24 February 2012

Living by the Sword

Jezebel inadvertently proves why democracy sucks:

If social conservatives were hoping to ride to the White House on tide of unquenchable Puritan backlash against President Obama's birth control mandate, they'll find their hopes tragically dashed. According to a new poll, the majority of Americans like the idea of giving birth control to anyone who wants it.
The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, found that 54% of Americans support the administration's mandate that employer sponsored plans provide birth control at no cost to employees who wish to use it under the Affordable Care Act. Only 38% of poll respondents opposed the measure.

Let us suppose that there was poll in which 54% of respondents supported a government initiative to kill off everyone who wrote for Jezebel’s online publication, with only 38% of respondents opposing such an initiative.  I wonder how our intrepid Jezebel respondent would feel then.

Ultimately, the downside of going all in for mob rule democracy is that the mob can turn against you rather quickly.  And as undoubtedly pleasant as it is to force other people to conform to your will, the reverse is pretty horrible.  Which is why democracy sucks.  The mob is often wrong, and it’s very unpleasant when forcing its wrongness on others.

Incidentally, this is why rule-of-law-based governments (usually governments based on constitutions that take a negative-rights view of things) are considerably better, even if most people don’t have the “right” to vote.  Quite simply, your rights exist independently of other people’s desires, actions, and consent.  While you do not have the right to take from others for your own personal gain (like, for example, using the government to take money from other people to pay for your birth control), by the same token, people cannot take things from you for their own personal gain (like, say, killing an annoying feminist writer so that the internet is not filled with as much mindless drivel).

And so, while it sounds wonderful to say that you should be able to force other people to provide birth control for you to use, going down this road inevitably leads to your own destruction because the power you give the government for your own benefit is also the same power you give the government for others’ benefit.  And when those benefits clash, the government will always favor the majority, which is all fun and games until you find that you’re no longer in the majority.  And then you’re screwed.


  1. Of course, no matter what type of government it is, a sufficiently large mob can force its will on you anyway. Even if it means forcing its will on king and tyrant first.

  2. it's not even about giving away birth control. It is about using the force of government to compell other people to pay for your birth control bills so that those owmen who use them don't have to be bothered with carrying pocket change to pay their co-pays ($5?).

    53%? What is percent population of women? 51%? What a coincedence.

    So 53% don't understand how insurance works. We already know that most people are too foolish to manage their own affairs.

    Isn't 53% also the percent of people who voted for Obama in the last election?

    But I agree that the social conservative message is not resonating. Even real social conservatives understand that the only issue that matters this year is out of control government spending. Any candidate who is not hammering that message is out of touch. Even the birth control message should be dealth with as a chice of how to spend limited money. "OK ladies, should we pay everyone's co-pays for BCPs or treat 5 women for breast cancer? you choose."

  3. @GFM- the nice thing about kings and tyrants, though, is that they serve as a buffer, making it more difficult for people to impose their will on me. Democracy is more direct, and I'm not as fond of it for that reason.

    @Prof. Hale- I'd agree that conservatives really need to hammer home the point about scarcity. We all want a lot of things, but because of scarcity we can't have everything we desire. That's why we live by budgets. We all know spending is a problem, so we need to cut it wherever we can. And no, it won't kill women to co-pay for their BCPs. They need to "sacrifice" for the good of the country.