From today’s Wall Street Journal: Joe Biden and the Slow Death of Liberalism by Barton Swaim.
Opportunistic complaints about the Electoral College aside, liberals began long ago to distrust universal suffrage. They are generally happy to entrust unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats and elites, domestic and transnational, with vast authority, and they are content to let federal courts decide almost any question, in defiance of legislation and popular will, provided the decision falls on the liberal side.
Some liberals now openly long for the days when moderately corrupt party bosses decided congressional and presidential nominations. The past three years have produced innumerable books by liberal authors attesting to an ongoing assault on “democracy,” but these books mainly lament democracy’s failure to yield liberal results; they do not defend democratic principles themselves. Other recent works advance unabashedly antidemocratic arguments, such as Jason Brennan’s “Against Democracy” (2016) and David Van Reybrouck’s “Against Elections” (2016).
Democracy is a means to an end, not the end itself. That is why the founders constrained it with federalism, checks and balances and strategically staggered terms. The objective should be the upholding of liberal values particularly those in the Bill of Rights. Modern liberalism (as opposed to the classical liberal tradition now called conservatism) has become illiberal advocating the restraint of free speech and unlimited central power, identity politics and political correctness.
We should be very wary about sacrificing our liberal values on the altar of democracy.