What democracy looks like

Ever wonder why the founders eschewed establishing a democracy? Ever wonder why so many politicians these days revel in the use of the term in their chauvinistic speeches? Because taken to its logical end, this is what democracy looks like.

At least 12 buildings were “total losses” after being set ablaze in Ferguson, Missouri, overnight, police said. Looters also targeted some businesses after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer who shot unarmed teen Michael Brown. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said early Tuesday that the “fabric of this community” had been “torn apart” by the violence. He added that many of the businesses affected “may never come back.”

The appeal to voting is an appeal to democratic mob rule. Staging an election with open polling is nothing more than a polite riot.

The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

This exchange was recorded by Constitution signer James McHenry in a diary entry that was later reproduced in the 1906 American Historical Review. Yet in more recent years, Franklin has occassionally been misquoted as having said, “A democracy, if you can keep it.” The NRA’s Charleton Heston quoted Franklin this way, for example, in a CBS 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace that was aired on December 20, 1998.

This misquote is a serious one, since the difference between a democracy and a republic is not merely a question of semantics but is fundamental. The word “republic” comes from the Latin res publica — which means simply “the public thing(s),” or more simply “the law(s).” “Democracy,” on the other hand, is derived from the Greek words demos and kratein, which translates to “the people to rule.” Democracy, therefore, has always been synonymous with majority rule.

I wish I had understood that sooner.

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About elmoshangnaster

The name's a dodge simply because 1) on the internet I can be whomever I choose, and 2) I'm just paranoid enough to keep scoundrels and government out of my business and don't care to sort 'em out from the decent folk. My blog, my opinions. Don't like 'em? Sure, kindly tell me about your far-fetched, idiotic beliefs...kindly. In the end we'll neither of us change the others mind, but I will take the time to read your arguments if they're thought out in a rational fashion and not full of hyperbole. I'm a Christian human being. It's not a flavor or color preference, it's who and what I am. Don't like it? The above considerations apply. I'm not about to waste anyone's time or mine shoving Christianity down their gullet if they demonstrate even the least resistance. When someone's ready to hear I'm only too glad to share. The Gravatar? It's Jenny Lake in the Tetons near Jackson, WY. If God had a house that's where it would be.

Posted on 11/25/2014, in Commentary, Government, Society. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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