One of the greatest myths - if not the greatest - that Americans are taught is that the government expresses the will of the people. Is this really the case or is it a mechanism of psychological control?
I think it is obvious to anyone who drives a car that the vast majority of people think speed limits are too low, particularly on limited access highways. It appears that at least 90% of the people are speeding - at least in Georgia - but the speed limits remain artificially low. A couple of years ago some college students drove around I-285 all abreast at the speed limit (55 MPH) causing a huge traffic jam and nearly causing multiple wrecks. Instead of raising the speed limit in response to speeding by virtually everybody, the state recently passed a "Super Speeder" law that tacks on something like 200 extra dollars to the fine for anybody exceeding 74 MPH on two lanes or 84 MPH anywhere. If the government reflected the people's will, the speed limits would all be raised.
Drugs are another example of the government thwarting the will of a large proportion of the population. Ron Paul has been criticized for wanting to "legalize" drugs when actually all he has advocated is obeying the constitution and abolishing federal laws against drug prohibition in various forms. States can make any laws they please, but the federal government has no enumerated power to make such laws. Obviously there is a huge demand for recreational drugs, but in this instance the will of the people doesn't matter.
What about low-flow shower heads and toilets? Was there a popular clamor to outlaw the old (better) higher flow varieties? I never heard a single person say, "Gee, I sure wish they would reduce the flow of these shower heads." Once again the will of the controllers is imposed on "The People."
The same thing applies to light bulbs. If the people preferred fluorescent bulbs to incandescent they would buy them and there would be no need to force them on the people.
Was there a groundswell of opposition anywhere to unpasteurized milk? Your omniscient Uncle Sam in DC thinks it's naughty for his subjects to have it and will send out hordes of armed stooges to prevent you from getting it and hurting yourself.
Everywhere there are those in government who think they know best. There are movements in various places to outlaw too much salt, fat or sugar in foods regardless of what the citizens want. Many places outlaw smoking in restaurants whether the proprietor thinks it desirable or not.
There was overwhelming opposition to Bush's Billionaire Bailout, but the will of the pols trumped the will of the people. The same was true - and still is - about Obamacare, but the obedient servants of Mammon imposed it against the people's will.
Was there any popular movement to outlaw gold ownership in 1933? Was there popular support for Mr. Lincoln's draft? The New York Times of August 25, 1864 had this to say about the draft:
"To the alarmist[sic] who are concerned lest the draft cannot be enforced without resistance and insurrection, his reply is that, if it has come to this, the quicker the Government proves its power to maintain its laws, the better....It is not a question whether the draft is an evil. No sane man denies it. The only question is, whether it is or is not a less evil than national ruin, which can be prevented by it alone."
It appears from this editorial that the draft might not have been pushed through by the people.
Most states - maybe all - have laws requiring the wearing of seat belts even though there was no demand for such laws. They've even come up with really clever slogans such as "Click It Or Ticket" to remind you to fasten your seat belt.
The nature of the law makes no difference. Regardless of how stupid, evil, onerous or intrusive the edict, a sufficient number of people can be found to enforce it. If it were decreed that no one shall breathe through his left nostril and a visible plug shall be worn in it, there would be no trouble finding police to enforce the new "law."
Many people like to prattle on about how "we" are the government, but relish turning in their neighbor for building a deck - or any imaginary crime - without a permit. It isn't the deck that they object to, it's that the neighbor had the audacity to proceed without government approval.
Convincing the populace that they are the government is somewhat analogous to a voluntary fast vis a vis an imposed fast or any voluntary mortification. If you decide to fast for health or spiritual or any other reason it is much different from being told by someone else that you may not eat, talk, read or watch TV. Anything done voluntarily is more bearable than having it imposed. This is the genius of convincing people that "we did it to ourselves."