The people, in a democracy, is, in certain respects, the monarch; in certain others, it is the subject.
It cannot be the monarch except by its votes, which are its expressions of will. The will of the sovereign is the sovereign himself. The laws that establish the right to vote are thus fundamental in the government. In effect, it is as important in a democracy to order how, by whom, and on what, votes are to be given, as it is in a monarchy to know who the monarch is, and by what means he is to govern. (Montesquieu, On the Spirit of the Laws, Bk 2, Chapter 2)
Years ago I went to Florida’s capital to support the Schindler family’s efforts to prevent the judicial murder of Terri Schiavo. I sought a meeting with then Governor Jeb Bush to lay before him the powerful arguments in favor of his duty to intervene personally and directly in order to save her life. Bush disdained to meet with me.
Instead I met with a young man who introduced himself as Bush’s legal advisor or some such thing. In the course of our discussion I made use of reasoning from the Federalist Papers. My interlocutor responded with almost comical disdain, saying something to the effect that I surely didn’t expect the Governor to justify his actions based on what some dead guy wrote centuries ago. The episode remains indelible in my memory as an illustration of the pathetically self-righteous intellectual bankruptcy that is these days too characteristic of America’s politicians, and the “experts” they rely upon.
In my writings I make frequent reference to the thinking of ‘dead guys who wrote centuries ago’. I don’t do so because I think we must defer to them as “authorities” whose words automatically deserve our respect. I do so because thoughtful people of previous times, who take the requirements of good reasoning seriously, deserve our consideration. Reading them often helps us to see things in ways that the blinders of contemporary passions and ideologies keep us from noticing.
Montesquieu’s observation of the analogy between who votes in democratic elections and who rules in a monarchic regime, is one of those clarifying insights. It is especially eye-opening when dealing with the issues involved in our ongoing discussion of the status and disposition of illegal immigrants. Of course, you wouldn’t know this from listening to what passes for reasoning in that discussion.
Though like America’s founders Montesquieu has been dead for centuries, I think Americans would be wise to read him patiently, as some of our founders certainly did. Doing so will help us see through the surface appeal of those who claim to demand merciful justice for illegal immigrants, when in fact that they are mercilessly bent on eliminating the realized dream of justice, rights and righteous liberty for all that is the better hope that leads decent immigrants to come here.
Most people, —even among those who oppose lax border security, careless enforcement of our immigration laws, and the elitist faction’s push for amnesty legislation— treat immigration as a question of what to do with, or about the individual bodies that have entered, are entering, or will enter the territory of the United States. Montesquieu’s observation helps us to focus on the otherwise invisible body, the body politic, which in certain constitutionally defined circumstances (including the adoption, promulgation and establishment of the U.S. Constitution itself) speaks with the voice of sovereign authority over the governments and inhabitants of the United States of America.
Now, where monarchs are concerned, if a large body of people from the jurisdiction of one sovereign enter territory subject to the jurisdiction of another, without his consent or against his will, it is clearly recognized as an invasion. The Roman Empire’s disintegration came about partly as the result of such incursions. Certain elements of the Roman ruling class contributed to this disintegration, trading away Rome’s sovereignty to the invaders in order to increase their own wealth and power, however shortsightedly.
In similar fashion, the elitist faction in the United States has been trading away the sovereignty of the American people. They have done so in domestic and international commerce and finance, with results severely damaging to America’s once thriving middle class. They are doing so in immigration and border security policies, intending results that will fundamentally transform the composition of the American people. The governor of New York wants Americans loyal to the nation’s founding principles out of his state. The elitist faction wants to eliminate the political influence of such Americans from the electoral politics of the whole nation.
Seen in this light, the purpose of the elitist faction push for amnesty is to import and naturalize as many people as they can who have little familiarity with, and no allegiance to, the logic of right, rights and liberty America’s constitutional government is founded upon. And don’t be fooled by the notion that the new citizens that result from this elitist sponsored invasion will be required to learn “civics” before they are allowed to become citizens.
In this respect, the elitist faction goal is the same for them as it is for natural born Americans— to make them citizens of the world with no sense of the special vocation that makes their American heritage exceptional. Thus the push for amnesty takes place in the context of an approach to education that virtually eliminates the capacity or inclination to understand the thinking of the “guys who’ve been dead for centuries” whose writings give us access to the historically unprecedented logic that helped to make America’s constitutional liberty a success.
In all of human history there was never before a nation that gave regular folks a chance to prove what they could do when entrusted, in the right framework, with sovereign power over their own affairs. Americans did so well that our success eclipsed the glories of all the empires of the past, which ignored, despised or trampled on the premise of divinely ordained human equality and ordered freedom. Was this simply an accident? Or should it at least cause us to consider the possibility that the unique result had something to do with the uniquely insightful logic of America’s prevalent founders?
In the course of my lifetime more and more of America’s most successful people have bought into the line that despises and disregards this possibility. These elitists are like Michelle Obama, so scornful of the nation’s heritage that she never took pride in her country until she proudly looked upon her own self-idolizing power. Is it just a coincidence that the elitists’ momentary political triumph has produced a period that seems to confirm their eager prophecies of America’s decline? If not, shouldn’t the rest of us be bent on humbling their narcissistic pride quickly and decisively, before their schemes so transform the body politic that the American people no longer has the will and character to claim the throne of liberty?