Lessons about Democracy from the Recent Elections

December 3, 2012 - 5:05 PM

Not too long ago I was reading Glenn Beck's “Common Sense” and found it an excellent read. The book is full of sound reasoning as he made a case for liberty and limited government. In it, however, he discusses the virtues of democracy and how that force will restore our government.

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host who saved the AM dial and made that radio band the hot property it is today has a section of his website and a recurring feature on his program in which he refers to himself as "The Doctor of Democracy."

The late Jack Kemp wrote in his excellent book, “An American Renaissance” that "bad mouthing democracy" was becoming an occupational hazard of Republicans and that they should embrace that form of government rather than distance them from it. The book was excellent, but like all other things I have read and enjoyed, I certainly do not agree with everything in it.

Democracy is an extreme form of government that inevitably we lead to totalitarianism. The US has democratic institutions that are checked by the restraints of republican form of government. In these confusing times, "democrat" and "republican" have nothing to do with parties, but philosophies in this article.

The Founders warned of the excesses of democracy and spoke passionately about limited government:

John Adams: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."

Benjamin Franklin: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"

Fisher Aimes: "The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

Even Thomas Jefferson, considered by most of his contemporaries to be the most sympathetic of democracy, was quoted as saying: "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."

When I traveled to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union following the fall of Communism, there were often protests, because the people were seeking a quicker pace of reforms. You would find signs, in English to get the message to the United States via TV, that would say "Democracy equals Freedom" and similar themes.

Ironically, the first free elections in Germany's history were in 1932 and led to the rise of Adolph Hitler, whose party enjoyed a mandate. Democracy leads to mob rule, and mobs behave in a most destructive fashion riddled with socialism and financial ruin.

We need writers, radio hosts, TV personalities and more to discuss the virtues of republican government, which is found in rule by law. Government should only do those things the people cannot do for themselves. It must be based on law and confined, in our country's place, to the 17 powers listed in the Constitution. This is why I say that the term "conservative" is a misnomer.

There is little liberty left to conserve. The proper term is restore. We must restore liberty, limited government, private property, and free market economics. It needs to become "cool" again to point out the virtues of republican government and to dismiss and to discredit the extremes of pure democracy. The recent elections reminded me again of the horrors of mob rule.

I recently discussed the problems of democracy for a "Price Point Edition" and used the most recent elections as an example of the problems we find in that system of government.

A great example was a referendum that passed in California that mandated an increase in taxes for the richest of their fellow citizens. This is a great example of oppression of a majority (who would not have additional tax) by the minority (who would be the only ones who would have the increase in taxes).

This was considered a "popular" provision because it passed, but I am sure that the majority of the ones who had to pay for it did not vote for it. Oppressing the affluent is now in vogue, but it is still oppression and fundamentally goes against the spirit of a republic and the rule of law.