We live in a democracy. After all, we make our political decisions based on majority rule, right? Wrong! We do not live in a democracy, regardless of what the “learned” people say; we live in a representative republic. That means we elect people who then make the political decisions for us. The Founding Fathers carefully examined the various political societies recorded in history, and they specifically did not set up this nation as a democracy. They realized that democracies, while good, tend to be fairly short-lived. About the time a democracy realized that they could vote themselves largesse from the public treasury, that society was doomed and died shortly afterwards.
A direct democracy was one of the ideas put forward by Ross Perot during his runs for the Presidency. He wanted all the people to be able to vote on the various bills presented each year. While this idea may sound nice, democracies have a common problem, termed the Tyranny of the Majority. I may not take your stuff just because I want it. That is theft. It is also theft if a million people vote to take your stuff. But with majority rule, this scenario is quite possible. And once the minority feels it is being unfairly treated by the majority, this situation swiftly degrades into violence. The Founding Fathers realized this, so they configured this nation to be a republic where the voice of a majority in a location could elect a representative who would then vote on behalf of the people. They also outlined specific responsibilities for the branches of the government and wrote down some rights of the people. These two steps help keep the threat of majority rule by the people at bay, but interestingly, they allowed for majority rule to be sufficient for most things in government.
Because the United States protects the rights of the minorities as actively as it does, something else is possible: the Tyranny of the Minority. This may also be called the “Rule of Whine” rather than the “Rule of Law.” Texas state law requires the legislature to redistrict the state based on the US Census taken each decade. It requires only a simple majority vote of the legislature for this redistricting to take place. But something is different this year in Texas: the Republicans control the state legislature for the first time in about 130 years. Rather than accepting this loss of power, the minority Democrats have abrogated their responsibility and fled the state. They are guilty of an adult version of “if I can’t be the boss, then nobody gets to play” tactic of spoiled children. These few people are unwilling to accept that they are not in power, so they are counting on the “Rule of Whine” to get what they want. It does not matter to them that they are not fulfilling their responsibilities or serving the constituents who voted for them in the first place. They want their way, and the required redistricting can just wait until they feel up to it and get their way.
This childish behavior is not only exhibited by the Democrats in Texas, but it is also seen in the actions of the Democrat senators in Washington D.C. A simple majority of senators is necessary to confirm a judge or cabinet member put forward by the President. But Senator Tom Daschle, the Minority Leader of the Senate, is demanding that these appointments need a majority of 60+ senators. He is counting on his whining and complaining to make this happen. This is the tyranny of the whining minority, and sadly, this political temper tantrum seems to be working. It is ironic that when he was the majority leader in the Senate, Daschle said, “The Constitution is straightforward about the few instances in which more than a majority of the Congress must vote–a veto override, a treaty, and a finding of guilt in an impeachment proceeding. Every other action by the Congress is taken by majority vote.” But Constitution be damned, he wants his way now, and if he cannot have his way by being in the majority, he will gladly force his way by obstruction.
In a third example, a minority of people are trying to remove a monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building that contains, among others, a listing of the Ten Commandments. Opponents are claiming that this violates the Constitutional separation of church and state–never mind that this is not actually a phrase used in the Constitution. The relevant part of the 1st Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” They say that this monument is creating an “establishment of religion” there. Really? Which religion? Christians, Jews and Muslims all respect and honor the Ten Commandments, and many of these tenets are commonly held by all other religions. So what is the problem? The problem is the small, whiny minority that does not like religion or the mention of God in any context. If these people get their way, then their voices count for more than the majority. And in removing the Ten Commandments on the basis of not “respecting an establishment of religion,” the courts are trying to force the establishment of one religion, that of anti-theists.
I listened to about four hours of discussion on this subject while driving home last week. One person asked if the people in favor of the Ten Commandments would be just as in favor of placing a statue of Buddha in the Alabama Supreme Court building. Personally, I would not mind if it could be proven that Buddha and his teachings have had as great an influence on our laws, society and culture as the Ten Commandments have done. Is the placing of the Ten Commandments an attempt to convert everyone to Christianity, Judaism, or Islam? Or is it a recognition of our Western heritage of laws and common experiences? It is obviously the latter, but this does not matter to the whiny minority that abhors any mention of God.
Are the rights of the atheist violated in any way as he walks past that monument? No, but he is offended, and that is sufficient for him to invoke the “Rule of Whine” and demand that his will reign supreme–the tyranny of the minority.