…many of today’s politicians, from the President down,
insist on referring to our form of government as a democracy when we all know
the Founders unquestionably created a constitutional republic? In
fact, when establishing America, our Founding Fathers, with their sharp
political instinct, clearly avoided unchecked democracy.
As James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution, wrote in
"Essay #10" of The
Federalist Papers: "...
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." Why then do
modern politicians continually mislead everyone?
Before suggesting what I believe to be the simple answer,
let’s review the fundamental concepts of a democracy and a republic.
(The month we celebrate our Declaration of Independence is a perfect time
for resurrecting traditionalism and reviewing good old American truth.)
In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or
through their elected representatives and the law is basically whatever the
majority or their elected representatives determine it to be.
Established laws don’t necessarily reflect the restrained objectivity
of constitutional law. They can and often do, as we’ve seen in America, embody the
unrestrained subjectivity of political power.
Any imposed restraint is on the individual citizen not the government and
rights are considered privileges granted by government.
The real danger there is as I’ve written before—any privilege granted
by man (government) can be taken away by man (government).
James Madison described democracy very well when he said, "…there
is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the
contrast that with a constitutional republic.
John Adams captured the fundamental essence when he said,
"You have rights [under a constitutional republic] antecedent to all
earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws;
rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."
In summary, the law in a democracy is whatever the mob or
their elected mobsters aka representatives say it is; unrestrained by a power
higher than themselves—the total disregard of our immigration laws by both a
mob and many of their elected mobsters being just one of many examples.
In a functioning constitutional republic however, there exists that
higher law i.e. a Constitution to which all men must adhere and any restraint
imposed by that law is imposed on the government not the governed from whom
government derives its limited, specific power.
In other words, the former is based more on the rule of man while the
latter is based more on the rule of law.
As a very sharp legal friend characterized it, “In
a Constitutional Republic, the government may do only that which it is expressly
authorized to do. A Representative Democracy may do anything
the People (or their elected surrogates) wish done, unless expressly forbidden
(and there is considerable effort to soften those limits)”
In my view, the unvarnished reason elected officials
propagate the illusion that we are a democracy rather than a republic is both
simple as well as politically self-serving.
Politicians can clearly get away with much more under a malleable
representative democracy than a strong constitutional republic and the ruling
elite everywhere always prefers unrestrained over restrained.
When you buy the illusion, politicians have deceitfully
enhanced their authority by disingenuous slight of hand and can seriously flex
their muscle without all those pesky little restraints imposed by the
Constitution—and folks unwittingly let them get away with it!
However, if they were uncompromisingly held bound to the Founding
Father’s original concepts of our republic, they’d be constitutionally
constrained and couldn’t conjure up some phony justification for their
shenanigans by proclaiming “it’s the
will of the people!”
an honest constitutional republic, the rule of law (Constitution) always trumps
the will of the mob and cannot easily be twisted to satisfy personal ambitions
or facilitate political schemes. But
such a restrictive leash jerked around the neck of our politicians by a truly
enforced Constitution would just never do now would it?
Here’s a suggestion—whenever the chance arises to
correct anyone referring to our form of government as a democracy, do
it—especially with children and politicians.
I love introducing naive youngsters to stark reality and enjoy watching
politicians trying to squirm out of the ambush.
Truth is, I’ve found when talking to most modern politicos about the
Constitution, they’ve come to the battle with only about half a basic load of
ammunition on board.
Just the view from my saddle…
Contact Colonel Dan: email@example.com
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