Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 5, Part 1:
Democracy Against the People
When a term has become so universally sanctified as “democracy” is now, I begin to wonder whether it means anything, in meaning too many things. — T. S. Eliot
Few candidates keep their promises once they have been elected. (Once they have come into power, many actually adopt policies which are exactly the opposite of those they had originally announced.) After all, why should they keep their promises? They are hardly obliged to do so. — Alain de Benoist
That the natural adversaries of democracy are obliged to pay official homage to it prevents them from openly declaring themselves followers of theories that explicitly deny the possibility of democratic government as commonly understood. — Gaetano Mosca
José Ortega y Gasset published The Revolt of the Masses in 1929, predicting an impending crisis for “social order and the civilizing traditions of Western” culture brought about by the “political domination of the masses.” This work could not have been more wrong, because “in our time . . . the chief threat seems to come from those at the top of the social hierarchy.” As Christopher Lasch notes, in the minds of our elites “the very term ‘Western civilization’ [is a pejorative term that] calls to mind an organized system of domination designed to enforce conformity to bourgeois values and to keep the victims of patriarchal oppression — women, children, homosexuals, people of color — in a permanent state of subjection.” The “elites, who define the issues, have lost touch with the people.”
While past generations of conservatives feared Marx’s prediction that the domination of the masses would herald “an era of social revolution” that would emancipate humanity from obsolete concepts such as “religion,” “race” and “nation,” in an ironic twist, it is now “the working and lower middle classes . . . that favor limits on abortion, cling to the two-parent family as a source of stability in a turbulent world, resist experiments with ‘alternative lifestyles,’ and harbor deep reservations about affirmative action and other ventures in large-scale social engineering.” Instead of a corrosive and revolutionary force, the ordinary working masses have “come to symbolize everything that stands in the way of progress: ‘family values,’ mindless patriotism, religious fundamentalism, racism, homophobia, retrograde views of women . . .” And it is precisely these reactionary tendencies that cause contemporary elites to view ordinary Americans with “mingled scorn and apprehension,” as a simultaneously “absurd and vaguely menacing” force: “not because [the masses] wish to overthrow the old order but precisely because their defense of it appears so deeply irrational that it express[es] itself, at the higher levels of its intensity, in fanatical religiosity, in a repressive sexuality that occasionally erupts into violence against women and gays, and in a patriotism that supports imperialist wars and a national ethic of aggressive masculinity.” As Christopher Lasch noted, America’s “elites are in revolt against ‘Middle America,’ as they imagine it: a nation technologically backward, politically reactionary, repressive in its sexual morality, middlebrow in its tastes, smug and complacent, dull and dowdy.”
Instead of mindlessly “pandering” to voters, as politicians (especially at the state level) are often accused of doing by the media and liberal intellectual class, public institutions have been deliberately disregarding their constituents’ preferences for decades. Refusing to budge from their private and solipsistic “social construction of reality,” Christopher Lasch suggests that elites “have seceded not just from the common world around them, but from reality itself.” And they have been aggressively working to project and enforce their elite liberal class values from the top down onto broader American society. In fact, most of American history could be summarized as the revolt of America’s elites against the attitudes and preferences of ordinary working Americans. For American elites, democracy is not about following public opinion, but coercing cooperation from the masses to follow the elite agenda of the narrow special interest groups that seize power through lobbying and electioneering. According to Christopher Lasch, “the culture wars that have convulsed America since the sixties are best understood as a form of class warfare, in which an enlightened elite (as it thinks of itself) seeks . . . to impose its values on the majority (a majority perceived as incorrigibly racist, sexist, provincial, and xenophobic) . . . [rather than] persuade the majority by means of rational public debate.” Their elite agendas have succeeded only insofar as they have been able to directly circumvent the will of the people, and effectively exclude the public from the national political conversation.
As Sheldon Wolin writes, American elites have feared that the “confusion and intemperance” of working Americans would lead America into chaos, “yet the most disastrous wars in American history have been instigated, not by rabid majorities, but by elites,” often in explicit contravention of clear isolationist electoral mandates and the overwhelmingly anti-war sentiments of the American public. Both Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt won reelection on anti-war platforms in 1916 and 1940. Gallup polls indicated that between 94% to 96.5% of Americans opposed getting involved in the war in Europe when FDR was elected. This did not stop Wilson or FDR, who, according to FDR admirer Professor Thomas A. Bailey, “repeatedly deceived the American people during the period before Pearl Harbor” to engage America in the war anyway. This pattern was later repeated when “‘the best and the brightest’ led the country into the quagmire of Vietnam . . . and Bush’s advisory ‘Vulcans’ and the neocon products of elite universities . . . made of Iraq a national and international nightmare.” As Fred Harris remarks, the American foreign policy record suggests that the “experts are always wrong.”
Studies show that the American electorate tends to cluster as economically liberal and socially conservative. This is the opposite of the socially liberal and economically conservative policies “favored by much of our professional-managerial leadership class” and promulgated by Washington, a perspective which ironically “enjoys virtually no electoral support.” Gilens and Page found in their famous study that if American public policy actually reflected the electorate’s preferences, “we would have seen a more protectionist trade policy and even lower levels of foreign aid [and immigration] than we did”; “moral/religious policies at the national level would be more conservative than they currently are . . . [and] in particular we might expect to find greater restrictions on abortion”; and “we would expect greater representational equality in the economic sphere to result in a higher minimum wage, more generous unemployment benefits, stricter corporate regulation (including the oil and gas industries in particular), and a more progressive personal tax regime.”
But instead, the American political class produces essentially the opposite of what voters want. As historian Thomas Frank explains, this is because voters get virtually no representation in this system:
The leadership of the two parties represents two classes. The G.O.P. is a business élite; Democrats are a status élite, the professional class. They fight over sectors important for the national future — Wall Street, Big Pharma, energy, Silicon Valley. That is the contested terrain of American politics. What about the vast majority of people? . . . Their complacency, it just bulls you over. They really don’t think they have to serve any of their constituencies.
Since Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information (CPI) set out to try to flip the isolationist attitudes of the American public and involuntarily enlist the American people in the First World War, the American political class has consistently operated on the ideological priors of Machiavelli and Leo Strauss’s interpretation of Plato’s “Noble Lie.” As John Mearsheimer explains, American elites believe that they alone have a grasp on true scientific knowledge, and they “reason that the only way to mobilize their citizens to do the right thing is to deceive them for their own good.” They see ordinary American voters as hopelessly parochial, narrow-minded, and intolerant, and they feel totally justified in constantly deceiving and misleading the American people while leading them towards their vision of a highly interconnected and globalized international economic system — what President George H. W. Bush described in 1991 as “a new world order.” The American people were never consulted in any meaningful capacity when the American federal government began outsourcing American manufacturing to increase profit margins for corporate shareholders, when it globalized the American market through international trading blocs such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or when it transferred hundreds of billions in taxpayer money to criminal banks and financial institutions through bailouts. From Wilson to Roosevelt, the greatest changes in American “democracy” were initiated by elites in direct contravention of the public’s preferences .
Western elites have been obsessed with mass immigration policies and have consistently lied to their constituents and thwarted the will of the people to put them into action. When American elites opened the floodgates with the 1965 Immigration Act, Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-NY), Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Senator Hiram Fong (R-HI), Rep. Sidney Yates (D-IL), and Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) all deliberately lied to the public about the nature of the bill. Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) stated candidly that “contrary to the opinions of some of the misinformed, this legislation does not open the floodgates.”
Ted Kennedy stated at the time:
The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants,. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs. . . . The bill will not aggravate unemployment, nor flood the labor market with foreigners, nor cause American citizens to lose their jobs. These are myths of the first order.
Representative Emmanuel Celler claimed that “[q]uota immigration under the bill is likely to be more than 80 percent European.” 60 years and 59 million non-white immigrants later, with white founding-stock Americans on the precipice of falling below majority status in the country their forefathers founded, Joe Fallon at VDare writes: “So much for promises.”
In 1994, California voted on Proposition 187, the Save Our State (SOS) referendum that sought to prohibit illegal immigrants from using California’s public services. More than 58% of voters approved signing the proposal into law, but it was blocked and discarded by federal courts because they found the proposal “unconstitutional.” Then, while the state was seeking to appeal the ruling, Governor Gray Davis — despite the tremendous popularity of the proposal — decided to scuttle the appeal and kill the motion in 1999. This is yet another example demonstrating how, in the words of Martin Gilens, American political and legal institutions are deeply committed to “thwarting the will of the people.”
The immigration floodgates were opened in Canada in 1975, a policy which was enacted unilaterally by federal ministers who did not consult with the Canadian public:
[T]he press failed to comment on [it] and [because] the electronic media had remained uninvolved, the Canadian public heard little of it . . . Looking back on this national debate on immigration and population which lasted for six months at most, it can be said now that it was a very effective one-time consultation with the immigration world, and with those Canadians institutions and organizations to whom immigration is an important matter. It did not reach “the average Canadian” for one simple reason: The Minister and Cabinet did not trust the average Canadian to respond in a positive way on this issue, and thought this would create more trouble than it was worth. As a result of this view, they did not want to commit the funds to organize extensive public participation, and made only a minimal effort to mobilize the media on behalf of a truly national debate. The principle benefit of this approach was that the badly needed new Immigration Act was on the statute book only a little later than . . . originally envisaged. The principle loss was what some would regard as a golden opportunity to bring a great many individual Canadians together, to discuss the future of their vast under-populated land. . . . The idea that other peoples, who had taken no part in . . . pioneering efforts, might simply arrive in large numbers to exploit important local resources, or to take advantage of these earlier settlement efforts, was anathema.
It is the same throughout the Anglosphere. “From 1964 to 2017 over 65% of the British public opposed immigration according to the British Election Study,” and yet while British politicians have been shamelessly exploiting these anti-immigration sentiments as a “public position” electioneering strategy, they never privately intended to fulfill any of these policy promises. As Chancellor George Osborne admitted, “despite having pledged to reduce immigration in both its 2010 and 2015 general election manifestos, the Tory leadership secretly abandoned this ambition long ago.”
In Australia, recent polls show that 58% of the population wants to reduce immigration, while only 7% of the population wants to increase it. Appealing to this sentiment, Labor in Australia recently campaigned on reducing immigration. After securing a majority government in recent elections, however, the Australian Labor government has proceeded to raise Australian immigration rates to their highest levels ever — while Australians are struggling with a housing crisis.
It is also the same in Western Europe, where elites have doubled and tripled down on open borders policies despite their unpopularity with the general population. Before conservative parties forced her to compromise, the “migrant Chancellor,” Angela Merkel, was willing to sacrifice her party’s comfortable near majority and commit electoral suicide in 2016 by remaining dogmatically committed to an open borders policy during the migrant crisis. The unpopularity of this position cost her party severely during elections and nearly lost her the Chancellorship.
As Professor Kevin MacDonald remarks,
It is remarkable that the sea change in immigration policy in the Western world occurred at approximately the same time, and in all countries the changes reflected the attitudes of elites rather than the great mass of citizens. In the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia public opinion polls of European-derived peoples have consistently shown overwhelming rejection of immigration by non-European-derived peoples. A consistent theme has been that immigration policy has been formulated by elites with control of the media and that efforts have been made by political leaders of all major parties to keep fear of immigration off the political agenda.
In the West, immigration has consistently polled as one of voters’ major political concerns. But the elites never consulted with their populations about immigration or put the issue to a vote or referendum; they just did it, which is why various scholars have rightly described Europe’s demographic transformation as a top-down “elite project” enacted by a hostile elite that has interests which are distinct and irreconcilable with those of the majority population. As President Joe Biden stated, there will be
an unrelenting stream of immigration . . . non-stop, non-stop. Whites will be a minority in the US by 2017, and that’s a good thing. By 2017, those of us of European stock will be an absolute minority in the United States of America . . . that’s not a bad thing, that’s a, uhm, that’s a source of our strength.
As Scott Howard explains,
[D]emocracy only works insofar as it aligns with the agenda of the ruling class. Should a majority — a vast majority in most cases — of the native population of a nation object to the importation of large numbers of aliens in whatever guise — migrant worker, ‘refugee,’ immigrant — this is “xenophobic,” “racist,” et cetera, [then] of course these kinds of things are never put to vote, they are just done. And where there is genuine movement, to restrict or God forbid reverse the flow of aliens into a nation . . . [then elites in civil society and the policymaking apparatus quickly] “disrupt anti-immigration policymaking.”
Despite their nauseating appeals to “democracy” and to the “will of the people,” Western elites never consulted their people about immigration.
We were never asked. We were told.
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 Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (W. W. Norton: 1996), 25-26.
 Lasch, 25, 5-6.
 Lasch, 20.
 Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton University Press: 2017), 182-183; Mark Weber, “President Roosevelt’s Campaign To Incite War in Europe: The Secret Polish Documents,” Institute for Historical Review, 1983. Quoted in Thomas Frank, 203.
 Lee Drutman, “Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyond: Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties,” Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, 2017;“Citizens with economically left-wing and culturally right-wing views vote less and are less satisfied with politics,” Democratic Audit UK, 2019; Mark Krikorian, “The Social-Liberal/Economic-Conservative Mirage — Immigration Edition,” Center for Immigration Studies, 2022; and Gilens, 108, 113-117.
 George Packer, “Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt,” The New Yorker, 2016; Kyle Smith, “How Democrats abandoned the working class and spurred rise of Donald Trump,” The New York Post, 2016; and Tobita Chow, “Thomas Frank on How Democrats Went From Being the ‘Party of the People’ to the Party of Rich Elites,” In These Times, 2016.
 Danny Postel, “Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neocons, and Iraq,” Open Democracy, 2003; John J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics (Oxford University Press: 2011), 55.
 Quoted in Christopher Caldwell, The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties (Simon & Schuster: 2021), 114. Also Joseph E. Fallon, “So Much for Promises — Quotes Re 1965 Immigration Act,,” VDare, 2006; “The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act: Three Decades of Mass Immigration,” Center for Immigration Studies, 1995.
 Benjamin I. Page & Martin Gilens, Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It (University of Chicago Press: 2020), 53.
 Quoted in Kevin MacDonald, 301.
 Quoted in Neema Parvini, The Populist Delusion (Imperium Press: 2022), 131. Also Tobias Langdon, “A Fascist Fun-Day: Enrichment for Whites, Ethnocentrism for Jews,” The Occidental Observer, 2022.
 David Crowe, “Voters reveal population concerns ahead of border reopening,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 2021; Ashley Nickel, “Australia to be hit by a record population explosion with 650,000 immigrants to arrive in just two years,” Daily Mail, 2023; Jesse Hyland, “Pauline Hanson calls out Anthony Albanese as migration to Australia is set to soar past 300,000 despite the nation facing a housing crisis,” Daily Mail, 2023. See also https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1597883992950202368.html
 Madeleine Ngo, “A nasty immigration fight could cost German Chancellor Angela Merkel her job,” Vox, 2018; Steve Visser & Elizabeth Roberts, “Angela Merkel admits immigration policy hurt party in elections,” CNN, 2016; and Madeleine Ngo, “Germany used to be a champion of open borders in Europe. Not anymore,” Vox, 2018.
 Andrew Joyce, “The Transformation of Europe as an Elite Project: Review of The Blackening of Europe, by Clare Ellis,” The Unz Review, 2020.
 Scott Howard, The Open Society Playbook (Antelope Hill Publishing: 2023), 104.
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