We Are a Republic, Not a Pure Democracy!
I suspect that most Americans do not realize that our nation is a Republic and not a true Democracy. This is a critical distinction because a Republic, unlike a Democracy, allows for the rights of individuals.
A pure democracy operates by direct majority vote of the people. When an issue is to be decided, the entire population votes on it; the majority wins and rules...A democracy is the rule by majority feeling (what the Founders described as a "mobocracy")Defining a Republic:
A republic differs in that the general population elects representatives who then pass laws to govern the nation...a republic is rule by law.Our founding fathers created our nation specifically as a Republic and not as a pure democracy. When you say the pledge of allegiance, you say "and to the Republic for which it stands". The founding fathers took great pains to ensure that our nation would not be subject to "mobocracy" and that the minority would not be subject to the tyranny of the majority.
Here's a harsh example of pure democracy in action:
Imagine a time in which male voters slightly outnumber female voters. Imagine that these men are brutes, and decide they should be able to have sexual congress with any woman they like. They put this issue to the vote, and 50.01% of the voters make this the law of the land. From that day on, the crime of rape would cease to exist as the majority voted that woman MUST provide sex for any man that demands it. Since all power in a pure democracy lies in the hands of the majority, the women would have no legal power to resist until such time that enough people vote to overturn the law. This is the very embodiment of "Might Makes Right" and in this case "Might" is defined by mere numerical superiority.
This sort of thing cannot happen under our Republican form of government, because we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights that protects the rights of the individuals from both the tyranny of government and the tyranny of the majority. If someone tried to pass such a law under our Republic, the Supreme Court would simply strike it down as unconstitutional.
The reason I bring up this subject is that people must realize that we are a limited constitutional Republic and all of us have rights under that form of government. The Constitution and all of its amendments defines the powers of our government. They clearly spell out a series of checks and balances designed to limit the power of government. Voters elect people to office who take positions within the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. The people who make laws in the Legislative branch are not empowered to enforce them. The Executive branch that enforces the law is not permitted to create laws. The Judicial branch that makes rulings on law is neither allowed to create laws nor enforce them.
I ask that you consider our Republican form of government the next time you are offered the choice to take away the rights of a member of the minority. Each time you help take something away from a minority you are in effect weakening our Republic and chipping away at the concept of individual rights and
Here are some issues to think about:
- Should a Republic have restricted "car pool" lanes on publicly funded roads that only certain types of vehicles or a minimum number of people can use?
- Should a Republic decide what consenting adults can do in their bedrooms?
- Should a Republic be able to monitor the communication, purchases, library usage, movie rental and travel patterns of people based on the mere suspicion of terrorism?
- Should a Republic be deciding if terminally ill people have the right to escape their pain and suffering via medically assisted suicide?
- Should a Republic decide if people should be allowed the means to defend themselves against harm while they lawfully pursue life, liberty and happiness?
- Should a Republic decide what food and drugs should be consumed and tax or outlaw those things that it deems harmful to the individual users?
- Should a Republic decide if an adult is allowed to offer sexual gratification in exchange for money, goods or services?
- Should a Republic decide which religions are promoted and tolerated by the government and which are not worthy of recognition or support?
Our constitutionally limited Republic is supposed to ensure that individuals have freedom and that this freedom is never subverted under the guise of "common good". As long as individuals are not demonstrably harming others, the government should leave them alone. It should not be the business of government to protect people from their own choices and no emergency should ever be deemed great enough to allow our government to act outside of the strict limitations of our Constitution.