Oh, Crimea Referendum

Russian armed forces incurred and occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on 27 February, 2014. A short time after the incursion, Crimea announced that a referendum would be held on March 16, 2014 to determine whether Crimea would secede from Ukraine and become part of the Russian Federation.

In retrospect, it is apparent that the Russian occupation of Crimea was a coordinated effort between Russian and Crimean authorities in an attempt to dissuade Ukraine from interfering with Crimea’s secession.

Since the secession referendum was announced, the global powers (Great Britain, EU, US, et al.) have decried the referendum as illegal, because it was not sanctioned by the Ukrainian government and is not written into the Ukrainian constitution.

This illuminates a disturbing attitude by the global powers: After people vest a government with power, the power cannot be revoked by the governed, but only by consent and authority of the government. To suggest that people must ask permission of their government to rescind authority is contrary to the classical ideals of democracy and the arguments of the Enlightenment patriarchs.

The concept of self-government is that the authority and legitimacy of power always rests with the people; it is never transferred, surrendered, or delegated, but ‘licensed’ – to use a contemporary term – to those who administer the powers of government. To suggest that the power of the people is surrendered to bureaucracy in a one-way trip is to subvert democracy into an oligarchy – a system where the few and powerful hold sway. You may be able to conjure some examples of how the American political system has transmogrified aspects of itself into an oligarchy.

The last two American presidencies have effected an alarming and unprecedented accretion of power to the Executive, bypassing the Legislature and marginalizing the Judicial. The condemnation of the Crimean referendum by the global powers suggests that the attitude of the supremacy of bureaucracy exists beyond American borders, and is entrenched globally.

All of the world leaders who waggle their fingers at dictatorships like Syria, Cuba, and North Korea and cry “Democracy!” from their soap boxes of self-righteousness are but artifices of power, corruption, and self-preservation, wrapped in a word that lost the power of its brand long ago. As are the words Kleenex and Coke, Democracy is uttered wantonly and without deference for its true and forgotten meaning: the power to stand against tyranny.

There is no expression of the will of the people as powerful and absolute as a referendum. Thus, the true motivation for the opposition to the Crimean referendum is not legality, but fear. Fear of a status quo that is threatened by a population who awakens and exercises its true and legitimate power.

The sleeper must awaken.


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