In 1947, Sir Winston Churchill offered that, “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”
These words have been cited an infinite number of times as a primary way of understanding, and defending, Democracy. That is, it wasn’t perfect, but it was the best of all the systems that have been attempted. It has become a near blasphemy to challenge the accuracy of Churchills statement…until now. He was wrong…completely and ignorantly wrong. It is difficult to understand how an astute politician like Churchill would have made such an egregiously erroneous statement. It is unfortunate to realize how much distortion has been created by that one totally wrong comment.
He may have been correct, of course, with his first thought that, “Democracy is the worst form of government,” but that it was the “best of the worst” beggars all rational political awareness. I am willing to engage in this political sacrilege because history will certainly be on my side of the discussion. My “side” is that a Constitutional Republic is not only the “best of the worst” but is best in the total sense of its inherent superiority. I will present, at this point, an example that documents all others.
In a democratic form of government, the populace votes on all matters that affect them, and do not elect others to represent their interests. Therefore, a majority-rules democracy gives unlimited power to the majority with no protection of the individual`s inalienable rights or the rights of minority groups. In contrast, in a Republic, the power of the majority is limited by a written constitution which safeguards the inalienable rights of minority groups and individuals alike.
Simply, a Democracy is a collectivist system, while a Constitutional Republic is dedicated to protecting the rights of the individual through elected representatives and, more importantly, binding laws. A Democracy could eliminate my freedom of speech tomorrow, while a Constitutional Republic could only do so by violating the terms of its essential construct. I would offer that is exactly why so many on the Left are constantly propagandizing that we are Democracy. Any evil becomes possible when propaganda is successful in turning the minds of 51% of the voting population.
I could rest my case at this point and believe I would win a jury verdict of “beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite clear historical evidence showing that the United States was established as a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy, there is still confusion regarding the difference between these two vastly different systems of government. Some confusion stems because the word “democracy” is used to describe both a “type” and a “form” of government. As a “type” of government, it means that generally free elections are held periodically, which America has. But, as a “form” of government, it means rule by the majority, which America does not have; America is a Constitutional Republic.
It is historically relevant to note that since the birth of our nation in 1776, no American president referred to America as a democracy until Woodrow Wilson, our first Progressive president, misapplied the term during World War I. The term “Democracy” does not appear in The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution nor the Bill of Rights. Today, however, it has become common to use the term Democracy in describing our form of government, including in recent years by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama…and now, the Obama/Biden tandem.
So why is this distinction between words important? Although meanings of words do evolve over time to reflect changes in culture, it appears, in this case, that Progressives have intentionally sought to distort the terms “Democracy” and “Republic” so the misapplied term “Democracy” could serve as an ideological Trojan horse that would help transform our Republic into a system of government it was never meant to become.
A lynch mob is Democracy. Everyone voted but the man being lynched. A Republic rescues this man gives him a fair trial with a bona fide judge and witnesses for his defense. In a Republic there is an emphasis on individual differences rather than absolute equality. Such individual differences are seen as a strength in a Republic rather than as a flaw under Democracy, which equates sameness as equality.
The authors of our founding documents disagreed on many points, but on one point they ALL agreed wholeheartedly: “The United States is not a democracy, never was, and never was intended to be. It is a Republic.”
The following statements represent a small sampling of what the Founding Fathers thought about democracies.
Alexander Hamilton asserted that “We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship.” Hamilton, in the last letter he ever wrote, warned that “our real disease is DEMOCRACY.”
Thomas Jefferson declared: “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”
Benjamin Franklin had similar concerns of a democracy when he warned that “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
John Adams, our second president, wrote: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.”
James Madison, the father of the Constitution wrote in Federalist Paper No. 10 that pure democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been 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.”
The Constitution itself, in Article IV, Section 4, declares: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Obviously, the Framers were not speaking of a political party, as no political parties existed at that time. The Pledge of Allegiance, although not a founding document, does strike the right chord when it asks Americans to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands.”
Clearly, the Founders have given us ample warning that democracies have historically led to tyranny and that, in their wisdom, they never intended our nation to devolve into a democracy. But it bears repeating–why does this distinction between the words “Republic” and “Democracy” matter today? Perhaps because ignorance of our own history has made it easier for statists in America to blur distinctions that have traditionally defined our Republic. If people are oblivious of America`s history and the changes that are slowly being made, they would naturally have little interest in defending it or the Founders` original intent.
So, what is the transformation for which progressives seek? It is the “total rejection in theory, and a partial rejection in practice, of the principles and policies on which America was founded” By using the word “Democracy,” Progressives (in both political parties) have effectively begun to convert our Republican system that preserves unalienable and individual rights to an increasingly socialist system that replaces the individual`s rights with government distributed entitlements. Sadly, legislatively, on many counts, Progressives have been successful in this quiet revolution.
So, Sir Winston…” What were you thinking?’