Democracy v. Republic

I’ve had it with pundits, politicians, and people who should know better that continuously refer to our country as a democracy.  The latest such reference was by renowned political commentator Thomas Friedman, who has never been confused with an intelligent person. But he has lots of company among the chattering classes, and even more so from among our so-called educators. At every educational level, teachers, professors, administrators, and even the elite collegiate Boards-of-Directors wrongly refer to the United States as a democracy and, in general, display an overall ignorance of American history and our Founding principles. And unfortunately, our youth (and their parent-underwriters) are the unwitting victims of this ignorance. At one time, our educators and learned elders passed on their wisdom to an eagerly receptive youth armed with the critical thinking skills necessary to challenge any such drivel. Now, our elders can be confidently relied upon to confer their collective stupidity upon a submissive, blindly receptive youth.

Repeat after me—the United States is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. The Founders, to a man, loathed and feared democracy. This is clearly supported by this selection of excerpts which illustrate why the Founders struggled mightily to forge a Republic rather than a democracy:

James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10:

In a pure democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.”

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, “… that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”

John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Chief Justice John Marshall observed,

“Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.

In Federalist Paper #10, James Madison gave a comprehensive dissertation on how a Republic would guard against such losses of freedom, in an effort to get our proposed Constitution ratified by the people and their states.

The following are excerpts from Madison’s Federalist #10:

… When a majority is included in the faction, the form of popular government … enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. …

… Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security and the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. …

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.

Unlike today’s benighted political hacks, the Founders were deeply immersed in ancient history and the Classics, mostly Greece and Rome.  And they could read the Classics and comment about them fluently in the languages in which the texts were originally written. Latin and Greek were required courses of study in nearly every one-room schoolhouse in nearly every village and hamlet.

Some time ago, I was fortunate to have acquired an early 1700’s school reader. Today’s Millennials would become apoplectic and break out in hives if they had to master the material in this reader.  For example, say, schoolmaster to student:

“Mr. Penopscot, please stand and recite the declension of the infinitive “to be” in both Latin and Greek. Any mistakes will result in your being responsible for cleaning the common outdoor latrine for a month.”

The Founding generation knew instinctively that independence and liberty could not be secured and maintained without a clear understanding of these principles.  And they had no aversion to the swift application of corporal punishment like the one that befell our unfortunate fictional Mr. Penopscot.  Today’s parents would quickly lawyer up to challenge these harsh curricular standards, while the kids would endure years of mandatory emotional counseling to comfort them through such trauma.

At one time, nearly every student knew the differences between a democracy v. republic, dependence v. independence, God’s Law, natural law, and common law. Today’s youth (and most adults) are woefully ignorant in the basics of America’s Founding, and the principles underlying the Founding and the Constitution. It’s beyond sad—it’s downright scary. The Republic cannot survive such ignorance.

More than anything, I would really like to see President Trump and Education Secretary DeVos, using every tool at their disposal, to rigorously encourage revolutionary curricular changes in our public schools and stop the corruption of our children’s minds with cultural marxism. I would like to see the elimination of Common Core, the replacement of one-sided indoctrination with reason and critical thinking skills, and the wholehearted, nationwide restoration and support of our rights of Free Speech at every level of education, public and private.

The president and secretary should require every institution receiving so much as a dime of federal funding to be fully committed to honoring our rights of Free Speech, welcoming and ensuring the safety of those on campuses whose views are at variance with the prevailing campus ideology, and encouraging the open exchange and debate of ideas across the ideological spectrum. If you don’t like someone on TV, you don’t smash the TV, you change the channel. Similarly, if you don’t agree with the views of a speaker on campus, you don’t silence the speaker, you just respectfully stay home.

Whatever happened to the priceless maxim of Evelyn Beatrice Hall ?

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

It would be easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than to find a university professor who stands shoulder to shoulder with Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

Why Our Founders Feared Democracy

The word Republic has all but disappeared from our political lexicon.  It has erroneously been replaced by Democracy.  The Founders must be turning over in their graves.  They had nothing but contempt for democracy.  They sought to, and did, create a constitutional republic, but not before doing their homework.

Unlike today’s politicians, talking heads, and academics, the Founders had an acute, in-depth, and nuanced understanding of history and political systems.  Prior to the 1787 constitutional convention, James Madison undertook a comprehensive study of every known republic in recorded history to ensure that the Founders didn’t repeat their mistakes.  The Founders as a group were also well studied in democracies.  They knew that every democracy in recorded history disintegrated in a pyre of chaos, tyranny, and mob violence.

The word democracy does not appear in any of the Founding documents: the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, nor the Constitution.  For good reason: the Founders had no intention of creating a democracy.  They wanted to fashion a mixed republic of constitutionally infused checks and balances which incorporated elements monarchy, aristocracy, and popular consent.  Monarchy would manifest itself in the Office of President, aristocracy the senate, and popular consent, the House of Representatives.  The checks and balances are both vertical and horizontal.  The division of the government into the executive, legislative, and judicial constitutes one form of checks and balances.  The “division of labor” among the federal, state, and local levels of government constitutes the other.  This division of labor was made law in Article 1, Section 8, and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Founders drew much of their inspiration and thought from Baron Montesquieu’s “Spirit of the Laws.” Montesquieu (1689-1755), a Frenchman, was a political philosopher and man of letters. He is one of the central figures of the Enlightenment.

Published in 1748, the Spirit of the Laws is a comparative study of three types of government: republic, monarchy, and despotism. Montesquieu held that government powers should be separated and balanced to guarantee individual rights and freedom.  It is considered one of the most influential political studies of all time.  The Founders would agree, and some 40 years later, would incorporate much of Montesquieu’s masterpiece in the founding of our Republic.

I’ll bet very few Americans can cite the differences between a republic and a democracy, or care for that matter.  But even high-level politicians and prime-time political commentators continue to refer to “our democracy” rather than “our republic.” Spread the good word—we don’t live in a democracy; it’s a republic, thank you.

The article below, by O.R. Adams, goes into great detail about this issue.

Why Our Founders Feared a Democracy

By O. R. Adams Jr.

© O. R. Adams Jr., 2008

Our Founders very much feared creating a government that had too many aspects of a pure democracy. They feared the destructiveness that a majority might have in trying to make everyone equal, and in the process taking away property, rights of property, and with it our basic freedoms which they considered “God given Freedoms.” They very much feared the development of the Robin Hood mentality we are seeing today – soak the rich and give to the poor. It is a democratic drift toward socialism. Such a program as the proposed “Universal Healthcare” is a prime example.

The fear had good basis. Our Founders were all knowledgeable people, and all knew and discussed how all prior democracies ended in disastrous failures – one of the most well known being that of Athens, Greece. As stated by Paul Gagnon:

American history reaches way back—to the texts of Judaism and Christianity, to the glory and failure of democracy in Athens, to Rome, Feudal times, and more. To explain our values, history classes need to reach back, too. http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/summer2005/

There has been a historical writing floating around for a number of years on principles that were well known to our founders, which is:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: “From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.” (Emphasis added) http://www.democrats.com/node/807

The above, in the reference shown, is attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish born British lawyer and writer (1747-1813). However, there is some doubt about the original author, although the quotation has been often repeated by knowledgeable people. (See: http://www.lorencollins.net/tytler.html) Certainly, the principle was well known to our Founders, and to informed writers of that period.

One of the greatest of all writers about our American government, and the dangers it faced, was the French writer and historian, Alexis de Tocqueville. He toured all of America in the early 1800s, and after some years wrote the great two volume book, Democracy in America. The University of Virginia has done the great service to America of making this complete two volume works available online at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/toc_indx.html

A good part of Volume II of Democracy in America was on the dangers of a democracy, which was along the same line as the above quoted information. He very much hoped that our Republic form of government could escape those dangers. Some excerpts from the book, in that regard, are:

It frequently happens that the members of the community promote the influence of the central power without intending to. Democratic eras are periods of experiment, innovation, and adventure. There is always a multitude of men engaged in difficult or novel undertakings, which they follow by themselves without shackling themselves to their fellows. Such persons will admit, as a general principle, that the public authority ought not to interfere in private concerns; but, by an exception to that rule, each of them craves its assistance in the particular concern on which he is engaged and seeks to draw upon the influence of the government for his own benefit, although he would restrict it on all other occasions. If a large number of men applies this particular exception to a great variety of different purposes, the sphere of the central power extends itself imperceptibly in all directions, although everyone wishes it to be circumscribed. (Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter III, That the Sentiments of Democratic Nations Accord with Their Opinions in Leading Them to Concentrate Political Power [in] America)

… These powers accumulate there with astonishing rapidity, and the state instantly attains the utmost limits of its strength, while private persons allow themselves to sink as suddenly to the lowest degree of weakness. …

Hence the concentration of power and the subjection of individuals will increase among democratic nations, not only in the same proportion as their equality, but in the same proportion as their ignorance. … (Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter IV, Of Certain Peculiar and Accidental Causes Which Either Lead a People to Complete the Centralization of Government or Divert Them From It)

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. (Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter VI, What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear.)

These things we are seeing in America, today; and worse is proposed. As we get our government benefits, we resist less while it takes away our rights and controls our lives. Even our local governments are getting into the act. They even tell us how to flush our toilets. How long will it be before they regulate how we wipe our behinds?

Well knowing the reasons for the demise of past democracies, our Founders, by our Constitution, created a Republic in an effort to avoid those pitfalls.

In an article, Are We a Republic or a Democracy, Professor Walter E. Williams of George Mason University, explains how our Founders strove to create a Republic instead of a Democracy, and why. The following are some excerpts:

James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10:

In a pure democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.”

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, “… that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”

John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Chief Justice John Marshall observed,

“Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

In the article, Professor Williams also reflects on the sad situation we have in America today, in that it appears that today Americans seem to want the same kind of tyranny that our Founders tried to guard against.  http://reliableanswers.com/patriot/2005/01/are-we-republic-or-democracy.asp

When our Constitution was adopted the people of our country, against tremendous odds, had just fought and won the revolutionary war against Britain, and had a real sense of freedom and individual responsibility. They also feared the centralized government that a democracy could bring about, and by which their individual freedoms, which they had just gained by blood and sacrifice, could be lost. In Federalist Paper #10, James Madison gave a comprehensive dissertation on how a Republic would guard against such losses of freedom, in an effort to get our proposed Constitution ratified by the people and their states. The following are excerpts from Madison’s paper:

… When a majority is included in the faction, the form of popular government … enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. …

… Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security and the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. …

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.

Yale University has made available to the public the entire Federalist Papers at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed.htm

Our founders gave us a republic, with a representative form of government, and I believe that, under our Constitution, we have the best form of government that there has ever been. But an irresponsible people, electing irresponsible representatives, can ruin any government. We are today experiencing that very danger.

We have had so much prosperity and so much ease of living, that we have lost our belief in personal responsibility. With it we have grown to believe in the ability of the government to take care of us, and we have lost our individualism and more importantly, our Faith in God. Instead of considering the good of the country as a whole, candidates promise the people to take care of their every need, including their medical care. And the people, relying on their promises of milk and honey, and equality for everyone, vote for those candidates. They have forgotten about the long term good of the country, the rights and responsibilities of individuals to run their own lives, and are fast making our country a socialized welfare state.

We elect people who want to take away our right to bear arms. This will make it more difficult to ever overthrow our yoke of oppression. This is a necessity to socialist and communist countries.

We elect people that teach us that perversion is commendable, and who want to remove our rights to say otherwise, or to write otherwise. They want to remove the right of those who disagree with them to be on radio or television.

They have no real respect for human life, and particularly the lives of the unborn.

While they remove our rights to significant freedom of speech and freedom of press, they teach us that pornography, obscenity, and perversion are constitutional rights.

The freedom of religion allowed is to the extent that it is only within the walls of the church, and not offensive in any way to the atheists and nonbelievers. Practicing our religion in living our lives, and in conducting our schools and our businesses, is not allowed.

Contrary to the wishes of parents, their children are taught false anti-American history in public schools, and are taught that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are commendable.

These are the great principles of the Democratic Party of today.

Today, all of the leading Democratic candidates are preying on the desires of the people for healthcare and other benefits. The idea of President John F. Kennedy, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” has now been completely reversed. Apparently the Democratic candidates of today think that the person who can get elected is the person who can promise the most government benefits to the people. This is the exact thing that our Founders feared. It leads to a socialized welfare state, the loss of individual freedom and of individual initiative. It will lead to the demise of America as the great bastion of freedom, and to the end of its status as a world power. It will eventually destroy our form of government, as it has in all past democratic experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy

 

Few Americans are aware of the fact that we are not a democracy, but a constitutional republic. And fewer Americans could cite the differences between them. The Founders were, among other things, historians. They understood the dangers of majority rule and built numerous checks and balances into our Constitution to thwart the tyranny of the majority. The word “democracy” does not appear in any of our founding documents. To a man the founders believed this anonymous quote: “Better a king than a mob.”

Please read the article below by Professor Walter Williams.

http://dailysignal.com/2018/01/17/republic-not-democracy/?utm_source=TDS_Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningBell%22&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT0dJM01EUTVPRFJtT0RJeCIsInQiOiJ3TksxSHM5NHZKOW55QlwvV0F3ekxNTU1RbWtPY1wvSWRmSklFNkJVR0NlMVJEelIzV0tjUXhIcnI5RUJXN2Z

Decolonize, Abolish & Bend A Knee | Frontpage Mag

The Left is destroying our country, everything we’ve built and worked for, methodically organized and orchestrated. They are always on offense; they never take their eyes off the prize. Their thinking and planning is completely long-term—begun with the Progressive Movement in the late 19th century.

What can hardly be called their opposition is disjointed, corrupted, with no long-term plans or goals, and no strategic thinking. Their time-horizon is the next election. To describe the opposition as lame would be way too generous. I fear it’s going to take nothing less than a miracle to save our country.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268025/decolonize-abolish-bend-knee-dawn-perlmutter#.Wdb9X7bOCI8.facebook

Mental Exercise

Here’s a mental exercise for everyone—name one government program in recorded history that’s been a success–on balance. Go ahead—name one. Just one government program that has made someone wealthier without making someone poorer; just one program by which a country’s citizens have benefited without the equivalent loss of independence or liberty or dignity. History is littered with the corpses of civilizations which have sacrificed their liberty and that of their progeny for a bowl of thin gruel. We are no different.

Political Participation and the Sanction of the Victim

Source: Political Participation and the Sanction of the Victim

POLITICAL PARTICIPATION  AND THE “SANCTION OF THE VICTIM”

In her 1957 masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand introduced us to a powerful concept which she called “the sanction of the victim.”  This concept is defined as “the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the ‘sin‘ of creating values.”  As Rand explains through the character of her hero, John Galt, “Evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us,” and, “I saw that evil was impotent…and the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it.”   In Rand’s view, morality requires that we do not sanction our own victimhood.  This concept may be original in the thinking of Ayn Rand and is foundational to her moral theory: she holds that evil is a parasite on the good and can only exist if the good tolerates it.

The sanction of the victim takes many forms, on the individual level in our personal relationships, and in the social or public realm in our relationship with the State.   In Rand’s Atlas Shrugged it primarily takes the form of unearned guilt and the need to acknowledge and show kindness towards our tormentors and those who would exploit us.  Ultimately, the sanction of the victim is used by our exploiters as the weapon of our own destruction.  The victim becomes an accessory to the crime.

On the personal level, among countless situations, the sanction of the victim would apply to the beaten wife, the verbally abused husband, and the parents of mooching offspring that refuse to grow up and leave home.  An ever-growing percentage of our youth now choose to remain at home with their parents indefinitely.  The parent-victims have been played like a violin by their offspring, conditioned to believe they are financially and emotionally helpless, incapable of surviving independently.  The parents are terrified of the unbearable guilt they would carry if they were to send them packing.  The parents’ acceptance and acquiescence constitute the sanction of the victim.  Consequently, the parents become the victims of their own cowardice.

The sanction of the victim in the public or political realm expresses itself in two principal forms: participation in popular democratic processes, including elections, and acknowledging, approving, and extending respect and kindness toward our political exploiters (i.e. elected officials, their many toadies, and the supportive media).

Participating in the political process in all its forms constitutes the sanction of the victim. Again, you are an accessory to the crime, a victim of the crimes in which you are an active, but ignorant participant.  You are in effect abating the crimes of the political elite.  All of these things send the wrong message to the criminals and reprobates that comprise the political class.   Voting, attending political rallies, and perhaps worst of all, sending them money, constitute the sanction of the victim.  We are telling the political class, “We approve of your system.  Even though you’re robbing us blind and crushing our Constitutional liberties, we still like you.  Even though you’re corrupt beyond words, you are nevertheless lovable thugs, and we could not begin to fathom or contemplate life without you.

So how do we beat these people?  Democracy and every form of representative government based on popular consent with constitutional constraints is the god that failed.  We are told that political apathy and disengagement is to blame.  I disagree.  Disengagement is the solution, not the problem.  The sanction of the victim only reinforces the problem, whether it’s a bad marriage or a corrupt, tyrannical government.

Here is the Three-Step Program for defanging the snake.

DON’T VOTE.  As political satirist P.J. O’Rourke said, “Don’t vote, it only encourages them.” Elections change nothing systemically.  They only decide who gets to pick your pocket and hold the boot over your neck.  What if slaves had been allowed to elect their plantation overseers?

When has there ever been an election that gives you the choice of A, B, or none of the above?  Hmmm?  Never.  Wouldn’t it be great to live in a voting district with no legislator, no congressman, no senator, no one to kiss up to?  Yes, but you don’t have that option.  But you can refuse to part of the whole scam by not voting.  So don’t vote.  Look, you’re being used like a cheap condom.  Furthermore, the odds of you casting the deciding vote are far less than the odds of your winning the Big Lotto.  In fact, the odds of your being involved in a fatal car accident en route to the polling place are far greater than the odds of casting the deciding vote.  When you vote, you are sanctioning the system, its leaders and their crimes.

Voting is just a bad habit.  Like all bad habits, it is self-defeating.  Moreover, it serves to reinforce the bad habits of your tormentors.  I gave up voting and smoking over 20 years ago.  Both healthy choices, and among the most liberating and empowering I had ever made.

I remember a popular saying when I young: Imagine if they held a war and nobody showed up.  Well, imagine if they held an election and nobody showed up.  Talking about sending the political class a message !

 

STOP TREATING POLITICIANS WITH KINDNESS.  What do politicians crave more than anything?  Attention.  Attention is their drug of choice.  Indeed, politicians must seek the affirmation and approbation and applause of those whom they would never invite into their homes, have a beer with, or call their friends.  In other words people like you and me.  They have nothing but scorn and contempt for us.  And besides, they’re corrupt beyond words.  So what do we do?  We cram into public auditoriums to catch a glimpse of their faces and suck up their lies like a cat does a saucer of warm milk.  We reach out to grasp their hands as though they were the healing hands of a divine savior.  If you came home from work to find a burglar carrying your possessions out of your house, would you shake his hands and wish him well?  No, you’d call the cops, maybe even beat him up.  Why do we treat politicians any differently when they steal our money every day?  If we started denying politicians the attention and approval they so crave, maybe they’d consider getting an honest living.

A few years ago, on my way to work, our district congressman was shaking hands with us commoners at a Metro station in his district.  Half asleep, I shook his hand and actually wished him well.  Not five seconds later, I realized what a dumb-ass I was—shaking hands with a common criminal, a guttersnipe, a reprobate, a predator, a public parasite.  There I was, extending my best wishes to high-ranking political leader who bore direct responsibility for the mess we found ourselves in.  Would you shake hands with a cat-burglar, a serial rapist, a pedophile?  No, of course not, so why would you shake hands with a politician?

So, take the pledge.  When a politician reaches to shake your hand, act like the person has a communicable disease (what we used to call the “cooties”).  Take your hand back as quickly as possible, and say something pithy like, “No, thank you. When you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.  Don’t ever try to shake my hand again.”  If more of us started treating politicians with the disdain and contempt they deserve, they might begin to consider a more respectable line of work.

3-REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS AT ANY LEVEL.  A good friend of mine is constantly urging me and everyone else he knows to “get involved.  It’s the only way we can fix things.”

As Sherman Potter would say, “Horsehockey !”  What sort of track record does popular participation have compared to apathy and disengagement?  None.  Politicians have always used elections and every form of democratic process to sanction and justify the criminal enterprise we call government.  It just gives them cover.  Government is, and has always been, nothing more than an organized crime syndicate, a protection racket sanctioned by the many forms of popular approval—which Ayn Rand called the sanction of the victim.

So, stay home, focus on your beautiful family, your kids’ Little League and soccer games.  Spend quality time with your friends.  Work at your hobbies, do crossword puzzles, listen to a symphony, read a good book, take your spouse and kids to the movies.  Watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.  Return the ladder you borrowed from your neighbor seven years ago.  Clean out your fridge, there’s probably stuff in there since you were in grammar school.  Take your grandkids to the playground.  Have a glass of champagne with your breakfast cornflakes.  Tell your kid to rake the leaves while you nap in a hammock.  Go to church, bake brownies, take your dog for a walk; mow the lawn; clean out your gutters; weed the garden, shovel the snow in your driveway.  Be at peace with your Maker, whatever you imagine him to be.  But whatever you do, avoid politicians like stray dogs.