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Reflections on the 2012 Elections


Every two years the parasitic political class must subject themselves to a vote of confidence from their hapless hosts, the American people. These elections — which H.L. Mencken called “an advance auction sale of stolen goods” — allegedly grant legitimacy to the system of legalized plunder we call politics.

The quadrennial presidential elections have long since become meaningless contests of party slogans and political platitudes. In 2012, Team Obama challenged voters to move “Forward,” while Team Romney exhorted them to “Believe In America.” These empty slogans were supposed to motivate Americans to rush to the polls and dutifully cast their votes.

Barack Obama won a second term despite presiding over a deteriorating economy and being generally unpopular. That the Republicans failed to capitalize on that state of affairs is an indictment of their party. In 2012, the GOP served up yet another losing “electable” presidential candidate while giving up ground in the Senate and merely maintaining its majority in the House.

But in the final analysis, it did not matter who won this election; there were no meaningful differences between the two candidates. Both Obama and Romney supported the status quo of debt-financed foreign interventionism, preemptive wars, corporatism, welfarism, and domestic tyranny.

So what should we make of the 2012 election?

Well, as the early-20th-century anarchist Emma Goldman is said to have remarked, “if voting made a difference, it would be illegal.”

Now, I suppose many will dismiss Ms. Goldman’s observation as the utterance of a radical malcontent, but unfortunately she was essentially correct.

The American Republic degenerated into an oligarchy long ago. For decades, American elections have featured two state-privileged and corporate-controlled political parties that may differ in style but are nauseatingly similar in substance. This is what passes for “choice” in American politics.

The Republican and Democratic parties are the twin columns of the Washington establishment that has existed in solid form since the New Deal, although its origins go back further. Both parties favor big government and support all the heavy taxation, crushing debt, entangling red tape, and galloping inflation that it entails.

While these policies are retailed to the public as necessary measures to deal with various problems, such as national security, recessions, poverty, and pollution, they are all collectivist scams that redistribute wealth from the middle and working classes to the political class. To acknowledge this is not to engage in “conspiracy theory.” Rather, it is to recognize the obvious truth that there are powerful special interests exerting influence on the country’s political process.

The irony is that while the U.S. government routinely lectures the world on the virtues of free, fair, and open elections, it has prevented them from occurring here at home by creating myriad campaign-finance and ballot-access laws that prevent alternative political parties from competing effectively with the two major parties. The corporate-controlled mainstream media helps perpetuate the Democrat-Republican duopoly on electoral politics by ignoring or disparaging so-called “third parties.”

Should anyone stray from the establishment’s reservation, they are written off as a gadfly and exiled to political oblivion. As the libertarian historian Thomas Woods Jr. humorously observes, “being called an ‘extremist’ means you disagree with Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.”

Reasons for optimism

Though it appears that the United States is headed for some very rough weather economically, it is not clear how the impending crisis will play out politically. Actually, from looking at some of the results of the latest election, there are grounds for long-term optimism.

Voter turnout declined from 2008. While Obama claimed victory, only 27 percent of registered voters actually voted for him. Nearly 50 percent decided not to vote at all. This could be apathy, but it could also be a sign that a larger portion of the voting public is catching on to the charade, and are now refusing to support the system.

In any event, real change will not come first through the ballot box. It will come through Americans realizing that they are more than capable of managing their own affairs and do not need an overweening and tyrannical government looking over their shoulder, eavesdropping on their every phone conversation, and recording their every keystroke, all the while picking their pockets.

And though the same gang of crooks, thugs, and clowns are still running the show in D.C., there were positive signs at the state level. Voters in Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming passed measures guaranteeing health care freedom, effectively nullifying in those states the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Massachusetts voters defied federal law and approved a measure to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. And voters in Washington and Colorado upped the ante by legalizing even recreational use of the “demon weed.”

It is difficult to dismiss these developments as election-year flukes, because they are a continuation of a trend that began during the Bush II administration.

Since 2007, twenty-five states have passed binding resolutions and laws refusing to implement the Real ID Act of 2005. Sure, the unconstitutional law is still on the books in D.C., but it’s been rendered null and void by states refusing to comply with it.

Why wait for the U.S. Congress or the Supreme Court to repeal or overturn unconstitutional legislation when you can seek and obtain redress with your state government? Such state-level action proves that we don’t have to be helpless victims of federal tyranny.

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before Washington’s excesses and arrogance would spark a revival of resistance to federal power. As Thomas Jefferson famously wrote,

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

A major catalyst for the growing state’s rights movement has certainly been the continuing economic crisis. I suspect that when the U.S. dollar is finally rendered completely worthless, nullification and even secession will gain widespread support, particularly in those states that are still economically productive and no longer see any benefit in paying tribute to a bankrupt empire.

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    Tim Kelly is a columnist and policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Virginia, a correspondent for Radio America’s Special Investigator, and a political cartoonist.