“Elections don’t really matter.” Such is the millennial's creed. These simple words convey our apathy, our anger, and our helplessness in a single sentence. The system is broken, and no vote of ours will make things better. What’s the use?
And what's worse is, we were right all along. Elections don’t matter — the federal government will do what it wants regardless of what we say on Election Day. They have plans which no electoral mandate can muzzle. So, who proved our point?
The Environmental Protection Agency. It turns out that the nation’s top environmental bureaucrats are terrified by the democratic process. Their fear of a Romney administration runs so deep that the EPA is now working at a breakneck pace to get new regulations out by the end of November. Delay any longer, they say, and those barbaric Republicans — backed by a majority of voters — might tell them to stop.
Such a setback would be disastrous for the EPA’s cause. A democratically-elected president vetoing their plan to put the coal industry out of business is simply unthinkable. Those pesky voters — they just don’t know what’s good for them.
So far, so good, at least according to the left. This is precisely what they want the federal bureaucracy to do. The unchecked growth of the administrative state was orchestrated precisely because the left wants to limit your ability to influence public policy.
Need proof? Look no further than the father of the Administrative State, Woodrow Wilson. Public opinion, he mused, was more “meddlesome” than helpful in ensuring good government. That’s where the bureaucracy comes in: it teaches the American people “what sort of administrative to desire.” After all, what good is a voting populace if the government doesn’t tell them how to vote?
Wilson’s bureaucratic baby is now fully-grown, albeit into more of a leviathan than an adult. Nowadays, unelected experts make many decisions for you, from the size of your television screen to the warning labels on bunk beds to the number of people that can be in the same pool as a dolphin. Without these rules, the American experiment in self-government would surely have perished long ago.
But the regulating doesn’t stop with the absurd. Bureaucratic boards ultimately decide many of the most important issues in American public life. CFPB decides what to do with Wall Street. IPAB decides what should go in your health care plan. The EPA decides whether millions of Americans get cheap power or even keep their jobs. And elsewhere, a thousand and one other agencies meddle in your day-to-day life without you ever knowing — and without you ever voting.
And that’s the rub. Rule by regulation is not the same as the rule of law; just the opposite, in fact. The federal government’s regulatory frenzy undermines free government and cheapens your vote. Your representatives and elected officials have been replaced by the federal bureaucracy as America’s chief policy-makers. Good thing they know what’s best for you, right?
But all is not lost. The alternative is “We the People.” It means exactly that: the people rule the government, not the other way around. And as it just so happens, voting is the only way to make this a reality. Now if only we had a candidate that wanted to stop the EPA.