The Constitution of the United States opens with the words “We the People”. It doesn’t say ‘We the Government’ or ‘We the Politicians” or ‘We the Experts From Ivy League Universities’. From its very inception the government of the US was based on Locke’s idea of the consent of the governed.
Clearly someone needs to explain this to TV comic Bill Maher. A few weeks ago he described the US as a “stupid country”. In response to the flood of opposition he got to this he responded on the Huffington Post blog.
Maher rattled off a list of facts proving the stupidity of the average American that would do the smuggest European proud. Ignorance of American constitutional arrangements, basic science and elementary history were just some of the nuggets trotted out to prove it. Maher asked “And these are the idiots we want to weigh in on the minutia of health care policy?”
Well if you believe in We the People then yes, that’s exactly the sort of people you want weighing in. It is We the People, after all, who will end up footing the bill for whatever healthcare measure is eventually churned out by Congress. These idiots that Maher has such contempt for are hard working taxpayers. Before the elites can do a single solitary thing they must first confiscate the resources to do it from the earnings of these idiots hard work. To simply take their money and then deny them any say in how it is spent is nothing less than legalized robbery. The cry of the American Revolution was “No taxation without representation”. We can only conclude that Maher would have fought with the redcoats at Lexington.
A famous Republican, Abraham Lincoln, once described “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Maher unashamedly believes in only two of these; government of the people for the people as he views the average American (though, one guesses, not himself) as too dumb to participate in government by the people.
Maher concluded his tirade by saying “And if you want to call me an elitist for this, I say thank you. Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about.”
But Ronald Reagan nailed this, discussing the American tradition of democracy, in his 1964 speech to the Republican convention; “This idea? that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”