Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our Idiotic Fixation on "Democracy"

Democracy a misnomer for what was created; by Allen Davis; Reporter-Times October 22, 2007.

From the Reporter-Times:

Many people with whom I talk about politics with are stunned by my constant assertions that America is not supposed to be a democracy. I credit public education for this. The fact is that most people are almost totally ignorant of history and completely brain-dead about the Constitution.

Our Founding Fathers did not give us a democracy, nor did they intend to. They were very well-educated men (especially by today's standards), and they knew, historically, democracies had never worked, even on the small scales when they had been attempted. They knew if democracy wouldn't work on the small scale of a city-state (like Athens), then it certainly wouldn't work on the large scale of 13 separate states in a federalist union.

What we were given was better: a representative republic.

Prior to the War of 1812, our republic was very egalitarian. The vote belonged almost solely to white males who owned property. In the years afterward, a movement began to expand the vote so we would be more "democratic." The franchise was expanded to include more white men, especially in the western "expansion" states. During Jackson's administration, people began talking about America being a "democracy." Jackson's disastrous economic policies led directly to America's first "Great Depression" in 1837 because Jackson was seeking more democracy for America, which resulted in economic ruin due to class warfare against those who had previously held power.

A deep study history and our Constitution leads to the logical conclusion that true democracy would be a complete disaster for our nation. True democracy is nothing more than legalized mob rule.

I cringe when I hear "majority rule." That's democracy. Our Constitution actually avoids majority rule in our system of government in order to protect the rights of the minority. If our Forefathers had intended to give us democracy, there would be no provisions for "super-majorities" in over-riding presidential vetoes or for passing Constitutional amendments. Otherwise, we would have a dictatorship of the majority, and that thought scares my socks off.

The Founders would be aghast at the existence of the 17th Amendment, an atrocity that guts the intent of the original Constitution that the House of Representatives directly represent the people, and that the Senate be the voice of the individual states. In 1913, that all changed when the election of Senators was taken away from the states and handed over to the people. That year also marked the beginning of the modern age of lobbyists. And corruption.

In the years following the passage of the 17th Amendment, the very concept of "states' rights" has become a joke. To the left, any mention of "states' rights" instantly marks one as a radical nut-case who probably harbors strong sympathies for the old Confederacy. It is beyond argument that power has flowed inexorably away from the local and state levels to the federal government ever since. I contend that in nearly every instance, that flow of power has been unconstitutional. The very existence of the Department of Education is a prime example.

States are constantly brow-beaten by Washington into following federal guidelines over everything imaginable. That or lose federal funding, another subject that raises my blood pressure. Why should Hoosiers only get a 65 return on every dollar they send to the feds for money that is spent here in Indiana?

What have we gotten over the last century for more "democracy?" More powerful and more intrusive government. More and higher taxes. Frankly, I'm insulted that anyone would think we're getting a decent return on this "investment" in democracy.

Instead of our idiotic fixation on "democracy," what we need is much more emphasis on liberty, on respect for the individual and his ability to create and spread prosperity; the need to foster and promote the concept that government is the cause of more problems than it solves. That most government social programs have been dismal failures which create an ever-greater number of dependents upon the government and its largesse (which is exactly what the left wants so it can attain, keep and extend political power).

Instead of constantly looking for Big Brother to bail us out of every single problem, we need not only more self-reliance, but also a strong local social fabric that relies on faith-based initiatives and private sources. They worked with far better efficiency than anything in history, especially since LBJ's "Great Society." Since 1965, we've spent $5 trillion to battle poverty, only to have more of it than ever. This is only one example of what "democracy" has given us.

Can anyone say "Constitutional representative government?"

Davis is a native of Indianapolis who served as a GOP Precinct Committeeman for 16 years and moved to Martinsville in 2000. He attended David Lipscomb College, where he majored in American history. He currently works as a writer, editor and freelance graphic artist.

Read the entire article here.

Comment: While there are many historical reasons for why we are where we are today, the single biggest issue that prevents us from returning to the form of government Mr. Davis describes is the political gain the political class gains from raising taxes, spending money on pork, and frankly unneeded government. Until we, the citizenry of the United States, stop voting for more hand outs, more stealing from our pay checks, and more lies from both political parties we will never restore America. This is where we have to begin; with our closest elected officials. It will take some time, but step by step, first ridding our government of the folks that do not have the same norms we do, is the first and greatest step toward this goal. Then and only then can we think about repealing the 17th Amendment.

Cross posted at One Oar in the Water


JohnJ said...

I'm really surprised at how we disagree on this but we agree that the 17th Amendment should be repealed.

Did you have a better form of government in mind? One that, perhaps, empowers elites to make decisions for the people?

Brian said...

The better form of government is simply republicanism as the founders intended it to be. The changes in our government toward greater democracy have not been made as a result of the people, but by the elites. Look to the period leading up to the 16th and 17th Amendments and the enacting off the Federal Reserve, and you will see that it was the elites in this country that pushed and campaigned the hardest for these changes. It was the ignorant, gullible, and selfish population that went along with the measures under the guise of “greater democracy” and their ignorant envy of the wealthy.

The elites use democracy as a means of increasing their power and as the method to remove republicanism and limited decentralized government. One should never be so foolish to think that the elites in this country are allowing for greater democracy. They fear the population as much as any “republican,” but they see the future in terms of their own elitist views rather than the populations. As such, they are slowly modifying our laws so that they can make the changes easily from Washington and New York, than having to go through the 50 states.

In actuality the citizens of the United States had greater power and more democracy before the Civil War than after, excluding the right for women to vote. Since the Civil War our country is moving toward greater oligarchic control. Don’t be fooled; democracy is only an illusion.

JohnJ said...

It is interesting that we disagree on what "republicanism" means, too. See, I disagree that we as a country have made many great changes towards democracy. Of course, this is not what you really mean, as you go on to clarify. I agree that we have moved away from democracy. And I do agree that this is not a result of the people, but of the elites. One sad fact of the matter is that democracy demands incremental changes, and we seek great, sweeping changes.

You see, the elites cannot "use" democracy, because democracy depowers the elites. It is antithetical to their nature. But they can promise democracy. However, democracy functions as a local government; it works markedly less well the further government is removed from the people. This is what I see as "republicanism": dividing up the power of governance and subjecting the social contract to the invisible hand of competition. It does seem as though too many people are willing to sell their votes in exchange for taking away others' right to live as they want.
"Democracy" is not an illusion. It is just slandered. The word itself means only what the speaker wants it to mean, apparently. Believe me; I'm not fooled by the rhetoric. I completely agree that we've moved away from democracy since the Civil War. Of course, moving away from democracy means that we are moving towards an oligarchy, because oligarchy in some form is the only alternative to democracy.
You sound a lot like Judge Napolitano. Is this a coincidence?