This article was originally published in Arizona State University’s The State Press:
Three weeks ago, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the gay marriage ban in California as an unconstitutional law. Proposition 8 was a response to a previous California Supreme Court ruling that removed the ban. So what happened? When I listen to NPR programs and international news, the idea of a democratic system is divinely regarded. Has this ideal system of popular rule failed? The answer is that the inevitable has happened and that mob rule is fundamentally flawed.
Ayn Rand, a champion of freedom and an influential writer of the twentieth century regarded democracy as “a social system in which one’s work, one’s property, one’s mind, and one’s life are at the mercy of any gang that may muster the vote of a majority at any moment for any purpose.”
Democracy, or mob rule, has no principles except for the assumption that whatever the majority desires must be what’s right and beneficial to society. Essentially, democracy is a political system based on the idea that force can be used against you if 51 percent of people in your community agree. I’d like more people to see this as unethical and destructive to human development. Unfortunately, most nations operate within this system.
America was never set up as a democracy. Though there are aspects of mob rule in electing officials or voting on certain laws, our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are built on a much deeper understanding of human nature. While a democracy is based on a superficial view that the people will choose the good, our constitutional republic recognizes the necessity for protection from the majority. Your life, liberty and property are inalienable, meaning they are as naturally “yours” as the blood that runs through your veins. The central, most important job for the government is to protect your freedom.
Economically, we are massively indebted to the largest expenditure of our federal government: the welfare system. While good intentioned, entitlement programs have made economic slaves of this and future generations.
In the past ten years Americans have suffered from great losses in civil liberties. The government claims that it is for your security, but this loss in freedom subsequently makes us less safe. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.”
Legislation like the Patriot Act, National Defense Authorization Act, Social Security Act, and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have two things in common: They were popularly supported, and there is nothing in the constitution that authorizes their power. Sadly, this great republic is buried in debt and its people are losing rights due to the fact that we are moving away from a constitution and towards mob rule.
Homosexuals, people generally in the minority, have experienced the oppression of democracy in California. The majority of voters want to take from them their natural right of the pursuit of happiness. The best safeguard against this oppression is the constitution, but we will always end up with mob rule if people don’t stand up to protect it.