“America is not a democracy. It’s a Republic.”

I saw a variation on this slogan at another WordPress blog last night, and this explanation of it:

Our Founding Fathers deemed this an important distinction to make and discussed the matter quite a bit. In the end, our Founding Fathers claimed that a democracy was both extreme and dangerous for a country as it would most assuredly result in the oppression of the minority by the majority. Take this one example from Founding Father, Elbridge Gerry: “The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy.” And Thomas Jefferson said that democracy should never be practiced outside the limits of a town.

In a comment, I had to ask the author to connect with this hackneyed notion intellectually:

What interests me is the clear implication of your coterie’s claim that democracy is in itself an evil idea. Would you agree that it is? Or would you say it is a good idea in some contexts, such as within a town’s limits? If you believe the nation is too large to be run by the rule of the demos (i.e., the people, also known in some quarters as “the taxpayers”), what entity do you suggest is best suited to have political power over the rest of us? An elite political class, such as the one in power now?

The response from the blogger, J. Roycroft:

I do believe that a democracy is dangerous because it is mob rule. I am not at all happy with most of the folks running our country right now. The problem isn’t with our form of government, it’s with the people we have put in charge moving away from where our founders meant for us to be.

I’ve left this comment for him, which he may decide to delete and have an end to this unsolicited conversation:

If the form of government is not the problem, how do you think the government got into the mess it’s in? How do you propose we get out of the mess if not via democratic means? It seems to me that our form of government, which requires the establishment of a political class, actually is the problem. More direct democracy–more involvement of the people in the government’s operation, it seems to me, might have prevented this disaster for the nation from happening. The mob whose rule we have to worry about is the one in power right now–and I mean on both sides of the aisle in every state of the union at every level!

Anyone out there in the blogosphere who cares to continue the dialogue, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to discuss it further.

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3 thoughts on ““America is not a democracy. It’s a Republic.”

  1. For the record, here is the full un-edited response to your question.

    J Roycroft
    jroycroft.wordpress.com
    jroycroft@gmx.us
    72.152.144.214
    Submitted on 2011/07/05 at 1:08 AM | In reply to christofpierson.

    Mr Pierson, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. In response – Because you made it clear that the topic bores you, I will make this very short. – I do believe that a democracy is dangerous because it is mob rule. I am not at all happy with most of the folks running our country right now. The problem isn’t with our form of government, it’s with the people we have put in charge moving away from where our founders meant for us to be. I apologize for not tearing into the subject thoroughly, but I really don’t use my comments section for deep discussions.

  2. Pingback: “A democracy should never be practiced outside the limits of a town.” « Tragic Farce

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