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Of The People – Democratic Principles and Democracy

A Republic, a Democracy, or a combination thereof, can only offset the swing to bad government as long as they do safe and stable things.

Of The People - Democratic Principles and Democracy

Of The People – Democratic Principles and Democracy

Part 1

By: Boyd Evan White

When talking politics, it is common to hear references to “Our Democracy” and “Western Democracy.” Those phrases are oblique; they are hypnotic attempts to sound altruistic with the further insinuation that if you don’t use them then you must believe in privileged people and subsections of society.

Since the U.S. Constitution clearly guarantees that States will have a Republican form of government it is technically easy to refute the references to “Our Democracy” and “Western Democracy”; moreover, the words Democracy and Democratic do not occur in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, or the Bill of Rights.

But then there is a sticking point; we do implement Democratic Principles within our government and there are significant attempts to make our government “Of the people, by the people, for the people.” That is what makes the implementation of Democratic Principles an interesting topic; a topic that deserves to be understood fully; not dismissed because some base hypnotists seek to baffle us by spouting the irritating phrases “Our Democracy” and “Western Democracy.”

Democratic Principals

So diverse are the possible variations the phrases “Our Democracy” and “Western Democracy” don’t do justice to the complexity; especially in an international context when comparing one country’s implementation with another’s.

What does a person who believes in Democratic Principles really get? “One Person One Vote”, which provides individual respect and a certain social equality in that every other qualified person also has one person one vote. Positions of authority and Bills/Referendums/Initiatives are decided by voting and not by fiat. A person is not guaranteed victory; they are not guaranteed equal outcomes; all they are promised is the process by which our society makes decisions is open to as large a portion of the populace as possible. And the knowledge they won’t have to do obeisance to privileged authority.

Consider how some of the options of Democratic Principles have been used in history. The values applied have in many cases been downright misanthropic. But does that mean Democratic Principles are the wellspring of the misanthropy? No, it means that some group has superseded fair Democratic Principles for their own immoral ends. What are the details, then, of how you imagine Democratic Principles are most fair?

Every one of those options for Democratic Principles have a history and multiple stories behind each one. Some that inspire hope; some that have been used wickedly. A whole book could be written to cover this interesting topic.

And now, what about this thing called Democracy?

There are two major arguments against Democracy:

  1. Once the majority finds out they can vote themselves money from the treasury; they will; leading to fiscal ruin. “A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a pure Democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy (taxing and spending), always followed by a Totalitarian government.” – {Multiple Attributations}
  2. The majority can oppress the minority.
    James Madison, June 26, 1787, Federal Convention
    “….No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this Country, but symptoms, of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarters to give notice of the future danger. How is this danger to be guarded against? on republican principles? How is the danger in all cases of interested coalitions to oppress the minority to be guarded against? ….”

One benchmark of the value of a Republic must be that it will do things that a Democracy WOULD NOT DO. If a Republic does what a Democracy would do, then, the value of a Republic is impugned. The onus of a Republic is to do BETTER than what a Democracy would do.

What would a Democracy govern like if there was a 90% quorum with a 66% positive vote requirement to pass? We always hear the criticisms of a Democracy but when are the details ever mentioned? What if there was a 100% quorum and 75% positive vote requirement to pass? One thing is for sure in that regard, anything that passed would indeed reflect the people at large; for better or worse.

And now, the great trend away from political maturity is exemplified by this graphic that has been appearing on Fox News:

What are we to make of that declaration? Are we supposed to give them credit they don’t really mean “Democracy”? What we are supposed to interpret that as is something like, “The glorious recognition of democratic principles that is close to ‘Of the people, by the people, for the people’.”

Which brings us to another irritating phrase, “This is what Democracy looks like.” If voter participation does not reach 75% then only a partial foundation has been achieved in exercising Democracy or Democratic Principles. To claim those terms when the percentage that votes in affirmation is regularly around 20% is to take credit for something that has not been earned. Yes, if you want a Democracy or you want Democratic Principles, they are things to be earned and not just spoken.

A Republic, a Democracy, or a combination thereof, can only offset the swing to bad government as long as they do safe and stable things.

Government is either directed by those with special privileges or it is a reflection of the people at large; the methods of Democratic Principles seem best suited to support the latter. May God always protect us from descending into the belief a mortal human being should be set up in a position of authority above all other humans. No, I am not espousing Democracy as a form of government; however, I am espousing that at the very least a Republic should do better!

 

 

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