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Majority vote does not change wrong into right

QuickPoint!

A sign in a government community center reads, “Exercise your freedom and vote!” This exhortation may sound good, but it should cause one to pause and ask: Is freedom really about voting?

Cato Institute president Ed Crane once remarked that the people in Poland, China, and other such places did not, and do not, rebel against oppression just so they can vote. Rather, they risk their lives to be free to live without government directing their lives. They were not national resources to be exploited to achieve someone else’s societal goal.

Unfortunately, the whittling away of liberty in Oregon and across the United States has become acceptable-so long as a majority approves it. Whether that majority is citizens, local officials, the legislature, or Congress, 50 percent plus one justifies almost everything these days.

Majority rule does not change wrong into right. If the majority of Oregonians voted tomorrow to bring back slavery, it would still be wrong.

These United States were founded as a Republic with a constitutionally limited government. Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, points out, Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights succinctly spell out the limits to government power.

Alchemists believe you can turn lead into gold. However, believing something does not make it true. Whenever you cast a vote in a government election remember, majority support does not change a wrong into right.

Kurt T. Weber is vice president of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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