The View From 1776

Political Correctness and the Downfall of Democracy

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/political_correctness_and_the_downfall_of_democracy/

Response to another reader’s email.

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A reader wrote:

“Barbara Jordan, on her deathbed, supposedly said, “Political correctness will be the downfall of democracy in the United States.”
?
Please confirm or discredit.”

My answer is that I don’t know whether, in fact, Congresswoman Jordan actually said that on her deathbed, but I agree with the statement.  Political correctness stands for liberalism, and liberalism is a certain path toward steadily declining economic productivity and political despotism. 

Liberalism and its doctrinal tool of political correctness mean that more and more political power is removed from state and local governments and collectivized in the Federal government, and more and more aspects of individuals’ private thought and conduct are made subject to Federal regulation in conformity with political correctness.

Something must also be said about the meaning of the word democracy. 

In the Federalist Papers, the most authoritative and influential group of articles in the 1787-89 campaign to secure ratification of the Constitution, James Madison noted that, while the ultimate authority for government power is the will of the people, experience had taught statesmen the need for auxiliary precautions.  The authors of the Constitution were at pains to say that it did not create a classical democracy of the sort in which every citizen votes directly on every important issue.  Such governments had always deteriorated into tyrannies, because demagogues always promised special benefits to their followers in exchange for grants of additional political powers.

That is precisely the process that began slowly to unfold in the United States in the early 20th century, as one Constitutional safeguard after another was removed.  What we now call democracy is coming to resemble the unstable and volatile political process of democracy in classical Athens that led to its defeat and devastation in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta.

In 1787, recent colonial experience under English rule had impressed upon the writers of the Constitution the necessity to create checks and balances that would prevent any special interest group, no matter how politically powerful, from overriding the fundamental, natural-law rights of individuals to life, liberty, and private property.

The federal republic created by the Constitution was based on the common belief that the powers of government come from the will of the people.  But, under the Constitution, the will of the people was to be expressed by individuals voting in each state to select their delegates to the House of Representatives in Congress and to select representatives in their state legislatures. 

In turn, their representatives in each state legislature were to select two United States Senators from each state and to select delegates to the College of Electors who would select a President and Vice President of the United States every four years. 

The President and Vice President were not to be selected by direct popular vote for two reasons: first, the state legislatures were to be the focal point of local political power in order to bulwark them against Federal power, and, second, delegates to the Electoral College selected by their state legislatures were more likely than the average citizen in the street to be knowledgeable about national issues and to have a better knowledge about the personalities and capacities of potential Presidents and Vice Presidents.

The states, through their legislatures, were to retain a large swath of political power to act as an offset to any pretensions in the Federal government toward monarchy and the exercise of arbitrary power over individuals.

During the 20th century, the structure of checks and balances in our Constitution was eroded under the corrupting influence of socialism, known in the United States as liberalism.  Paradoxically, liberals speak of democracy and helping the little guy.  Their brand of democracy, however, aims to help the little guy, pigeon-holed into social classes, by collectivizing and enlarging political power at the level of the all-powerful National State. 

Political correctness, in this process, is what Congresswoman Barbara Jordan may have had in mind.

Among the many postings on this website, two deal specifically with that idea:

Equality vs Liberty

and

Armageddon Tomorrow

Lawrence Auster ( View From the Right ) states it with stark accuracy:

?The confrontation with Islam shows the absolute limits of liberalism.? Liberalism says we?re all alike and it seeks to reconstruct society on that basis.? But Islam shows definitively that we?re not all alike.? So liberalism is now being challenged as it never has before.? As I?ve been saying since 9/11, we?re in the apocalypse of liberalism:? either liberalism dies, and the West has a chance to live, or liberalism does not die, and the West dies too, and then liberalism will die with it.?