No to democracy?
September 4, 2009Posted by on
I’m sure that we all like to think that we live in a democracy and that a democracy is the most equitable form of government, and yet successive administrations in the UK have demonstrated how inequitable the democracy that we think we possess actually is. Non more so than the present New Labour administration, but to imagine that a change of the administration will bring about a change to the UK ‘democratic system’ would be naive in the extreme.
“America is almost always described as a democracy in school textbooks, educational programs, and news outlets of every ideological stripe. Likewise, when talking of America, politicians from both sides of the aisle frequently mention “our democracy,” by which they mean American democracy”. This was written by AWR Hawkins a regular contributor to Pyjamas Media, which is a conservative web site in the USA and AWR Hawkins is a conservative writer who holds a PhD in military history.
In his article AWR Hawkins goes on to discuss his contention that America is a Republic and not a Democracy. He contends that “Our Founding Fathers instituted a form of government guided by the rule of law rather than the desires of a majority of voters. They understood that a democracy is always in flux and given to “mob rule,” while a republic is fixed and stable, resting on “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Because of the uncertainty of democracy, Benjamin Rush — a signer of the Declaration of Independence — wrote: “A simple democracy is one of the greatest of evils.” The “evils” Rush saw in democracy are evident when we compare the basis for rights in a democracy with the basis for rights in a republic. In a democracy, rights ultimately flow from the majority, and every right — from keeping and bearing arms to possessing private property — is re-callable if the party in the majority so decides. In the constitutional republic that our Founders intended America to be, rights are seen as coming from God and because of this, are unassailable by government (regardless of which party is in the majority)”.
“In the Declaration of Independence these unassailable rights were described as “unalienable” and were clearly presented as rights over which the government has no say. That our Founding Fathers were well aware of the temporality of democracy was evident in the words of America’s second president, John Adams, who said: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. Our Founders saw the dangers that democracy posed for our great experiment in freedom and risked “[their] Lives, [their] Fortunes, and [their] sacred Honour” to create a republic instead. It is to honour them and preserve our own liberty that we don’t just pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, but also to “the republic for which it stands”.
I’m not sure that I would regard myself as a conservative , although my response to the world’s smallest political quiz would suggest otherwise. I take comfort, or kid myself, that in the context of the quiz I am a conservative in the broadest sense. For me, the crux of all of this is the unalienable rights written into the American Constitution, but perhaps this Constitution was a product its time. It may be that such a time has now passed and is never to be repeated. Nowhere is this more evident that in the EU and the Lisbon Treaty and will become even more evident in any ‘democratic reforms’ that the UK parliamentary oligarchy will introduce. I think that Benjamin Rush was right in saying that “A simple democracy is one of the greatest of evils.”