Joke of the Day (Courtesy of Senator Lee)

Utah senator Mike Lee, one of those Republicans who for a few minutes looked like a relatively serious man of principle in a political environment utterly dismissive of both seriousness and principle, has yet again displayed his essential triviality, as is all too typical among those “principled conservatives” who have allowed themselves to get sucked down the Trump drain over the past four years.

Tweeting about the vice-presidential debate between Ken Doll and Reefer Girl, Lee offered against the Democrat position the hackneyed claim that “We’re not a democracy.” When progressives on social media moronically lunged at Lee’s words as evidence of an authoritarian agenda within Trump’s GOP, the senator attempted to clarify his remark by observing that, “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity (sic) are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.” 

Needless to say, the first clause — “Democracy isn’t the objective” — was quickly taken out of context and used as yet more proof that the GOP has embraced a dictatorial leader.

But what I object to, and find obnoxious in Lee’s remarks, is not the Democrats’ childish and deliberately dishonest criticism of his observation, but rather the real presuppositions and implications of the observation itself. 

America, Senator Lee, is indeed a “rank democracy” in all but name, as it has been for a very long time. Any semblance of a functioning representative republic aimed at “liberty, peace, and prosperity” vanished generations ago. The fight, for those who care to take it up, is not a defensive battle to preserve America as founded, as though progressivism were a new and nascent threat to liberty. America as founded does not exist.

The real fight, Senator Lee, is to revitalize some measure of popular understanding, and eventually (in a dream world) some general faith, in the premises of limited republicanism, and to do this within the context of a society long since cemented within fully established and entrenched institutions of progressive authoritarian social manipulation, from universal state-controlled child rearing, to an economy micromanaged by federal agencies and their corporate owners, to endless laws directly denying the concept of private property ownership, to collectivist quota systems and behavioral restrictions and propaganda mouthpieces tasked with actively altering public opinion through state-directed intimidation, disinformation, and moral indoctrination aimed at short-circuiting the development of independent thought and the social attitudes necessary to the life of a free people.

It may please your faction within your political tribe, Senator Lee, to talk this “Rah-rah, America is not a democracy” claptrap. It may win votes, or at least create enthusiasm among the voters already on your team. That’s all well and good, if winning elections and thereby perpetuating the charade that is today’s political establishment — the illusion of American democracy — is your goal. If, on the other hand, truth and a genuine reckoning with America’s current position and its clear, bipartisan trajectory were your goals, you would quit this tedious practice of selling fantasies at election time, and start saying the kind of things that need to be said — but which will not help win elections in the today’s critically corrupt climate.

In short, if winning elections is your primary objective, you cannot speak the truth today. You have to make a choice. And if you do choose winning, then you must accept responsibility for having chosen against truth and freedom in the long run, however you may sugar-coat your words by pretending to speak for “peace, liberty, and prosperity.” When limited republicanism becomes nothing but a convenient rallying cry to win support, from one who is willing to sacrifice no immediate gratification and risk no personal career goals to achieve that distant and lofty objective, then it is just another empty and deceptive catchphrase, and therefore part of the problem.

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