Democracy vs. Republic. WHAT ARE WE?
In his article titled Too Much of a Good Thing – Why We need less democracy, Economist and the former Director of the office of Budget and Management for President Obama, Peter Orszag stated, “In an 1814 letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That may read today like an overstatement, but it is certainly true that our democracy finds itself facing a deep challenge: During my recent stint in the Obama administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget, it was clear to me that the country’s political polarization was growing worse—harming Washington’s ability to do the basic, necessary work of governing. If you need confirmation of this, look no further than the recent debt-limit debacle, which clearly showed that we are becoming two nations governed by a single Congress—and that paralyzing gridlock is the result. We need less Democracy.”i Regardless of how he intended this statement to read, the words have a lot of meaning in and of themselves among the American people. Clearly there is some confusion about the word democracy and its place as it relates to American understanding of it.
We constantly hear commentaries suggesting we are a democracy, for that reason it would seem prudent to repeat it over and over again that we are not. But of equal importance is the understanding of what we are (were meant to be) and the sippery slope we traveling on. Modern America in its haste for tolerance and understanding for all has drifted away from our core beliefs and our individual liberties as protected by the Constitution. Individual freedom and liberty were at the forfront of the founders mindset, these rights were put into place in an effort to protect our individual rights and freedoms, they did not intend to dictate rights and liberties for the masses as a whole.
As a free people we need to formulate our own opinions, thus, it is crutial for us to have a clear and precise understanding regarding the differences between a democracy and a republic as stated in the Constitution of the United States of America. The vast majority of American’s have no idea that the United States is a Republic. How many people do you hear saying, “We are a democracy. We are a democratic nation?” They have no idea we undergoing a change that will have an adverse effect on generations of the future. Our rights as we have believed them to be, are being taken away one by one, as government continues to grow and inform us of what is in our best interest. Can you name an area where the government has not intruded? You can’t, because our governement has infiltrated all aspects of daily life – banking, auto, finance, health care, the family, what we eat where we go what we drive, and so on. What does that mean? If we contiue to travel down the road of discourse and turn a blind eye on the disemination of our Constitution, then the rights we presume to have will continue to become non-exsistant. In the event the people decide to wake up and see the big picture it may be to late. Our founders never intended to create an entitlement society whereby the governement continues to grow and interfer with rights and liberties of individuals as it is currently doing.
4 USC § 4 – Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The Constitution guarantees to every state a Republican form of government. Article IV, Sec. 4: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Applicaions of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
The United States is moving down a dangerous path toward a global democracy. This was never the intent of the Founders and for good reason. Gary McLeod wrote and interesting piece on the subject Republic vs. Democracy. Just after the completion and signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman’s inquiry as to the type of government the Founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Not only have we failed to keep it, most don’t even know what it is. A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good). Our constitution was written with the focus on approval from our three branches of government with regard to making laws. The process was meant to be a slow because illegal democracy occurs on a regular basis by “requiring approval from the whim of the majority as determined by polls and/or voter referendums.
Democracies always self-destruct when the non-productive majority realizes that it can vote itself handouts from the productive minority by electing the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury. To maintain their power, these candidates must adopt an ever-increasing tax and spend policy to satisfy the ever-increasing desires of the majority. As taxes increase, incentive to produce decreases, causing many of the once productive to drop out and join the non-productive. When there are no longer enough producers to fund the legitimate functions of government and the socialist programs, the democracy will collapse, always to be followed by a Dictatorship (McLeod).
Although many politicians, teachers, journalists and citizens all believes our Founders created a democracy, that simply isn’t accurate. The Founders knew full well the differences between a Republic and a Democracy and they repeatedly and emphatically said that they had founded a republic. So I repeat, Article IV Section 4, of the Constitution “guarantees to every state in this union a Republican form of government”…. Conversely, the word Democracy is not mentioned even once in the Constitution. Madison warned us of the dangers of democracies with these words, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths…”, “We may define a republic to be a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison, Federalist No. 10, (1787). Time and time again we warned about the dangers of a democracy, yet the business of our daily lives perpetuates the depletion of the Constitution as we know it. “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
In the past, our military training manuals used to contain the correct definitions of Democracy and Republic. The following comes from Training Manual No. 2000-25 published by the War Department, November 30, 1928.
A government of the masses.
Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct” expression. Results in mobocracy.
Attitude toward property is communistic–negating property rights.
Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether is be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.
Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.
A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.
Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.
Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
Is the “standard form” of government throughout the world.
The manuals containing these definitions were ordered destroyed without explanation about the same time that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made private ownership of our lawful money (US Minted Gold Coins) illegal. Shortly after the people turned in their $20 gold coins, the price was increased from $20 per ounce to $35 per ounce. Almost overnight F.D.R., the most popular president this century (elected 4 times) looted almost half of this nation’s wealth, while convincing the people that it was for their own good. Many of F.D.R.’s policies were suggested by his right hand man, Harry Hopkins, who said, “Tax and Tax, Spend and Spend, Elect and Elect, because the people are too damn dumb to know the difference” (Mcleod).
As everyone knows this is an election year. But this year is more important than ever before because our Constitution and all it stands for is at stake. Polititians will continue with the status quo as they always do, but regardless of who you are, Republican or Democrat you owe it your children, grand-children, etc., to truly know what is at stake and what is happening because their future is in your hands. The attitude, “I am not really into politics” or saying, “I don’t care” does not relieve you from the responsibility nor the outcome of future events.
1 Orszag, Peter.(2011)Too Much of a Good Thing Why we need less democracy.