OpEd: Why republics outlive democracies



“The national will is the supreme law of the Republic and on all subjects within the limits of his constitutional powers should be faithfully obeyed by the public servant.” – Martin Van Buren

When the Articles of Confederation needed to be replaced with a constitution, our Enlightenment founders looked at the history of democracies and why they failed. When the majority usurped the rights of the minority they rebelled and overthrew the government. Our framers saw the success of past republics and realized they had endured because the majority could not suppress the minority.

Our Constitution was crafted to succeed because power was subdivided and no one could be all powerful and subjugate the minority. Since men appointed men to govern, the Great Compromise created bicameral houses that guaranteed both representation by population and equality. States made the laws conjointly and the majority could not force their will upon the minority in a republic.

The framers understood that it was vital to endow the new government with limited powers; granted by the people. It was for this reason the Constitution gave the people the sole right to choose who they could trust to govern them. Therefore, those who governed were controlled by the governed.

“Universal venality in human nature always influences political reasoning.” – Alexander Hamilton

What was the most salient reason the colonies preferred a republic over a democracy? The states wanted a government that protected the rights of individual states. They demand that it had limited powers and laws established to restrain itself with a Constitution. This would constrain federalism.

In both a republic and a democracy, citizens empower the representative political system. They elect people to represent them in government. They have constitutions that grant them the power to govern; not a single individual. But in a democracy, representatives are not required by law to represent the will of constituents. They make their own decisions based on their personal politics.

In a republic the majority rules in the selection of representatives but an official charter lists and protects their rights; thus protecting the minority from abuse by the majority. A republic was much more appealing to the states than a democracy since they feared an abusive central government.

“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention.” – James Madison

Our founders also were aware of the frailties of man. They saw how politicians in democracies took control of the people’s government. And it was too much power in the hands of politicians that lead to anarchy and tyranny that caused them to fail. So they gave us a nation of codified laws within a Constitution. This protected states from government and the minority from abuse by the majority.

Lenin said democracy leads to socialism. Today, progressives justify what they do in the name of “democracy.” Yet America is a chartered republic to avoid the merciless failures of a democracy.

Woodrow Wilson told Americans after WWI, world democracy would prevail. But this was a reverie. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles created a dozen new democracies from the Russian, Ottoman, and Austrian empires. But by 1922 when Mussolini marched into Rome, Hungary, Albania, Lithuania, Poland, Yugoslavia and other democracies quietly surrendered unto Fascism and Communism.

People assume democracies fail for the wrong reasons. Many cite poor economic performance, or wealth inequality. But healthy capitalism supports the democratic process, since it creates wealth. Even the wealthiest democracies will fail if the majority abuses the God-given rights of the minority.

Parliamentary governments do not protect democracies. Though parliaments help prevent power grabs by the majority, they are often swayed by the demands of the majority and executive branch. Vladimir Putin convinced the Russian parliament to allow him to rule Russia as long as he wished.

“A government that pours honey into a cup must also administer bitter medicine.” – Vladimir Putin

History shows when democracies are unable to constrain the power of parliament or the president or both, they eventually fail. The red flags are attempts to pass laws that violate the constitution; or to try and change the laws affecting the electoral process. Hugo Chavez terrorized Venezuela for over a decade without regard for their democratic constitution and ruled the nation as a dictator.

Many democracies failed because political power was concentrated in the hands of one dominant faction that abused the less powerful. When “insiders” build coalitions to remain in power, tensions between them and the “outsiders” leads to civil and political unrest and eventual revolt and regime change.

“I am proud to say in the last eight years we have changed America.” – Barack Obama

When democracies are ethnically fragmented and face severe challenges of maintaining law and order, they do not dispense equal justice. Many politicians use this to divide and conquer by pitting races and religious groups against one another to create conflict and discontent. And this empowers them over those they rescue. Such societies are dependent on constant chaos and fall from within.

The progressive socialists in America are abusing their power and are justifying every unconstitional, un-republican law that Congress can pass as “democratic” and “for the people”? After the passage of HR 1, which denies the states the right to manage their own elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “This restores constitutional order in the states!”

Article I Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State.” Article IV Section 4, also affirms; “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of government.” The progressive socialists flagrantly and openly violated the Constitution.

“Having five children in six years is the best training in the world for Speaker of the House.” – Nancy Pelosi

Thomas Paine wrote, “Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

Progressives cannot openly replace republicanism with socialism so they are shrewdly convincing voters that we have a democracy instead of a republic. They are aware if they repeat this lie often enough, voters will believe it. And they will socialize America with one unconstitional law at a time.

Republicanism is ordered liberty and is defined by our founders recognizing that the majority can’t ever suppress the rights of the minority. They recognized that everyone in our republic has a right to be represented equally, which is the hallmark of political justice. And living in this republic means that every voice matters. Majorities do not rule and those with the loudest voices do not have any more rights than those without a public soapbox. The will of the people means all people, protected by the U.S. Constitution. So, let us never forget: “The United States is a constitutional republic, and the Founding Fathers fought to ensure that the mob couldn’t undermine it.” – Kayleigh McEnany

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