Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Note: A few years back I published this article describing the difference between a “Republic”, which the United States was founded as, and a “Democracy”, which today it is most referred to as. With another 4th of July approaching I am taking this opportunity to release it again, as it is important that we never let the distinction between these two terms and political philosophies blur…Please read on…MA
Another 4th of July will soon be upon us. As it is our national holiday, celebrating the birth of our nation, I think it is an appropriate time to make a few comments on the state of our Republic, so here we go:
You dont hear the United States mentioned much as a Republic anymore. Instead the favored term today, and that spoken of by most politicians as the ideal political philosophy, is Democracy. President Obama refers to it frequently in his speeches as did Presidents Bush and Clinton before him. Even Republican Senator John McCain, not too long ago when he was running for President, called for something entitled the League of Democratic Nations.
You must realize, however, that this country was not founded as a Democracy. When you said the Pledge of Allegiance as a kid you didnt put your hand over your heart and say, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Democracy for which it stands did you? No if you said the Pledge of Allegiance you used the word Republic, and there is a vast difference between these two types of government.
When you go back in history and discover what the Founders had in mind, you find that they disdained Democracy as a form of government. Many of these men were classically educated and were familiar with the City States of ancient Greece and their efforts at and the consequences of their use of Democracy as a form of government. The Founders comments reflect this.Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton, one of the framers of the Constitution and a chief author of the Federalist Papers , as well as the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, said the following:
We are a Republican government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or the extremes of Democracy.
Adding to this was Boston patriot and Declaration of Independence signer Samuel Adams, who said:
Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.
James Madison, who, along with Hamilton, helped to write the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, added:
Democracy is the most vile form of government democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
And leave it to Benjamin Franklin to come up with the essence of it in describing Democracy, which he summed up this way:
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner.
Which brings us to the heart of the matter, and the difference between Republic and Democracy. Not to be too dramatic about it, but in the Republic envisioned by our Founders, the two wolves approaching the sheep in Franklins quote above would have found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun. They would think twice about violating the rights of the sheep.Benjamin Franklin
You get the point here? In the example above, the right of the sheep to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. (As an aside, I firmly believe that when the Founders stated in the 2nd amendment that, A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed., they were most worried about their own government doing the infringing, and so ensured that the people would have recourse to this by ensuring they had guns.)
The central difference between a Republic and a Democracy is that in a Republic the basic law, agreements and guarantees of rights as expressed in those founding documents are not up to a vote. Even if you are in the extreme minority, one black or one red person in a sea of white; or one white person in Harlem or Watts, these rights cannot be voted away from you. These rights are yours by birth and no one can take them from you, even if a vote of 99 to 1 says it can.
In fact, the purpose of the government, as stated in the Declaration of Independence and re-stated in our own State of Washington constitution, affirms this. As written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.
I wonder how many of our Government officials really know that? How many of them on survey, if asked What is the purpose of government?, would answer with what Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration?
Based on the evidence we see about us and what we see happening to our country, not many would.Dwight Eisenhower
We citizens of the United States today find ourselves in a precarious situation. Our freedoms are on the precipice and we need to wake up and realize it. Some of them are already gone. The United States government has gone so far off of its original purpose that it spends untold millions today spying on its own citizens before they have committed any wrong, and then justifies it as national security. Since World War II we have witnessed the rise of the National Security State in our nation and with it the attendant loss and threatened loss of our precious heritage of freedom. It is not for nothing that former President Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation about these exact dangers in his farewell address to the nation in January of 1961. He had seen that rise of the National Security apparatus during his administration and recognized it as incompatible with our nations traditions and principles of freedom.
This may not be a pleasant subject to confront as our nation approaches its 239th birthday; but confront it we must, or before too many more Fourths of July go by our once guaranteed freedoms and rights will be but a distant memory in some revisionist history book.
Lets not let that happen.
In the end its up to you and me.
Copyright © 2015
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved
The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers (originally called the Federalist) are a series of 85 essays authored chiefly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison for the purpose of explaining to people the proposed U.S. Constitution in an effort to get the States to ratify it. They were written between October, 1787 and August, 1788