By Dr. Harold Pease
Given our constant drift from a Republic to a Democracy, it might be well to review what historical philosophies most favored the latter form of government. The Founding Fathers and the Communists were total opposites on the word Democracy, one distained; the other loved. Guess which one hated and which one loved?
First, those who favored Democracy: the most blunt was Karl Marx, the father of communism. He wrote, “Democracy is the road to socialism.” Vladimir Lenin, the one activating the communist philosophy into a government in Russia, agreed. In his 1905 work, “Two Tactics of Social Democracy,” he saw Democracy as a strategy leading to his desired socialist revolution. “Social-Democracy, however, wants, on the contrary, to develop the class struggle of the proletariat to the point where the latter will take the leading part in the popular Russian revolution, i.e., will lead this revolution to the democratic-dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.” In a letter to Inessa Armand in 1916, he added, “We Social-Democrats always stand for democracy, not ‘in the name of capitalism,’ but in the name of clearing the path for our movement, which clearing is impossible without the development of capitalism.” Class conflict and the philosophy “share the wealth” were, and remain, central to the empowerment of communism.
Next, those who abhorred Democracy: as far as we can tell the list included all the Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1759, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Years later, when Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention, a woman inquired of him, “What form of government have you left us?” the brilliant Franklin answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” The phrase expressed some doubt as to whether man could understand the value of a Republic enough to protect it from becoming a Democracy.
So, once again, what is wrong with a Democracy? James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, in his Federalist Paper, No. 10, wrote, “In a pure democracy, there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.” Thomas Jefferson agreed but was more blunt; “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.” On another occasion he reasoned that the Republic would “cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson’s political archrival, saw it similarly. “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 dictatorship.”
Do you remember your guess? Most would have guessed wrong. Now do you understand why the word Democracy is not found in any of our original founding documents, not even in our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag? Our system, a Republic, protects us from the less informed masses, which is always the majority. This is why, until the perversion of the Constitution by the 17th Amendment, the state legislature selected their two U.S. Senators — not the people. This is why the Electoral College selects the president and why the people have no voice in the selection of Supreme Court members.
If you call this undemocratic the Founders would agree with you. Their review of history showed them that Democracy in Athens and Rome led to tyranny by the majority that then destroyed liberty in both places. The 2009 Census reports that 47.5 percent of our adult population pays no federal income tax. When that number exceeds 50 percent we will join the fallen Republics of Athens and Rome with their “bread and circuses” as examples of the majority voting to feed their wants from those who produce. When the “rich” are destroyed and cannot provide, the majority takes to the street in anger. The majority will then vote for whatever tyrant promises them security. The historical record is clear.
This is why socialists and communists loved democracy and the Founders decidedly do not!! It was Alexis de Tocqueville, a visiting French philosopher in 1840, who told us when our Republic would fall. “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” That day is today. Both parties must return to the Constitution, which preserves the Republic, or we will lose both the Republic and the Constitution.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, visit LibertyUnderFire.org