We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
1. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
2. Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.
3. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
4. Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
5. Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
6. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
7. Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
8. If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
9. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
10. All government, of course, is against liberty.
That list of Mencken quotes is most a list of his cynical ideas but I would argue that the full version of #2 is merely cynical but has more than a grain of truth. Here is the entire quote:
"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods."
If the Fifth Amendment were taken seriously - in particular this part: "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation. To me, this seems to preclude a lot of the welfare state which is just used to buy votes.
All true, mostly. But the problem is that systems of government are complex and the issues at hand are difficult and someone's ox will always be at risk. There simply is not perfect form of governance and the simple act of being free complicates it so much more. Our government is not simply a democracy it is a constitutional democratic republic. The constitution was supposed to delineate our god given rights, i.e. rights that neither the federal government nor the states could take or infringe on AND to set limits on government. The "Republic" was intended to give us a representative form of government which would insure some continuity and informed level headedness. And the "democratic" was simply that each of us would have a vote in electing our representatives.
What went wrong? When states and federal government began infringing on our rights the courts and most specifically the Supreme Court failed their primary responsibility in our government. Our elected representatives began selling their power to lobbyist and bastardizing the democratic system by buying votes with tax money and unconstitutional legislation. And our voters became willing recipients of the favors handed out in exchange for their votes.