Tyranny of the Majority
“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.” (Ben Franklin responding to a lady following the Constitutional Convention)
President Obama gave a speech tonight. Some of you liked it. Some hated it. Some don't know what to think. Some had other things to do and will catch it later on the news. Others are asking "What speech? I was watching Entertainment Tonight." This article is addressed to those not knowing what to think. Those who watched Entertainment Tonight are beyond hope.
There were some parts I liked, most notably:
“More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won't pay the full cost of care ... That is heart-breaking, it is wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.”
“Finally, our health care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers.”
“... that consumers do better when there's choice and competition. That's how the market works.”
There were many parts I didn't like. I could write a very long article addressing such concerns that would be to laborious to read and are better addressed by many others more esteemed than I. I would like to focus on one particular moment of the speech:
“That's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance ... But we can't have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees.”
This won’t affect me. It probably won’t affect you. The vast majority of people in our country would be able to prove to a federal agent that they carry health insurance. It would only be a minority that are affected, so why should this be a problem?
You may have voted for Obama because you didn’t like Republican policies of intrusion into your life. You felt your privacy and individuals rights were eroding with Republicans in charge. You may have expected a new administration would better defend your ability to make your own choices concerning your life.
Long before you were born, our nation was born with the arrival of those individuals from the Old World to the New World shedding the tyranny of a master and embracing individual responsibility. At that time, an individual took pride in his or her ability to make his or her own choices and accept responsibility for the outcome. Clearly, those characteristics that defined us and made us great have yielded to a rebirth of the Old World.
I am not going to use terms like Socialist, Communist, Fascist, or Nazi. I am going to use Collectivist. When you think in terms of Collectivism, the majority rules. The rights of the minority are ignored. In the eyes of a Collectivists, the minority have no rights. All that matters is what is good for the Collective, the majority.
The way that many authoritarian regimes are born come from the support of the majority. They believe conditions will be better if they all conform to the will of a dictator. If we do not learn from their history, we are doomed to repeat it. The Soviet Union crumbled, North Korea is starving, Cuba is 50 years behind the times.
But we are a democracy! Right?
The United States never has been, and was never intended to be, a democracy. Young soldiers that died at Valley Forge and Bunker Hill never fought for democracy. They fought for and established a Republic, a form of government that used a democratic process to vote while conforming to a Constitution to protect the rights of the minority.
Health care in this country needs to be reformed. Some of you like Barack Obama's plan. Some like Republican plans. I like John Mackey's plan. So would Ben Franklin.
Ben Franklin knew that a nation built upon individual rights might not last. The Collectivists now threaten to end our Republic. Can we keep it?