Rebirth of Reason

War for Men's Minds

Conservatives and the Fallacy of Majority Rule
by Jerry Bordelon

There is a war being waged against individual freedom today on a very strong front. However I'm not going to talk about the attack by the liberals in this article. Today I will focus on the increasing attacks on the individual by the conservatives.

The conservatives, ladies and gentlemen, have been zeroing in against individualism more and more in recent history. The weapon of choice by the conservatives lately is the call of a "moral awakening" in this country; which truly is the subjugation of individual rights for the "common good". They attack moral relativism in the name of their supposed moral objectiveness. But don't be fooled. What the modern conservatives advocate is not moral objectiveness. Their version of morality is nothing near objective. It's the definition of subjective; majority rule and supposed objective biblical interpretation.

Simply turn on the television or talk radio and you are likely to hear news pundits like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly talk about moral relativism being a problem in this country. They speak against moral relativism wanting you to believe that the morality they advocate is objective. They base their so-called moral objective views on Christianity and the Bible, but that is anything but objective. Every time a person is put to death, you have Christians on one side screaming for them to "fry the guy", and you have an equal amount of Christians on the other side proclaiming that capital punishment is a "sin". So who is right here, the pro-death penalty Christians or the anti-death penalty Christians? If Christian morality was so objective and true, there could be no debate on the biblical interpretation concerning this black-and-white issue. If Christian morality was objective and true, then why are there over one thousand different sects of Christians, most (if not all) proclaiming that their interpretation of the Bible is correct and all the others are wrong? But, I digress.

Let's look at another major flaw in the conservative rhetoric. The first argument (or one of the main arguments) given for supporting the conservative stance against the recent Massachusetts court case ruling (that states gay marriage is not illegal) is that the majority of Americans oppose it. They say that the courts should not make a decision that goes against what the majority of American people want. The following is a quote from David Limbaugh's article concerning gay marriage found at worldnetdaily.com.

This should be no surprise, as it is a result of a logical progression in our jurisprudence toward radical individualism - the rights of the individual trump everything else - including the interest of the majority in establishing a moral and stable society.

Notice David Limbaugh has a problem with what he calls "radical individualism". In other words, he is admitting that a degree of collectivism is the solution. But, set that aside for now and look at another part of the quote: "...the interest of the majority."

The interest of the majority? Is this what determines what is moral and what is not...majority rule? If this is the case slavery was once morally acceptable but no longer is. If this is the case, women not being able to vote was morally acceptable at one time but no longer is. If this is the case, segregation was morally acceptable at one time but no longer is. If this is the case, interracial marriage was not moral but now is. These things were supported fervently by religious right moral crusaders of the time and the (...you guessed it...) majority. Does David Limbaugh's majority rule reasoning sound like objective morality to you? Quite the contrary! If morality is relative to what the majority want, then it is, well, relative. This flagrant contradiction from the right is almost nauseating, and the disappointing record of what religious right crusaders have claimed is not morally acceptable through the past hundred years is also nauseating.

Let's look at another contradiction from the conservative camp. Just a few months ago, after the Lawrence v. Texas case ruling, we had more insanity from Hannity and company. Their main argument against the ruling was that it was a states' rights issue, and the Supreme Court had no business ruling on such a matter.

Now, since when did a state have rights over individuals? Where are the states' rights supporters now in allowing states to separately decide their definition of marriage? It is blatantly obvious that the conservatives will adopt any argument when it suits their needs, and they will abandon it the when it doesn't. Conservatives don't care about states' rights; they have a Biblical agenda to tend to.

Lawrence v. Texas was not a states' rights issue, and neither is the recent Massachusetts ruling: it's an individual rights issue. A state does not have the right to abrogate individual rights, nor does any other group or majority.

Might David Limbaugh and his conservative cohorts support slavery, segregation, and degradation of women's rights today if the majority was still for it? What about if the states voted for it? I wonder if Bill O'Reilly would give it all a pass until the majority finally decided that it was not moral any more?

Talk radio affords you caller after caller telling the minority to "sit down and shut up". If the majority is what determines what is moral and that the minority should just "sit down and shut up", then we should have no objections from David Limbaugh and conservatives from the following: (from Samantha Bennett)

Fifty-seven percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases (ABC News poll). Minority, shut up and sit down.

Fifty-three percent believe the Roe v. Wade decision was a "good thing" for the country (Gallup). Minority, shut up and sit down.

Only 46 percent favor military action in Iraq if inspectors find that Saddam has the ability to make weapons (Pew Research). Shut up and sit down.

Eighty-four percent believe you can be a good American without religious faith (Pew). Minority, shut up and sit down.

Sixty-six percent favor government help for the needy, even if it means forgoing tax cuts (Pew). Minority, shut up and sit down.

Sixty-nine percent believe it should be illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving (ABC News). Minority, just shut up.

And let's not forget that the Electoral College is one of our republic's bulwarks against pure democracy. If the majority ruled, George Bush would not be president.

Now, I do not agree with forgoing tax cuts to pay for socialist programs, nor do I agree that driving with cell phones should be banned. And, I'm glad Bush was elected over Gore. (Not that Bush was my initial choice...) As an individual, I can argue against these things precisely because my reasoning does not rely on the faulty notion that "majority views determine individual rights". Individual rights are not up for debate!

Remember, if you're going to use the majority rule argument as your reasoning, then you better be ready to accept whatever happens to be the will of the majority. Do not simultaneously condemn moral relativism because majority rule is exactly that, relative to whatever the majority decides. Majority rule, common good, and group rights: it's all a type of collectivism.

This country was set up by rule of law, not a rule of the mob. This is not a democracy, this is a constitutional republic. I challenge any of you to find any quotes from the founding fathers of them speaking about democracy in a positive light. Democracy is exactly what they warned against.

Democracy is the most vile form of government... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
James Madison

The war against the individual will lead to the destruction of capitalism, property rights, and the rights of the individual. Individualism is being attacked from the left and the right with their common collectivist sword. And, sadly, the conservatives are oblivious of the destructive consequences from their collectivist philosophy.

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
Ayn Rand

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