A couple of years ago, I committed to memory a quote by Scottish statesman Alexander Fraser Tyler (1742-1813):
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government . . . It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
Fraser’s prophecy is sobering, and shows why entitlements and taxation that treat different citizens differently are inherently corrupting—and corrupt. Ironically, ObamaCare is being forced down the throats of the citizenry even though, according to opinion polls, a majority opposes it. So, unlike Fraser’s scenario, voters have not yet voted themselves largess from the public treasury. But if the legislation is not repealed, it will create a more dependent citizenry (which is clearly its purpose), thus corrupting incentives of a large majority of the population.
So it is fitting that the process that brought such corrupting legislation to the president’s desk was so manifestly corrupt. The bribes, the unjust deals to individual Senators and Representatives, the misrepresentations and phony accounting gimmicks have been on display for months. In the last week, we’ve seen Christian leaders sacrifice the truth to provide it with cover.
But perhaps the most stunning display of the corrupt essence of the legislation was the choice of pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak to vote yea at the last minute, after holding out for so long. His decision is still somewhat perplexing, given his fortitude, and his stated awareness that the Senate bill did not satisfy his requirements. There’s evidence he was anticipating a reversal of principle months ago. But it’s clear that, by conviction, Stupak is pro-life. And yet, in the end he switched his vote on the basis of an obviously fake and ineffectual pledge from the president to issue an executive order. The corruption of Stupak is a telling commentary on the most corrupt piece of legislation in my lifetime, and a foreshadowing of the national corruption it will unleash if it is allowed to stand.