among advanced economies. In 2009, the bottom 20% of taxpayers earned approximately 5% of the nation’s income but paid just 0.3 percent of all federal taxes. Households in the middle 20%, which earned almost 14.7% of national income, paid only 9.4% of federal taxes. Americans in the top 20%, earned 51% of the nation’s income, but paid 67.9% of all federal taxes. As for the evil 1%, they earned 13.4% of all income and paid 28.9% of all federal taxes. As a result, nearly half of all taxpayers contribute next to nothing to the costs of funding the government’s entitlements.

Another way to see how the tax system redistributes wealth, consider how much each group receives in federal spending compared to how much they pay. According to the Tax Foundation, households in the lowest 20% of income received roughly $8.21 in federal, state and local government spending for every dollar of taxes paid in 2004, households in the middle 20% received $1.30, and households in the top 20% received $0.41. In other words, tax payments exceeded government spending for the top 40%, meaning there was a net fiscal transfer of between $1.031 trillion and $1.527 trillion from one group of taxpayers to another. If this isn’t income redistribution from the “rich” to the “poor,” nothing is.

But like an ancient demagogue haranguing the Athenian Assembly, during the campaign Obama demonized Mitt Romney as the heartless tool of the rich who cared nothing for ordinary Americans, a plutocrat itching to cut programs for the poor, sick, and disabled, and shutter factories to send jobs to China, all so he could cut taxes and increase profits for the “millionaires and billionaires.” And Obama promised even more government booty, now disguised as “investments” to be paid for by appropriating even more money from those same greedy plutocrats. It was class-warfare at its nastiest, and it worked. Indeed, according to Jay Cost, it worked with the “lower-to-middle class, socially conservative whites” almost 10 million of whom, Cost calculates, stayed home because Obama had turned Romney into a super-rich “other” alien to the experience of the struggling masses.

Of course, people voted for reasons other than economic self-interest and the promise of more benefits to come. But thousands of attack ads turning Romney into the Grinch who wanted to steal the perpetual Christmas of entitlements paid for with other people’s money, along with the promise to make the “millionaires and billionaires” pay their “fair share,” were enough to make millions of voters ignore Obama’s manifest economic malfeasance, even as fiscal disaster looms ever closer. The ancient critics of Athenian democracy wouldn’t be surprised.

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  • Mary Sue

    You know what I found odd? When we learned about the wonderful Athenian Democracy, the only thing we learned about how it disappeared is someone conquered Greece. We were not told the intricacies of what went down just before that happened.

    THIS SHOULD BE IN EVERY SOCIAL STUDIES TEXTBOOK EVER. Why in blazes isn't it? Lazy educators?

    • George

      Uneducated citizens are much easier to con. Ever wonder why they don't teach economics in school?

      • Mary Sue

        well they did when i went to school but it was a pretty biased form of economics, leaning towards keynsianism except for one teacher I had.

    • Pip Power

      Why isn't the CFR in the History Books?

      Hardly one person in 1000 ever heard of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

      The Council on Foreign Relations was formally established in Paris in 1919 along with its British Counterpart the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The Council on Foreign Relations and Royal Institute of International Affairs can trace their roots back to a secret organization founded and funded by Cecil Rhodes, who became fabulously wealthy by exploiting the people of South Africa. Rhodes is the father of Apartheid.

      The C F R was founded by a group of American and British imperialists and racists intent on ruling the world. Many of the American members were American intelligence officers that belonged to the first American Intelligence Agency — THE INQUIRY. Many of the British members were British Intelligence Agents. THE INQUIRY and its members, who included such notable Americans as Col. Edward Mandel House, Walter Lippmann, Isaiah Bowman, and James Shotwell, wrote most of Woodrow Wilson's 14 points.

      The CFR/RIIA method of operation is simple — they control public opinion. They keep the identity of their group secret. They learn the likes and dislikes of influential people. They surround and manipulate them into acting in the best interest of the CFR/RIIA.

    • WildJew

      I am not a religious man. I believe in God. The God of my fathers; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I refuse to accept a mundane rather than a spiritual argument (explanation) for defeat at the hand of the enemy. Even in antiquity, peoples pondered what they did wrong in the eyes of God or their "gods" when they faced defeat at the hands of their enemies. Have we come to the point that we have to look to ancient Greece for an explanation? So I look to the Bible for answers. I am thinking of God's eternal covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants. The giving of the land. God told Abraham:

      "…And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed….Now the Canaanite (today the "Palestinians" are) was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." Chapter 17:

      "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

      "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

      Can we not agree both the Republicans and Democrats want to divide God's land (break the everlasting covenant), thereby giving land that God promised to Jacob to God's / Israel's / America's enemies? Romney's surrogate (Sen, Jim Talent) successfully fought-off conservative delegates for the inclusion of a Muslim-enemy killer state in the Holy Land in our national party platform last August. I am reminded of the Book of Joshua when after conquering Jericho Joshua sent his men to conquer Ai:

      "…about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water…

      Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. Joshua said, "Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan…..

      ….the LORD said to Joshua, "Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? "Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them….."Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst…."

      I say, we have sin in our (Republican) camp. "Therefore the (Republicans, the party of God, family, country) cannot stand before our enemies…."

      • m.a.

        I will be their God and they will be my people. We always seem to forget that bit about being His people, and all that it requires of us.

        • WildJew

          Jeremiah: “Now therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine and by pestilence.’ “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. “They shall be My people, and I will be their God….

      • Jim_C

        I agree. God is clearly on the Democrat's side, now.

        • Tony

          God would never stand with a party that stands for homosexual marriage and killing innocent babies. Not the Christian God.

          • Guest

            Nor would he stand with a party that stands for letting the poor, the afflicted, and the "fallen" suffer and die because they didn't have the good sense to be born rich. Maybe that is why he doesn't stand with any party.

    • Tom

      No politically motivated text book writers and university instructors are the problem. I completed graduate work in sciences in 1982 . The instructors in those fields were about evenly split between having liberal (extremely unscientific or illogical beliefs) and those who’s beliefs were grounded in logic and science. This included their stands on their subjects of expertise. I am sure it has ways been much worse in LIBERAL Arts (history) and economics. I can only imagine that it has gotten worse.

    • mlcblog

      How about: The schools are propaganda mills for the New Left establishment. Does that work?

      • Mary Sue

        that's pretty much it. I read about it in Change Agents in the Schools when i was in elementary school. When middle school rolled around the "life skills" class teacher presented a "lifeboat" scenario (as I had read that teachers were wont to do in that book) and I was like "This is BS."

        • katy

          wow – that is awesome that you read "Change Agents" at a young age. interesting story. if all children were as informed as you, we wouldn't be experiencing a 2nd term Obama.

          • Mary Sue

            Yeah, my grandparents had the book and gave it to my mom. The kids in my class (and I didn't mention the book at all, I just objected to the entire idea of choosing who to put out of a nuclear shelter–it's like no, just put EVERYBODY in, stretch the food a bit more) couldn't comprehend why I was making such a big deal about it.

    • katy

      not lazy, ignorant. the entire education has been dumbed down, including those who teach, for generations.
      read "the deliberate dumbing down of america" by Charlotte Iserbyt. The revision/deletion of true history is intentional. the less info a society has, the easier to propagandize.

    • An educator

      Athens could never have held out against Macedon on its own, so the internal "class warfare" (which, by the way, predated democracy by centuries; democracy actually had a mitigating effect on it, which you would never know from Thornton's rather sketchy portrayal here) was largely irrelevant to the "fall" of Athens, and a much more important factor was the various city-states' constant conflict with each other and refusal to coalesce into any meaningful or lasting sort of confederation.

      Thus I suspect that the reasons you were never taught about this class conflict are twofold: 1) because it wasn't nearly as important historically as many other facts that you also failed to learn (like the name of Philipp II…or are you just calling him "someone" to be funny?); 2) because of lazy students, not lazy educators. If students were at all interested in anything history professors/teachers have to say, and were not constantly asking whether something is on the next test in order to determine whether it will be forgotten now or in a few weeks, there are all sorts of interesting things we could share with you.

      Alas, American Idol takes precedence, so we must forlornly select the few tidbits we judge most important (like "somebody conquered Greece") and desperately try to drill them into your skulls while class is in session, before they are sponged away by the idiot box. Sadly, many interesting but not quite so critical facts (like "there was class conflict in Athens when its failure to play nice with the dozens of other city-states of nearly every political flavor finally backfired") are lost in the process.

  • banastre tarleton

    This is an excellent article written by a wise and knowlegeable man who is using the past as a distant mirror to reflect on today's problems ..the past doesn't repeat itself but it does ryme…it's not circular , but it is eliptical

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/Platform.htm Alexander Gofen

    It's not democrat success: It's the Repoobs betrayal!

    Referring to the depth of history, Mr. Thornton convincingly demonstrated what happens when spoiled citizenry discovers the way to vote the treasury for themselves. Thus the freeloading America elected their dear man as a dispenser again.

    What Mr. Thornton failed to explain is that in this particular case, the barrier for this freeloading madness existed and could be used, but wasn't.

    Prior to 2008, the freeloading mob did a grave mistake assigning the mission to a demagogue, who happened to be constitutionally illegitimate since the very beginning, and who later was uncovered of being a thief and fraud. This blunder provided a unique chance to stop the usurper before he even began to campaign.

    Alas, America already was so much rotten and corrupted, that no organized opposition showed up doing its duty of bringing illegitimacy crisis fore and upholding the Constitution.

    Since 2008 the GOP ceased even to act as an opposition party. So much so, that they did not vet the rival in 2008, and they repeatedly did not vet him in 2012 despite his unprecedented criminal baggage!

    Romney and the GOP establishment were obvious con men. The entire GOP is a criminal enterprise, just as Dems, guilty in treason. All other known "small fish" are guilty by association, because they too maintained the same taboo – instead of shouting about it from every rooftop.

    Each and every honest card holding member of ANY of the existing parties must quit with disgust. If salvation of this nation is still possible, it must begin with prosecution and dismissal of the criminal party(s) and establishing of a new one on the following platform
    http://www.resonoelusono.com/Platform.htm

    • banastre tarleton

      I have YET to ever meet a person from the former Soviet Union who isn't a paranoid conspiracy theorist ….it's the pschological damage done by the Bolsheviks who projected their own paranoia onto the captive population …but to be fair , the Russians were always narrow , provincial and backward and prone to medieval -like paranoia long before the Reds turned up, but it was the Bolsheviks turned suspicion and paranoia into a fine art form

      • Pip Power

        THE JEWS & COMMUNISM!

        GOOGLE IT & HAVE YOUR EYES OPENED!

        THEN GOOGLE DAWKINS & HIS PARASITES

        Brainwashed by a parasite – Neurophilosophy – RichardDawkins.net

        This is a powerful study on how the parasite exploits the host victim!

        LEARN THE LESSON & APPLY IT TO OUR PROBLEMS.

      • http://www.resonoelusono.com/Platform.htm Alexander Gofen

        Have I mentioned a word "conspiracy"? Alas, here in America it is too easy now to meet Lenin's useful idiots and Stalin's fellow travelers, who have not even noticed that they already live under neo-Bolsheviks : http://www.resonoelusono.com/2008vs1917.htm

    • Aaron

      Usurper? Thief? Fraud? Do you have any evidence to back up these claims of the President? Or are you just talking out your arse?

      And this whole, "Obama voters just want handouts" message will continue to marginalize your party and make you forever the minority. Do the victims of Hurricane Sandy just freeloaders? All of them? Really?

      Are the children in public schools evil because they're getting a free education? Then aren't we all freeloaders since we all drive on government roads, highways, and bridges? Aren't we all takers since we're all protected by a very expensive military? Aren't we all takers since we all use the government services that we all pay for like police, fire departments, Depts. of Health, Depts. of Labor and Statistics, Centers for Disease Control, etc?

      Drop the stupid rhetoric so we can have a substantive policy discussion. I've been hoping the Repubs come back to reality so we can solve the big problems we all face together.

      This denial and blame-everybody-else attitude is getting out of hand.

      • JakeTobias

        You left out, "You didn't build that."

      • http://www.resonoelusono.com/Platform.htm Alexander Gofen

        "Usurper? Thief? Fraud?" Never heard of it? Thank Mr. Horowitz and Front Page Mag for their "honest journalism".
        "Usurper" – because Obama/Soetoro/Soberckach (who exactly is not known) could never be considered US Natural Born citizen http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.h
        "Thief" – because his identity is stolen, his SS# of Connecticut is not his;
        "Fraud" – because the White House displayed the counterfeit document so much amateurish, that "race" in 1961 was entered as a euphemism introduced 20 years later… All this and other such evidence is on judicial records.

        "message will continue to marginalize my party?" Wait, wait: What is my party?

        All the services you listed in your demagogy existed also 50 years ago, when the deficit was measured in millions, rather than trillions. No cataclysmic natural disaster on a continental scale took place since then which could motivate the deficit counted in trillions. The only disaster that took place since then was that the neo-Bolsheviks took power: http://www.resonoelusono.com/2008vs1917.htm

  • harrylies

    The people of Athens, like Patrick Henry, had no problem with slavery. They were no better than Sudan. And they are moral guides?

    • Pip Power

      In Matthew 18:6 we read of the judgment of those who would seduce children; a millstone to be put around their neck & cast into the sea.

      99.9% of those who have read this scripture are ignorant of who Jesus is referring to:

      Second century Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, one of Judaism’s very greatest rabbis and a creator of Kabbalah, sanctioned pedophilia—permitting molestation of baby girls even younger than three! He proclaimed,

      “A proselyte who is under the age of three years and a day is permitted to marry a priest.” 1
      Yebamoth 60b,

      Subsequent rabbis refer to ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia as "halakah," or binding Jewish law. 2 Yebamoth 60b

      Has Rabbi ben Yohai, child rape advocate, been disowned by modern Jews? Hardly. Today, in ben Yohai’s hometown of Meron, Israel, tens of thousands of orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews gather annually for days and nights of singing and dancing in his memory.

      References to pedophilia abound in the Talmud. They occupy considerable sections of Treatises Kethuboth and Yebamoth and are enthusiastically endorsed by the Talmud’s definitive legal work, Treatise Sanhedrin.

      THINK ABOUT IT

    • Guest

      Throughout world history, the entire planet had not problem with slavery. How naive can you get.

  • Coptic John

    You should ask yourselves this question “who’s among us for Democrats” … I saw on a talk show here in Egypt a guy called Ahmed sowan, he’s an American-Egyptian and a member in the GOP and he was proudly announcing that he voted for Obama … you should disinfect yourselves from such double-dealers and Stop demonizing the Tea Party …

  • pierce

    FREE LOADING AMERICANS. THERE HAS TO BE MILLIONS OF THEM OUT THERE TO ELECT AND BELIEVE A CLOWN LIKE BARACK OBAMA.
    BUT WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND IS THE MAN IS TAKING AWAY THIER FREEDOMS, AND HE HAS THEM BELIEVING IN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, AND NOT PERMITTING OIL DRILLING ON THE CONTINENTAL SHELF, TO ALLEVIATE ENERGY SHORTAGES, AND PRICES AT THE GAS PUMP. THE ENVIRONMENT WAS RUINED 30, 40, 50 YEARS AGO. IT WON'T BE TOO LONG WITH ALL THE CONSTRUCTION GOING ON, AND THE WILL BE NO TREES. SO WHO ARE WE SAVING THE PLANET FOR.
    WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY, BUT WE HAVE GOT A LONG WAY TO GO. KEEP GIVING OUT THE FREEBIES, AND KEEP TAKING THE FREEBIES, AND SOONER THAN LATER WE WILL RUN OUT OF MONEY, THAT IS IF THE FEDEAL RESERVE DOESN'T STOP PRINTING $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    WAY TO ELECTORATE, YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANT.

    • Aaron

      Gas prices are down from where they were when Obama took office in 2009. We also export more oil than we take in. How does your twisted ideology explain that?

      NVM If you think that the planet we live on isn't worth saving and that the entire human race should go extinct just so you can drive a Hummer then you're already far too gone to engage in any rational discourse on energy policy.

    • greggdeselms

      @pierce: Please don't comment in all-caps… at least not entirely. Where there's no ability to put things in italics or bold, as is the case here, then putting an occasional word or phrase in all-caps, for emphasis, can make some sense. No one would begrudge you that in a place like this.

      But it seems impossible to me that anyone could be on the Internet for more than a month without having learned, by hook or by crook, about something called "netiquette," and its almost-two-decades-old prohibition of typing entire (or at least substantially all of one's) messages in all-caps. So doing is, pursuant to netiquette, the equivalent of yelling. And I, for one, don't like being yelled at. Not only that, so doing detracts from your point, and makes it harder for people to see, for all the noise.

      Please keep making your points. I may or may not agree with them, of course, but I'd fight to my death for your right to make them… and exactly as you now do, if that's what you want… but just sans the all-caps (other than, again, occasionally, for emphasis).

      Please, from now, on, do it in upper- and lower-case letters, like most everyone else. Please.

      Thank you.

      _________________________________________
      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    • mlcblog

      I hate to count them as true Americans. That, for me, is someone who pulls his own weight if he possibly can and considers welfare a temporary measure to be used only in duress.

  • The Truth

    I knew it would only be a matter of time before Mr. Thornton would have enough material from the Likud loss in this election to bluster out a book criticizing America in the hackneyed terms of Athenian democracy. I will be entertained to read it, knowing that the classics degree will find its true niche as prostitute for the highbrow end of the conspiracy theory market. Mr. Thornton knows, and therefore put it last in his list, that Mitt Romney lost because he was unable to mute his fat cat persona, disrespected half of America while pandering to his Israeli banker bribesmen, and promised to be the same kind of President as Obama but with less experience and no skill at disguising his lack of compassion. It will be amusing to be regaled with fun stories about Aristotle and Thucydides anyway, and Mr. Thornton should make some good money with Students for Academic Freedom pushing it on college students as fair and balanced reading.

    • PaulRevereNow

      Here's a fact for you(not a theory): Romney lost because of voter fraud, and because three million Republicans didn't vote. If Romney lost because he's a "fat cat," that only emphasizes the unpleasant truth of the rise of envy as a determinant in American life; particularly since Zero has been in the White House. Romney didn't talk enough about how he spared no expense or effort to find the kidnapped daughter of a co-worker. Excuse me, Romney has plenty of compassion. There's truth for you.

    • Kalman42

      Interesting comment " The Truth", but you fail to explain where the democracy analogy went wrong. You are demonizing the author , ( classical left strategy/Alinsky style) but you fail to debate the ISSUES as so well explained with facts and numbers. Your comment about Romney being a fat cat also comes from the Obama/Left talking points. What kind of a "truth" do you want to convey, the one of the ultra left that is bankrupting this country in the name of " fairness"?

      • The Truth

        The author is demonizing all of America because his preferred candidate lost the election and Israeli militants were delivered a painful blow. But you leap to accept his lofty thesis without taking his bare motivations or his raw abuse of Americans as greedy, immoral materialists to task. Anyone can formulate these kinds of rank accusations, and Mr. Thornton merely pads his with classical references. When the book is published, I will be more than happy to give it a good critical analysis. Right now, I would be merely writing the book for him.

        • Ghostwriter

          Why don't call yourself The Lie. That would be better because you lie about Israelis all the time.

        • PaulRevereNow

          ,,,and you accept at face value Obama's nasty rhetoric about the fictional "war on women," et al. Mr. Thornton isn't demonizing "all Americans," he's giving us a lesson on the etiology of mass disfunction–that is, how dependency on government began. But since you have swallowed lock,stock, and barrel Zero's characterization of Romney as a "fat cat," I suggest you read Edward Klein's book, "The Amateur." One point that Klein makes is that Obama isn't a "people person," that is, he's not naturally outgoing or gregarious. Thus, according to Bill Clinton, Obama doesn't know "how to get things done," in politics. Klein further states, to the effect that Obama brings to the table a severely limited set of Presidential skills.

          • The Truth

            I didn’t tout Obama. I am not even an Obama voter. I don’t need to swallow Obama’s characterization of Romney. I can come to my own conclusions about Romney based on his lousy track record.

    • nightspore

      I always wonder when I read responses like this whether the author actually believes what he is saying. Part of Romney's problem was "Israeli banker bribesmen" ? Really? Romney had less experience than BHO? Well, wrt the presidency itself, yes. But before the last 4 years Barry had almost no relevant experience. And he still doesn't make decisions effectively. (Remember, this is the guy that Bill Clinton called "an amateur". How many Benghazi's will it take for even you wake up?)

      And how do you know that Romney has a "fat cat persona"? What does that mean exactly? Interesting that Slick Barry doesn't, at least in your eyes.

  • https://www.facebook.com/theo.prinse Theo Prinse

    There is a great resemblance between the manipulation of the undecided voter by CNN ABC CBS MSNBC in favor of Obama within the 2.5 percentage and the Dutch elections of September 12th. There is a great difference though in the technique behind the manipulation. Even Fox O'Reilly fooled his republican audience with his own semantic style of presentation.
    Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, the conservatives and the republicans did just fine.
    Maybe a little to decent, to polite.
    The reason of Obamas reelection within the 2.5 percent is caused by the monopoly mass media of ABC MSNBC CNN CBS has over the undecided voter, the necessity for polling agencies to comply with the party political preference of these Media in order to have its then adjusted party political preference allowed to be broadcasted for the millions of mostly undecided voters and the fact that ABC, MSNBC, CNN and CBS were all pro Obama and anti Mitt Romney.
    There were other factors ..but these were marginal to the above.
    2ndly by protocol Mitt Romney received CIA briefings in the last weeks during the debates and concluded that if the information he got regarding the Benghazigate scandal where Obama has committed at least two counts of Treason to the US Congress were to be made publick ..Romney concluded he either had to acquiescence by keeping this secret or get the blame for supposedly causing a second US civil war given the gravity of all the constitutional powers involved …
    1. A week before 9/11 Benghazi a Libyan ship was confiscated in Turkey probably under pressure by Russian proxies carrying weapons from Libya to Syria putting Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan in a moral blackmail to Moscow in the face of the shia world …
    2. Erdogan then ordered his Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin in Libya to somehow deal or even eliminate US ambassador Chris Stevens to get rid of the Russian blackmail towards the Shia community .. all this with acquiescence of Obama and perhaps Clinton where Stevens was a viable witness before US Congress hearings that can lead to accuse Obama and Clinton for High Treason ..
    The Turkish Consul Akin met Chris Stevens just an hour before Stevens was murdered after Al Qaeda linked terrorists already had sealed off the 'Embassy' of Stevens which the terrorists were planning to raid immediately after the Turkish Consul had left the diplomatic housing of Stevens without the Turk warning Stevens.
    3. David Petraeus was involved in the making of Argo combined with the leakage of intelligence to the Hollywood film makers for a Presidential Campaign movie where Obama personally kills Osama bin laden .. whom was never proven that he was in the Abbottabad villa in the first place as the Pakistani parliament is well aware given the elections in 2013 …
    4. The Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI under Mueller is administered by the Department of Justice run by Eric Holder
    5. The relation between then general David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell started in 2006.who recently allegedly threatened Jill Kelley leading then assuming to an authority undermining affair.
    6. Eric Holder himself is under extreme scrutiny by Darrell Issa in the Fast & Furious scandal incriminating Obama through Kevin O’Reilly ..
    7. When under oath Petraeus will certainly repeat his statement the CIA never advises not to help notwithstanding that Petraeus knew of the arms shipments from the Benghazi covert base ANNEX and most certainly will testify that he will do all in his power to foil attempts to fix elections and to secure the US from enemies.
    8. Although a Libyan ship under Libyan flag and Libyan captain (Clare lopez) was confiscated in a Turkish harbor containing Libyan (Al Qaeda linked) surface to air missiles, ManPads, RPG's etc. for Al Qaeda linked groups in Syria … 2. and that the Benghazi embassy was merely a diplomatic mission covering a CIA operation … Petraeus MIGHT VERY WELL not be complicit in some of his CIA officers together with H. Clinton and ambassador Stevens and Obama were shipping these arms to Syria via Turkey to Al Qaeda linked terrorists …
    9. General Carter Ham was said to be off duties by David Rodriquez but this and what Martin Dempsey said or didn’t do seems of little relevance in this Hitchcock suspense

    • amused

      Nice longwinded post , but actually it's much simpler , the undecided , as well as Independents and centrists , people who put the good of the United States above partisan politics , are EXACTLY those people who can not be influenced by Media slants [Fox /MSNBC ETC ]
      As far as any "theory " you attempt to put forward , I would checks facts if available and dispense with fractured faireytales . …..but you keep investigating boss .

      • Mary Sue

        except all the polls had romney leading with Independents.

  • pennylane

    Please stop bashing the electorate.

    What did the GOP have to offer apart from a revival of Bush's failed agenda? Why should anyone in their right mind ote for that??? The GOP is blessed it got theamount of votes it did with the candidates and agenda it put up for election.

    • Aaron

      Thank you!

      I just wish the Conservatives would come back to reality with the rest of us!

      The only people who didn't see this coming last Tuesday were the ones stuck in the "Conservative Entertainment Complex" cocoon. They had their own polls skewed to tell them what they wanted to hear and modeled their turnout efforts on that fake data. Obama had a massive, sprawling GOTV infrastructure that was FAR superior to what Romney had on the ground and that's what helped him win. They underestimated the "community organizer" and he spanked them, again. Now they're digging their heads deeper into the sand and blaming everything else but themselves.

      Stop lying to yourselves first! Then we can have a substantive policy debate based in REALITY.

      Until then, Limbaugh, FOX News, and the conservative pay-for-click blogosphere will continue to marginalize and alienate the Republican party and lose elections.

      • Mary Sue

        Limbaugh et al can only alienate poeple that never would have voted Republican in the first place.

    • Mary Sue

      Maybe the GOP should imitate Stephen Harper. That is so far from Failed it's not even funny. And we're doing much better than you! We also didn't have that stupid crazy loan money to people to buy a house that can't pay it back thing.

  • Steve Chavez

    UNIVERSITY WORKERS PROTEST HIGHER HEALTHCARE COSTS. A protest at the University of New Mexico took place last week when the university announced that instead of paying 100% of their healthcare, now they will pay only 60-80% so now they want a PAY RAISE to cover the costs.

    PREMIUMS ARE GOING UP $200-300 PER MONTH and now professors are organizing a protest for a PAY RAISE to offset the rise.

    HOW MANY VOTED FOR OBAMA AND HIS MANDATE, OBAMACARE? 99%? That's about right and they used their classroom to brainwash students too.

    BUT, DON'T THEY WANT TO "PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE?" I can't wait for these zombies to wake up and find that their sleeping IN THEIR OWN VOMIT!

    • Aaron

      Do you have a link to prove the veracity of your claims? I can't find a single news article mentioning any protests at the University of New Mexico over healthcare costs.

      • Steve Chavez

        Dailylobo.com is the university newspaper that had a photo of the protest by university hospital workers. Also, a sister of a professor was on talk radio last week and claimed her professor brother claimed that their health care premiums were going up by the $200-$300 amount. I then saw a professor friend at the Lobo football game in the Tailgate area where I am always invited to eat with at least two groups, the Alumni and Visiting Parents.

        I tried their stupid "archive" section and it wouldn't pull up. They used to have an archive where you put the date and it showed the whole newspaper like it was photocopied. Now the system is something I have had no luck with but I should call them to figure it out. I tried google too and couldn't find it. I saw it online last Friday and saw the actual paper on Saturday. I will remember you and find it. Later

  • zaynab

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
    ― Alexis de Tocqueville

    • amused

      Actually de Tocaueville stole that from a Greek …..do you know who that was ? BTW , there are several exceptions to that "200 year rulle " the US , being just one .

      • Mary Sue

        And the West Coast is overdue for a major earthquake the sort of which only happens every few hundred years. What's your point?

      • trickyblain

        Socrates/Plato.

        But if Romney were elected, he'd solve everything.

  • Glennd1

    But the argument is even worse than he makes it out to be. As he points out in the end of the article, we already have one of the most progressive tax regimes on the planet – this according to the non-partisan OECD as of 2011. France's increase of top tax rate to 75% pushed them past us (into the dustbin). In fact, if you took the trillion dollars that the feds spend on means tested welfare programs (nothing to do with ss or medicare) you could give every family/person below the poverty line 60,000 dollars apiece.

    To me, the above reveals even more of the lies of the left.. Why we didn't go as negative on Obama as he did on Romney is amazing to me. He lies so baldly about so many things one could just do ads that pointed out every area of his administration where he's lying. Example: Tough on Islamism = Muslim Brotherhood in the White House – we never saw that ad, did we? His own words damn him, I just don't get why we can't get someone to run who can actually criticize Obama's record. We also should have dived on the Benghazi catastrophe, instead, we just missed it.

  • Jared

    Obama demands that we covet our neighbors' wealth if they make over $250,000 a year and not one pastor speaks up against this. Today's Christians would rewrite Jesus' parable of the 5 golden talents and take away the 5 talents and give them to those who had fewer. This makes today's Christians anti-Christ.

    • Jean

      Well, you are not entirely wrong. I cannot name a single prominent Christian pastor/teacher who has stood up and loudly proclaimed the truth about Obama and all the others complicit in this socialist transformation of America. I'm sure they have some very high-minded sounding excuses, but they are worthless shepherds.

    • Jim_C

      There have been a ton of anti-Obama sermons absurdly and inappropriately blabbered by bloviating brickbats from pulpits across this great nation.

      The problem with sermonizing about THIS is that Obama's tax policy is NOT about "coveting" or demonizing. It is about getting back revenues after ridiculous amounts of borrow-and-spend from Mr. Bush, who thought doing that AND adding tax cuts (after being given a budget surplus) was a good idea. Those tax cuts were lobbied for by the best lobbyists money could buy!

    • Jim_C

      It's funny you should bring scripture, and particularly, Gospel scripture into this. When you read back on His views of the rich, our Man sounds like quite the l'l Marxist…just sayin'…camel, eye of needle, etc.

      But on taxation? "render unto Caesar," my friends!

      Hail, Obama!

      • Mary Sue

        Caesar didn't have Obamacare.

        • Guest

          That's right, he kept all the money for the Romans (and spent it on things like building pagan temples in Rome) instead of returning it to "entitlement" programs. Yet somehow Christ still told the Judaeans to pay their taxes. Strange, eh?

  • A 22 Year Old Man

    Loved the history lesson.

    • amused

      Oh they got MORE 22 year old , and most of it revisionist .

  • jemaasjr

    Athenian democracy was a military aristocracy, way ahead of its time but only democratic for the army.

    As for the election, imagine a football game where one teem gets ten players on the field and the other twelve. Maybe the side with ten players could have done better, but you know…

  • clarespark

    This piece by Bruce Thornton is one popular conservative notion for the failure to elect Romney, but in my view, capitalism itself is on the line, and we have failed to educate our citizens in basic economics. Instead, ignorant voters blame the Jews, who stand for capitalism. Romney was the captive of extreme conservatives, and did not lose by much. I wrote about the failure to teach about antisemitism ("the money power") here, and also reminded your readers that most women will never give up their rights to control their timing of pregnancy. See http://clarespark.com/2012/11/07/capitalism-is-on….

    • WildJew

      Republicans bought the lie put forward by the Republican party Establishment (even Limbaugh bought it), that Romney was "The only man who could beat Barack Obama!"

      • Mary Sue

        I think Limbaugh was making the point that ANYBODY was better than Obama, given the Primary fate of the more conservative Candidates (witness the ruinings of Herman Cain and Rick Perry). Limbaugh would have far preferred Herman Cain but it was not to be.

      • clarespark

        Conservatives and superpatriots should search their own souls before condemning Romney. See http://clarespark.com/2012/11/13/orwell-superpatr…. “Orwell, superpatriots, and the election.”

  • Mark Leavenworth

    Great summary. It would have been nice if you could have condensed it all into a slogan on the side of a bus for the majority of today's America.

  • BLJ

    Free stuff did trump Freedom, but I also believe a healthy dose of good old fashioned voter fraud helped as well. We all must remember to the Left the end justifies the means. All the time.

    • LibertarianToo

      YES Blj. I'm tired of hearing all the explanations except the true one – The election was stolen. There is a growing mountain of evidence that the Chicago thug just stole it – talk about a history-making election! Votes cast that exceed the number of registered voters, people being bussed in from Chicago to vote in Michigan, 100% of votes cast going to Obama, vote cards that have Obama for President and all the rest a straight Republican ticket, etc.

      It's also worth keeping in mind that Athenian "democracy" excluded women and the foreighn-born, -so they would have had their own "woman problem" and "Hispanic problem" aside from any question of wealth redistribution,

      • Jim_C

        Total boolsheet. Got proof?

        Republicans did all they could to suppress the vote (the 'end justifies the means,' right BLJ?)–and they STILL lost.

        • BLJ

          Obama did not win one state with Voter Photo ID laws. You need to educate yourself on how the Chicago Machine works my friend. I live in Chicago and have seen it in action time and time again.

          • Jim_C

            I grew up in Chicago. I know the machine very well (and believe me when I say I sympathize with you). But come on, man.

        • Mary Sue

          and how pray tell do Republicans "suppress the vote"?

    • amused

      ABSOLUTELY TRUE BJ , and it applies EQUALLY to Republicans , Conservatives and TEA Party , do you need anymore proof than you find here ? Oh you guys AMUSE me with your phony platitudes .

      • BLJ

        Glad to see you have finally came around and see that the Dems are the party of free stuff. There us hope for the human race afterall.

      • Mary Sue

        if the Republicans are so good at suppressing the vote how come they can't win in Blue States?

  • WildJew

    How much longer will the Republican party base capitulate to the recommendation of Republican party elites? How many more defeats, McCain, Romney, etc., must we suffer?

  • mcwrath

    One must not forget the degeneration of university education with its political correct adgenda, so liable to denigrate western values of freedom, liberty, individualism, with their neo-marxist drivel of 'social justice' expressing ideas of freedom as a delusion… Obama can make statements that practically undermine the first amendment and there is hardly a noise about it.

    • katy

      absolutely correct! and some of them become educators and gues what they teach?!

  • http://whatdirectdemocracymightbe.wordpress.com/ Daryl Davis

    Mr. Thornton's anti-democratic argument cites the ancient Greeks as the authority on the perils of such a polity. Sad. Almost as sad as clinging to the original intent of the Founders, even as we watch their handiwork fall apart around us. Shall we press a constitutional reset button, then, and hope for a different result? Was it only bad luck that their design failed the first time around?

    Or, as Mr. Thornton seems to desire, shall we abandon the popular will and voting with it? Perhaps a benign dictatorship, a council of Wise Elders, or a monarchy? The only reasonable and moral solution is to design a democracy capable of localizing the bad effects of voters' decisions to those jurisdictions in which they live. Thus, they, like the citizens of Detroit, must face the consequences for their folly and live in squalor, or grow from their mistakes and reform their ways.

    Leaving our future to the Congress or to fraudulent national presidential elections has run its course:
    http://whatdirectdemocracymightbe.wordpress.com/i

    • amused

      Ahhhh , yes Daryl …..only because Democrats won .

      • Mary Sue

        so then who is to blame for Detroit's squalor?

  • Patrick

    what free stuff did Obama promise? it seems to me the one who made promises was Romney who promised tax cuts. Obama promised tax increases on the uper class and cuts in defence spending. That is not free stuff

    • BLJ

      Obama' socialist policies are designed to keep the entitlement programs going. If you are too stupid to understand that then bad on you.

      • Jim_C

        Programs Americans have liked and voted for the better part of a century, now. Nothing new, no tipping point, here.

        • amused

          LOLOL…..dont knoiw where you got that thumbs up from Patrick , I think the reading comprehension ariound here is such , that they just didn't get what you are saying .

  • weroinnm

    Demand a Full Recount of the 2012 Presidential Election!
    What are we a Third World Country or a Republic?
    Many brave Americans have and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice to uphold and defend our “Constitution” and “Bill of Rights” and it’s a disgrace that their votes were suppressed again across the country.
    I just signed the petition "United States Federal Election Commission: We Demand a Full Recount of the 2012 Presidential Election" on Change.org.


    It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link: http://www.change.org/petition...
    Additionally, please take some time out of your busy day to visit the following website for daily updates regarding voter fraud and sign the other listed petitions:
    Barack Obama Voter Fraud 2012! http://obamavoterfraud.blogspo...
    Petitions for Recount:
    Petition to Congress
    Petition to White House
    Petition to GOP
    Vote Fraud – What They Aren’t Telling You! http://teapartyorg.ning.com/pr...
    Thanks.
    God Bless Us All-God Bless The USA! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
    Semper Fi!
    Jake

  • Jim

    Please excuse Patrick, he's on the Koolaid again…..

    • amused

      Was there any left after weroinnm drank the whole batch ? LOLOLOL

  • Loyal Achates

    Bruce, just come out and say you hate democracy. it'll make you feel better.

    • Mary Sue

      He doesn't hate Constitutional Republic.

  • amused

    OH MY ….look at all the dichotomies and thesis' on a lost election ! The blind leading the blind .
    Republicans lost the election because of ….YOU . Your MINDSET .Your Threats .Your "prophetic pontifications " . Idiots like Murdock , Aiken ,Bachmann . Limbaugh , Hannity , West , Trump , , all being observed , notes taken and considered for the past 4 years . Oh ….did I leave out the Tea Party and Wilsons unprecedented show of DISRESPECT .. You think all this played well , and you're right , but only in your own echo chambers and narrow minded little bizzarro universe . You disregarded and disrespected the will of the electorate for four years an disrespected THEM ALSO . It looks like a pretty good bet you're going to do the same again .Don't expect different results in 2016

    • Jim_C

      Hear, hear. They've been "praying Obama fails." They set their main goal not as helping the economy but as defeating Obama. They cheer at the deaths of the uninsured, they boo gay soldiers, they laugh about the "seas rising," and call half the country "leeches." They waited until Mr. Bush was out of office before it was safe to question why we'd be in a 10-year war. They're dying to invent a scandal for Benghazi. They rejoice at unemployment numbers as evidence of Obama's failure to correct overnight a decade of lax policy, leading to economic freefall. And what do they hang their hat on? "Don't tax those poor millionaires! Haven't they suffered enough?"

      And all the while they say they love this country? I wonder, what, exactly, do they love about it?

      I always said: I HOPE they double down and entrench, elect more TEA partiers. That works for me. That's guaranteed "permanent minority" right there.

      Unfortunately I think the Republican party still has a few smart guys left who know there's a whole lot of reinvention that needs to happen. They know they have to get rid of the punks and cranks they allowed out of their cages to roam loose among decent people.

    • Mary Sue

      ahhh the talking points.

      Pfff hahaha Limbaugh lost the election for them? Seriously? Whose stupid idea was that? Limbaugh made Democrats vote Democrat? Last I heard, Romney was leading in the Independents.

      Face it, 3 million Republicans didn't vote because they thought it was wrong to elect a Mormon.

  • Not Me

    If the Democrats at Santa Clause, handing out presents from a big bag, Repuiblicans are the elves, making sure that the bag is always filled to the brim. They still seem not to have learned this lesson.

  • CanaGuy

    Write all the elegant, erudite prose that you want, but after poking around for three days I have come to the conclusion that the Democrats won the presidential election by massive, organized fraud.

    • Jim_C

      Well I'm sure you'll be able to prosecute that with all the evidence you dug up after, er…"poking around."

      Tell you what, though, champ, I won't hold my breath waiting for you to bring it to the authorities. In fact, I'm just going to assume you really are the loser I think you are, and nothing actually will come of it, and the big bad black man will still be president for the next four years.

  • riverboatbill

    Wealth is created by productive individual initiative. Money is pieces of paper or numbers on computers, both magically placed there by the government.

  • Felice

    No one mentions the self-righteous Republicans who stayed home and didn't vote for Romney apparently because he was not ideologically pure enough. They could have won the election but didn't have a clue as to just how rotten and dangerous Obama is to the survival of the U.S Neither the Dems or the Repubs have a shred of common sense anymore and such gross stupidity is destroying America.

  • marios

    Great article but gullible people or rotten corrupted liberals will never read it. It is not Obama's victory but corrupted, anti-American Dem's party, party which works on crippling socialistic revolution and they won. To get fraud, "empty suite man be elected and re-elected as Pres of our great country, they worked 100 years (Pres. Wilson ) and especially the last 50 years. They seized control over MSM and over Educational system. It is not demographic factor as MSM trying to instill on us, it is FREE Stuff Dem's bribed illegals, black community, union’s employees, etc on our taxpayers account. MSM covered up BHO even in such treason cases as US ambassador assassination as well as Fast and Fury scandal with death another US citizen. Romney has opposite MSM treatment: they smeared honest and decent man. If GOP will not demand "fare share" in MSM, in TV channels first of all, and not stop liberal/socialistic propaganda in school and University we are done as a great country as it is in article.

  • marios

    liberals as "amused" here like live on another planet: he does not know that unemployment rate is more 8% (real rate is between 11 & 17 %), unprecendentant national debt more than 16 TRLN, budget deficit more than 6 TRLN, 47% are not paying taxes, meridian family income decreased by more than $4000 for 4 years, gas prize was more than $4 for 4 his reign years, poor population increased, almost 50MLN get food stamps, on and on… Why liberals don't comprehend that as great M. Thatcher said " L:iberals problem that OUR money finally come to end". But to that time all country become big beggar. Only tiny slide of those who is in Power become really innormally reach and their friends have their 'fair share". …but no freedom for other as well. Look at Cuba, Vietnam, Russia (especially former USSR), etc. Do you like it? Let's go, I am ready to buy one way ticket to Cuba, for instance, for "amused".

    • Jim_C

      Hey marios, speaking of Cuba, Floridian Cubans voted for a democrat, Obama, for the FIRST time THIS time, and helped push that state over the edge for the Good Guys. Not the demographic factor? Uh, ok…

      I like your post; in its flurry of cute surface level conservativemainstream media factoids, it manages to completely gloss over the economic freefall we went into after your guy's 8 years in office, just before Obama took office. You crafty li'l devil! You're so sneaky! You thought we'd forget about that? You're not alone; so did the Republican Party!

      So unemployment, increase in food stamps, gas prices, median family income…yeah those things do tend to pile up during a near-Depression, don't they? So, I've got a great idea: let's cut taxes on the people whose wealth increased exponentially while everyone else's stagnated or tanked! Our glorious "producers" will "create jobs" for us! Oops! Already tried that–still no jobs!

      That's what Romney ran on. That's what his marvelous business acumen brought us! Gee, why didn't that message catch on? Oh, right–because through no fault of his own, he was portrayed as an out-of-touch rich guy by the mainstream media, as well as anyone who had eyes, ears, and half a brain.

  • amused

    Brainwashed robo-parrots like YOU marios , you got the mantras down right .After all why would anyone expect you to be any more than the sum-total of what you hear and what you've been fed , rather than what you know . You're still wet behind the ears marios . Please send me the money for that ticket , I need to re -up on T-bone steaks and Jamisons .
    And please ….learn English , those ain't typos I'm looking at .

  • JCS

    If only the deficit was 3 trillion a year, the democrats could create utopia, a paradise on earth.

  • jose

    This is a Republic, not a democracy!

  • cobrastriesand1

    Absolutely brilliant! These lines from the 4th paragraph, "Today, violent revolution is unlikely, not least because it is unnecessary. The expansionary federal government and its hoards of bureaucratic minions have replaced the ruthless tyrants of antiquity, [. . .]", hit the nail right on the head.
    Now that we've been able to replace the American Worker/Union-Gangster, with laborers from China who would never if they lived to be a thousand, be able to use OUR government to expropriate OUR income through taxes, we are left with an utterly useless service/welfare sector which lives like royalty, because their very presence in our nation amounts to a form of hostage taking – keep the welfare/entitlement spigots flowing or they will take to the streets and start burning cars to get what they want from us. As long socialists like Barak Obama and Michael Bloomberg are able to keep this mob of useless eaters under control and in the voting booth we'll always live in fear.
    I live in New York, and every day I have to watch this digesting spectacle of taxpayer(1%) subsidized public housing situated for some reason on some of the most expensive land on earth, having its power and water fixed by union scum making upwards of $50 an hour, all on the dime of 1% tax payers who have to live fear of looting we can't turn their lights back on for them or if the army doesn't come in and physically hand-deliver food to these losers. How much longer are we going to put up with this!?

  • Michael Schneider

    Re the 'free stuff' system, the best use of it I've seen is Shakespeare's Marc Antony's speech, "Friends, Romans countrymen…….."
    He tells the rabble after Caesar was assassinated that he intended to leave his wealth to the common people.
    A great ploy to gain the peoples love for Caesar and incur the hatred of the populous against the assassins without having to actually do anything for it.

    • Guest

      Yeah, you know that actually happened, right? That Caesar left a big chunk of money to the populace (that's how you spell it, by the way)? It's not just something in a play by Shakespeare.

      One thing the fall of the Roman Republic teaches us, by the way, is that when conservatives are too obstructionist towards the progressives, to the point that they let the majority of their population languish, the progressives eventually crush them because they have the force of an angry mob behind them. If the Optimates had been a little more willing to compromise on issues like land reform, the Populares might never have had so much leverage. Just something to think about: maybe the "free stuff" system is really a "you're not using it and you can't take it with you and I need it so I'm going to take a little" system. Potato potatoe (a Dan Quayle potato), right?

  • Candidus

    Brilliant, brilliant article. One of the finest I have ever read at FPM and that's saying something.
    Kudos to Mr. Thornton.

  • Marvin Fox

    If I hear one of the great thinkers with a workable solution instead of a scholarly detailed but useless analysis I will stand and salute.
    Incidentally, ancient Athens was not a democracy. The Republic of the United States is not a democracy. Wikipedia has a list of democracies; the only type of government missing from it, the last time I looked, was a nation calling itself a "democracy!" Democracy always props itself against another form of government.
    The modern conception of democracy is its only principle , majority rule! I dare all comers to find a nation that is or has used the majority rule of its citizens to govern that nation.
    The definition of our Republic is its Constitution; all other definitions are false or incomplete.
    Redefining our Republic as our democracy is false, and becoming more ridiculous by the minute.
    Marvin Fox

  • A Hellenist

    "The differences between the political mechanisms of ancient Athens and those of America today do not erase the similarities of mentality and sensibility popular rule creates in its citizens."

    Perhaps not, but those differences do make an analogy between the Athenians' decision to embark on the Sicilian expedition and the re-election of President Obama a particularly faulty one. I suspect you know that, however, and are just engaging in a bit of petty demagoguery of your own. Certainly the rabid comments that have been posted would support such a conclusion.

    Here is where the analogy breaks down, folks, since it is clear that most of you haven't actually read Thucydides: Athens had virtually no equivalent to our system of taxation nor to our "entitlement" programs. The analogy to pay for jury duty or religious festivals just doesn't work because those simply weren't a reliable source of support for anyone (certainly nothing like unemployment or food stamps). In fact, in the passage I suspect Thornton is referring to (Thucy. 6.24 – though I cannot be sure, as he did not properly cite his sources), Thucydides is certainly critical of the masses for supporting the war in the hope of gain, but he is a little more specific about the nature of that gain: they vote to support this imperialist move because they imagine that the expansion of Athenian rule will provide them with permanent employment, a steady source of income…or as Romney might say, "12 million new jobs."

    So the analogy, if we are going to insist on drawing it (it's a bad one either way, but a little less bad thus), is a lot more persuasive if we draw it this way: Alcibiades (that's the reckless demagogue who convinces the Athenians to vote foolishly against their own interest for a jingoist policy that shows just how arrogant they are in their self-congratulatory exceptionalism) would be Mitt Romney, who made the keystone of his platform the arithmetically miraculous creation of jobs while enriching the already rich still more. This is, Thucydides tells us, precisely what motivates Alcibiades' reckless demagoguery: already one of the richest blue-bloods in Athens, he wants to add still more to his wealth and prestige. We might compare the militarily miraculous feat of defeating Sicily, which Alcibiades promises as an inescapable outcome of the expedition to this over-promising to the populace on the basis of nothing more than wishful thinking.

    As I said, it is a poor analogy in either case, but it is disingenuous of Thornton to suggest, without even properly citing his sources, that Aristotle or Thucydides or any other ancient thinker would have seen Obama as a greater demagogue than Romney, or the outcome of the election as a victory of demagoguery over good sense akin to the Sicilian expedition. In fact, I suspect that once Aristotle had got over his initial bafflement at all sorts of features of our society (like voting women, or our refusal until recently to allow men who have sex with other men to serve in our military, or government control of intoxicating substances, or the funding of warships and other large military expenses by a general tax rather than mandatory "donations" made by the wealthy few), he likely would judge the most recent election to have been something of an anomaly in an otherwise long history of successful demagoguery (Bush's wars, e.g., actually provide a much better analogy for the kind of demagoguery at work in the Sicilian expedition): after all, in this case the majority did NOT side with the candidate who offered them "12 million new jobs" and "cheaper gas" and "20% tax cuts across the board," to name just a few demagogic promises.