IS THE U.S. A DEMOCRACY OR A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC, OR…HAVE WE MORPHED INTO AN OLIGARCHY?
This blog was originally posted on October 26, of last year, but with the current political primary elections taking place right now, I think it bears posting again.
There is a notion being bandied about these days(mostly by liberals) that the United States is a democracy. Some have even erroneously referred to our system of government as a representative democracy. Are we a democracy or a representative republic—or have we morphed into an oligarchy? Let’s explore these questions a bit further.
democracy—a noun An organization where everyone is treated equally and has equal rights. 2.) Government by the people; supreme power invested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly by a system of representation. 3.) Absence of hereditary or arbitrary distinction of privilege.
Such is the definition of a democracy given by The Online Dictionary and Merriam Webster.
According to an essay entitled, An Important Distinction: Democracy vs. Republic–author unlisted—written in the American Ideal of 1776: The twelve Basic American Principles, the definition of democracy as stated by the sources I mentioned above, may be overly simplified. According to my understanding of this author’s interpretation, democracy has a double meaning, majority unlimited and majority limited. One is a specific type of government, the other is a specific form of government. A majority unlimited democracy, by its very nature of majority rule, can be tyrannical.
Majority unlimited democracy represents the majority unlimited. In other words, the majority rules, period. It is omnipotent with no regard for the rights of the minority, i.e., the example of three foxes and two lambs voting on the proposition of “what’s for dinner?” The majority vote of the three foxes has no regard for the rights of the three sheep. The majority rules. This is true for both types of majority unlimited democracy—direct democracy, as in the previous example, or representative democracy as in the English Parliament. The English people live under the majority vote of the House of Commons with little or no redress. The majority’s power is absolute and unlimited, which opens the door to unlimited tyranny by the majority.
The Founding Fathers were searching for a type of popular democracy that would ensure power to the people and still protect the minority from majority tyranny. They accomplished this with a different form of democracy—a representative republic which is still a type of democracy but with restraints on the power of the majority. Hence, our Constitution, and our representative republic. This Constitution provided safeguards for protecting the rights of the minority against the omnipotent power of the majority as was the case with direct and representative majority unlimited democracies. Since the Constitution is the absolute law of the land, every piece of legislation passed in the Congress by a majority must pass Constitutional authority. This provision was designed to prevent the omnipotent power of the majority from trampling on the rights of the minority. It’s purpose is to control the majority; primarily to protect the individual’s God-given unalienable rights, and liberties of the people in general by putting restraints on the actions of majority rule in the Congress.
But unfortunately, as the Progressive movement gained more power, Congress began delegating their responsibility over to bureaucrats. They learned they could pass a simple law, or create a new agency, and then pass the rule writing process onto unelected bureaucrats. Congress also granted to these bureaucracies the power of judge, jury, and executioner with the power to impose massive fines without a trial. In many instances these bureaucrats wrote excessively egregious and punitive regulations(ignoring private property rights) that forced businesses and individuals into expensive court battles for redress. Hence, our move toward that of an oligarchy.
Our original government came about as described by James Madison in Federalist, number 10, when he pointed out that through the centuries democracy was erroneously regarded as a form of government, rather than a type of government. Madison’s quote: “Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”
Now let’s explore oligarchy, a bit more.
Oligarchy—a noun, a form of government in which all power is invested in a few persons, or in a dominant class or clique; a government by the few. 2.) A state or organization so ruled. Unfortunately, I believe we have regressed back into an oligarchy where “snob-rule” of the elite, and the “mob rule” of the majority prevails in both chambers of our Congress, and in the bureaucratic agencies and the courts, as well. Our Constitution is being shredded daily. Hardly anyone, not even the courts, pays attention to our founding document anymore. We live under regulations that faceless bureaucrats wrote and administer. I don’t recall who said it, whether it was James Madison, or John Adams, and I paraphrase: Our Constitutional protection will only prevail so long as the people remain moral and true to its tenets.
Our path to becoming an oligarchy began to pick up steam back in 1912 when Woodrow Wilson was elected president. He was instrumental in getting the Progressive movement up and running. Theodore Roosevelt was the first Progressive president, but it wasn’t until Wilson’s time that it began to take hold. Later, after World War I, the country was living high on the hog (“a chicken in every pot, and two cars in every garage”) was the slogan when the Great Depression came on the scene. Democrats saw the Depression as a godsend. In order to get elected, they started pushing the Democrat Party as the party of the people, the party of the little guy. The Republican Party, they said was the party of the rich. So with the help of their allies in the media, the Progressives (i.e. Democrats) began their ruse on the American people, and a good many of them fell for it. They fell in line just like Lemmings. The sad part of all this is, the establishment Republicans of today are now a party to this scheme, the same as the Democrats.
The scheme behind the Progressives plan was to gain control of the people. People fell for it, and sadly about fifty percent of the population are still following the progressives like a pack of Lemmings. Free health care, free college tuition, expanded food stamps for illegal aliens, social security benefits for illegal aliens, free hospital emergency care for the poor and illegal immigrants; guaranteed job protection, guaranteed wage control, and free food stamps for everybody. The list goes on and on, and on. This all sounds good and very humanitarian, but their “ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and I think most who are reading this post will agree. Who’s going to pay for all this largesse? The standard mantra is: “Well…them rich folk, of course.” What happens when the rich are taxed so heavily that they aren’t rich anymore?
With promises like the ones above, there is always a catch; and that catch is more often than not, a trade of freedom for security. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, and, again, I paraphrase: Those who would be willing to trade freedom for security, deserve neither freedom nor security.
Total security breaks the human spirit; makes people dependent, and dependency ultimately destroys self-respect, and without self-respect, we have nothing. We become like sheep; follow the leader. This country became great because early on, the Founders recognized self-reliance was the key to success. Self-reliance feeds the human spirit, develops self-respect and self-confidence. It all goes back to the old axiom, “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The Founding Fathers understood this, and they realized that a government governs best when it governs least. The trouble, as I see it, is that what the Progressives are shooting for, with all their so-called humanitarian hyperbole, is to make us wards of the state; subjects instead of citizens. They love the power it affords them. The people allow themselves to suffer under the resultant oppression for so long, then they rebel and start the process of securing their freedom all over again.
It all goes back to two undeniable truths, man’s innate desire for freedom, and human nature as expressed in Professor Alexander Tytlers’ circle of bondage. He wrote that as soon as the people learn they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury,(which the Progressives promise) a free society begins to crumble. It happens in eight stages. While in bondage, a people develop a spiritual relationship with their creator; from this spirituality comes courage, they fight and gain their freedom. With freedom comes prosperity; human nature being what it is, prosperity breeds selfishness and greed. From there they move to apathy. (We’ve already entered the apathy phase. We’re not paying attention to what is happening to our republic.) From apathy, they move to dependency. I think we’re close to the dependency phase with all the promises the current politicians are making. From dependency, we move back into bondage, where the Colonists were under King George III.
I told my youngest daughter when she was ten years old (she is now 40) that I was certain that her generation, or her children’s generation would have to fight another revolutionary war for freedom. I stand by that prediction today. The metamorphism away from freedom is steadily progressing. Whether we want to admit it, or not, I believe we’re already an oligarchy.
The next step is monarchy or totalitarianism and bondage. And the irony of it all is that those who are streaming to the United States looking freedom and the better life, are ultimately leaping from the frying pan into the fire, because in a few years if we continue on our present course, we will be just like the countries they are leaving.
Check out my latest novel. Titus Coppard and the revolutionists faced the same question we now face. Read the novel and see how they solved the problem. It’s available in print version at amazon.com and barnes&noble.com. It’s also available on all five e-reader devices. Enjoy.
P.S. See flyer below.