A key piece of Western political philosophy, whether that political philosophy is libertarian, moderately conservative, or moderately liberal is that governments should obey their citizens.
Unfortunately, with both the coup against President Donald, which is disguised as impeachment, and the British government’s refusal to implement Brexit, it is obvious that that is not the case. Instead, government elites are acting as tyrannical rulers rather than democratic representatives.
However, few political commentators have noted that problem. Many discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of Brexit and impeachment, but few are willing to say what is actually going on: governments are refusing to accept the wishes of their citizens.
Luckily for the sane among us, one political commentator, Peter Roff of Newsweek, isn’t willing to bow down to convention and pretend like nothing disturbing is happening. He’s willing to call out what’s happening, as is obvious from his recent article entitled “FROM BREXIT TO TRUMP, THE PEOPLE DESERVE TO GET WHAT THEY VOTED FOR.” I’ll summarize it here, but it is definitely one that you should read in full at some point.
Summary of Roff’s Article on Why Governments Should Obey Their Citizens
First, Roff identifies how the elites are ignoring the average voter in Great Britain:
It has been more than three years since 51.9 percent of those participating in a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union took the position it should not. Yet, after three different prime ministers and one general election, the U.K. is still in the EU.
The why is easy to understand. The elites, including what has proved to be a majority of Parliament, think the people made the wrong decision and have done all they can to block Brexit from moving forward.From: https://www.newsweek.com/brexit-trump-people-deserve-get-what-they-voted-opinion-1476003
Then, Roff points out that something similar is happening in America:
It’s not wrong to point out the similarities between Johnson’s effort to get a deal done and Trump’s effort to bring the American government to heel. Here, too, there seems to be considerable confusion, as Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman inadvertently confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee considering the impeachment of the president, about who makes policy and just who’s in charge.From: https://www.newsweek.com/brexit-trump-people-deserve-get-what-they-voted-opinion-1476003
Finally, Roff calls for the citizens of Great Britain and America to show that they are the ones in charge, not the governing elites:
In the end, if it is affirmed the people are in charge and that they exercise their authority by delegating it to their elected representatives, up to and including the president of the United States, then things will work out fine. The American writer H.L. Mencken, a friend reminds, once described democracy as being “the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Here in the U.S. and in Britain, there are those with power who believe it’s their job to keep the people from making what they regard as a mistake. If the battle over Brexit, which is one of those “mistakes,” goes the way they want, then all the small “d” democrats around the world have some serious soul-searching to do before we can regain the power we’ve apparently lost.From: https://www.newsweek.com/brexit-trump-people-deserve-get-what-they-voted-opinion-1476003
My Analysis of Why Governments Should Obey Their Citizens
It’s surprising to me that few others are pointing out that governments need to obey their citizens. In America, that was a defining link between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Both The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers make it obvious that the US government is should be a representative body that obeys its citizens. Not some ivory tower technocracy.
Great Britain, with its Leviathan-defined monarchy ruling until quite recently has less of a history of representative government. However, it still has one and even has more of a history with that type of government than most of Western Europe. Germany and France certainly don’t.
So, citizens in both nations should be indignant that they aren’t being granted the representative government due to them. American citizens elected Trump and voted for Brexit. The governing bodies of both nations need to acknowledge and respect that, not try to undo it with coups and delaying actions.
Finally, it stands to reason that the governments of both nations would want to obey their voters so that they have that moral high-ground over authoritarian nations like China.
With the Hong Kong protests, it’s obvious that China doesn’t respect its voters. If the US government would band together with its citizens and live out The Libertarian Reader, then it would have the moral high ground to demand that China respect the protestors in Hong Kong.
But, without that true showing of representative government, the US shouldn’t bother in the affairs of others. As Ayn Rand so accurately wrote in The Virtue of Selfishness, free nations only have the right to attack and invade unfree nations if the free nations are truly free. We’re not free if governing elites can overrule our votes at their pleasure. That’s tyranny.
Too few in the US and Great Britain are willing to stand up for their natural rights and right to self-government. Instead of watering the tree of liberty, as our Founding Fathers would have them do, they bow down meekly to the badge of a police officer or order of a bureaucrat. That’s the spirit of slavery, not the spirit of 1776 and freedom. We should heed Roff’s call and stand up for our right to be heard. If our votes don’t count, then our government is no better than that of North Korea or China.
By: Gen Z Conservative
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