T Nation

Why Our Founders Feared a Democracy


#1

In my short time reading peoples posts on this forum, the vast majority know that America is a Republic and not a Democracy. How sad is it that our last three Presidents all called our country a Democracy [I was too young to remember Regan / first Bush and their vernacular choice]?

My question is, what do people think will happen? A number of sources say essentially the same thing; as a country moves forward; our demise comes faster the less we believe in GOD.

The following link quotes many of the exact same bullet points as others and I thought it was a better page than others. The last paragraph was golden in my mind.

http://americantraditions.org/Articles/Why%20Our%20Founders%20Feared%20a%20Democracy.htm

What is the opinion of T-Nation? Can this country be turned around and shown the Truth? If we can reverse our path, what do we need to do? Other views are appreciated too ; )


#2

Are you one of those who think implementing the “Christian” version of Sharia law is the only hope America has left?


#3

I have no idea how the country turning towards a democracy has anything to do with turning away from gaining a theocratic base (which is essentially what you’re talking about).


#4

Shortly after the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin supposedly answered “a republic, if you can keep it”.

Evidently, we couldn’t.

Government is all about power. Wielding it, and keeping it. Every bit of power wielded by state is power not in the hands of the citizenry, and any power once acquired by the government is not given up without a bloody struggle. As the years go by, and Americans get fatter, dumber, and more interested in material comforts, the probability of a critical mass of them banding together to engage in a bloody struggle to regain that power progressively diminishes.

Belief in gods (or, by implication, the supposed “moral character” of a society) is immaterial to the discussion, except of course for the old aphorism that God generally bats for the team with the biggest guns.


#5

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
Shortly after the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin supposedly answered “a republic, if you can keep it”.

Evidently, we couldn’t.

Government is all about power. Wielding it, and keeping it. Every bit of power wielded by state is power not in the hands of the citizenry, and any power once acquired by the government is not given up without a bloody struggle. As the years go by, and Americans get fatter, dumber, and more interested in material comforts, the probability of a critical mass of them banding together to engage in a bloody struggle to regain that power progressively diminishes.
[/quote]

I’m not convinced that people are any worse now than they were during the eve of the Revolution, or any other time.

I distinctly recall reading about the leaders of the era lamenting how people were more interested in their British goods rather than adhering to a boycott that they promised to follow during all the boycotts that occurred prior to the Revolution.

And the murderous riots that broke out whenever the public got royally pissed off about something.

Point is, I don’t think a Republic could have ever succeeded… I mean, look at what happened immediately after Adams got elected president. The downward spiral started then and there folks.


#6

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
Shortly after the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin supposedly answered “a republic, if you can keep it”.

Evidently, we couldn’t.

Government is all about power. Wielding it, and keeping it. Every bit of power wielded by state is power not in the hands of the citizenry, and any power once acquired by the government is not given up without a bloody struggle. As the years go by, and Americans get fatter, dumber, and more interested in material comforts, the probability of a critical mass of them banding together to engage in a bloody struggle to regain that power progressively diminishes.

Belief in gods (or, by implication, the supposed “moral character” of a society) is immaterial to the discussion, except of course for the old aphorism that God generally bats for the team with the biggest guns.

[/quote]

The dude over in the freedom index thread has some seriously mean names to call you for daring to utter such words. Many of whom insult your intelligence.

He has “common sense” so… I guess you iz da dumbz


#7

[quote] Varqanir wrote:

Every bit of power wielded by state is power not in the hands of the citizenry, and any power once acquired by the government is not given up without a bloody struggle. [/quote]

False. Unless you’re an anarchist.

Luckily for us the Founders completely disagreed with your philosophy. They saw government as the agent of the people.

If you want to claim they’re wrong and you’re right, be my guest - but the proud members of the founding generation had no such view of government, amd no one should pretend they did.


#8

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote] Varqanir wrote:

Every bit of power wielded by state is power not in the hands of the citizenry, and any power once acquired by the government is not given up without a bloody struggle. [/quote]

False. Unless you’re an anarchist.

Luckily for us the Founders completely disagreed with your philosophy. They saw government as the agent of the people.

If you want to claim they’re wrong and you’re right, be my guest - but the proud members of the founding generation had no such view of government, amd no one should pretend they did.

[/quote]

It is not my “philosophy”, it is my observation that all governments behave this way. None will voluntarily give up power once acquired.

It was this very observation about the inherent rapacity of entrenched power that prompted the “founding generation” to invent the kind of government that our constitution was supposed to guarantee.


#9

Every libertarian-eddie nostalgic seems to spend at least some time tearing up at the old, libertarian Garden of Eden that existed at the birth of the Republic. When voting rights were conditioned on your ownership of a certain kind of property (which would eliminate most of our resident libertarians from voting, I’m sure). When men could do as they please without The State interfering (despite the fact that at the time of the Founding, states had punitive public morality laws that would make modern libertarians outraged if, you know, they actually bothered to read a history book). And on and on.

Point is, there was no such freedom lovin’ Garden of Eden, amd because of historical forces, the size of scope of government had to and was destined to grow. Recognizing this fact is not the same as being fine with overreach - that is a different issue.

What has hurt this country is the worship of consumption (in the broadest sense if that word) so that people now demand as much never-ending opportunities at consumption from the government as they do the market. Where does this shift in attitude - this need to satisfy every earthly consumptive individual demand as a right - come from? It wasn’t always that way. Hell, it was even like that in the days of the New Deal.

Many of the Founders worried that people would lose the necessary virtue to keep a republic healthy. And indeed, the primary concern was that people would turn inward and be more interested in satisfying their private needs and neglecting matters of public interest, and one of the worst vehicles for these bad impulses was the citizen’s worship of commerce and acquisition…

…you know, the very things modern Republic-an nostalgics claim has been assaulted and we need more of.

Whatever the final answer, those who hearken back to the Republican Paradise are looking back at a nostalgic fiction.


#10

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote] Varqanir wrote:

Every bit of power wielded by state is power not in the hands of the citizenry, and any power once acquired by the government is not given up without a bloody struggle. [/quote]

False. Unless you’re an anarchist.

Luckily for us the Founders completely disagreed with your philosophy. They saw government as the agent of the people.

If you want to claim they’re wrong and you’re right, be my guest - but the proud members of the founding generation had no such view of government, amd no one should pretend they did.

[/quote]

It is not my “philosophy”, it is my observation that all governments behave this way. None will voluntarily give up power once acquired.

It was this very observation about the inherent rapacity of entrenched power that prompted the “founding generation” to invent the kind of government that our constitution was supposed to guarantee.[/quote]

And it has.


#11

And to claim that no one in our government will give up power once they get it is absurd - tell me, which president, after being voted out or term-limited, has refused to the leave the office and the awesome powers he enjoyed?


#12

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
And to claim that no one in our government will give up power once they get it is absurd - tell me, which president, after being voted out or term-limited, has refused to the leave the office and the awesome powers he enjoyed?

[/quote]

That’s not what he is saying.

But I don’t have the time today to get into it.


#13

Let’s throw some gas on the fire:


#14

theuofh -

?Implementing the “Christian” version of Sharia law? sounds like the freedom of choice is no longer there so my gut reaction is I would be opposed to it.

Your video provided very little gas on the fire for me shrug ; )
KD79

magick -

When people are no longer moral and religious, our Republic is no longer needed, no argument there. However our Founding Fathers gave us something far better than any previous society, in the history of the world.
KD79

Varqanir -

I have heard that quote from Franklin before. I believe I heard it right as that atrocity named Universal Healthcare was passed.

I agree wholeheartedly with nearly everything you say about your assessment of our government. The Founding Fathers knew the government should be an agent of the people and protect our freedoms, not take them away.

However I just have a question about how you think GOD does not play a part in the moral character of a society. Wouldn’t GOD have to play a part because that is why, for example, murder is universally recognized as being evil? I am not talking about defending your life or domain, in fact just the opposite. If a man and / or woman is walking down the street and they are confronted by someone who whishes them harm. Nearly all societies today recognize that there is nothing wrong with using the tools that are available to defend yourself and other innocent people.

Here is a great site I found that addresses the Founding Fathers and their stance on GOD, as they began this Republic.

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/quotes1.html

Also, John Adams said the following about our country and notice his choice of adjective, I added emphasis, “Our Constitution was made ONLY for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

There have been many, many people who I have come into direct contact with me who are NOT moral and religious people, even my own family. However I like to think of myself as vastly different than the majority of those people. Even the Republican candidates are decent people, but none of them encompass all of my Catholic ideals and that is a very, very sad fact.
KD79

thunderbolt23 -

Because I do not know and you have always struck me as someone who knows FAR more history than I do, what kind of property needed to be owned so that you could vote? How would it work for married couples today and how about a women?s right to vote play into the spectrum? I realize that property needed to be owned, but what if a married couple who share everything, would they not have the same rights?

You asked about “this need to satisfy every earthly consumptive individual demand as a right [where does it] come from?” My opinion would be that people think this world is the final, end all position. There is nothing beyond this life. So many people believe they have a selfish right to anything they have the slightest wish for. That is why people rarely work for things anymore. Society compounds this belief when you get little positive return when you pay cash for your car or house. Instead, your credit score climbs the more debt I incur. How the freak does that make any sense? I understand paying your debts off and all of that, but you cannot save money unless your cost of living etc. is all accounted for. As a Catholic I am called to suffer in portions of life, giving to others, fasting and loving those who hate me, etc.

What are your thoughts on how we should keep a Republic healthy? What are the needs of the public interest that the Founding Fathers worried about?
KD79