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Forum Post: A Democracy

Posted 2 months ago on June 8, 2014, 5:24 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5854)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"It is, that in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents."

The Federalist Number 14, James Madison, 30 November 1787


"If, then, control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of their republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require."

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28, 1816.


Democracy IS the Rule of the People.

Democracy IS NOT the Election of Officials to Rule Over the People.

Democracy IS the Rule of the People Over the Officials they Elect.

The People of the United States DO NOT Rule Over their Elected Officials.

The Elected Officials DO Rule Over the People of the United States.

The People DO NOT Rule the United States.

The United States IS NOT a Democracy.

The United States IS a Republic.


Since 1891, the Republic of Switzerland has been the only democracy to emerge in modern history. At the federal level, the democratic republic of Switzerland has Initiative, Referendum, and Recall. Any republics lacking these essential elements of democracy at the federal level are not democracies or even representative democracies no matter how much they're referred to as being such. In a representative democracy, the People must have democratic control over their elected representatives through Referendum and Recall. Without democratic control, such republics at best, at the federal level, are what James Madison had referred to in The Federalist #48 as being representative republics, not democracies.

Democracy is the Rule of the People. That means it is upon the People to establish democracy for themselves as monarchies, duopolies, aristocracies, plutocracies, corporatocracies, theocracies, dictatorships, and other forms of government will never do it for them being that such endeavors are simply against the authoritative interests of such governments. No matter how many protests the People may have, no matter how many popular elections the People may participate in, so long as the People never take it upon themselves to organize a democracy, their rulers will always have the consent of the governed.

Democracy Is The Solution

https://archive.org/stream/initiativerefere00nati#page/n0/mode/2up

http://occupywallst.org/forum/omni-organizing-municipal-national-initiatives/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/freeda-free-democracy-affidavits/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/none-are-more-hopelessly-enslaved-than-those-who-f/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/democracy-is-the-solution/

22 Comments

22 Comments


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[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

"There are two views in which the word Inequality, as relating to the Citizens of a State, may be considered. Inequality, of Fortune, or of Rights, Privileges and Dignities. In the Case of Riches, the Inequality arises in the natural Course of Things; Nor is there an Instance of a State of any Consequence, subsisting without it. There were indeed several sharp Contests in the Roman Republic, with Respect to an equal distribution of Lands; but they were never of any Service, to the People, and were always attended, with the most unhappy Consequences. The Question appears therefore to be, in other Words, whether a pure democracy be the most favourable Government to the Liberties of a People."

"It is a very general political maxim, that Men can never possess a great degree of Power without abusing it. Hence, so few Instances of despotic Monarchs, who have not been the scourges of their People. In an aristocratic government, the Power being in a number of hands, this tyrannical disposition becomes more dangerous, and extends wider its baneful Influence. But of all Tyrannies, the most dreadful, is that of an whole People; and in a Government, where all men are equal, the People will infallibly become Tyrants. What Protection can any Laws afford a Citizen in a State where every individual, thinks he has a right of altering and annulling them at his Pleasure, and where nothing is wanting, but the capricious whim of a vile Rabble, to overturn all Laws and Government? If a Prince is oppressive, at least he has been taught in some measure, the Art of governing an Empire, and has commonly been educated, for it. The same may be said of an Aristocracy, they will at least endeavour to support the Dignity of a State, and will take proper Measures for the safety of the majority, of the People, though they may be unjust to individuals. But when the Passions of a People, conscious of their Liberty and strength are raised, they hurry them into the greatest extremities: an enraged multitude, will consult nothing, but their fury; and their Ignorance serves only to increase their Obstinacy, and their Inconsistency."

John Quincy Adams Friday September 1st. 1786.

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

I whole heartily agree with mr. Adams! Democracy is flawed.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

It's not democracy that's flawed. It's people that are flawed. Democracy is no more flawed than the republican system established to avoid it. Town meetings and municipal ballot initiatives prove that "the capricious whim of a vile Rabble" never arises to seek an overturn of all laws and government. The fact that factions such as Federalists and Anti-Federalists and Republicans and Democrats exist is ongoing proof that Madison was wrong about any merits of republicanism over democracy. Elected officials are far from being the rational philosophers he imagined republican statesmen would be. In the end, the decisions presented to a voting body all come down to either yea or nay so no merit exists for making the better of two choices by an elected group than by a general population.

[-] 1 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

Except that we have gone away from republicanism in favor of increasing democratization. We trust representative democracy far more than we should. Democracy is not broken, just rather flawed.

[-] 2 points by flip (6775) 2 months ago

guess who? now respond to what is written and explain where you think it is incorrect - if you can follow it - "The main designer, furthermore, was an astute political thinker James Madison, whose views largely prevailed. In the debates on the Constitution, Madison pointed out that if elections in England" were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place," giving land to the landless. The Constitutional system must be designed to prevent such injustice and "secure the permanent interests of the country," which are property rights.

Among Madisonian scholars, there is a consensus that "the Constitution was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period," delivering power to a "better sort" of people and excluding those who were not rich, well born, or prominent from exercising political power (Lance Banning). The primary responsibility of government is "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority," Madison declared. That has been the guiding principle of the democratic system from its origins until today.

In public discussion, Madison spoke of the rights of minorities in general, but it is quite clear that he had a particular minority in mind "the minority of the opulent." Modern political theory stresses Madison's belief that "in a just and a free government the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded." But in this case too it is useful to look at the doctrine more carefully. There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property. Perhaps I have a right to my car, but my car has no rights. The right to property also differs from others in that one person's possession of property deprives another of that right if I own my car, you do not; but in a just and free society, my freedom of speech would not limit yours. The Madisonian principle, then, is that government must guard the rights of persons generally, but must provide special and additional guarantees for the rights of one class of persons, property owners.

Madison foresaw that the threat of democracy was likely to become more severe over time because of the increase in "the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings." They might gain influence, Madison feared. He was concerned by the "symptoms of a leveling spirit" that had already appeared, and warned "of the future danger" if the right to vote would place "power over property in hands without a share in it." Those "without property, or the hope of acquiring it, cannot be expected to sympathize sufficiently with its rights," Madison explained. His solution was to keep political power in the hands of those who "come from and represent the wealth of the nation," the "more capable set of men," with the general public fragmented and disorganized..."

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

I agree with Madison. Majority rules is a threat to rights of individuals.

[-] 3 points by flip (6775) 2 months ago

no I see one of the basic problems - your reading comprehension skills are really poor - reread this - The Madisonian principle, then, is that government must guard the rights of persons generally, but must provide special and additional guarantees for the rights of one class of persons, property owners. - and then this and respond if you can -the increase in "the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings." They might gain influence, Madison feared. He was concerned by the "symptoms of a leveling spirit" that had already appeared, and warned "of the future danger" if the right to vote would place "power over property in hands without a share in it." Those "without property, or the hope of acquiring it, cannot be expected to sympathize sufficiently with its rights," Madison explained. His solution was to keep political power in the hands of those who "come from and represent the wealth of the nation," the "more capable set of men," with the general public fragmented and disorganized..."

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

I agree with him. Theft of property should be outlawed and people should not fear illegal seizure of their property. We both agree that it is an individuals right to have and protect property. We may disagree on what constitutes property, but that a different conversation I think.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

We've gone away from republicanism to overcome its abuses yet still, republicanism completely dominates 26 states as well as the 24 ones with democracy. At the federal level, democracy is not broken because it has never existed at that level.

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

The modern republican party has nothing to do with republicanism, least of all Jeffersonian republicanism or thoreauvian republicanism. Res Publica means "public business" in Latin. It has nothing to do with the GOP or Obama. Democracy means "rule by people" and generally implies majoritarian rule.

I am in favor of a Common Law Republic as I have described more fully in another thread. I am not in favor a majority-rules democracy and could care less about party politics.

Ps. Something that doesn't exist can't be broken. It doesn't exist.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

Who said anything about the modern Republican party?

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

You did. All 50 states have republican forms of government. That is constitutionally mandated. You said that only 26 of them do.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

No, I didn't say that. What I said is clear for everyone to see. I clearly stated that "republicanism completely dominates 26 states as well as the 24 ones with democracy". Nowhere did I limit the existence of state republicanism to "only" 26 states. The fact is that 24 states have initiative and referendum while 26 states do not. Thus all 50 states have and are dominated by republicanism while only 24 of those republicanism dominated states have democracy.

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

All states have representative democracy. Don't confuse the lack of direct democracy with republicanism.

I am against any and all majority-rules systems of decision making. Including referendum and initiatives.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

No, as James Madison would state it per The Federalist Number 48, all states are representative republics. Don't confuse the existence of popular election with the existence of democracy.

[-] 0 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

Okay, either way it's not the flavour of government which I prefer. I am against any representation that is not personal and individualised. I am in favor of a common law republic.

[-] 1 points by turbocharger (1140) 2 months ago

Decentralizing further from the state level would be a great move regardless of what system you prefer.

[-] -1 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 2 months ago

I agree. Localisation is good. But majoritarianism isn't.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

"Those who contend for a simple democracy, or a pure republic, actuated by the sense of the majority, and operating within narrow limits, assume or suppose a case which is altogether fictitious. They found their reasoning on the idea, that the people composing the Society, enjoy not only an equality of political rights; but that they have all precisely the same interests, and the same feelings in every respect. Were this in reality the case, their reasoning would be conclusive. The interest of the majority would be that of the minority also; the decisions could only turn on mere opinion concerning the good of the whole, of which the major voice would be the safest criterion; and within a small sphere, this voice could be most easily collected, and the public affairs most accurately managed."

"We know however that no Society ever did or can consist of so homogeneous a mass of Citizens. In the savage State indeed, an approach is made towards it; but in that State little or no Government is necessary. In all civilized Societies, distinctions are various and unavoidable. A distinction of property results from that very protection which a free Government gives to unequal faculties of acquiring it. There will be rich and poor; creditors and debtors; a landed interest, a monied interest, a mercantile interest, a manufacturing interest. These classes may again be subdivided according to the different productions of different situations & soils, & according to different branches of commerce, and of manufactures. In addition to these natural distinctions, artificial ones will be founded, on accidental differences in political, religious or other opinions, or an attachment to the persons of leading individuals. However erroneous or ridiculous these grounds of dissention and faction, may appear to the enlightened Statesman, or the benevolent philosopher, the bulk of mankind who are neither Statesmen nor Philosophers, will continue to view them in a different light."

"Divide et impera, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."

A few selected thoughts of James Madison from a letter written to Thomas Jefferson dated October 24, 1787


"From this view of the subject, it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society, consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized, and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions."

"A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure, and the efficacy which it must derive from the union."

"The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic, are first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended."

"The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the people themselves convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are most favourable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favour of the latter by two obvious considerations."

James Madison The Federalist Number 10, 22 November 1787


"The error which limits republican government to a narrow district, has been unfolded and refuted in preceding papers. I remark here only, that it seems to owe its rise and prevalence chiefly to the confounding of a republic with a democracy: And applying to the former reasonings drawn from the nature of the latter. The true distinction between these forms was also adverted to on a former occasion. It is, that in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy consequently must be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region."

James Madison The Federalist Number 14, 30 November 1787


"In a democracy, where a multitude of people exercise in person the legislative functions, and are continually exposed by their incapacity for regular deliberation and concerted measures, to the ambitious intrigues of their executive magistrates, tyranny may well be apprehended on some favourable emergency, to start up in the same quarter. But in a representative republic, where the executive magistracy is carefully limited both in the extent and the duration of its power; and where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly, which is inspired by a supposed influence over the people with an intrepid confidence in its own strength; which is sufficiently numerous to feel all the passions which actuate a multitude; yet not so numerous as to be incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions, by means which reason prescribes; it is against the enterprising ambition of this department, that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions."

James Madison The Federalist Number 48, 1 February 1788

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government. Can a democratic assembly, who annually revolve in the mass of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and uncontrouling disposition requires checks."

Alexander Hamilton at the Constitutional Convention 18 June 1787.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 months ago

"Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures the best calculated for their own good, without the intervention of a coercive power."

George Washington in a letter to John Jay dated August 1, 1786

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 2 months ago

YES !!! ''Democracy Is The Solution'' !! Right ! But alas, also consider ...

Thanx for a great foum-post & links Leo. I'll try to come back here again.

per aspera ad astra ...