A new poll has found that 73% of voters support taking 23% of your personal income for the next five years to fund an opulent monument of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to be erected next to the Jefferson Memorial statue. Since this public opinion survey shows the will of the people, it is only fitting to do the bidding of the mob and take your money to worship AOC as the intellectual goddess the mainstream media present her to be.
…emotional fanaticism and resentment seem to have morphed into virtues.
If you find this a tad ridiculous, you would be right. But it isn’t that much different from how policymakers treat polling data that suit their agenda. Should the majority of those surveyed endorse an idea, this point will be amplified to show how important it is to pass the new legislation under consideration, even if it may confiscate your property, erode your civil liberties, or grow the government.
But should poll results serve as our action plan and moral compass? Or should society function in the interest of freedom?
For Whom the Phone Polls
In the United States, the public opinion polling industry is huge, generating more than $20 billion a year in revenues. The private sector usually uses the results of such surveys to improve products or services. The public sector often utilizes the data to identify a new way to bribe you with your own money, enhance its largesse, or consolidate its power no matter how misguided the initiative.
In March 2003, 72% supported the Iraq War. An October 2018 poll found that 70% want a single-payer health care system, otherwise known as Medicare for All. A March 2019 survey suggested that most Americans endorse progressive programs, such as government child care, free college, and raising the minimum wage.
The Iraq War is largely considered the biggest foreign policy boondoggle since the Vietnam War, Medicare is forecast to be insolvent by 2026, and progressivism typically makes a country worse off, financially and morally. But since our esteemed politicians mostly wet their fingers and hold them up to ascertain the prevailing direction of public opinion, polling takes precedence over any other considerations, such as, does the policy make common sense, is it constitutionally sound, will most people be better off.
Indeed, a certain percentage of the voting population will endorse any proposal that provides free stuff or any program from which they stand to benefit; that is only human nature. Think about those students who want to go to college to study lesbian dance theory or protest free speech at no cost; it’s not hard for politicians advocating for those to enjoy support. In this day and age, emotional fanaticism and resentment seem to have morphed into virtues.
Let’s not forget, the accuracy of polls has come into question since Brexit and the 2016 election. Pollsters confidently assessed that Brits would vote to remain in the European Union and Hillary Clinton would resoundingly defeat President Donald Trump. Of course, we know what happened; The establishment got it wrong – big league. So, even if 55% of respondents say they want Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to recite Shakespeare on the Fox News Channel, it might not be accurate.
What We Know About Voters
A lot has been said about the so-called will of the people. Politicians will say that they have been given a mandate to impose a socialist agenda. Or the press will say that the results of the election reflected the will of the people – that is, only if the electorate chooses a candidate the press wants to be elected.
But what do we know about voters?
First, most voters are envious, and they generally want to raise taxes on high-income earners to redistribute the wealth. They think this will make everything equal and just; having the wealthy pay just a little bit more will make society fair.
Second, to pay for their favored programs most voters are charitable with their neighbor’s money. For the most part, voters will go to the polls expecting their selections to be paid for by anyone but themselves. Even conservative voters sometimes reject candidates who say they want to reform Social Security and curb out-of-control entitlement spending because this plan threatens their personal pocketbooks.
Third, most voters rarely check a ballot for a candidate, choosing instead to vote against the other guys. This was evident in 2016. It seems that nobody outside of Hollywood liked Hillary Clinton, yet more than 60 million people pulled the Clinton lever to prevent Trump from winning. (Did you hear? She lost.)
The truth is, polls should not be utilized to weigh right and wrong, and elections should not determine which mob runs the racket.
Economist Ludwig von Mises warned that putting too much emphasis on voting can lead only to “justifying unlimited government power”:
“Grave injury has been done to the concept of democracy by those who, exaggerating the natural law notion of sovereignty, conceived it as a limitless rule of the volonté générale. There is really no essential difference between the unlimited power of the democratic state and the unlimited power of the autocrat. The idea that carries away our demagogues and their supporters, the idea that the state can do whatever it wishes, and that nothing should resist the will of the sovereign people, has done more evil perhaps than the caesar-mania of degenerate princelings.”
Consumer vs. Voter
Consumers are far more trustworthy than voters. The former will do what is right for their pocketbook, sending a signal to producers to better manufacture value for their hard-earned buck. The latter will do what is best for their wallet, but with a different endgame: taking from others and getting something for nothing. Consumers are better judges in the marketplace, but voters often are as frightening as libertarians discussing the Federal Reserve when free stuff is available or at risk of being eliminated. Just because a child is screaming for candy doesn’t mean you should be conceding defeat and extending them a box of Oh Henry! bars.
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