Trading liberty for 'democracy' is a bad deal

Here’s the classy White House response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, complete with silly hashtag:

This obfuscates the point on one important level, because the issue here is not about “bosses” making “health care decisions” for anyone.  Follow that dimwitted logic to its conclusion, and your boss is making nutritional decisions for you by refusing to pay for the pizza lunch you really wanted.  

Far from providing presidential leadership or bringing people together, this low and opportunistic White House doesn’t accept the rebuke that it transgressed against the First Amendment and the “settled law of the land,” the Clinton-era Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Instead, it sees a chance to push its divisive sex and class warfare politics.  “War on Women” and the Left’s endless war on business, plus a dose of bigotry against the hated Christians (who, the high priests of the Religion of the State have judged, cannot possibly be serious about their ObamaCare-thwarting beliefs) make for an irresistible morsel of toxic politics.  

But it’s also perverse and sinister on another level, because it reinforces the idea that Supreme Court decisions should be invalidated by popular pressure.  Whine and moan loudly enough, and maybe they’ll render a different decision.  In truth, the Court isn’t supposed to judge whether legislation is a good idea, or if it’s popular; they’re passing judgment on its legality.  For my money, even the recent decisions that have liberals fit to be tied are far too deferential to the question of whether a sweeping decision would inconvenience the government too much.  That’s just a perverse incentive for statists to swing for the fences when they trample on our Constitutional rights – make your offense ObamaCare-sized, and the Supreme Court could decide it’s too big to overturn.

One of the greatest swindles of the past century has involved tricking Americans into trading liberty for democracy.  They’re not the same thing.  Majority rule can produce many grave transgressions of liberty.  For that matter, it’s a dirty trick to fool people into thinking that anything approaching an absolute “majority” is necessary to give ambitious statists the power to transgress against individual rights.  The individual is always on defense against partnerships between government and those who seek its favors.  

The essence of “freedom” is now supposed to be the vote – your chance to cast one vote among millions that will influence the actions of the State, which functions as the avatar of the People, forcing everyone to do whatever “society” thinks best.  (In practice, “society” turns out to be determined activists and their favorite politicians – a mighty State with virtually unlimited funds will never have trouble finding partners for whatever it wants to do.)  Freedom must mean more than just the right to cast a vote, or we are forever in danger of domination by any mob we don’t belong to.  

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