The inequality hunters: a job that never ends
Just yesterday, a friend asked me to explain the Iowa caucuses. I talked about how people get together in some meeting place, perhaps a school or a church, and spend an evening together, with supporters for the respective candidates giving talks for their candidate, then with everyone dividing into group by candidate, and ultimately casting their votes. My friend said enthusiastically, “This sounds like real democracy. If our state had caucuses I would attend them” Indeed it does sound like real democracy.
But not to the grey lady, a.k.a. the New York Times. This morning the moral scold of the universe, for whom nothing that actually exists is equal enough to be morally deserving of existence, has this headline in its daily e-mail to which I subscribe:
Caucuses Give Iowa Influence, but Many Iowans Are Left OutAt the Times website, the story’s headline is even more pointed and resentful:
Caucuses Bring Power Only to Some in IowaUnequal! Not inclusive! Some people get more “power” than others! The very thing that makes the Iowa caucus system uniquely democratic—that real human beings get together in a real place in real time and discuss which candidate they think is best and then vote accordingly—is now the very thing that is held against it, since some Iowans, such as soldiers serving overseas and people with evening jobs, cannot attend. But how could this “grievance” be fixed, other than by eliminating the caucus system altogether and making Iowa a primary state like all the others? Answer: it cannot. The Times, armed with sob stories about waitresses who serve the candidates in restaurants but who then can’t vote for the candidate they like because of their jobs, along with the usual swipes at Iowa for being a very white state, is seeking the end of a uniquely democratic tradition.
As I’ve said over and over, in the modern liberal version of democracy, democratic equality takes priority over democratic self-government. According to modern liberalism, it is more important that all people be treated equally, with absolutely no discrimination or distinctions among them, than that a people govern themselves. Pure and consistent liberalism thus means the end of democracy. Since even the most perfectly democratic and inclusive election still results in the majority of a people having its way and the minority not having its way, which is unequal and therefore illegitimate, modern liberal society starts downgrading the influence of popular elections and moving in the direction of the European-style administered state, where unelected and unaccountable officials assure that everyone is equal—and that nobody has his way except for the unelected elite themselves. This outcome is not seen as unequal and illegitimate, however, because the unelected elite, standing for pure equality and nondiscrimination, represent the very principle of goodness.
Here are previous VFR articles on this theme:
Dimitri K. writes:
That’s a great point of yours. Though it is counter-intuitive, and people are used to think the opposite way, total equality is incompatible with democracy. A good example is Communist totalitarian countries, which were really based on the principle of equality above all. Of course, in the USSR some were more equal than others, but rather as an unprincipled exception. The Communist rule was not a rule of a dictator who oppressed the people, but a rule of the principle on each level of power. Every executive (commissioner) felt himself primarily the representative of the Communist equality principle than the representative of the people.Mark A. writes:
“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”—Alexis de TocquevilleJames M. writes:
“For a different possibility to exist, the society must be outside liberalism. Meaning that the ultimate guide comes not from a ruling idea of equality, which in principle can accept no exceptions to total non-discrimination…”Terry Morris writes:
Dimitri K. makes good points which I agree with.LA replies:
This sounds like our basic dealing with minority and foreign groups on a variety of issues, including immigration, assimilation, and Busherino’s democracy crusade, which I’ll demonstrating by paraphrasing Mr. Morris:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 02, 2008 09:44 AM | Send