Popular sovereignty and threatened elites
Lately, “Duly Noted” has discussed the Left’s efforts to strangulate “majority rule” whenever the majority that can be had, fails to support its leadership.
Leftist revolutionaries might openly admit to their program or they can pose as “reformers”. Whatever the banner the pirates fly, the real program – not the avowed one – implies changing the way of life of the “masses”. The change is intended for those to be saved without these evincing a desire for their worldly salvation. The plan responds to the higher truth held by the tribe that holds esoteric degrees. Diplomas earned for walking on the clouds but not on the common man’s ground, elevate these redeemers above the crowd mired in its shortsighted materialism.
Smart radicals realize that within the framework of existing democracy, the uncouth plebeian’s voice equals that of the “educated” and of those in their reserve army that are certified as “victims” of whatever. This amounts to a mere “numerical” majority that ignores qualitative values. Irritatingly, the prevailing system forces the visionary to waste energy to convince the static mass about the superior wisdom of its rescuers. This perception provokes a conclusion. In numerous countries, within the confines of the existing order, the politics that would bring the bliss of the progressives are stymied. Instead of resorting to “civil war” as in earlier times, the preferred path to abolish existing clumsy democracy in favor of a perfect system, exploits the opportunities allowed by the democratic order. To “undermine” and to “hollow out” is more effective than running with battering rams against ramparts.
A telling case is evolving in Switzerland. After a civil war in the mid 19th century over the issue of “states rights”, the victorious “unionists” wrote a new constitution. Federal republics at the time being as rare as feathered fish in Mojave, the Swiss copied the American system. (Earlier, the makers of the US’ constitution resorted to the Swiss example.) The notable exception is that the Swiss saw in presidential powers a threat to freedom. Therefore, they created a collective head of state of seven (The Federal Council) that also acts as a cabinet. Another peculiarity of the system is “direct democracy”. The ease and frequency by which – besides obligatory plebiscites – votes are held, is a consequence. One can attribute it to the resulting good order and its stability, expressed by armed neutrality, that independence has been uninterrupted since 1648. Another upshot is that a, by nature poor landlocked state, became an industrial and financial leader and a top creator of wealth.
Nowadays institutionalized popular sovereignty is under attack. That is because the representatives of the “moral-intellectual majority” see their pet projects, such the wealth-redistributing high tax state, “internationalism”, EU membership, and “multiculturalism” blocked by it. Regardless of the leftism of the papers, TV, and the “experts” that the media consults, the system of government by referendums does not produce sufficiently progressive results. Consequently, the system needs to be changed.
In that endeavor, the alienated political elites receive massive support from abroad. Eurocracy resents the principled non-membership of the continent’s oldest democracy. Additionally, the money from the region’s riches country would fortify the anemic Euro and finance bailouts. The EU started with the principle of “subsidiarity”, meaning that problems are to be solved at the lowest possible level of government. Regardless of that, the centralizers in Brussels, peeved by the Swiss, see in direct government by the people, a red cloth. Switzerland’s ruling clans share their dislike of the system.
So far, the resulting strategy is not to abolish direct democracy. That would require an obligatory plebiscite. It seems hardly probable that the people would consent to terminate its direct franchise and to eradicate its governing role. Instead of a direct attack, the path chosen is equally as effective but stealthy.
An “improvement” of the practices of direct democracy has become a subject of discussion. The aim is to pave the way into the EU by accustoming the public to participation through a virtual membership. The case made is that the popular decision could be in violation of the articles of Europe’s human rights legislation, the European Court, or some kind of an international agreement. Already, some laws passed from “below” are sabotaged by invoking the treaty. Such is the case of a plebiscite passed years ago that mandates the expulsion of criminally active asylum seekers.
All the parties of the Left, assisted by the Socialists smuggled into the wobbly “center”, have a plan to preclude such conflicts. A committee of experts is to be set up. Its supporting staff will provide relatives and friends with sinecures. Before a proposition is put to the vote, the experts are to decide whether it conforms to international and EU usage. That amounts to a sneaky way to smuggle a non-member into the Union and to demote national legislation to second-class law. Regarding those issues that the legislature’s PC-bound elements resent, it is likely that a conflict will be discovered. This and a warning reference about non-implementability are to be added to the ballot. It is expected that thereby passage would be hindered. Failing that, the verdict would justify the sidetracking of the ruling.
Wherever the reader lives, he is likely to be aware of the politely overlooked conflict between the popular will and the positions of the professional political class. This shared condition of fear of the suspected and belittled people points to a disturbing insight. It is that the enemies of democracy have built their nest in the institutions created to protect the people’s rule and to carry out its will.