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Linz's New Book
Is Edward Snowden a hero?
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A Cautionary July 4 Tale: Democracy/Mobocracy vs. Freedom
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Thu, 2008-07-03 23:12
[Originally broadcast on the Politically Incorrect Show, July 10, 2000, after my return from America]
In the five weeks I've been away I reconverted to socialism. I resolved to return and become a dutiful citizen of the Democratic People's Republic of Aotearoa. Never again shall I hold aloft the banner of individual liberty. Liberty, I have concluded, is a selfish luxury that society can ill afford. I hereby place my life at society's disposal. Society in its collective wisdom has elected a government that requires more of its citizens' money, that desires more control over its citizens' activities, that wants us to demonstrate our spiritual credentials by undressing and brandishing spears — who am I, a mere lone individual, to question any of this? Henceforth I swear unswerving obeisance to society and the Great Leaders it has chosen to rule over us.
Actually, I have returned more convinced than ever that freedom's greatest modern-day enemy is democracy, the dreadful despotism of unbridled majority rule. In his new movie, The Patriot, Mel Gibson — playing a widowed South Carolina landowner, Benjamin Martin — explains his reluctance to take up arms against the British by asking, "What is the difference between one tyrant 3000 miles away and 3000 tyrants one mile away?" As it happens, a new tyranny of numbers was never what the Founding Fathers intended, and Gibson does eventually join the War of Independence, but his question resonates today because a mobocracy is what America has become. What was it supposed to be? A country based on inalienable individual rights, governed, in the words of Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address, by "a wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labour the bread it has earned." With what horror would Jefferson view the elected regime of William Jefferson Clinton!
And that of Helen Clark and James Anderton! One of the first things to catch my eye on my return was a report that Neanderton's new Ministry for Economic Development has, in its first four months, taken from the mouth of labour some two million dollars with which to pay consultants. This included ninety thousand dollars for work on the Ministry's new logo. Outrageous, you say? Not at all — this is what a majority voted for, and that, according to the mentality of mobocracy, makes it right.
On Jefferson's Memorial are quoted his words, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." I echo that pledge today — and direct it especially against that most insidious form of tyranny, mob rule.
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