September 17, 2014
Americans believe a lot of silly things about their northern neighbor, Canada. Being endowed with an “exceptional” heritage leads many Yankees into thinking their country is a beacon of freedom compared to the socialist wasteland beyond the border. Yet plenty of economic rating indexes show that Canada is a far freer place than the U.S. of A. What the Great White North lacks in reputation, it makes up for in liberty.
Freedom doesn”t stop citizens from destroying their country from the inside, however. Liberals in Canada have implemented some plainly Marxist policies”socializing the entire health-care industry included. Now the agitators for progress are proposing another profoundly stupid idea: mandatory voting. The Liberal Party is crowdsourcing the concept, in hopes that forcing Canucks to the polls will route conservatives out of public office.
There are a number of things wrong with compulsory voting, the least of which being that it’s another government diktat heaped upon a festering pile of federal laws. First and foremost, mandatory ballot casting is a violation of rights. No man should be compelled by another to do something against his wishes. If the politically apathetic and lazy don”t want to vote, they shouldn”t be forced to do so. For being so pro-choice, Canadian lefties really despise the rational option of avoiding the mob sideshow known as democracy.
Liberals only care about rights when it helps their cause. Their focus is building a progressive utopia”with mandatory voting as a requirement. The left embodies the spirit of Plato, whose ideal republic is composed of elites ordering the little people around. Greek philosophers saw civic virtue as a force that redeems us from selfish individualism. If hoi polloi can be taught that the whole is more important than the self, and that certain leaders are well-bred enough to run society, then democracy can flourish. From that point of view, mandatory voting makes sense. But the philosophers of antiquity put too much trust in the greatness of man.
Compulsory voting is really based on the romantic ideal of the civic-minded gentleman. It assumes that the public is properly versed in the purpose of government and the duties for which it exists. It assumes a certain level of intelligence on the part of the mass man”an intelligence that cannot and will not ever exist. Proponents of voting see the ballot box as the great communicator of social opinion, when in reality the average ballot caster treats it like a checklist of goodies they want from the state treasury.
The old saw about democracy being two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner is never truer than in a welfare state. And since every Western country has a state-sponsored trough of tax handouts, voters are less likely to punch the box for personal responsibility and prudential management. Employer-provided birth control and abortion on demand get the highest tallies.
As Mencken once remarked, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” Polls show a remarkable idiocy on the part of the average voter. A recent Pew survey showed that of respondents who claimed to be libertarian, not quite half lacked the slightest clue of what the term actually means. Public support is high for President Obama’s air strikes against a new band of Islamic terrorists in Iraq. Yet just three years ago, the American people were eager to end the military occupation of Iraq. Almost a decade of near-constant warfare was easily forgotten as the media made a mountain out of a molehill by covering the deadly exploits of the Islamic State.
It only gets worse when young people voice their opinions. A Reason-Rupe poll shows that millennials favor both an increase in government services and a scaling back of government interference in personal lives. But one can never exist without the other. The minute you give bureaucrats the authority to send out checks, you give them access to private information. I guess no one taught the next generation basic logic while they boozed their way through an undergrad degree.
Now, most of these polls took place in the U.S. But dispositions hardly differ on either side of the America-Canada divide. If Rob Ford is any clue, Canadian voters are just as slow-witted as their neighbors. Surveys on the efficiency of Canada’s government-run health-care system continually show two stark opinions: respondents love the idea of collective health care while decrying the wait times that it entails. Cognitive dissonance be damned.