February 12, 2022

Why Democracy is bad

Far too many Americans believe that they live in a democracy and not a republic. While that alone is a problem, an educational problem, it's not the most egregious problem.  The real problem is that far too many people believe democracy is the ultimate, most egalitarian  form of governance.  It's not.  

When I was in university, in Canada, I took a course on American political science. The professor was an American.  He described himself as a "yellow dog Democrat".  He said he would vote for a yellow dog for any office before he would vote for a Republican.  The point is that he was a liberal.  Very liberal in fact. He made a point back then of making sure that we understood that the United States was and is, a representative republican, and that it was so for a good reason.  He was 100% right, and what he said is still 100% right.

This was his logic (though not solely his, it was the idea of the Founding Fathers): When you have a representative republic, especially one with a separation of powers, three branches of government, it is very difficult to have a majority tyranny.  America was designed to prevent majority tyranny. That's because majority tyranny is the same thing as mob rule.  When the mob can decide that you do not deserve equal rights, or any rights or that someone else deserves more rights than you, that is majority tyranny.  My very liberal professor was right.  Luckily I was able to agree with him enough on the fundamental principles that I did not need to betray my conservative beliefs to do well in his course.

The American government is set up to be a brake on majority tyranny so that minority rights are protected.  Along with that, it is imperative to define minority rights.  Minority rights does not mean women, African Americans, or people of different religions or differing sexual orientations, although it can mean any of them.  What minority rights refers to is anyone who is experiencing an infringement on their rights, their Constitutional rights, by any other majority.  That means anyone can be in a minority, either demographically or ideologically. Anyone deserves equal protection under the law.

The one thing that used to enjoin all Americans was the idea that while you would not necessarily agree with someone else's opinion, you would still be willing to die for their right to express it.  That is no longer the case with political correctness culture, with shoot-first-don't-answer-questions-later social justice mentality.  That is because too many people mistakenly believe that democracy is the ideal and taken further, that means mob rule is fine.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Mobs behave quite often in very evil ways. A representative republic prevents that, for the most part by requiring representatives be elected at regular intervals, so that they are less likely to be responsive to immediate gut-reaction demands by the public.  It is further enhanced by the fact that senators serve a longer term than those in congress, and the president serves a different length of time as well.  It is served by institutional hurdles as the executive, legislative and judicial branches are separated into different areas of responsibility.  This means that change comes slowly, not haphazardly in a rapid fashion.  In a true democracy where everyone voted on every issue, the law could change back and forth daily. It could be chaos.  Slow change is more likely to be thoughtful change.  It's not going to be perfect, but it's more likely to get things right in the long run, than wild swings in every direction that a pure democracy could see.

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