Will Democracy’s Critics Be Proven Right This November?

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And let’s not forget what’s obscured by Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric: the simple fact that the economic disaster waiting down the road is not the lack of revenue, but the explosion of spending on entitlements. According to the Heritage Foundation, by 2050 spending on Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and Obamacare will reach 19% of GDP, an amount that would devour all federal tax revenue at current rates. Given the popularity of Obama’s call to raise taxes on the “rich,” however, these fact-deficient appeals suggest that many voters either don’t understand those facts or don’t care, as long as their own interests are served.

Since Obama has worsened our economic troubles by increasing both budget deficits and entitlement spending––under his watch, the number of Americans living in households receiving government aid has jumped to 50%–– his only reelection strategy is to ignore economic fact. Instead, he must play on the irrational emotions of class envy, and make veiled promises to give even more money to the “takers” by filching it from the “makers.” Such behavior validates the criticisms of democracy from antiquity to the American founders. They had the example of ancient Athens, where by the mid-4thcentury B.C. every citizen was receiving state money almost every day of the year, and state funds were directed toward “public festivals and sacrifices,” as the historian Theopompus said, instead of national defense. How similar to our country today, where defense spending is facing a $1 trillion reduction over the next decade, even as Obamacare will cost $2.6 trillion, without any assurance that it will reduce costs or improve health care.

So are we Americans the “mob” or “dunces and weaklings” of democracy’s critics? Some data seem to suggest at least many of us are. By all historical indicators, given the sorry state of the economy Obama should be heading for McGovern-like disaster, losing to Romney in November by 5%. Yet polls show Obama virtually even with Romney, and his “likability” numbers are 20 points higher than Romney’s. Could it be that, like the Athenian Assembly in Thucydides, nearly half of our citizens––those millions benefitting from federal largesse at some level––are motivated by their own short-term self-interests no matter how damaging to our national future, and manipulated by appeals to irrational class hatred, class-envy, and unworkable utopian visions of cost-free equality and affluence?

We’ll see in November. Meanwhile there are other signs that enough Americans are not “dunces and weaklings.” The continuing influence of the Tea Party, recently evident in the surprise nomination of Ted Cruz to run for the Senate in Texas, suggests that this truly populist movement for fiscal sanity and traditional virtues will be as effective in November as it was in the 2010 midterm elections. The mass demonstrations in support of Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy’s First Amendment rights are another sign that a critical mass of Americans are sick of the totalitarian arrogance of progressives and eager to fire the Progressive-in-Chief. Perhaps these are portents of a renewed vigor and virtue among the American people that will prove democracy’s critics wrong.

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  • Chezwick

    I've spent a lifetime propounding the moral worth and practical utility of democracy. But it's become painfully apparent that the inherent proclivity of voters to reward candidates who promise them perks will be – ultimately – the death knell of the republic. Our massive debt…and the massive debt accrued by our European and Japanese fellow-travelers, is the direct result not only of irresponsible politicians, but of the voters who eagerly empowered them to bankrupt the future.

    From time to time lately, I find myself praying to the God of the Universe that Romney defeats Obama, which is indicative of how serious I view this election. But deep down, even if Romney wins, I have scant hope that he'll have the power or inclination to dismantle the entitlement culture that has mortgaged our future. My tempered expectation is that he'll merely slow the rate of growth of the debt, not pare it down.

    In other words, the Romney victory I'm praying for will buy us time, but little more. The cultural sea-change necessary to reverse decades of profligate spending…I just don't see it in the offing, folks. We're too soft, too lazy, too selfish, too inured in entitlement and victimization. We're simply too far gone. It is the failure of affluence without discipline, of ideals without perspective. It is more than anything else, the failure of democracy.

    • Banastre Tarleton

      True enough and very eloquently put

      Obama is in a stronger position now than 4 years ago ; even McCain was ahead in the pols then ….people have gotten used to Obama and ,generally speaking , most Libs are satified with his presidency ; it will take an act of God for Romney to beat him so I'm not holding my breath waiting
      The fact is that even the once great America has now succumed to creeping Euro socialism ; a result of entitlement , affluence , Hollywood liberal propaganda and general hedonism in the ''softening'' population
      Somewhere in the last 10 years there was a radical shift in the worldview and values of many Americans and Obama is the result …he is infact the zeitgeist or sign of the times and he's not going to go away as there are way too many Hollywood educated idiots out there

      • banastre tarleton

        Americans should take a look at the modern UK and see your future as Obama is just another version of Tony Blair and ''welcome to Obamaland ''

      • Chezwick

        "Somewhere in the last 10 years there was a radical shift in the worldview and values of many Americans and Obama is the result"

        The fruit of 30 years of the left-wing narrative being propagated at our universities.

        • WildJew

          Still, I believe God can bring Obama down. That's why when Limbaugh said he hoped Obama failed, I thought I understood what he meant. But then he denied saying what everyone thought he meant. If America prospers under Obama – only he fails to get his policies implemented – as Limbaugh said he wants, why would people vote him out of office? But for Obama's policies causing people to hurt, I don't know why the American people would vote him out of office — call me cynical. No one cares about the welfare of the nation or for our children's future; only for our selfish needs being met. If Obama totally botches these upcoming debates; maybe. I have lost faith in the judgment of the American people, but for a few.

          • Chezwick

            No question, Romney could win this thing. I'll keep hoping until the election-winner is announced. But the broader issue of ending the entitlement culture and paying down the debt….I just can't imagine the circumstance where any elected government – Republican or Dem – would attempt to impose that kind of sacrifice on a fickle and self-serving electorate.

          • Banastre tarleton

            You're deluding yourself …Romney has got little chance ….after 4 years of Obama ,if this is the best that the Reps can do then they don't deserve to win ….Obama is now entrenched in the minds of many folk and will be very difficult to move ….A Reagan or even a Rep version of Clinton could do it , but Romney with zero charisma ?….NEVER …poor Rpmney has got the same problem as AlGore …..folks intuitively dislike his wooden , angular personality

          • Banastre tarleton

            Hoping for an ''act of God '' , because that's what it will take …EXPECT 4 More years of Obama …remember ..in a democracy you get the goverment you deserve

        • Banastre tarleton

          most people don't go to universities …It's Hollywood dude , crafting an entire worldview …a virtual reality

          Obama is wonderfully representitive of the times …hmmm , ''the life and times of Barak Hussein Obama '' ?…the malignant seeds of the 1960's, bearing fruit ?

    • WildJew

      A cursory reading of the Bible will disabuse you of the notion. Remember is was the will of "the people" time and again in the Sinai to kill Moses and return to Egypt. But for God's intervention, Moses and Aaron would have been dead men. When I hear someone say, "We the People…" I think of Barack Obama because "we (not me) the people" elected him.

      I do agree with you on one important point. But for divine intervention, another four years of Obama is a likely prospect. For me, since the rise of Barack Obama, the writing is on the proverbial wall for this nation. What kind of self-respecting people can elect and support a racist / demagogue like this dangerous man? If we are lucky enough to elect Romney, those who are vigilant will get their affairs in order because, like you, I have scant hope that he'll have the power or inclination to dismantle the entitlement culture.

    • mlcblog

      We do not have a democracy here. It is designed as a democratic republic. Much better and very different from mob rule.

  • Orlando

    I thought now again about Affirmative Action. Historic perspective.

    In Yugoslavia, the Republic of Serbia was divided in three entities. The more strict Serbia (most of Republic of Serbia) and two autonomous regions. Apart that Yugoslavia had a constitution that still is the longest in Guinness World Records. It reminds me Obamacare.

    Laws valid in small Serbia were approved by the whole Republic of Serbia parliamentarians. Laws valid for each of the autonomous regions were approved by only the parliament of the region. This created resentment in small Serbia, then the hyperbolic rise of the nationalism, that was the force that ultimately broke the nation and caused so many dead and refugees.

    Now England is in the same position. Laws valid for England are voted by the English, Scottish and Welsh parliamentarians. Those valid in Scotland are approved only by Scottish parliament, same in Wales. Guess what. The English nationalism is marching full steam. Maybe this is what our betters want…

    Now back in the USA. Through Affirmative Action (semantically a racist law) Democrats keep the racism issue forever in the forefront. People disfavored by Affirmative Action have legitimate reasons for resentment, and we all know who those people are. I for one have been discarded a couple of times because I fit no bill. This will cause the raise of some type of nationalism. Which is what the Democratic Party wants, in order to keep its gears moving, and to have what to chew. They will have whom to beat, and this generates more frustration, therefore more beatings.

    I only hope that it won't go that way.

  • harrylies

    If you do not like demcracy, pray you are in charge. Syria is a real stable society. Look at the Soviet Union, or Cuba today. You can move to Cuba, where the government is something the Greek thinkers would like. If you think people are stupid, what makes the leaders so smart?

    • Bert

      Our founders created a republic and NOT a democracy. A republic has requirements about who is fit to vote. A democracy means that any idiot can vote and there is always to possibility of ending up with mob rule.
      Obama is even undermining democracy by trying to take away voting rights from the military and from other groups that he fears will vote against him. He is empowered by a corrupt major media that misinforms the public.
      Democracy is an ideal that usually breaks down in practice. There is NO political system that can insure against human frailties and human corruption.

  • WildJew

    Mr. Thorton wrote: "Meanwhile there are other signs that enough Americans are not “dunces and weaklings.” The continuing influence of the Tea Party…..The mass demonstrations in support of Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy’s First Amendment rights are another sign that a critical mass of Americans are sick of the totalitarian arrogance of progressives …."

    "During a news conference in Las Vegas, Romney wouldn't weigh in on either the fight over comments by the president of the fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A over gay marriage or an effort spearheaded by Michele Bachmann calling for an investigation into…alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the federal government, Politico reported…."

    Romney: Chick-fil-A 'Not Part of Campaign'
    Sunday, 05 Aug 2012 06:12 AM

    Hasn't Obama made gay marriage not only part of his campaign but part of the upcoming DNC convention in North Carolina? Isn't Obama courting Muslim Brotherhood jihadists here in the U.S. and in Egypt; maybe in Syria?

  • NAHALKIDES

    Thornton identifies the problems with unlimited Democracy in ancient times and in modern America. But he misunderstands the cure as well as the nature of the Republic our Founders bequeathed to us. The problem is not that the citizens have too much influence on politicians; the problem is a government that claims the power to redistribute wealth and income – something the Founders never envisioned. A limited government, with no power to seize and redistribute property and Democratic in form, is still viable, and indeed the best form of government yet known.

    • WildJew

      How do you explain the re-election of low-life Harry Reid in Nevada (the guy who is making unsubstantiated charges from the Senate floor) against a solid tea party candidate except for Reid lavishing government largess on a largely selfish electorate? They say the people get the government they deserve. Well?

      • aleric_kong

        Fractured conservative base split three ways with two tea party candidates.
        Corrupt media.
        Dead people, illegal immigrants and cartoon characters voting.

        Big government advocates got destroyed in 2010 by the way. You cannot blame the masses because they do not turn out and are easily swayed. Barak Obama's win had more to do with conservative apathy created from Saddam apologists' lies, John McCain's low spending moderate campaign, and big spending liberals somehow managing to blame Barney Frank's Fannie Mae sex house on conservatism than mass appeal which they still get away with today.

  • Mik

    Democracy, two sheep and three wolves deciding what's for lunch.

    • mlcblog

      Precisely!

  • Schlomotion

    When Mr. Tapson says:

    "[Obama] was elected in part because of his compelling personal story [...] most of that story was fabricated, persons in his past were invented, memories of racial oppression were made up, and his centrist politics were mere camouflage for his progressive ideology"

    he neglects to mention that Rahm Israel Emanuel, the Irgun anchor baby, was responsible for all that lying.

    The other "part" was Jon Favreau who made it look like Barack Obama could string two words together.

    • wildjew

      Emanuel is a Jewish traitor in my opinion. He was called a traitor when he brought his son to the Western Wall.

      “Traitor, Jerusalem is not for sale!” Ben-Gvir shouted at Emanuel in a mix of Hebrew and English. “You’re an anti-Semitic Israel-hater. You don’t want the Wall to remain ours. Go on a heritage trip with Hussein Obama! Go to Iran!” As police dragged him away, he shouted: “He (Emanuel) is a hater of Israel, you can’t shut me up!” Moments later, inside the Western Wall Plaza, undercover police officers suddenly moved in on Marzel, who had apparently tried to blend in with the large Thursday-morning crowd at the Wall, in advance of Emanuel’s arrival.

    • tagalog

      Oh, I don't know; I'm no fan of Rahm Emanuel, but when the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee got their panties all in a bunch over his dad's talking about Emanuel helping Obama to be more pro-Israel, I liked that.

    • CHOI

      You are nothing if not a consistent POS JEW-HATING TROLL.
      Emanuel's father was an IRGUN FREEDOM FIGHTER,but Emanuel is NOT him.
      Emanuel even INVITED Looie Farrakhan and his "Fruit of Islam" Brownshirts to patrol Chicago streets, rather than hire additional policemen and DESPITE Farrakhan's history of JEW-HATRED.
      THIS thread is about DEMOCRACY,Obama,and the Election,but being the "dedicated " JEW-HATER you are ,you THINK found a way to turn this to JEW-HATRED.

    • Ghostwriter

      Another idiotic post from Schlomotion. Mayor Emanuel brought in Farrakhan's vicious bunch in order to patrol Chicago's streets. I doubt this has ANYTHING to do with the topic at hand and more to do with his obsessive Jew hatred.

  • tagalog

    When I think about Obama and the American public in this election season, Alcibiades of ancient Greece comes to mind. There seems to be some force in history that, when the time comes around for people to make really stupid mistakes and shoot themselves and their society and culture in the foot by supporting the exactly wrong politician, makes its strength felt by drawing people into the maelstrom in the most obvious and predictable way.

    Why would ANYBODY vote for Barack Obama? What in the name of Heaven has he done that calls for another four years? Is it just because Obama is running against the unpopular Romney, or is there some other shoot-one's-self-in-the-foot, Tolstoyan-type force at work here? Isn't it clear to anyone who has eyes to see that he's going to lead us into disaster? Obama has to go; that should be obvious, but somehow it isn't.

    I wouldn't have thought it possible, but Obama makes Jimmy Carter almost look good…

  • aleric_kong

    Despite the millions of big government supporters, a much greater problem exists with entrenched bureaucratic corruption and subsidized big government advocates in the private sector. President Obama revolves around a disingenuous attacks of lowering taxes on the rich, based on non effective rates before mega corporate entrenched grafters use loopholes to dodge the tax system entirely. He does this to distract attention from the corporate puppet masters who use populism to distract from their tax dodging criminality:
    GE and Vivendi own NBC: green energy, 0% tax rate
    Disney owns ABC: tourism, SOPA
    Westinghouse owns CBS: more green energy

    The polls are slanted as they use 2008 registered voters demographics instead of likely voters. It's still early and Romney's advertising can only start after the nomination, while Obama is burning through a hundred of million of dollars and only digging his nanny state hole deeper.

    Personally I think a good ad to counter the former ACORN lawyer's "kill the rich and take their TV" message is to show one of the many workers whose job was saved by Romney, and have a discussion on the tens of thousands of dollars each year he has personally given out of his paycheck to Barak for things like million dollar clown shows in Vegas, hair brained schemes to power the US on algae, $15 muffins for the DOJ, Nancy Pelosi's 747, Joe Biden's forced rent on the Secret Service, and Harry Reid's grafting to his son's Chinese overlords.

  • clarespark

    I compiled an index of my blogs on Democratic Party populism here: http://clarespark.com/2012/08/05/hating-finance-c…. "Hating Finance Capital." It should be obvious from the piece on The Nation magazine 1919, that progressives were out to protect their wealth, not to help the great unwashed, who were supporting the IWW and the Socialist Party. Hence it makes sense that wealthy celebrities would stay with the looting Democrats.

    • tagalog

      By 1919, the IWW was pretty much out of business, except for its legacy, which has lasted among leftists -and a few historians who respond to what they perceive as the romance of the labor movement- to the present. In 1919, Big Bill Haywood, a fugitive from his conviction under the Espionage Act, was in the USSR. If I'm not mistaken, he's buried in the wall of the Kremlin.

      • clarespark

        The IWW was still a factor for the writers of The Nation in 1919. Whether or not the IWW was finished is irrelevant. The point of my piece on The Nation magazine was their elitist conception of controlling the mob and its red specter through populist strategies. It was a year that scared conservatives like Villard and company, so they adopted a mask of moderation. Read my blog and then you will have a better idea of what was in their minds.

        • tagalog

          1917-1920 was a time when conservatives were undertaking a widespread clean sweep of reds of various kinds and stripes from American life. The Espionage Act trials of 1917 and the Chicago trials of the reds in 1919 (federal district court judge K.M. Landis presiding – "he handed out twenty-year sentences like they were parking tickets"), along with Palmer Raids of 1920, which catapulted J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI into prominence suggest that your claim that conservatives were "scared" is off the mark.

  • Looking4Sanity

    There has never been a government in the history of mankind that has stood the test of time.

    Maybe it's just "our time"? Who can say?

    I do know this much. The fastest way to end a fight is to give up. I'm not done fighting yet.

    • Stephen_Brady

      Same here! And if we lose this battle, I'll be ready for the next one when I'm 67 … in 2016.

      • Looking4Sanity

        We're not going to lose this one, Stephen. They'd love us to believe that, but it just ain't so.

    • CHOI

      Did our forefathers give-up at Bunker Hill?
      Did our forefathers give up in 1812?
      Did the 101st Airborne give-up at Bastogne?
      Did the Marines give up on Iwo Jima?
      Did the Marines give-up at Chosin Reservoir?
      Did the 101st Airborne give-up on Hamburger Hill?
      Did the Marines give-up at Khe Sanh?
      Giving-Up is NOT in our DNA and would BETRAY those who DIED DEFENDING THIS COUNTRY.
      ALL we have to do is VOTE and make sure they CANNOT STEAL THE ELECTION.

      • Looking4Sanity

        It's going to be an interesting few months. That much is certain. This is one battle I'm confident we'll win. We may eventually lose the war, but that doesn't have to happen on our watch.

  • mrbean

    To all of you who have limited intellects. The United States of America is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC not a DEMOCRACY. This shows us just how dumbed down education has become under the progressives to create sheeple for the elitists.

  • David Kachel

    I am puzzled. To which "democracy" is Mr. Thornton referring?
    Is it possible Mr. Thornton believes the United States of America to be a democracy?
    If so, how very sad.
    And how pointless this silly article. I invite Mr. Thornton to find the word "democracy" anywhere in the Constitution.
    Is it possible he believes, as Obama, Pelosi and crowd would have us believe, that the founders were morons who FORGOT(!) to include the word in the Constitution?
    Perhaps knowledge should PRECEDE applying pen to paper.

  • Jim

    A huge number of groups feel that their elected representative do not represent them and are acting in for the benefit of other special interests.. Yet the public keeps voting for them and getting back the same result.

    It is not the voters that are to blame it is the liars they vote for. A true democracy might not let things get as bad as they are now.

    Sun Yet Sen had it right. He said that all branches of Governments can become corrupt ;the solution is for the last word on any law or court judgement to subject to voter rejection or voter approval.

    Such referendums results which occur from time to time in the US show more common sense than the edicts of the president ,congress or the courts.

  • Marvin E. Fox

    If someone discovers an actual democracy somewhere I will be its cheerleader. By common definition a democracy is government that seeks, finds, and legislates the majority will of its citizens. The democracy our Republic is frequently blamed for being is a garden variety fraud gone amuck. There is an actual but politically unused definition of democracy. The Democratic Party, approximately 180 years old, will not define the democracy they use to raise money and get votes. It seems to be socialism on a Democratic cloven hoof. A real democracy and socialism are not compatible. I have an article on my website http://www.americarepublicspring.com titled "Socialism The Final Step To Evil Capitalism." People who dislike socialism will appreciate my work.
    The definition 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.
    A vote against any Democrat is a vote against every Marxist.
    Marvin E. Fox