Have you ever had one of those common misconceptions you’re constantly prone to correct?
People often state that America is a democracy, yet it’s not—America is a republic because we have a constitution. In a democracy, the majority always rules, but in a republic, the majority only rules when they do not violate a constitution. The purpose? To protect minorities from the whims of the majority.
A great quote from an unknown source, often falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin is that a Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch. A republic is an armed lamb contesting the vote. Who knows who actually wrote this, but it’s elegant in its accuracy and simplicity.
I find the distinction of a democracy versus a republic odd for Democrats, because they go to great lengths to paint themselves as the party who supports the needs of minorities, but democracy being the heart of their name is the polar opposite.
In theory, being a Republican means you believe in the idea of a constitution—a protector for the rights of everyone, including minorities. Whether that minority is someone of a different race, sex, age, religion, or economic status. Something Republicans of late often struggle with too as they pass legislation which grows government contrary to their core values.
On a side note, the name Libertarian of course is fairly obvious and still very appropriate—we’re solely about liberty. Some are pure anarchists, some are just government minimalists, but the basic mantra of limited government is always the same.
Republican and Democrat nomenclature is largely moot these days—Democrats aren’t running on a platform of abolishing the constitution, nor are Republicans running on the platform of establishing a constitution since we already have one.
But, as I think about their respective policies, it is often the Democrats who wish to push through popular legislation regardless of whether it seems to jive with the Constitution or not, leaving Republicans as the one of the two more often standing with our founding document when battling against a populist agenda.
If you look at many social policies to help the poor, they help the majority (those who aren’t rich) at the expense of the minority (those who are rich). Something more charitable wealthy folks like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates may not mind, but others who believe that they can help the people and the economy better by investing themselves, instead of giving their money to a largely wasteful government, find infuriating.
Americans still largely believe socialism and communism are wrong. So politicians proposing laws that are socialistic in nature have had little choice but to rebrand them. They can’t publicly acknowledge many of their policies are socialism, the people would have none of that. But if you call it “Fair share” taxation, and appeal to the class envy of the masses, you can get them to believe that legislative-lemon is legal-lemonade.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we had honesty in politics? If the policies a prospective politician is proposing are so good, shouldn’t they want to be honest about them and let them stand on their merits? As a proper skeptic, the first red flag any voter should recognize is when a politician refuses to go into the nuts & bolts of their proposals. It’s a sure sign there’s something in there they don’t want you to see.
If you look at politicians like Gary Johnson, Justin Amash, Rand & Ron Paul, they have made a name for themselves telling the people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Their message of, “Give me the power so I can then take it away from myself and the rest of government” is a refreshing sentiment that seems to be gaining ground with the populace in the wake of the recent government scandal smörgåsbord, although I may just be optimistic.
In the coming years, it will be interesting to see if Republicans choose a libertarian leaning candidate like Rand Paul, will the Libertarian Party unite with them to defeat the authoritarian leaning left, or will they continue to fight each other while socialists continue to work with Democrats instead of splitting off like the Libertarian Party did with the Republicans?
I believe the era of big government Republicans is over. As America continues to evolve away from the strict religious dogma of eras past, embrace science in a way that methodically deconstructs most vice laws for the ineffectual farce that they so often are, and become more libertine in their views about sexual orientations and preferences, the future of the Republican Party is best served by becoming more libertarian.
While I understand these core religious beliefs are important to them; they must understand that these are policies better pushed for on a personal level instead of a legislative one. Our forefathers never intended for government to police individual morality; it was designed to protect our rights from another who would threaten them.
Our forefathers thought liberty was worth fighting for and dying for. Yet most Americans and politicians seem to overlook that public workers, soldiers, and politicians swear to defend the constitution, not the government.
But either way, the Democrats lost their battle in 1787 when we adopted a Constitution, yet they still won’t let go of the name—it is kind of sad. Then again, they might have an uphill battle if they decide to go with a more accurate “Socialist Party, ” so I guess I can’t blame them.