Democracy, like socialism, has been tried in different forms and different setting throughout history. Like socialism, it always fails, eventually giving way to tyranny. Also like socialism and republicanism, its exact definition is found only in the mind of the user. For most Americans, democracy is synonymous with “republic” and refers to the citizen’s right to vote in choosing their representatives and their ability to have their voices heard by their representatives in making policy. For most, democracy represents the collective will of the people as individuals. For socialists or progressives, democracy represents the will of the people “in mass” --- majority rules. This distinction is important because it is the source of power for the progressive demagogue.
Progressives view people, not as individuals, but as members of a class. Historically, the classes focused on by classical socialists were the “haves and the have-nots”, the bourgeois and the proletariat. During the modern progressive era, these classes have been dissected and bisected into a multitude of different classes for easier manipulation. There are the standard groups; the poor, the working class, Hispanics, blacks, women, minorities in general, and the artificial groups such as the environmentalists, single mothers, and unions, particularly public sector unions. These groups become “voting blocks” and core constituents of the progressive movement.
Their interests are distinct and easily identifiable; therefore, they are more easily manipulated using the progressive “divide and conquer” tactic of class warfare. The trend in progressivism is always toward direct democracy and away from the filtered, indirect democracy of republicanism. Coupled with the trend toward direct democracy is the expansion of suffrage and ease of voting. It is interesting to note that eight of the seventeen amendments to the Constitution since 1789 have moved us closer to a direct democracy and further away from the Constitutional Republic designed by the Founders.
The Fourteenth Amendment removed the ability of the states to determine eligibility for voting and gave it to the central government. Under the original Constitution, the states had the complete power to determine the qualifications for voting within each respective state. Only members of the House of Representatives were elected by the direct vote of the people and the qualifications for voting were determined by the states. The only federal requirement was that the qualification for electing Congressmen be the same as those for electing members of the lower house of the state legislature;
Article I, Section 2, Clause 1: “[T]he Electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.”
The Fourteenth Amendment extended the franchise to all males over the age of twenty-one.
Amendment XIV, Section 2: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.”
While it is clear the intent of this Amendment was to enfranchise emancipated male slaves over the age of twenty-one, the practical result was to give the federal government power over who should be qualified to vote in both state and national elections. Two and a half years later the Fifteenth Amendment was added specifically granting the right to vote to former slaves.
Amendment XV: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
Amendments 19 and 24 respectively, extended the right to vote to women and lowered the voting age for men and women to 18. The 24th Amendment forbids a requirement to pay any type of tax as a condition for voting, and the 23rd Amendment extends the Electoral College vote to citizens of D.C. The significance of these amendments is only to show the movement toward a more direct democracy. A progressive era amendment that has a direct bearing on the structure of our government, however, is the Seventeenth Amendment.
Amendment XVII: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.”
This amendment, since its ratification in 1913 has been used by progressives to de-federalize the Federal Government and nullify the restrictions of the Tenth Amendment. Under the Founder’s plan, the purpose of the Federal Government was to provide for the “common defense”, administer international relations, and regulate international and interstate commerce, plus a few other items that could only be done at the national level, such as the post office, patents and copyrights, coin money, etc. Laws directly affecting the daily lives of the people were left up to the states. The powers to regulate businesses, provide for education, manage natural resources, care for the poor, the indigent, the elderly, provide health care to the poor, and all other areas of government affecting the lives of individuals, were the sole purview of the states.
The Senate was the representative of the states in the national government and was “composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years”. (Art. I) Senators were appointed by the state legislatures and accountable to them. As representatives of the states, they were the de facto guardians of the Tenth Amendment, maintaining the balance of power between the state and federal governments. The putative reason for the Seventeenth Amendment was to make the Senate more democratic and the Senators accountable to the people. In practice, the effects of the Amendment was to shift the loyalty of the Senators from the state legislatures to the Political party of which they were members.
The movement toward democracy and away from consti-tutional republicanism is not limited to the federal government. Many states have enacted laws and amendments to state constitutions designed to foster a more direct democracy. Currently twenty-four states have laws permitting ballot initiatives and referendums designed to by-pass or influence the legislative process. A growing number of states also have recall provisions whereby elected officials can be “recalled” by voters before the expiration of their term, without going through the impeachment process.
In recent years states have initiated or expanded programs allowing for mail-in voting, early voting and absentee voting as well as “motor voter“ and internet registration. On the surface these programs are generally applauded by voters for their convenience, however, they are also open invitations to voter fraud. All of these changes to the way we are governed were initiated and supported by progressives for their benefit in gaining and holding power. Continued...
E-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
Philosophy of Evil Socialism in America
"The struggle of History is not between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat; it is between government and the governed."