SHIELDS: The Filibuster Is Democratic


Friday, January 28, 2022

Of the many falsehoods uttered by the Democrats in their quest to abolish the filibuster, few are more necessary to refute than that the filibuster is undemocratic. First, the laws of nature to whom all nations must submit demand that the legislative branch be democratic. If the filibuster is proven to be undemocratic, we would be duty-bound to join in the campaign against it. Second, in refuting this lie, the Democrats’ façade is unmasked, revealing a tyrannical scheme that must be stopped. 

All men, being made equal and independent to one another by God, are entitled to an equal say in the formation of the laws that they shall be subject to through either themselves or their representatives. Furthermore, as John Locke observed in his Second Treatise of Government, when men consent to the social contract and form civil society, they become bound by the will of the majority. At first, it may seem these facts prove the filibuster to be undemocratic, as the filibuster thwarts the will of the majority. 

Yet this is not so. Locke goes on to say that the majority must carry the day “unless they [the majority] expressly agreed in any number greater than the majority.” To do this regarding certain things is not merely the privilege of the majority, but its duty. For it is proper to provide institutional stability against the ever-changing will of the majority, and especially proper to protect the liberties of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Though no policy in a fallen world can guarantee either institutional stability or minority rights, it is the requirement of a supermajority that allows the balance to be found between protecting those things and allowing for the correction of errors any government will surely make.

It is in the majority imposing the requirement of a supermajority that majoritarianism is proved not to be in-and-of-itself democratic, but rather an independent thing all together. For while the filibuster is assuredly anti-majoritarian, it is laughable to characterize it as undemocratic. For what is required of a democratic institution? That all receive a vote and that all votes be counted equally. Can the Democrats point to a single Senator whose vote has been denied because of the filibuster? Can they point to a single Senator whose vote counts less than his fellow Senators because of the filibuster? Surely they cannot, for the filibuster does no such thing. The filibuster is thus democratic. 

Here the façade is exposed. By either malicious intent or evil ignorance, the Democrats have deceptively labelled what is an anti-majoritarian measure as undemocratic. This has allowed them to frame the abolition of the filibuster as a necessary endeavor to protect minority rights. Indeed, just as they wrongly do with every other part of their agenda, the Democrats have connected their disdain for the filibuster to race. According to them, the filibuster is a tool of Jim Crow, with President Biden going so far as to accuse those who oppose his election-bill (whose success hinges on the abolition of the filibuster) of being on the side of Jefferson Davis and Bull Connor. 

If it is, as the Democrats claim, that anti-majoritarian principles are immoral, how far does this principle extend? Must the amending process be by simple majority as well? Is there no liberty or institution that may be justly shielded from the present passions of the majority?

It is madness to suggest that a measure that thwarts the will of the majority is what endangers the rights of the minority. Reason alone should sufficiently show that in a world where none are righteous, the lusts of the majority will drive them to abuse the minority and deprive them of their liberties. As the Democrats’ reason has failed them once more, I implore them to search through history, for its entirety, from the execution of Socrates to the lynching of Emmett Till, proves that it is when the will of the majority is unrestrained that the minority has reason to fear. 

I know many Democrats have no need to be reminded of this, for it was they in past years who were saying these very things; they who have utilized the filibuster so often in recent times. 

It must therefore be concluded that they desire to impose a tyranny of the majority and hope that in deceitfully labelling the filibuster undemocratic, none shall notice their tyrannical scheme until it is too late. 

The deception must be exposed, the scheme must be revealed. Make them defend their unbridled majoritarianism, their tyranny by the many. Let it be seen that it is in the filibuster that our interests lie, for we will all find ourselves in the minority eventually.

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jack Shields

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

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