It’s a nine-letter word. It starts with the letter “D”. People mistakenly believe it is synonymous with liberty. Any guesses?????
The 1928 Army Field Manual defined democracy as: “a government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meetings or any other form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude towards property is communistic-negative property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. It results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.”
That doesn’t sound very much like liberty, does it? In fact, it sounds pretty unattractive. In 1952, that Army Field Manual was changed, and the previous definition omitted.
Personally, I much prefer a Constitutional Representative Republic, or republic for short. What’s the difference? I thought you’d never ask!
A republic is based on the rule of law. We are governed by a Constitution whose purpose is to assure that our rights are not infringed upon by the government. In fact, said document severely curtails the power allowed the government. The people are sovereign in a republic, not the politicians. The people are to elect statesmen to represent them in carrying out the limited functions of government and to see that the people’s rights are not infringed upon. Very little legislation and regulation is required in a true republic. A republic tends to foster a nation of innovation, personal responsibility, creativity, self-sufficiency, generosity, peace, justice, education, and general well-being. Why is this? Perhaps because people are free to pursue their ideas and dreams without unnecessary interference. As long as you do not infringe upon the rights of others, you are free to live your life as your conscience directs. What a novel idea!
Speaking of rights, another common misconception is that our rights come from the Constitution. No one can grant to another that which is not his to give. Our rights are God-given. Handed to us by our Creator. Every person is entitled to the same rights because they were given to us by He who is the God of all. No man can ever take those rights from you. They may oppress you, they may stifle your rights, but they can NEVER take them from you, because they are from God alone! The Constitution was a document written by men in an attempt to ensure that the new American government would not infringe upon the God-given rights of the people, as every other government on Earth had. It was an imperfect, but nonetheless, brilliant document. Sadly, we did not heed the advice of Thomas Jefferson, and bind down the government with the chains of the Constitution. Instead we gave them free-reign to trample the rights of any whom they chose, so long as we were not terribly inconvenienced ourselves.
It has been said that in a democracy, 51% of the people trample the rights of the other 49%. An accurate assessment. Thomas Jefferson said, “The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.” Jefferson was not a fan of democracy, but a champion of liberty. John Adams noted, “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” His son, John Quincy Adams admonished us, “Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” How could we explain our current state to him? Benjamin Franklin had an amusing analogy for democracy: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” By now you get the point I am trying to make. The early American patriots and founders loathed democracy and championed liberty. That is why they established a republic.
However, republics are hard to maintain. History has given us examples of this. Traditionally, a nation regresses from republic, to democracy, to imperialism, to dictatorship. That is why when asked what kind of government we had been given Benjamin Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Prophetic words indeed. In fact I would argue that we are firmly in the imperialism phase of government. The Great American Empire has been established, but it will surely fall. Make no mistake. Empires always fall in the end. As Thomas Jefferson noted, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Words more true now than ever.
The tyranny that we face in America today is more than tenfold the tyranny that sparked the American Revolution. The reasons cited in the Declaration of Independence for breaking with England, can be cited in reference to our own government today. Samuel Adams said, “If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” That time has come. Thomas Paine noted, “It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.” From the Declaration of Independence we read, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it….” It is our right, even our DUTY to set things to right. Or, shall we choose to leave it to our children? I’ll quote Thomas Paine again in response, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”
Mark Twain observed, “In times of change, the Patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.” Men and women with the character to be patriots are sorely lacking today. We are far too comfortable in our apathy. After all, they haven’t come for us, why get involved? Make no mistake, if you attempt to hold on to even a shred of liberty, they WILL come for you. By then, there may be no one left to defend you, because you did not choose to defend those who would have come to your aid. To once again quote Mr. Franklin, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
Stay tuned for the next post in the series addressing God in government.