The 2012 presidential election will be analyzed to death. Then, it will be commented on for years or decades to come. Before the election, we heard various hypotheses about its import: “The year 2012 will see the last ‘free’ election.” It will reveal a deeply divided people, divided over the most fundamental issues of right and wrong. It is a “Weimar Election.” That was the vote of the Germans in the 1930s about who would rule the country. They did not read the party leader carefully or watch what he did. “The majority in the country is not ‘white’ but ‘brown.’” They dance to a different tune. “No real unified Catholic vote exists.” Some even think that Robert Hugh Benson’s 1907 novel, The Lord of the World, describes what next to expect.
The notion that some things, especially the important ones, should not fall within the jurisdiction of the state is no longer to be taken for granted. The state, with its main duties, the taking care of everyone, defines what is important from now on. One might say that our people coldly looked the Leviathan in its eyes. They did not flinch as he brought them into his body. These are dramatic observations, no doubt. We now wait to see what happens next. We have established who is in power. We will not pass this way again.
And in establishing who is to rule us, we reveal our own souls. The liberty to do whatever we want that Aristotle spoke of while describing democracies is now firmly rooted among us. No real opposition will be tolerated. Liberty means doing what state demands.
Generally speaking, we prefer a political system, the result of which is that either candidate could rule reasonably well. The vital principals of the regime would remain intact, even with disagreement. In Australia, a citizen has to pay a fine if he does not vote. This is a dubious law. It is much better to give a citizen the freedom to vote or not to vote. After all, when it comes to the crunch, a mandatory voting law doubtfully fares better than a less rigid one. A democracy can in theory produce a wiser ruler than other systems. But in practice it can do the opposite even if everyone votes freely with no worry about being fined.
This election was not an elections between two candidates whose vision of reality is the same or even reconcilable. The election was about whether a “new” idea of the state would replace the basic principles of the Founding of the country. Most of the directions of this “new” state—its nature and roots—were already described by Plato and Aristotle, but they knew them as disorders. The moral and political tendencies were visible in the first term for everyone to see. Now there is little reason to think such policies will not be carried out. The courts and the House may still be something of a counter balance, as well as the relative autonomy of the individual states. We can expect any new Supreme Court justice will be appointed by the same ideology that won the election. No one will ask if there are standards and principles that stand behind all government, including democratic ones.
We may need to be preparing for more direct persecution for religious doctrines and prudential norms.