The modern political god is called Democracy. We are expected to worship it; to reflexively think of it as the finest - the only - legitimate form of government.

Everything is couched in "democratic" terms. It is "democracy" we (that is, the government) force-feeds to the world, either by shame or by literal force.

To be anti-democratic is the political equivalent of pedophilia.

But what is democracy, in practice?

It is theoretically mass rule; whatever the majority approves, via the vote. This concept is by itself vicious and tyrannical. As explained so brilliantly by an unknown wag, it is two wolves and a sheep taking a vote about what's for dinner. In a democracy, the individual has no rights - or at least, none that may not be taken away or diminished at any time, whenever the majority so decides.

Does it really matter to the individual whether he is abused by a solitary dictator or millions of little dictators?

But even this is a sham. Though in democratic theory, the vox populi rules - in actual fact, it is almost always a minority - and not infrequently, a single individual - that determines (and implements) policy.

Consider the case of Abraham Lincoln - America's first dictator.

In the election of 1861, this man got about 40 percent of the vote. The majority of the country voted for someone else. (Indeed, if you break it down some more, Lincoln was affirmed by an even smaller minority; the 40 percent representing a fraction of the country's total adult population. Many people did not vote at all- and at the time, women and blacks couldn't vote for anyone.)

Yet this man took it upon himself to launch a war against the Southern States, who had peaceably chosen to depart the federal union after their elected representatives - the majority - chose to take that course.

Lincoln - the Democratic God - could not abide such democracy in action and spent the next four years brutally stomping the South to make his point clear.

Since that time, American "democratic" politics has followed the same course. The minority that actually controls the machinery of government pursues whatever course of action it wishes, after having gone through the make-believe process of "democracy." The masses are permitted to vote, but they are not permitted any real choice.

George W. Bush (to cite just one recent example) decided that America would go to war in Iraq. Not even the thin democratic veneer of a congressional declaration of war was needed, such is the degenerated state of this country and its understanding of rights and process as defined in that "god-damned piece of paper" called the Constitution.

Citizens of the old Soviet Union were permitted the vote, too.

And it is well worth recalling that most of the communist totalitarian states habitually referred to themselves as democracies.

Voting was - and is - a very clever means of legitimizing one-party rule (or, as in our case, a duopoly). Specific elected individuals may come and go, but the system is a permanent fixture.

Most average people, meanwhile,have come to accept - and even support - any outrage - so long as it has been "voted" on. People who would be appalled to discover their next-door neighbor spent his evenings mugging people have no problem mugging him - provided it is voted on first.

The small elite that actually runs our government - and the government in any democratic state - is well aware of this and appreciates the importance of convincing the average citizen that he "has a say," because after all, he votes.

Left unmentioned is the truth that he in fact exercises no real control over anything; that at best, he can band together with others to effect some temporary change around the edges of the system before some other group, with greater numbers on its side, effects change in the opposite direction. But the basic template - coercion; submerging of the individual - never changes. The power of the state never diminishes. And every individual finds himself at war with every other individual in a desperate battle to protect himself against the depredations of his neighbors - with the elite that control it all splitting the difference and holding tightly onto all the power.

It is no coincidence that as the world becomes ever more "democratic" in form, it also becomes ever more tyrannical.

Not perhaps in the open, jackbooted way that the old centralized states (Nazi Germany being the stereotype) were; that was too obvious - too crude. The people were not given the illusion of consent.

Far better to wear a velvet glove over the iron fist. Let the masses think they exercise control, because after all, they can vote. But when the only question they may vote on is whether statism will march a little to the left or a little to the right, they have no more real voice than a citizen of the Greater German Reich.

This is the sinister genius of "democracy" - and the mortal danger to human liberty the Founding Fathers (at least, most of them) tried to chain to the floor.

It is also why you almost never hear the word republic anymore. Certainly not in media intended for mass consumption. "Democracy" is the knacker's call; the song that cattle hear as they are marched toward the chute.

A republic - in which some things are never subject to a vote - is what we once had but have given away.

Whether we will ever get it back remains to be seen. I rather doubt it. The masses don't want such a thing, especially once it is explained to them. This includes, I suspect, a considerable cohort of the Tea Party movement. Many of these people decry "wasteful spending" - and "big government" - but would arise in uproar if, say, it were suggested that "their" Social Security is welfare just like an EBT card and just as illegitimate.

Few would agree that a man's land, once paid for, ought to be his - and inviolate. "The children" need public schools, so the government needs to impose taxes on real estate... taxes imposed even on people who have no kids, or who school their kids outside of the public system.

And so it goes.

It is all very democratic.

But it is very far from being free.