What makes voting for your ruler a legitimate practice? Jean-Jacques Gore prattled nonstop throughout November about the need for “every vote to count” because then, and only then, would the “will of the people” be expressed. And Republicans offered no real counterargument, other than the sage comment of (President?) Bush: “We’ve counted the votes; now it’s time for the votes to count.” But why should they? After witnessing this circus, why should we dare to imagine that the men and women of America could elect the best ruler by casting votes?

The United States has a representative government; we vote for the leaders who will best represent our “interests” and “values.” But whom do we have in mind when we say our interests? And whom do the Congress and president represent: individuals, families, states, or the State? The answer goes to who we think we are—how we define ourselves.

The establishment of power has always been based on the consent of some group of people. Despots take power through the pledges of soldiers and mercenaries to fight. In a republic, lesser magistrates who represent the interests of communities and families can select a president. A monarch can fall somewhere between the two, depending on his moral character and the attitudes and loyalties of the nobles who supply his army. In a democracy voters live with the illusion of “self-rule.” St. Augustine, however, warned that man has as many rulers as he has passions; thus, many a despot has come to power not by wielding a sword, but by seeking to gratify the passions of the masses of voters.

Rousseau championed the sovereignty of the “General Will” on the one hand, and the ideal of the “noble savage,” unencumbered by the oppressive constraints of family and the constructions of society, on the other. He was right to connect the two, because all true democracies seem destined to be ruled by a savage—or savages—and that is precisely where America has been headed ever since the states (and eventually the federal government) began expanding the franchise of suffrage from those who represent the interests of families (the heads of households) and communities (landowners) to each and every individual, regardless of his knowledge, responsibility within the community, or general means to sustain himself. Is it any wonder, then, that the extension of suffrage has resulted in the majority selling its birthright of freedom for a bowl of soup?

The 19th Amendment was the ultimate renunciation of this birthright, because it disenfranchised women in their natural role as wife and mother. The official policy of our federal government toward women since 1920 has been to demote them from the vocation assigned them by nature (and nature’s God) to the level of common chad-puncher—one of the boys. The assumption of the female suffrage movement was that individuals, not families, compose society, or that the interests of individuals outweigh, overrule, or even invalidate those of families. Either way, female suffrage has created further occasions for sin for men, by stripping them of their duties as heads of households. If freedom is the ability to be what you were made to be and do what you are called to do, female suffrage has been a primary enemy of freedom in America.

The suffragettes were lead by women hell-bent on rearranging and redefining society. Most were wealthy debutantes who did not see their lives’ vocations in domestic terms. The Jane Addams and Elizabeth Stantons of the world did not want to have their own children; they wanted to have the world’s children. They had no use for a man as head of the household. Thus, after the triumph of the suffrage the duties of heads of households were gradually strip-mined and handed over to the government.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the duties of the head of the household are several. He is to provide for his family’s (including aging parents’) material needs by working and earning a fixing. He is to bear the mantle of responsibility for the family’s spiritual and moral status by governing the household justly and, ultimately, by giving an account to God for his wife and children. He is to protect his family from all harm, being willing to kill (if necessary) an intruder in the home, be he a robber or a pimple-faced box attempting to steal his daughter’s chastity.

This idea has become a relic of the past. Any debate about federal gun-control measures, for example, alway’s begins with a defense of “hunters and sportsmen.” Nearly everyone assumes that it is the role of government to protect his or her household. And what about providing for the aged? That, too, is the responsibility of government. Earning a living? We have welfare and SSI.

When the Electoral College is dissolved in favor of a nationwide popular vote, the last vestige of a system designed to reflect the natural order will have disappeared. It is inevitable, however, because Americans do not believe in the family and its corresponding “representative” government—they believe in individuals and the “will of the people.” Families are but arrangements of convenience and tradition, to be disposed of when they become obtrusive. This poison had entered the popular conscience long before women were granted suffrage.

The task that lies before men who wish to see meaningful, conservative reform to our system of elections is immense, and it ultimately transcends the importance of restoring republican government. Men have to reclaim their role as heads of households. This may mean working two jobs so Mom can stay home to rear the children. It may mean undertaking the task of re-educating yourself so that you can direct the catechization of your children at home, instead of in the schools of the central government. And it may mean buying a gun—yes, even an assault weapon—and learning how to use it. These measures may not change the hearts of the suffragettes of America, but over time, women of good will can be convinced that their last vote should be to repeal the 19th Amendment. Until then, voting in America will be, from a Judeo-Christian perspective, illegitimate.