The Welfare state, the American Revolution, and the end of the Ancien Regime

A few days ago, Danny Lemieux, in a comment to this blog, asked a very important question:

If more than 50% of wage earners pay no income tax and can vote themselves (i.e. parasitize) the labor and assets of the 20% of the population that pays the large majority of income tax, are we still a democracy?

A Progressive Democrat would say, “Of course we’re still a democracy because everyone gets to vote.” (And, after Obama’s immigration “reform,” you can be assured that everyone, including illegal immigrants and people convicted of felonies, will indeed get to vote.)

But what I say, and would you know (and what Danny’s question implies) is that if you cast a vote that is invariably meaningless, then you aren’t actually voting. You’re simply engaging in a pointless exercise that has no effect.

Americans, incidentally, fully understood this at the height of the Cold War when the Soviet Union regularly boasted that it had a turnout of upwards of 90% whenever its elections rolled around. “We, the Soviets, are a true Democracy,” the apparatchiks would exclaim, “unlike you Americans where, sometimes, only 50% of eligible voters turn up at the polls.”

Ordinary Americans, however, living in a society that hadn’t yet been brainwashed by 40 years of Progressive education, knew that those 50% who went to the polls in the U.S. were making a real, uncoerced choice, with their vote being counted. That freedom distinguished them from the 90% in the Soviet Union who appeared at the polls under pain of imprisonment or worse, and who had no choice whatsoever when it came to either candidates or policies. The fact that people can cast ballots has absolutely nothing to do with the substantive reality of whether they are making their voices heard in a representative democracy.

If we conclude, as I think we must, that earners and taxpayers in the United States will not longer have a voice in government when the numbers shift so that the parasites can invariably outvote them, what happens next? I can think of two examples of what happens next:

1. We become a totalitarian society, a la the Soviets or the Nazis or any other totalitarian society you can name. Under these systems, voting is political theater that doesn’t affect the actual power structure — and this structure, in turn, is an armed police state. People are given their designated rolls — service- or product-generator, consumer, etc. — but all understand that they dance to the government tune. End of story.

2. We have a Revolution, and I mean by that a true revolution. As my post title indicates, I think both the American Revolution and the French Revolution stand as stark examples of what happens when the wealth creators lose their voice. As you may recall, the clarion cry of the American Revolution was “No taxation without representation.” Or, in colloquial terms, “If you’re going to grab the wealth I create, I get a say in how it’s spent.” The American Revolution was essentially a middle class tax revolt. The French Revolution, which was much longer in brewing, and represented the true end of the feudal era, was bloodier, and cruder, but was actually precisely the same: the groaning middle and lower classes, which for centuries had funded the aristocracy, all the while never having had a true voice in government, got fed up, stormed the Bastille and dragged out the guillotines.

I suspect that Obama and his true believers crave the first outcome. Ordinary Americans, however, will be driven to the second one. And what may end up is some loathsome amalgam of both — the modern Nanny State, or totalitarianism in white gloves, which is what emanates from Brussels and lives in England. That’s just an intermediate stage, though, with a few inevitable outcomes there too: revolution, pure totalitarianism or, if the Muslim Brotherhood has its way (and its women their babies) an Islamic takeover. End of story.

Cross-posted at Bookworm Room

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