Destroying Democracy by ‘Saving Democracy’
Democracy is a precious thing. When the Persians invaded Greece, a handful of Greek city-states banded together to defeat the imperialist pretensions of the “Great Kings.” Aeschylus says that the Greek soldiers and sailors rowed to war shouting “eleutheria” (freedom) in the decisive battle of Salamis. Ever since, there have been tremendous moments of heroic sacrifice in the name of liberty and democracy. To our national shame, the propaganda effort of the last year about “saving American democracy” is not one of them.
Following the September 11 Attacks, it was common to hear liberals and Democrats bemoan the erasure of civil liberties by the federal government as the War on Terror ratcheted up. The CIA, FBI, and other apparatuses of the security-surveillance state were assailed for their abuses of Constitutional civil liberties. Now, however, these same people—sans a few—are mostly quiet. In fact, they’re not merely quiet anymore, many openly endorse letting loose the hounds of the security state on fellow Americans whom they deem their enemies.
Overwhelming majorities of Democrats now favor the government censoring political views deemed “false” even at the expense of freedom of speech and writing. Liberal women, in particular, are leading the charge for greater and greater authoritarian censorship. It’s bad enough that a majority of Democrats previously supported tech companies to restrict and censor views, it’s far worse that they are now advocating the full force and power of the state to do so.
Democracy, as expressed in our Republic, thrives through a multiplicity of views, opinions, and ways of life. Conservatives know this, which is why conservatives have historically defended decentralization and civil society, and have been suspicious toward ever-increasing power of the state. The enforcement of a uniform way of life, opinions, and news outlets is antithetical to democracy.
Of course, the new totalitarians running the United States, and the new totalitarians who want the United States to be similar to China, will mask their intention for tyrannical uniformity under all the guises we are familiar with. They claim to be “saving democracy.” They claim to support “multiculturalism.” They claim to defend “diverse opinions.” Except they don’t. The only democracy they care about is their propagandistic democracy; by forcing the majority of Americans to comply with their views they claim the democratic spirit lives on.
Doublespeak is the new cornerstone of American totalitarianism. These petty tyrants know that Americans are a deeply democratic, independent, and fiercely free-thinking people. We cherish our republic and the democratic advancements made over two and a half centuries. American patriotism is deeply interwoven into the democratic experiment. One only needs to read Alexis de Tocqueville to see that.
Yet the language of saving and expanding democracy comes at the expense of the people. We have seen democracy in action over the past year. Protests against draconian government lockdowns. Protests against school board indoctrination and abuse coverups. Protests against the continual erasure of our civil liberties and destruction of civil society.
Rather than be inspired by the spirit of democracy that still enflames the hearts and souls of many Americans, the totalitarians with their media lackeys denigrate any manifestation of constitutional democratic action as “terrorism” and “ugliness.” They assert that the democratic ethos that has moved so many Americans in recent months is a dark spirit that threatens democracy rather than rejuvenating it. Oh, the irony! But that’s part of the plan.
Our new authoritarian tyrants do not want to save democracy. They want it to be extinguished. Democracy is a messy and imperfect thing. Democracy manifests itself in so many different manners and ways it breeds a uniqueness of laws and customs that horrifies the homogenous dreams of totalitarians. Real democracy, in their eyes, is something inefficient, something complicated, something subject to ever-shifting and changing winds of the human heart and soul. It must be crushed.
In place of real democracy, American totalitarians in the Democrat party and the technocratic elite in the Republican party want a managed society headed by bureaucrats and a bureaucracy whose universal vision of societal governance and order is disseminated to the local apparatuses of the government writ small: school boards, universities, businesses, etc. Hence the strong-arm tactics to get local municipalities, businesses, and schools across the country to comply with new federal and state government dictates. Any holdouts will be penalized into conformity. So much for democracy.
The next time you hear someone on the media, or even your neighbor or teacher, saying that their advocacy of censorship, restriction, and other enforced measures are about restoring and saving democracy, know that they’re lying through their teeth. They’re not interested in saving democracy. They’re interested in controlling democracy.
In the contest for the twenty-first century, democracy is very much threatened. But it isn’t threatened by those whom the media and brain-dead indoctrinated intellectuals running the government say it is. Democracy is being threatened by the self-proclaimed “heroes” and “saviors” of democracy. To hide this reality, they dress themselves up in the sacred language of our democratic spirit and traditions.
Let us look around the world at this reality. We know the totalitarian conformity being pushed from China and other regimes around the world. But in the West, harsh lockdowns erasing civil life, denigration of the right to protest and assembly, and restrictions on religious freedom and services have turned much of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many American states into images of China and North Korea. All in the name, mind you, of democracy and public health and safety. But does any right-thinking individual believe that once the never-ending fears of insurrection and coronavirus end that we will return to the world of freedoms we had before?
Saving freedom and democracy doesn’t start with our politicians, petty tyrannical bureaucrats, or media mouthpieces. It starts with you and your family. America is unique in the world and remains, despite its harsh critics, the last best hope for freedom and humanity. The new totalitarians look with fawning admiration to the failed experiments of the Soviet Union, China, and European Union as their inspiration. We look to our heroic forebears who crossed stormy seas, fought a revolution for liberty, and trekked across a hostile and inhospitable continent to build communities, start and raise families, and live the life they saw best for them rather than be told how to live their lives from faceless and nameless bureaucrats.
Paul Krause is a writer, editor, and teacher. He is the author of The Odyssey of Love: A Christian Guide to the Great Books, The Politics of Plato, and contributed to The College Lecture Today and the forthcoming book Diseases, Disasters, and Political Theory. He is the incoming editor of VoegelinView.
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