Rights Have Supremacy Over the “Will of the People”

Left wing populists, such as the increasingly followed Robert Reich, have recognized that the US economic and political system is basically controlled by the well-connected elite. These corrupt persons operate on the framework of leveraging the Federal government for their own economic and political empowerment. However, by not having a proper understanding of rights and true liberty, the left-wingers offer as a solution the democratic “will of the people” as the standard by which government should make its decisions.

The problem of elite-rule from Washington, which might be labelled a “plutocracy,” is not that it doesn’t reflect the “will of the people,” or the will of the majority, or any other democratic segment of society.

The problem exists to the extent that these elite advocate, encourage, and actively work to direct resources to themselves by breaching the rights of non-consenting individuals. There are myriad examples of this, but two might include: 1) subsidies to their businesses via taxes (that is, when the recipients are net tax-receivers) and 2) the regulation of their industries which puts their competition in an uncompetitive scenario such that the elite and well-connected achieve increased profits.

In leveraging the state to their end, they breach the rights of other individuals in society.

However, what the proponents of increased democratization and “power to the people” are seeking is a shift of the beneficiaries of breaching the rights of individuals. That is, they still seek to leverage the state for their ends and breach the property rights of others in society; the only difference is that they want the beneficiaries of such breaches to shift from the cronyist wealthy to the poor or even middle classes.

Rather than recognizing the principles of justice inherent in the recognition of private property rights, they continue to ignore property rights and economic conclusions. The “democratic will of the people” should not be a replacement of the crony 1% in regards to the decisions being made in government.

Instead, we ought to completely reject the state as a legitimate tool of redistribution and deny to it the legal ability to direct resources to whomever is in control. The state, as Bastiat pointed out, is “the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.” The state is the cause of social division and regression.

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