Go Out To Lunch, and Make it Worthy of Democracy

An uncritical electorate will choose someone

bold and unscrupulous . . . who curries favor with the people by
giving them other men’s property.

Was this written by, a) Molly Ivies, b) William F. Buckle Jr.,
c) Newt Gingrich, d) none of the above. The answer is d.
An uncritical electorate will choose someone “bold and unscrupulous . . . who curries favor with the people by giving them other men’s property.” Was this written by, a) Molly Ivies, b) William F. Buckle Jr., c) Newt Gingrich, d) none of the above. The answer is d.

This was written by the Roman scribe Cicero in 50 B.C. around the time the Emperor’s were destroying the Roman Republic.

The Founding Fathers were exceptionally careful to structure the American system of government as a republic and not as a democracy. Benjamin Franklin’s admonition to a Mrs. Powel at the close of the Constitutional Convention on Sept. 18, 1787 was, it’s “A republic, if you can keep it. . .” James Madison wrote, “democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention…”

A democracy is a system of government wherein supreme power is vested in the people and leaders and policies are established by direct vote of the people. In a democracy the majority rules. Here is an example of pure democracy at work. Four people go to lunch together. Three of them vote that the fourth should pay the bill. In a pure democracy that is the just solution – there is no recourse for the minority.

A republic is a form of government wherein the supreme power resides in a constitution and whereby the people are governed by representatives elected by the voters. A republic is associated with strong checks and balances aimed at limiting the power of any one segment of government. A democracy has no such check on ultimate power. Power is from the people as manifested in a majority vote.

The first democracies are associated pre-Christian Greek culture. Socrates, who drank the hemlock as he was sentenced to do so by the citizens of Athens, condemned the democratic form but at the same time refused to disobey the law that had condemned him. There was no higher power to which citizens could appeal in the Greek city states. The republic form of government is associated with Roman civilization from the time of the abolishment of the kings in 509 B.C. until the time of the first Caesar in 49 B.C. The Romans of that period were opposed to tyranny in any form. For example, what is known as the Tribunes were set up in 350 B.C. for the express purpose of protecting the people of Rome from their government.

Our republican heritage issues from the wise model of Rome between the Kings and the Caesars, traces its way through the Magna Carta in Britain, and ends in the American Constitution adopted in 1788. The Founders most important words, embodying as they do the full law and tradition of the American people, are found 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 unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Never before had a people placed the entire structure of civil society and the organization of governmental power on such a lofty concept of the individual. In this phrase lies the genius of the Americans. A democratic form would not do; indeed, the word democracy appears neither in the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution.

Is it any wonder that the socialists and collectivists among us are seen to be endlessly attacking God in our public discourse and in our public places? For it is the Creator that enshrines the dignity and supreme value of each and every individual. If God can be somehow purged from our system of government under the rubric of separation of Church and State, then indeed the forces of collectivism can advance unimpeded. Politicians, such as Hillary Clinton, are again clamoring for the elimination of the Electoral College.

The Electoral College is one of the checks and balances enshrined by the Founders against the rampant exercise of majority power in the Constitution. Presupposing the words uttered by Lord Acton, that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. . .,” the Founders created the magnificence of the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of assuring the inalienable rights of the individual over and against his government and the tyranny of the majority.

Al Kelsch writes a column for the Free Lance that appears each Saturday

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