Tuesday, May 06, 2008

R vs D: Fathers Knew Best

Those men who revolutionized government in the late 18th century were vehemently opposed to the idea of democracy because when a man has power he inevitably becomes corrupt; the same is true of the majority. James Madison knew this and pointed it out in The Federalist:

"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government (that of a Republic) presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another." (Emphasis added.)

So, to decipher the big words and break it down 21st century style, on the one hand we should be suspicious of man because of his inclination to immoral actions; on the other hand, the is much about man that is good. A Republican government takes into account both sides more than any other type of government because it takes into account that men, by nature, crave power and is incapable of governing themselves without restraint.

While democracy is an effective tool in ridding a people of a more evil and crushing regime, it is a means to opening the door to a free flow of thought rather than an end for governance. This is because a Democracy is nothing more than a tyrannical form of government, except instead of one man and his ilk issuing decrees and stripping away individual liberty it is the tyranny of the majority trampling the freedoms of the minority under foot. Said John Adams:

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."