There seems to have been a lot of discussion on the web about the United State’s government. And it seems a lot of Americans have forgotten what form of government the US operates under. The idea of a Democracy seems to be fair at first, but once you get past the simple definitions you realize that at some point a democracy, a pure democracy, will inevitably allow the majority to trample on the rights of the minority. And our founding fathers knew this well. In fact, they structured our government to specifically deal with this phenomenon. Which is why we are a constitutional republic, not a straight democracy. The republic operates within democratic systems, but in the end, the main point is to protect the rights and liberty of the individual.
“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”
The idea of a pure democracy sounds nice on paper, but when put into practice, you can actually diminish the voice of the minority. This is known as the “tyranny of the majority”, and was one of the main reasons the founding fathers instituted a republic and not a direct democracy. It seems we have forgotten this as a country. And the lack of real civics being taught in school is partly to blame. Our education has become biased toward the left, since the atrocities of the Soviet Union and other communist powers is never taught or discussed. Which leads to a misunderstanding of the ideologies that perpetuated mass murder and geocide. We are never taught the realities of why a pure democracy is dangerous to the individual, or the fact that in a pure democracy, the leaders, while elected by the people, are not constrained by a constitution as to its actions. In a republic, however, elected officials cannot take away or violate certain rights of the people.
The Anti-Federalists and Federalists, as the new nation was being formed, could not agree on how involved the federal government should be in citizens’ lives; a decision on a pure democracy could never be reached. Alexander Hamilton, himself a Federalist, stated that the government being created was a “republican government,” and that true freedom would not be found in a dictatorship nor a true democracy, but in a moderate government.
James Madison, another Federalist, stated that, while citizens would otherwise get together to discuss governmental operations in a democracy, a republic instead leaves the bigger decisions up to its elected representatives. Madison stated that a democracy needs to be “confined to a small spot,” while republics could be “extended over a large[r] region.” What he meant by this, was that by not forming a democracy, citizens could allow representatives to make decisions for them on bigger issues, such as international relations, as opposed to having to find a way to all meet up and discuss these issues together.
Despite the fact that most countries claim that “democracy” is their main goal, most countries govern as republics.
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
The left may have only good intentions when advocating for a direct democracy, but we all know what good intentions can lead to. And the Soviet Union exemplifies the dangers of the majority dictating the laws and rules for the minority. Take, for example, a rule community that is the minority population outside of a major metropolitan city (the majority). This minority community may have a smaller population, but they provide the majority population with all of their food. A lot of which cannot be produced inside a major city. With a representative republic, those that grow the food have just as much as a voice as those that chose to live in a large city. In this way, you cannot divert resources (as the Soviet Union did) away from the producers (farmers). Now, with a direct democracy, or majority rule, the city can divert what ever they vote away from the smaller populations to their short term benefit. But this will diminish the productive capacity of the famers, leading to the majority running out of food and starving. Again, exactly what happened to the Soviet Union. The major cities in Russia demanded by majority rule that the food be taken from the minority (which happens to be the farmers and producers) and given to the majority within major metropolitan cities. This led to starvation on a massive scale by both parties. And it seems we have forgotten this fact (either by accident or on purpose). So what do we do about this?
“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”
Well, we educate those that are ignorant to the nuanced realities of how civics and government work, and stop omitting historical context because you might find it “offensive”. Share this article to help educate those that are advocating for a tyrannical majority rule. I am working on a series that examines the US system and the merits of a Constitutional Republic. This will be published in parts, but within it’s own section outside of “opinion” or “news”. As with most of this site, it will change with new information and feedback from readers.