Lewis Moore: ‘Democracy Means Socialism’

Image of Lewis Moore

State Rep. Lewis Moore, an Arcadia Republican, has publicly weighed in on the overall concept of democracy and finds that, well, it really “means socialism.”

Actually, I’m still trying to figure out what Moore is exactly trying to say in a short philosophical missive he apparently released to some media outlets in recent days. In particular, I wonder about this part of a post titled “Lewis Moore: Our Republic Is Not A Democracy” that appeared on The McCarville Report blog:

The fight is a constant one. When you hear “democracy,” you should think majority-rules versus the rule-of-law. It’s like an Old West posse of 15 riders catching up with a horse thief. A 14-1 decision finds the thief hanging from the nearest tree – majority rules. This in contrast with a 14-1 decision where the Sheriff is holding out for justice and wants the thief hauled back to town, enforcing the rule-of-law.

In short, democracy means socialism, which leads to debt and chaos, and will ultimately usher in an oligarchy (dictator). Never trade liberty for security.

Okay, read that a few times. So is Moore, pictured right, trying to say that democracy means no rule of law, which leads to socialism and that the Sheriff is right to enforce the rule of law? Seriously, what’s the logic here? The rule of law is a vital component of democracy. People vote for laws and elect politicians who vote for laws. There is no clear or set oppositional dichotomy or binary between “majority rules” and “rule of law” when it comes to democracy. They are inextricably linked. They are sometimes in opposition, such as when a court strikes down a law voted for by a majority of a legislature, but not always. It’s a dynamic; it’s fluid.

But the leap from democracy to socialism right after the phrase “in short” is the real head scratcher. Moore certainly hasn’t proven to me through his “Old West” scenario that “democracy means socialism” whether it’s “in short” or in any other manner. Are the posse members voting to hang the horse thief actually socialists? It doesn’t follow. How will that then exactly lead to “debt” and “chaos” and then an oligarchy? Shouldn’t there be more evidence for this huge claim?

I’m unsure if Moore is writing in some type of right-wing code I can’t decipher, but I just don’t follow it. I understand the arguments that the United States is a constitutional republic. Some people even suggest that means our country isn’t also a democracy, even though it’s obviously steeped in democratic principles. Is Moore trying to argue along these lines? He ends the segment this way: “Never trade liberty for security.” How does that relate back to the posse and the Sheriff? Which one represents liberty? Which one represents security? It’s highly problematic on a logical level.

Moore’s entire reference to horse thievery and the Sheriff then eventually seems irrelevant to his overall arguments about states’ rights. And guess what? Moore is in favor of them, and he thinks Oklahoma’s two U.S. senators should each have an office at the state Capitol, arguing “Their loyalty is to the state, first and foremost!” (That’s Moore’s exclamation point, not mine.)

It might help to know that Moore has served as chairperson of the House States’ Right Committee, which deals with supposed federal government intrusion into state affairs. He also once admitted to taking down a portrait of President Barack Obama hanging at the Capitol because he didn’t like the president’s health care initiative.

It might seem like an exercise in futility to parse through some conservative Oklahoma politician’s philosophical statement about democracy, but I worry about how these types of non sequiturs and faulty premises become embedded in our political discourse here in Oklahoma and especially among students. A statement such as “democracy means socialism” coming from a political leader deserves some discussion and a lot more evidence and qualification than Moore provides.

CapitolBeatOK also ran an abbreviated version of Moore’s statement that didn’t include the horse thief story or “democracy means socialism.” That’s interesting, in itself. The site is operated by Patrick McGuigan, who once served as editorial page editor for The Oklahoman, one of the most conservative newspapers in the country.