We are not a Democracy, but you wouldn’t know it
It continually amazes me that this subject continues to crop up, yet upon further consideration of where it does pop up, and among whom, perhaps it is not so amazing after all. Yet I am still struck by supposedly educated people who think or claim this – an indictment of the public educational system no doubt. I usually decry belaboring the obvious, yet it seems that once again well founded history requires enumeration.
I begin my opus with a simple proclamation: We are not a Democracy, nor were we ever, nor was it intended that we be so. Our Founding Fathers decried democracy ( mob rule as they called it ), and not one of them ever argued for democracy in this country. The prevailing objections of our founding fathers against Democracy can be surmised as follows and it contains 5 key elements:
1. It is impossible for the people as a whole to intelligently make public policy over a wide range of issues. Most people lack the time, energy, and interest to give such a high level of ongoing personal attention to politics and public affairs. Also, they are inarguably without the necessary education, information, and political skills. This is even more true today – just look at the losers on YouTube declaring their support for Obama because “he’s gonna give me free stuff…”. These losers typify the Obama support base – people living off welfare, persons who know nothing what-so-ever about politics, sociology, or history, but instead vote with their gonads and their “me me me” mentality, or worse yet, they are the epitome of the very racism that they accuse Conservatives of – voting for a man because of his color.
2. Direct democracy is an impractical system of government. When legislative authority is exercised by the masses, they frequently make hasty and unwise decisions on public policy, arriving at such decisions on the basis of momentary popular wishes and passions, through ignorance or lack of education into the multifaceted nuances that attend matters of State.
3. Direct democracy makes it virtually impossible to negotiate political bargains and compromises among opposing groups with conflicting views and interests. In every political controversy, one side emerges the total victor and the other side the total loser, leaving the losing side dissatisfied, alienated, and determined to reverse the decision, regardless of the costs and consequences. Political conflict over the issue continues, even though negotiation and bargaining might have discovered a middle ground acceptable to both sides. This makes for a high level of social tension and tends to destabilize the society and its government.
4. In a direct democracy, there is the ever-present danger of tyranny of the majority. In a political community where all adult citizens are members of the legislature, it is virtually impossible to limit the power of the majority. There are no institutional safeguards to moderate and restrain the exercise of governmental power and prevent the majority from riding roughshod over the rights and vital interests of members of the minority.
5. In a large population, the logistics and realities of Mass Assembly and a Popular vote become too problematic. An example is the election screw-ups in Florida – imagine that on a national level! And Florida’s election snafu’s culpability I lay entirely at the feet of the bozos that were too stupid to read a ballot; I had no trouble reading it. This is a PRIME example of why ignorant people should not vote – they cannot even read and decipher a ballot correctly, yet they are to be trusted with choosing the next leader of our planet? Hardly…..
So to sum up our founding fathers objections to Democracy: the masses cannot be trusted with political authority. The masses lack the wisdom, education, morals, and plain good judgment needed to provide good government, i.e., to govern effectively and, at the same time, preserve liberty and ensure justice, and that the people lack the capacity to govern society effectively, wisely and justly, but are quite capable of choosing a small group of highly educated experienced leaders who are to govern society in their stead. While it is impractical to expect the people to directly govern society, it is quite practical to expect them to choose society’s rulers from among and the highly educated and informed few who shall rule until after the next election, when their terms of office expire.
James Madison was among those who decried and lobbied against direct democracy and in favor of representative government. Madison was influential in the convening of the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787 and played an important role in the drafting of the United States Constitution and in securing its ratification and adoption. In Federalist 10, Madison maintained that, of the different types of government, direct democracy was the least likely to effectively limit governmental power, safeguard liberty and ensure justice, that tyrannical rule by a self-interested and overbearing majority was bound to be the consequence of government by a common mass of impassioned and ill-informed electorate ( boy was he right ).
Yet the Electoral College is not full proof against the folly of riding the wave of mass popularity, instead of attending to reason, experience, and ‘resume’s, the Electoral college has abandon its original charter. Witness our current President and the election that surrounded his quite scary rise to power. At the risk of being called a racist again, this President was elected for no reason OTHER than he was black. He received 90% of the Black vote, which is in itself racist. Samuel L. Jackson and many other left wing Blacks have come out publicly and stated, on live TV, that they voted for Obama because he was black. This is the epitome of racism, the most basic definition of the word.
The Electoral College was designed to prevent the popular hysteria of the excitable, ignorant masses from unduly influencing the election, yet even this is not sufficient, as The Electoral College no longer functions as it was intended – it was intended to prevent a popular vote, yet fallible and corrupt men have suborned its original intent; a discussion for another article. Just ask anyone WHY they voted for Obama if not for his race or out of political correctness ( white guilt ); what credentials did he have that swayed them to vote for him, what experience did he have that convinced them that he was qualified to run the United States of America?
The man had NO resume, no experience of any sort in business, never had to make a payroll, never had to work 80 hrs a week at two jobs to feed his family, never owned a business or had any experience in the business sector, never been in the military or had any military experience, had zero foreign policy experience, zero intelligence community experience, zero economic experience or credentials, zero scientific knowledge….I could go on, but my point being made I take it. No one can point to ANY experience or credentials that qualified this man to be President.
Functioning as our forefathers intended, the Electoral College would have seen to it that Obama was not elected, as their original charter did not bind them to their party vote, nor the popular vote, but to cast their electoral vote for the candidate that the Elector felt best served his constituency.
That said, it is clear our system no longer works. But this is not to disparage our Founding Fathers – the simple fact is the face of America, and the World, has changed beyond anything that our Founding Fathers could ever have imagined or foreseen. Vast technological advances, population explosions, exponential industrialization advances, unimaginable military might, along with a vastly different and complex national and global economy, are not things our original governmental framework was designed to handle. It’s like expecting to run current software on Windows XP – you can keep patching it to try and make it keep up, but in the end the operating system needs to be re-written.
So, how would we tweak things to insure that we do not become a democracy as our forefathers intended?
We can start with the body of the electorate – the rank and file voters. As the reasons why should be abundantly clear and I shan’t revisit them here, suffice it to say that this should be changed, at a minimum, to only an educated electorate, which everyone from Washington, to Jefferson to Hamilton to Madison supported.
Additionally no one on welfare or public assistance should be allowed to vote; to allow this would be a conflict of interest. When those who do nothing & exist off the fruits of the industrious, just like a wild animal, they will lose the desire and skills to feed themselves, and will always vote for that party whose politics will keep them at the public feeding trough for the longest time. Soon the industrious will grow weary of working, only to have that which they worked for given to those who do not pull their own weight, and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see where that will end up. This is one of many examples why persons on welfare should not vote, but it is a good example. If my logic is in error, I invite your comments.
Next, the qualifications for Presidency should be overhauled, vastly. If a person is not qualified to make change at a 7-11 ( Obama ), then how is it that he is qualified to run the largest economy on earth? If a person does not have the credentials and experience to be hired at a Fortune 500 company as its CFO, how is it that this same person is qualified to run the world’s largest economy? If a person has no experience in the military, how is it he is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of something he knows nothing about?
When you apply for a position at a corporation or business, you must show that you are qualified for that position; you have to produce a resume and proofs showing experience and education in the area(s) that you are applying for, and demonstrating a history of success in your previous positions. Certainly no lesser standards should be applied to the Presidency, members of Congress, and the Senate, and the Judiciary. These positions, at a minimum, should be restricted to well-educated persons with very impressive resumes, including a minimum experience requirement.
The President should be required to have had many years of military service, hold multi-disciplinary degrees in economics, politics, military strategy, history, sociology, international disciplines, be educated or have great experience in matters of State, and international politics. A Presidential Candidate should have a resume that would get him hired as CEO/CFO/COO of any Fortune 500 company – why would a person accept less? Similar requirements should be paced on members of Congress, the Senate, Cabinet, and all appointed Federal posts.
As to the mechanics of the election process itself, I see no reason to abolish the Electoral College, just tweak it a bit. Only three time since the Civil War has a candidate won the popular vote but not the Electoral vote. But this is a red herring anyway, as the President is not supposed to be elected by popular vote ( ignorant populace, myriad other reasons, remember? ). The “Electoral College Members” should be similarly endowed with impressive educational and experience credentials. The winner-take-all system of the States should be revised to a 2/3 majority, upon which all Electoral Votes must go to the winning candidate, however, less than a 2/3 popular state majority vote, and the Electors are free to vote for their conscious, party candidate, the candidate that won in their district, or that the Elector feels would best serve the interests of the people.
The mechanisms described should make it abundantly clear that we are not a democracy. Our history and the words of our Founding Fathers are quite clear on this subject, but the Constitution is the last word, and conveniently is the clearest, to wit;
“SECTION 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence”.
If one’s education has ill-equipped one to comprehend the above, or to understand what a republic is, and if one was not paying attention in junior high and high school where it was explained that we are NOT a democracy and that our founding fathers decried democracy, then I suggest that such a person enroll in some remedial classes in American Government and American History.
But please, let us have an end to this nonsense about us being a democracy; we most certainly are not, nor did any of our forefathers intend that we be so.
And that’s just the way it is.