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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Obama: Egyptians Are Too Dumb for Democracy


Flip-flopping over events in Egypt, President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have decided that it would be a bad idea for unelected Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to immediately resign from office. Their reason? Under Egypt’s constitution, Mubarak’s departure from power would require national elections to be held within 60 days.

What’s wrong with that? Obama and Clinton say that the Egyptian people could not adequately organize themselves for elections in such a short period of time. Therefore, Obama and Clinton cavalierly suggest, it is preferable for the Egyptian people to continue suffering under brutal and tyrannical U.S.-supported tyranny until September.

In other words, according to Obama and Clinton the Egyptian people are simply too dumb to organize elections and run campaigns within a 2-month period of time.

Of course, another possible reason is that free-wheeling elections could bring people to office who don’t like the U.S. government, especially because it’s the U.S. government that has been propping up the dictatorship that has been oppressing the Egyptian people for 30 years.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there special elections sometimes in the United States that are held within a short period of time? But of course, no doubt Obama and Clinton would say that those elections are run by Americans, and everyone knows how smart Americans are.

Well, actually, not so! In reality, the powers-that-be in the United States consider American voters to be dumb too. That’s the ostensible rationale behind ballot-access barriers all across the United States, including burdensome petitioning requirements, limits on campaign contributions, and tens of thousands of election regulations, all of which are designed to ensure that American voters are not confused by too many candidates on the ballot.

Here in Virginia, for example, rarely are voters treated to more than two candidates for statewide office. The reason? Horribly burdensome and expensive petitioning requirements. For example, if a poor, inner-city African American who opposed the racism of the drug war wanted to run for statewide office, for all practical purposes he would not be able to do so. Why? First, he would be required to secure 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters, which means he would have get about 16,000 to be safe. Could he get all the signatures from his part of town? Nope. He would be required to get them from all across the state, which means he would have to spend money on travel and hotels while securing the signatures. Then, he would have to find places that would permit him to get signatures, including in certain parts of Virginia in which well-to-do white people might well not like being approached for a signature by a poorly dressed, inner-city black calling for drug legalization.

The real purpose of ballot-access restrictions, both at the state and federal levels, is to preserve the Democrat-Republic monopoly grip on power. As I have long pointed out, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. They belong to one party — the welfare-warfare party — and their fights are over who is going to get to control the reins of power and the largess that comes with such power.

The determination that Republicans and Democrats have to continue their monopoly control over American politics is no different, in principle, than the determination by Mubarak’s party to maintain its decades-long monopoly control in Egypt. That’s why Obama and Clinton and many Republicans are so unsympathetic to quick elections in Egypt. Statists know that such democratic “chaos” could easily upend monopoly control over the political system.

Several years ago, there was a quick election for governor in California. Due to some quirk in the election law, anyone could run for governor in the election without having to comply with the standard burdensome ballot-access restrictions. My recollection is that there were about 50 candidates for governor. It was an exciting, free-wheeling election in which people got to consider a wide range of candidates and positions and then make their choice.

Some would undoubtedly argue that the voters were too dumb to be able to consider so many candidates, as evidenced by their election of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Others would say: So what, democracy entails the right of people to elect whomever they want to public office. Still others would say: Everyone should have the right to run for office, and it was a good thing that California voters had so many choices.

But that was an exception. Take my word for it: Thanks to ballot-access barriers established by the monopoly party here in Virginia, voters will never get to choose between 50 candidates for governor, including any poor, inner-city African-American from Richmond or Norfolk. The powers-that-be have ensured that their monopoly hold on power will never be threatened by democratic “chaos.” And they get away with it by intimating that voters are just too dumb for democracy anyway, just like the people of Egypt.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.