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The Democrats’ Ethics

November 14, 2000

Why do I feel as if I’m waiting for the verdict in the first O.J. Simpson trial or Bill Clinton’s impeachment? I guess it’s because the honest people have had their say, and now it’s up to the lawyers.

Alan Dershowitz, who had the singular honor of defending both Simpson and Clinton, has popped up in Florida — an ominous sign. Just as ominously, Jesse Jackson is there too.

It isn’t reassuring that Bill Daley is Al Gore’s campaign manager. Daley is the son of Chicago’s legendary mayor Richard Daley, best known for stealing the 1960 election for John Kennedy in Illinois. The younger Daley is complaining, with a straight face, that Gore was robbed in Florida because the butterfly ballots were badly designed. Similar ballots are still used in Chicago, Republicans seem capable of figuring out how to mark them, and, as Kennedy used to say, “Life is unfair.” I’ll say it’s unfair! Some Democrats are complaining of poor lighting in the Florida voting booths; presumably the lights were turned up for Republican voters.

But never mind. Gore was robbed. The Democrats, the Party of the Victims, have been victimized again. But the more they squeal, the more suspicious we should be.

[Breaker quote: Will 
history repeat itself in Florida?]The Democrats have a long tradition of winning on the principle that, as G.K. Chesterton once put it, nobody should be deprived of the vote by accident of death. This isn’t just true in big cities; it was true in Lyndon Johnson’s Texas, where Johnson once won a race closer than Florida’s when several hundred deceased citizens showed up on election day. Not only did all these dead folks sign the registration rolls with identical penmanship; they signed their names in alphabetical order! (Many years later, a dying Democrat operative confessed that he had written all the signatures himself.)

More recently, the Democrats have been adding illegal immigrants to their rosters, costing former Congressman Robert Dornan of California his seat in the House of Representatives two years ago. They weren’t interested in checking out Dornan’s charges of vote fraud.

Despite Bill Clinton’s promise to run the most ethical administration in our history — of course it depends on how you define ethical — the Democrats haven’t become conspicuously scrupulous during the last eight years. Their energetic defense of a lying, perjurious, and otherwise perfidious president — one of our greatest, according to Gore — speaks for itself.

Clinton, naturally, still thinks of himself as a victim. He wonders why the Republicans haven’t apologized for impeaching him. Remember, he spread the story that Monica Lewinsky was a “stalker” — an unsuccessful one at that, who had failed to overcome his virtue — and if she hadn’t kept that telltale dress, he’d still be sticking to his story.

Political leaders who have the audacity to commit crimes always find plenty of willing accomplices. The cruelest tyrants could never perpetrate their atrocities without large support groups of men who don’t mind executing grisly orders, as long as they are covered by official authorization. Crime thrives wherever there is no individual responsibility, or where intrinsically criminal acts are made legal.

The welfare state is institutionalized crime — “organized plunder,” as the French economist Frédéric Bastiat called it. It systematizes and authorizes what is intrinsically wrong: forcing some people to support others. The Democrats favor the indefinite expansion of the welfare state, perpetually increasing the ratio of force to freedom in society.

No wonder their ethics are so flexible. They offer the promise of more government benefits — which means more taxes on productive people — as a reason to vote for them. They invite their pet “victims” to victimize others. And they keep adding new victims to their roster. Any number can play. The real victim, of course, is the taxpayer.

It’s a short step from buying votes to stealing elections; morally, the two acts amount to the same thing. As Bastiat wrote, the moral test of any law is whether it enables the state to commit what would be a crime for a private citizen. If you have no right to rob your neighbor, you have no right to ask the state to tax him for your benefit.

So why shouldn’t the Democrats steal this election? They’ve stolen everything else.

Joseph Sobran

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Copyright © 2000 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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