Thursday, June 07, 2012

Republic vs. Democracy - is it just semantics?

You of course know about the Proregressive Left getting trounced in the Wisconsin recall (re-run) vote Tuesday night, you might even know how seriously cheesed off the left is about that, and how the MSM is now running from their earlier declarations of how irrefutably important to and foretelling of, the elections in November, that the recall election in Wisconsin would be ... before LOSING forced them to refute it (cue the Benny Hill music and enjoy).

Did you also see the ProRegressive Leftist blubbering to the nation on CNN, about how
‘Democracy died tonight.... We all had a lot invested in this. This was it. If we didn't win tonight, the end of the USA as we know it just happened. That's it.... it's done. Democracy's dead."

Now think about that statement for a moment.

Just how out of focus do you have to be, to make that statement, about the 'death of democracy', immediately after an ELECTION, a democratic election where We The People came out in record numbers to cast their Vote, to make plain, to 'express themselves' about who they would choose to head their government... how critically deficient in irony must this person's intellectual diet be, in order to be able to say such a thing?

Perhaps the left just doesn't get irony, perhaps they've become capable only of furnishing examples of it... or maybe he just had some other idea of 'democracy' in mind than most of the rest of the country has been led to buy into.

Hmm.... But still, on the bright side... there were his sobs.

And as much as you just hate to see a grown 'man' doing such a thing, on national T.V. no less, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it as it happens - I can't tell you how many times I clicked 'Replay' - Schadenfreude doesn't get any better than that! Fun though that was, there are more serious issues involved. I don't know about you, but personally, my reaction to the blubberer was,
"I hope to God this IS the end of the 'Democracy' movement in America, so we can get on with being a Constitutional, Representative, Republic, SOME of whose members are democratically elected. Please. Enough already."
, which not only has the benefit of pushing the blubberers into even more of a frenzy, it is also entirely true - though unless you know why, the bluberer's darker side of stupid might pass you right on by, or worse... settle unnoticed between your own ears. For there is a more important issue involved here, one which the highly schooled and mis-educated have been trained to be ignorant of... and it is far from being confined to the proregressive left. We all need to be on the look out for the same assumptions in ourselves, and our friends & family.

I was quickly reminded that my reaction was far from the reaction of many, if not most, of our fellows in America. For instance, consider some comments from friends of friends yesterday:

  1. "It's a semantic argument. I consider USA a democracy because the main leaders are elected by a general election rather than enforced by the military or hereditary monarchy or something."
  2. "I will contend that local and state governments are more "democratic" in nature, and they are not set up as "mini-republics" of the big Republic..."
  3. "Libertarian claptrap. Yes, we are a republic, but we are also democracy -- by which people (who use the word in referring to the U.S.A.) mean that most issues can be, and are decided by the, People through their state and federal representatives. They also imply that contentious issues should be decided by the People. Do you disagree? Do you think Churchill got it wrong, when he said, "Democracy is the worst possible government, except for all the rest"?"
These comments weren't made only by leftists, but by people who consider themselves to be conservatives as well, and they are not simply funny issues or small issues, or grammatical issues of word choice, but a very serious problem - one that has led to a person with the ideas in their head which Barack Obama has (I'll have more to say on that in the next couple days), being elected President of the United States of America. And that is a big, big problem... or at least it is if you care about America, and what it means and stands for.

So... ask yourself, what kind of government do we have? How should you refer to it? Is what you call it, a Republic, or a Democracy, or a 'Democratic Republic', it just a matter of semantics? Does it really matter? This isn't a minor issue, and they aren't trivial questions, honest they aren't.

So, let's look at these 'points'.

#1 "It's a semantic argument...."
Nope. Calling it a semantic argument is to dismiss as trivial what is in fact extremely important. By calling it semantic, you by turns assume and legitimize the notion that the manner in which our representatives are elected to positions in our government, is the defining essential of our system of government - it is not, though it can be in a democracy. Not only does this miss what really is the essential defining attribute of what our nation truly is, but it puts an inordinate importance and focus upon those candidates who are running for election - and I wouldn't be surprised at all, to learn that not a few of them are very much aware of, and appreciative of, that fact.

But In fact, our system of government is a Constitutional Republic, wherein some of its representatives are democratically elected (directly or indirectly)... and more so today than it was originally designed to be, before the proregressive push for 'democracy!' that culminated in the 17th amdt. And it did so, because of the efforts of enthusiasts for democracy, such as our blubberer here, and who were most definitely Not motivated by semantics.

However, the essential defining attribute of our government is that it is a system of Laws, designed to uphold and defend - not create or grant, only defend - the essential Rights of its citizens. And some rights, such as the right of Contract, didn't need to wait on the Bill of Rights to be amended to the Constitution, they were there from the start, and were intended as essential bulwarks against the possible rise of tyranny - whether in the guise of an individual, or the demos (which our Founders greatly feared) is irrelevant.

The remainder of our system of government is designed and formed around that purpose - securing and defending the rights of the individual citizen - and the issue of who best to maintain and administer our system of government, and how we are to go about putting people into its positions, are important issues, but they are secondary issues. Elections are not what defines our nation's government; its laws, their framework, and the reason for them, are.

This is Not a semantic issue, that of whether to refer to our system as a Republic, or a Democracy, is a critical primary issue, and the careless ease with which the word 'democracy' is tossed about, as if it is a loosely defined verbal shawl which can easily refer to whatever system you feel like referring to with it, is not a feature of our system, but an insidious bug that has been infesting We The People, for more than a century now.

Why do you think the left has been trying so long and so hard to replace all references to Republic, with Democracy?! Look at our original documents and speeches, our early textbooks, Republic was the original term used, because it was the correct term... did the purpose of our government change? Or did the people who wanted to change the purpose of our government change it? The later is the case, and they did so, because it furthers their ideological agenda.

Yes, I delight in the blubberers agony, and hope that his fear that 'democracy is dead' proves to be true in fact, because 'democracy' is a bug infesting our system. Lets hope that Wisconsin's recent vote was the first instance of our stomping that bug flat.

#2 "I will contend that local and state governments are more "democratic" in nature, and they are not set up as "mini-republics" of the big Republic"
No again. We are guaranteed (mandated) by the Constitution that every state WILL be a, capital "R", Republic,
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 Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
True, they will tend to be more decentralized, but being less centralized is not the same thing as more democratic (in the sense of Democracy). Our counties, cities, townships & villages, tend to operate far more independently within their states, than states do today within the national govt. And then the number of people a state rep or sen reports to, are far fewer, and much more easily accessible to those they represent, than are the national representatives & senators - but that is not a feature of Democracy, but of a Representative Republic.

In a Democracy, the larger the population, the less voice the individual has, and the less likely a principle or a Right will have to prevail over the desires of the mob - which is what results when numbers alone are the means of determining issues. Only in a Republic, will what is Right, have a chance of triumphing over what the 'will of the people' desires. And only in a Representative Republic, can each person have a chance to be heard by those they elect to represent them in government, only in that system, is it possible that cooler and more informed heads, might prevail.

That is NOT what a Democracy is about. That is what Frustrates that which is what a Democracy is about!

There may be more direct voting, and closer one-to-one representation, but our states are still, Must still, be Republics,

Calling our systems of Govt a 'Democracy' is not only not inaccurate, but actually encourages destructive assumptions (which was the purpose behind their first beginning to call our Republic(s) 'democracies'), you should be aware of that, and, not without some anger, denounce such a thing whenever you hear it said

#3 - "Libertarian claptrap. Yes, we are a republic, but we are also democracy..."
I'm not a libertarian, but this comment has some serious sloppiness issues that fits itself out for the claptrap. This "we are a republic, but we are also democracy" is not like saying 'We are mammals, but we are also human beings', it's more like saying 'We are Lions, but we are also Tigers' - no, sorry, while they are both systems of government, they are different animals altogether.

There is a vast difference between being a Democracy, and utilizing democratic procedures.

And as far as Churchill goes,
"...Do you think Churchill got it wrong, when he said, "Democracy is the worst possible government, except for all the rest"?"
, much as I admire and respect him (and I've read a good chunk of what he wrote, including his 'History of the English speaking peoples' & his history of WWII), he made some serious boo-boo's along the way (eugenics, hello), but what he said was more an instance of being witty and glib, than referring to Democracy in its strict term, or towards America either - recall that the name of his history of America was "The Great Republic: A History of America". His remark about little 'd' democracy was also far more applicable in relation to his own country of Britain, which could, with some stretching, be called a 'Constitutional Democracy', and subject to the perils he well knew, such as when a measure passes, there is almost nothing to stop it from becoming law... or to stop the entire nation from sliding down as quickly as its people are willing to fall.

Thankfully, in a Republic, such as ours, where the Constitution trumps the 'Will of the people', sanity and justice have a fighting chance against the heated passions of the moment. It takes extraordinary measures over time, to amend our Constitution, which, if you review some of those which didn't pass, is a very great blessing.

There is no clap-trap involved in insisting on the difference between a Republic and a Democracy; we are a Republic which utilizes democratic procedures, but we are Not a Democracy in any way, shape or form. Painful as that is for proregressives to face up to, and they've been trying to ignore it for a long, long time, and trying to get others to do so as well out of habit, but the Fact remains, we are the one, and not the other.

THIS is what Democracy looks like
When people like the bluberer above whine about the death of Democracy... after losing a Vote, because they lost a vote, you should wonder about what they have in mind as 'Democracy', that just maybe that word doesn't mean what they want you to think it means. What they obviously don't mean by Democracy, is a well ordered system where well mannered and civil people discuss an issue, put it to a vote, and good naturedly abide by the results. That is much more descriptive of a Republic, where the rules come first, and the vote is simply a method of choosing directions within the rules and laws of the system.

No, when you look at the blubberer above, you need to keep in mind that he is standing there, hysterically declaring that Democracy is dead after a vote of the demos, the people, not because the people didn't have a choice - they clearly did, and they chose - he is upset because he didn't get his way. He is upset because he assumed that he was entitled to get his way, and he was sure that his gang had the numbers behind them to force his way upon everyone else, no matter what their opinion might be or whether or not it was right or wrong.

Watch this video of the Wisconsin mobs breaking into their state capital, this is what Democracy looks like, in the minds of the Proregressive Left. This is what the word 'Democracy' means in their minds - getting their way by force.

And that is what I hope to God did die Tuesday night. I doubt it. But it's a nice thought.

The People As Sovereign
There is one other major concept  which our Founders 'got', but which has been conveniently dropped from our books and textbooks by the proregressives in charge of our mis-education. That concept is that a govt functions best in preserving the liberty of its people, when its sovereign is not permitted to abuse his power, when the sovereign cannot act arbitrarily, but must obey the laws himself. And that means that the further removed the from day to day operations the sovereign is, overseeing only high-level executive decisions of how laws are implemented, the better it is for the people and their liberty.

It is no less sensible to distance We The People from the machinery of power, than it is a single man, for both may easily transform themselves into despots through too easy access to power. In a Democracy, We The People come ever closer to exerting their will to power, becoming We The Rabble and fully sovereign, exerting and abusing their power at every electoral turn.

In our Constitutional Republic, We The People are still the sovereign, yet the temptations and corruptions of power are at a cooling distance from us; the machinery of power is operated instead by those we entrust, and watch closely over, keeping each other in check. And in many ways, this is one of the most important or our Constitutions 'Checks and Balances', and whenever We The People relax our guard on those we've placed at the controls of power, or vice versa... we imperil our Republic, and our liberty and our ability to pursue happiness.


Van Harvey said...

I think I make it clear in this post what I mean by a Republic and a Democracy, but for a brief definition, from an earlier post, Nine out of ten dictators agree with Emperor Palpatine: "I love Democracy..."

Look at a thumbnail sketch of Aristotle's Politics (I have some deep disagreements with his political advice in practice, but his analysis is top notch):

When the Sovereign power of the state is held by:

1. One person, for their benefit - we call that a Tyranny
2. Many people for their benefit - we call that an Oligarchy
3. Many people for the benefit of the State - we call that an Aristocracy
4. The Majority of the people for the benefit of the Majority - we call that a Democracy.
...5. The Law, for the purposes of serving the Rights of - not one, or some or of most of the people - but of serving the Rights of all of the people - that form of government we call a Constitutional Republic.

Anonymous said...

It's clear our form of of government is none of those, but a plutocracy -- government by the wealthy, for the wealthy.