WASHINGTON, July 7, 2015 – “If destruction be our lot,” said Lincoln, “we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
Sunday, Greeks availed themselves of the democrat’s favorite weapon for suicide: the ballot box. They rejected a plan to restructure their nation’s debt repayment scheme and implement additional government spending restraints.
Instead, owing 77 percent more than they produce annually in national wealth, the Greeks voted to stiff their creditors.
Paul Krugman, the New York Times’ broken Keynesian clock, called the European Union’s “attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos” a “shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles.”
That’s a remarkable statement. In effect, Krugman believes Greek voters are entitled to pick the pockets of bond investors and the taxpayers of neighboring states provided they all agree through the mechanism of democracy.
It turns out that democracy has degenerated into an act of revenge, which the old adage says is a meal best served cold, a sharp instrument held to the victim’s throat while saying, “It’s your money or your life.”
When I hear the word “democracy,” I envision a lynch mob deciding who deserves hanging. Lynch mobs are very — well — democratic.
There’s a significant scene in the 1943 film classic “The Ox-Bow Incident,” in which three men are wrongly accused of rustling cattle and sentenced to hang by a ruthless mob. One of the three victims writes a last letter to his wife, which is read to the mob after his death:
A man just naturally can’t take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin’ everybody in the world, ‘cause then he’s just not breaking one law but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong. It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody’s conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived?
That presupposes there is something of transcendent importance to inform that moral conscience. The problem is that many people, especially those living in the profoundly secularized democracies of the West, believe acts of evil can — presto chango! — be rendered good by a political majority. They fancy themselves a little higher than the angels and, through the power of the ballot box, override ancient Judeo-Christian proscriptions against rapacious theft and covetousness.
“Let facts be submitted to a candid world,” said Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Large national debts are expressions of democratically sanctioned theft. And the theft among today’s Western democracies is so tremendous it can never be repaid.
John Adams, who was not alone among the Founding Fathers in his contempt for true democratic rule, said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Western democracies, Greece in particular, are proving Adams right.
He also said self-restraint in a civil society was important because it is “morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue … we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”
Voters the world over are degenerating into immoral, thieving mobs, with destruction its certain price.
Democratic Greece proves it’s a moral universe after all.