I'm sloughing through a book called Welcome to the Homeland. A book riding the coattails of What's the Matter with Kansas?, but with a more sympathetic tone. While Thomas Frank beat you over the head with his pure hate of his former kin, the author of Homeland tries to get to the root of the rural conservative, even if he thinks they're backwards and ruining America.
In the introduction of the book where the author tries to plant his rural cred by birth and his work with NPR (heh), he goes on about how this white, rural conservative “minority” is stopping the rest of America from progressing and how that isn't democratic. Word to the wise, we aren't a democracy. It's an old conservative mantra, but its true upon true.
The US is a federal republic (or a democratic republic or a federal democratic republic... key words are federal and republic). A federal government with what should be limited powers, giving the member states the ability to control their futures as they see fit within the broad liberty-based box the Founders created. For instance, Nebraska has a single, nonpartisan legislative house, and is the only state in the Union to have it. California's laws are not Utah's laws which aren't Maine's laws. You see where I'm going.
Many people, even some conservatives, have this odd idea that we need to expand democracy. They think the Electoral College is anti-liberty, specifically “undemocratic” (gasp). Okay. Sure. Let's remove the Electoral College and go purely on the popular vote. Nine states have 50% of the population of America. Thirty states have 90% of the population . So there nine states that can pretty much rule the rest of the country by popular vote. No president would have to visit every state or most states, they'd only have to visit California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia to reach half the country. There are still forty-one states left. Each one with voices just as important as those of the top nine.
Expanded democracy, instead of expanding the people's voice, actually squashes it. The democracy folk don't realize (or do, which makes it all manners of bad) that minority voters (in ideology, religion, party, etc) will have no say at all. Their voices will be squashed under the weight of the mob. There would be no libertarian voice, no independents, no New Party or socialist vote. The weight of the majority will crush the minority, something the Founders were absolutely against. There was a reason Senators were voted in by state legislatures and not the people.
Voting is an integral part of freedom, but so is making sure your vote counts. Liberty expands when government contracts and/or when power is decentralized. The more our votes are shoved in to a giant pot, the less our vote counts. That's why the decentralization of power is so important to liberty. Giving states their constitutionally-given rights (there are plenty the Feds have usurped) allows peoples to chart their future for their state and their state alone. This is liberty.
In short, voting does not equal liberty and liberty isn't just voting. Its local, its tight-knit, it involves paying attention, it involves mayors and counties and state politicians. And its much more complex than the democracy folk (this includes the neo-conservative “democratic revolution” dreamers) think it is.
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