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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Order or Voting Rights: Which would you choose?

Jonah Goldberg makes a good case that most will vote for order.

Americans like exercising plenty of other rights more than their right to vote. The right to speak your mind, own property, associate with whomever you like, be compensated for the fruits of your labor: these and other rights are plainly more dear to Americans than the right to pull a lever every two or four years. Obviously, Americans would care if anyone proposed taking away their right to vote. But as a matter of common sense, voting is less important to us than those rights and liberties that make our God-given right to pursue happiness possible. Ultimately, voting is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Lest we forget, democracy shorn of these other rights is no less tyrannical than dictatorial rule. “An elective despotism was not the government we fought for,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in “Notes on the State of Virginia.” He recognized that parliaments and congresses do not a free country make: “173 despots would surely be as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on the republic of Venice.”

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