Alan Keyes
Can liberty be saved from a pair of demagogues?
By Alan Keyes
August 9, 2016

This morning, I saw a press release about an Internet documentary series called "Third Candidates" that's being put together by two filmmakers, John Farrell and Jake Simms. According to Farrell, "because of widespread dissatisfaction with the major parties, there's still some room for shakeups between now and November."

This report led me to reflect on the tragic irony of the electoral misdirection that at present seems poised to secure the demise of the constitutional self-government of the people of the United States. That misdirection has entirely perverted the character of the role American voters are supposed to play in the selection of the president and vice president of the United States. The proponents of the U.S. Constitution regarded its implementation of the principle of "representation" as the key reason the self-government of the American people would escape the fatal course of events that overturned every republic, in ancient and modern times, that formally relied upon the sovereign power of the people at large.

By reason of natural justice, America's founders were sincere proponents of republican self-government. Even such cautionary tales as the fate of the Dutch Republic in the 17th century did not lead them to reject it. Because of the "Glorious Revolution," the history of the British Monarchy had a direct link with that of the Dutch Republic. Of course, that republic also figured in the heritage of Dutch settlers in New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey, whose descendants played an important part in the American Revolution.

This sort of background meant that many in the founding era were conscious of the way in which the machinations of a powerful demagogue could stir the people at large into a frenzy so violent they literally tore government officials to pieces. Such had been the fate of Johan Dewitt and his brother Cornelis, key figures in the Dutch Republic's confederal administration. Their government was overturned when William III of Orange (who would later become the king of England, Ireland, and Scotland) imposed more centralized rule on the Netherlands, assuming the position of stadtholder (essentially the chief executive) in all its provinces.

They realized, however, that the popular unrest William III had exploited came in response to a crisis situation brought on by the DeWitt brothers themselves. They had failed to establish a central government with sufficient energy to defend the free state of the Dutch people against the ambitions of its powerful enemies, within and outside of the Netherlands. To maintain the general self-government of the people required making provision for a republican government that could focus and use the strength of the people as a whole to defend and perpetuate the liberty they meant to maintain in their provinces.

In the Constitution of the United States, America's founders sought to structure the naturally despotic ambition of powerful individuals so as to bring such ambition's inevitable machinations openly under the influence of the people at large, both in the governments of the states (as was already the case on account of the constitutions of all the 13 colonies) and in the formation of the national government. The latter required sufficient energy to preserve the liberty of the people against all foreign and domestic threats.

So long as the people as a whole maintained their commitment to self-government, their united power was likely to prevail when ambitious factions sought to establish despotism in any particular state or region of the country. The challenge involved in framing a constitution for the government of the United States was to make sure its centralized power did not fall into the hands of a national faction inclined to impose despotic rule on the whole country. But any election that involved appealing to the people as a whole, without regard for the nature of their divisions into states and districts, would tend to foment factionalism on a national scale, eventually giving some elitist faction the opportunity to impose despotism on the whole nation.

To discourage the institution of a national despotism, the framers of the U.S. Constitution took pains to assure that every election for national office would be resolved into a coincidence of state, regional, or local elections. Those elections would focus on making a choice among people drawn, as appropriate, from those divisions. In the original Constitution of the United States, the observance of this precaution was obvious in the division, composition, and mode of election of the branches of the national legislature. But thanks to the purposeful misdirection involved in present discussions of the election of the president of the United States, and the president of the states respectively (the U.S. Senate), in those elections, it has been effectively obscured.

As I point out in an article published earlier this week, in this election cycle it has become undeniably clear that both of the major parties have effectively abandoned the premises and logic of America's creed, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, most Americans are not mindful that "it is their right, it is their duty" as a free people to "throw off" any administration of government that "evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism." The present so-called two-party system clearly evinces such a design. Many Americans have a strongly unfavorable view of the nominees of both parties because voters reject one aspect or another of the parties' ever more obviously collusive design for national despotism.

Tragically, however, most still think that the problem is only with the candidates for national office. In fact, it lies in the anti-constitutional purpose and effect of the sham two-party system. The sham has perverted the national election process so as to circumvent the Constitution's wise intent to thwart national tyranny. People are no longer asked to exercise their best judgment to select from amongst themselves those best qualified to represent them. Instead, they are encouraged to surrender to the pricks and goads of transient passions, especially mind-numbing fear and outrage.

The primacy of passion makes voters susceptible to being herded, or even stampeded, into choices dictated by manipulative elitist forces seeking to overthrow the constitutional self-government of the people. Instead of representatives pledged to carry out the voters' deliberately articulated will, the people are told they must choose one sloganeering demagogue or another, who has somehow demonstrated his or her overriding allegiance to the elitist faction. There is only one way to thwart the impending success of this anti-constitutional two-party sham: We must not only reject its candidates; we must reject the anti-constitutional paradigm for national elections the elitist faction has ever more successfully imposed upon us.

In the meantime, voters sincerely interested in perpetuating our constitutional self-government as a people will refrain from investing their hopes (or votes) in candidates from any and all of the parties spawned under the sway of the present partisan sham, unless they find one explicitly committed to serving and preserving the God-revering creed articulated in the Declaration of Independence. They will also, right now and from now on, commit themselves to the work of building a political vehicle dedicated to implementing that creed, and the prudential wisdom America's present faction corrupted parties have wickedly cast aside.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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