By Jim Whitt
The last election can be summed up in one sentence by Winston Churchill, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
In my opinion, Churchill was the most significant figure in the preservation of democracy in history. He managed to give the British people enough resolve to hang on in the face of almost certain defeat to Germany until the United States entered into World War II. That was the game changer. Had Japan not provoked The United States by bombing Pearl Harbor it is likely the Axis forces would have defeated all of Europe and Asia in short order. With the resources of these two continents at their disposal they likely would have won the race to develop the nuclear bomb and democracy might never have survived to see the 21st century.
After the war, the British people promptly rewarded Churchill’s saving of democracy by voting him out of office. They’d had all they wanted of sacrifice and delayed gratification. They wanted instant gratification and socialism promises instant gratification. With Churchill sidelined the once great British Empire started a rapid decent down the slippery slope of socialism which he described this way: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
A five-minute conversation with the average voter in the U.S. would prove Churchill right. I had one such conversation with someone who advocated cutting government spending as long as it wasn’t any spending that benefitted her. I told her that was precisely why there will be no spending cuts. The average voter hates pork unless it’s their bacon that’s to be tossed into the fire.
Democracy is tailor-made to sell socialism. Promising the average voter the path of least resistance is an easy sell. If I’m running for office I’ll tell you that all you have to do is vote for me and I’ll accept responsibility for you. You don’t have to worry about failure — or success. You’ll experience neither. I’ll fund your existence by transferring income from those who have earned it to those of you who have not. I’ll promise to make the existence of the earners as miserable as yours. Then you’ll share misery equally.
Liberals are convinced that socialism is just a kinder, gentler form of capitalism. The problem is that socialism bites the hand that feeds it. It has no appreciation for the benevolence of the keeper. Socialism never has enough — it always wants more.
It is not the extremely wealthy who suffer most from socialism. It is the entrepreneur and small business people who feel its bite the most. It’s those who still know what calloused hands feel like and those who burn the midnight oil to build a business — those who want to do more and be more. It is demoralizing to work hard for years and invest blood, sweat and tears only to realize that you will now have to work even harder for more years and invest more blood, sweat and tears to feed those who bite your hand.
As the last election proved, the average voter today doesn’t consider him or herself to be capable of doing more or being more than what they do or are today. They have been conditioned to believe that their existence depends upon the government. They really don’t want to earn a living. They just want a living.
The United States is a republic which is a form of democracy which allows us to exercise the most wonderful and yet most terrible gift from God — free will. It’s wonderful to have the power of choice. It’s terrible when the choice we make is poor and we have to live with the consequences. In a democracy we all have to live with the consequences of our collective choice in an election.
A lobbyist made some startling statements during a breakout session at a conference where I was speaking recently. He said we may never see another Republican elected as president and that Texas will likely no longer remain a Republican controlled state. In a nutshell he said that the Democrats are positioned to rule with little restraint even though 78% of counties voted for Romney. What makes this even more startling is this lobbyist is not a liberal. He works for a conservative organization. If that doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what will.
Perhaps we Americans have lived under the illusion that our democracy would last forever. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” said Ronald Reagan. “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” We may be remembered in history as the generation that failed to pass freedom on to future generations. We may be known as the generation that said it’s not worth protecting and fighting for.
It could be argued the average voter made the best case against democracy in the last election. And it could be we will ultimately lose democracy — as defined by our constitution — as a result. If we do, we should take heart in the fact that democracies have risen and fallen many times. Somewhere, sometime and somehow the human spirit will once again cry out for liberty. And the only response to that cry is democracy.