Tuesday, March 18, 2008 OC Register
The Orange Grove: The business end of democracy
We know more and care more than you do and will vote accordingly
By MARK PATLAN
I know better than you how you should run your life. I know right from wrong better than you. I will decide what you can do in the privacy of your home and bedroom. I will decide how you should manage your money. I will decide what you can eat, drink, and smoke. I will decide what deals you can make with others. I will decide what to teach your children. I will decide what you can do with your property. In fact, I have an endless list of good ideas. I will protect you from yourself because I know better than you.
Does any of this bother you? Would it make you feel better to know that it is not just me who knows what is best for you? Your friends and neighbors also know what is best for you better than you do. They also know better than you do about how to run your life and manage your business affairs. What I am saying is, there are more of us than there are of you. And if there are more of us than there are of you, then, surely we are right, and you are wrong. Just do what we say and there won’t be any trouble.
You still have a problem with this? Would it make you feel better to know that we took a vote? We took a vote, and it was a secret ballot. Everyone had the chance to vote – well, almost everyone. We didn’t let the felons or the illegal immigrants vote. What matters is that we took a vote on how you should run your life, what you can do with your property, and what we will teach your children. It was democracy in action. And what could be wrong with democracy?
Don’t you understand that democracy is the greatest system in the world? That’s how your friends, neighbors, and I (and yes, your worst enemies, too) decide what is best for you. We the People have a show of hands and decide what is best for you. Would you prefer that we have a dictator or a king? Don’t you understand? When We the People overthrew King George III, we took his powers away and we gave them to ourselves, every man and woman a king or queen.
Surely, you don’t have a problem with this? Would it make you feel any better to know that we will use our powers only for good? We will take a vote and decide what is good, and we will use our powers for that purpose. And we will use our powers only for good because we care. We will decide what is best for you because we care, but you only care about yourself. However, your neighbors and I care about more than just you. We also care about the rest of us.
The rest of us have problems that need solving. Health care costs a lot. And so does a college education. Someone needs to pay for all of this. Together we can find someone to pay for it, someone other than us. Then, we can have all the health care and college educations that we always dreamed of – for free.
Maybe you only care about yourself, but the rest of us have wants. We want free health care and free college educations, and only the best will do. And there are more of us than there are of you. Democracy means that we are right, remember?
If you disagree with our democracy then you must be wrong. If you have a problem with that then maybe it is time you stopped caring only about yourself and started caring about the rest of us. We care. We care enough to vote for what we care about. But someone else needs to pay for it, or the rest of us won’t be any better off.
You can show that you care about the rest of us by paying for the rest of us. Yes, it will be expensive. But price is no obstacle because democracy means that we are right to make you pay for our wants. It is true that you will probably have to borrow money that your children and grandchildren will have to repay. But by borrowing to pay for our wants today, you are investing in tomorrow. Your children can invest in their tomorrow by borrowing from their grandchildren, and so on. What matters is that we care enough to invest in tomorrow.
Still bothered by this? I make no apologies. Democracy means never having to say you’re sorry.