The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Democracy...Not!

I keep hearing people, who should know better, refer to our form of government as a democracy. Perhaps they slept through their ninth-grade civics class; you know, that boring course in which we learned all about our representative republic with its three branches of government, its separation of powers, and it's constitutional guarantees and bill of rights. One thing I learned from that class is that our government is in no way a democracy.

Indeed, I dislike the very concept of democracy, never have liked it and never will. Fortunately our founding fathers felt the same way. They believed that unrestrained democracy -- that is, rule by the people without constitutional restraints -- leads only to a mobocracy. Here are just a few thoughts on democracy by our founders and others:

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." -- Benjamin Franklin

"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -- John Adams

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%." -- Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." -- Thomas Jefferson

"We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of democracy...it has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity." -- Alexander Hamilton, in the Federalist Papers

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." (A good reason for the 2nd Amendment.) -- attributed to Benjamin Franklin

"Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos." -- John Marshall

"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 death." -- James Madison

"Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated." -- G. K. Chesterton

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." -- Winston Churchill

"Democracy is the road to socialism." -- Karl Marx

...and so, to believe we govern ourselves in a democracy is to ignore the document that defines our form of governance: the Constitution. Of course some of our political leadership would prefer we do exactly that. It's much easier to govern when those doing the governing can ignore the fact that the people are sovereign and that the Constitution protects the people's rights and restrains the government.

If you haven't already done so, read the Federalist Papers.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:On the road in Georgia

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