By Popular Demand: America Is Not a ‘Democracy’

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Democrats want to undo the 2016 election, they say, to “save the Nation” and protect America from threats to “democracy.” This is crapola. It has always been crapola, and always will be.

From the Constitution, Article IV, Section 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…” Not a “democracy.”

Our country’s founders knew their history. They saw in classical Greek democracy–vividly clear in Thucydides’ history of the war between Athens and Sparta–a recipe for self-destruction. To them “democracy” was a nice name for hysteria. For example: Athens self-destructed, and lost the war with Sparta that they were winning at the time, by picking a fight–for no reason but pure arrogant foolishness–with Syracuse. Athens sent her army to Sicily to attack Syracuse, which was richer and stronger and more populous than Athens. As for the Athenian expedition, no one came home; and before much longer, the Spartans were tearing down Athens’ walls and imposing a puppet government to replace the democracy. Attacking Syracuse wasn’t the only foolishness indulged in by the democracy in the war, but it was the worst folly they could think of.

Our founders wanted nothing to do with democracy. It’s pure majority rule: and not only does the majority sometimes get completely carried away with some self-destructive project from which no reason can deter them, but it also has a habit of riding rough-shod over the minority. Just imagine a whole country run as Democrats now run our House of Representatives, and you’ll get the picture.

Our founders also studied the example set by Rome. The Romans had a republic. Instead of rule by mere majority, Roman government was operated by elected representatives, with two main branches of government (executive and legislative) and a system of checks and balances. The Greek historian Polybius praised the Roman system for being more stable and more just than anything they had in Greece.

But Rome couldn’t keep her republic. Our founders knew that, and decided to improve on Rome’s model by adding a third branch of government, the judiciary, and by writing everything down, with changes only to be made by a clearly-defined amendment process. They also tried to protect the states from being engulfed by the central government. We’re still working on that today. The great weakness of Rome’s republic was that it was never finished; it was always a work in progress; there was always an element of making it up as they went along. In framing our Constitution, this was what our founders labored to avoid.

And so, you see, the United States is not a democracy but, by law and custom, a republic. The two terms are not interchangeable.

For anyone to prattle on and on about “America’s democracy” is either ignorant, dishonest, or both. We do not have a democracy, and heaven forbid we ever do.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

10 responses to “By Popular Demand: America Is Not a ‘Democracy’

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