Democracy vs. Liberty

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It is truly disgusting for me to hear politicians, national and international talking heads and pseudo-academics praising the Middle East stirrings as democracy movements. We also hear democracy as the description of our own political system. Like the founders of our nation, I find democracy and majority rule a contemptible form of government.

You say, “Whoa, Williams, you really have to explain yourself this time!”

I’ll begin by quoting our founders on democracy. James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10, said that in a pure democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.” At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Virginia Gov. Edmund Randolph said, “… that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.” John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Alexander Hamilton said, “We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real Liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship.”

The word “democracy” appears nowhere in the two most fundamental documents of our nation — the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Our Constitution’s Article IV, Section 4, guarantees “to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” If you don’t want to bother reading our founding documents, just ask yourself: Does our pledge of allegiance to the flag say to “the democracy for which it stands,” or to “the Republic for which it stands”? Or, did Julia Ward Howe make a mistake in titling her Civil War song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”? Should she have titled it “The Battle Hymn of the Democracy”?

What’s the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence when he said, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” That means Congress does not grant us rights; their job is to protect our natural or God-given rights.

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  • Supreme_Galooty

    Many people make the mistake of talking about democracy as a good thing. Many of those who do so also know better. They do it because they are lazy, or possibly worse, because they KNOW that it deteriorates the Great American Experiment – Individual Liberty codified and institutionalized for the first time in history. A republic is hostile to the ruling class and friendly to the country class. A democracy is friendly to the ruling class and hostile to everyone else.

    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb." – Benjamin Franklin

    • Steeloak

      I think the mistake is intentional. Those who talk about democracy would love to have mob rule, with themselves the demagogues in charge of the mobs.
      Our system of government is supposed to be hard, with lots of obstacles in place to prevent swift action. The idea is to slow the process down to allow time for reasoned debate and for passions to cool.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    If we focus on the individual and personal right to freedom with
    constitutional guarantees against government intrusion and
    confiscation of property, then democracy may work, a Republic
    is what we need, the idea of the majority rules is ludicrous, just
    look what the majority of Palestinians voted into office. I do not
    discount that there are differences in the aggregate of peoples
    due to background and upbringing as a factor, Americans are
    changing in their makeup and may soon look like the mobs of
    the middle east gratis of the leftist government schools………..William

  • StephenD

    Just watch how this all unfolds in the Mid-East. A true Democracy will see Israel "voted" into annihilation. This "Democracy" of the people speaking is clearly on display in the Egyptian pictures of Mubarak with a Star of David on his forehead (an insult to these people) and the same with Q'addafi 's picture. It was on display during the brutal rape of the reporter in Egypt. Do you really think "the people" of these areas, though they be a majority, really want "equal" rights for all including Women and Christians and Jews? Keep your eye on this and tell me after how much we should encourage majority rule rather than encourage and defend God given rights.

  • USMCSniper

    often have you heard people refer to America as a Democracy? When was the last time that you heard America referred to as a Republic? There is a very good reason that our Pledge of Allegiance refers to our country as a Republic and there is a very good reason that our Declaration of Independence and our constitution do not even mentioned the word "democracy". Many people are under the false impression our form of government is a democracy, or representative democracy. This is of course completely untrue. The Founders were extremely knowledgeable and were deliberately doing everything in their power to prevent having a democracy. In a Republic, the sovereignty resides with the people themselves. In a Republic, one may act on his own or through his representatives when he chooses to solve a problem. The people have no obligation to the government; instead, the government is a servant of the people, and obliged to its owner, The critical difference lies in the fact that a Constitutional Republic has a Constitution that limits the powers of the government.