This op-ed in the New York Times, and this other from the Economist, have me worried. They both describe an increasingly common view in America that “the other” is “evil” and that government as broken beyond repair to the point that violent revolution is an option. I don’t agree with everything in the news pieces, but I am worried because I know a lot of people who are so convinced government is the cause of all the problems in their lives that they tread into the ground of hatred and violence these editorials describes. I am worried because, to a degree, I share some economic views, some social views, and even some political concerns with the “nuts” the editorials writes about.
Thomas Jefferson, ever the democratic republican, believed that the safest repository of power was in the masses. The right to political power is always with the people, not with the representatives, and only when the masses exert that right will the power be effectively and appropriately checked. However, the masses are very easily swayed, mainly by three influences: 1) education, 2) forms, and 3) economics. When these influences are mal-aligned with liberty, the people allow their political power to be assumed by the aristocracy. And an unchecked aristocracy is the greatest threat to liberty, according to both John Adams and Jefferson.
Continue reading “A Republic of the “Mass””