It is interesting how much the concept of “democracy” is promoted. You will hear many references to America as a democracy. It is said that America attempts to spread democracy around the world. Listen to politicians and Presidents, they are quick to refer to the U.S. as a democracy, but words about the Republic are rarely ever uttered. So, what are we, a Democracy or Republic?
The most prominent reminder anymore is the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands…”
The truth is, America is in fact a Constitutional Republic. Our Constitution clearly states it in Article IV, section 4. However, there was a push against the limits of the Constitution in the early 20th century by the progressive movement. What is now more commonly referred to as modern liberalism (not to be confused with Classical Liberalism, which is something else entirely).
This push included perverting the legal arguments in regards to the construction of the Constitution from “original intent” to the concept of a “living Constitution”. This undermined the Republic by bastardizing the contract itself. No longer did lawmakers have to go through the onerous task of changing the supreme law with amendments; they simply had to reinterpret the document to end up with a whole new meaning.
The other push that weakened our Republic was for the concept of democracy. A properly controlled Republic has many restrictions against the government. Ours in particular originally gave an overwhelming majority of power to the States and the people, in accordance with the concept of self governance, leaving very few and defined powers to the Federal government. A democracy on the other hand is simply mob rule, where the limits of government are arbitrary and undefined.
By first undermining the meaning of the Constitution and the limits against the Federal government, then by using populist appeals for democracy and perverting the phrase “we the people”; Politicians have succeeded in concentrating power in DC by simply promising to give away more transferred possessions to the voters with the justification they were performing under the “will of the people” and the “good of the whole”.
The truth is our representatives are to FIRST, abide by the Constitution and its limits. Then vote with the will of the people or constituency they represent.
The Constitution and our republican form of government (not to be confused with the political party) were built around the concept of Natural rights and Self Governance. Our State and local governments were to protect our natural rights to Life, Liberty and Property. It was to protect the minority from the whims of the majority. Where 99% of people could not take away the natural rights of the 1%. Keep in mind, the smallest minority is of course, the individual. The Federal government was to protect the mutual interest of the States.
That begs the question, what “rights”? Do we have a right to a paycheck, a car, a house, food, education, health care, etc? NO!
Our Natural rights are very simple.
Life: No one can unjustly take your life, that is murder.*
Liberty: No one can unjustly take your liberty, that is slavery.*
Property: No one can take your justly acquired property, that is stealing.**
*”Unjustly”, meaning without due process of law and regard to our natural rights. If I threaten someone’s life, I forfeit my own right to life as I can be killed in self defense. If I commit crimes (violate someone’s natural rights), I forfeit my right to Liberty.
**”Justly acquired property” simply means property cannot be acquired by theft, bribes, force, fraud or other violations of natural rights to property. It must be acquired through work or voluntary exchange.
Of course, this concept of natural rights and true Liberty has been forsaken. The government has acted as an agent of theft. It has been organized into an instrument of legalized plunder as Frederic Bastiat described it in his brilliant essay, “The Law”.
“Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways; hence, there are an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, bonuses, subsidies, incentives, the progressive income tax, free education, the right to employment, the right to profit, the right to wages, the right to relief, the right to the tools of production, interest free credit, etc., etc. And it the aggregate of all these plans, in respect to what they have in common, legal plunder, that goes under the name of socialism.”
“But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply, see if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”
This applies to all entitlement programs, social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare etc. It also includes corporate welfare such as subsidies, bailouts, government insurance etc. Again, this has all been done in the name of the “good of the whole” and “democracy”.
When our founders wrote “We the People” in the US Constitution, they did not mean this in a populist sense. It was affirming the fact that the people, more specifically the individual, is the ultimate sovereign in any government. This was taken from the enlightenment writings by John Locke and others that inspired our nation and is described in our Declaration of Independence. The concept that people existed before government and therefore our Natural rights also existed before government. In that, the only legitimate purpose of government was to protect our natural rights and any authority beyond that purpose or any authority of government that violates the natural rights of its citizens was arbitrary power. It was the duty of the people then to overthrow such power and establish a new government within its proper bounds.
We were to be a Republic, a society of laws, not of men. But, the dumbing down of our educational system, which is now primarily a product of government, has resulted in a loss of these vital concepts. The concept and philosophy behind true Liberty and the proper role of government, which are made self evident with proper education in history, economics and philosophy, are so loosely gathered in people’s minds that politicians are able to assemble them in any way they please, so that what they say appears to be the truth, but in reality, it is only a perversion of it.
America has been duped. If we are ever to see a true restoration of our Republic, the American people must take it upon themselves to study and learn these important concepts. If we think our salvation is in politicians or a some great leader, we are only fooling ourselves. The restoration of the Republic depends upon the American people.
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The biggest threat to freedom is not communism, fascism, socialism or despotism. It is the apathetic beneficiaries of liberty who are indifferent to freedom itself.”
— University of Common Sense.org