Difference between revisions of "Democracy"

From Defending Conservatism Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(One intermediate revision by the same user not shown)
Line 6: Line 6:
 
As Jefferson wrote in the [[Declaration of Independence]], government derives its just authority from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence is even more important than the [[U.S. Constitution]], for without it, there is no basis for America to exist at all separate from England.  
 
As Jefferson wrote in the [[Declaration of Independence]], government derives its just authority from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence is even more important than the [[U.S. Constitution]], for without it, there is no basis for America to exist at all separate from England.  
  
{{cquote|"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
+
{{cquote|"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, '''Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,''' --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
  
 
-Thomas Jefferson, ''[[Declaration of Independence]]''<ref>National Archives (2019). "[https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript Declaration of Independence: A Transcription.]" ''U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.''</ref>}}
 
-Thomas Jefferson, ''[[Declaration of Independence]]''<ref>National Archives (2019). "[https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript Declaration of Independence: A Transcription.]" ''U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.''</ref>}}
Line 12: Line 12:
  
 
===Madison's View===
 
===Madison's View===
 
+
::''See also [[Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments]]''
 
The primary reason the ''[[Federalist Papers]]'' are commonly examined with regard to the Framers' intent is to see what [[James Madison]], the primary author of the U.S. Constitution, intended the U.S. governmental model to be. After all, other contributors to the ''Federalist Papers'' such as [[Alexander Hamilton]] and [[John Jay]], while certainly prominent in their own right, are not considered to have the same authority as Madison. Madison, in his legislation, [[Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments]] further established what his beliefs are when it comes to tyranny of the few vs. a majority.  
 
The primary reason the ''[[Federalist Papers]]'' are commonly examined with regard to the Framers' intent is to see what [[James Madison]], the primary author of the U.S. Constitution, intended the U.S. governmental model to be. After all, other contributors to the ''Federalist Papers'' such as [[Alexander Hamilton]] and [[John Jay]], while certainly prominent in their own right, are not considered to have the same authority as Madison. Madison, in his legislation, [[Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments]] further established what his beliefs are when it comes to tyranny of the few vs. a majority.  
  

Revision as of 20:24, 10 September 2019

The U.S. is a democracy, and always has been.

As Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg Address, this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.[1]

As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, government derives its just authority from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence is even more important than the U.S. Constitution, for without it, there is no basis for America to exist at all separate from England.

Elites who attempt to usurp control of the government from the will of the people are nothing more than thieves.

Madison's View

See also Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

The primary reason the Federalist Papers are commonly examined with regard to the Framers' intent is to see what James Madison, the primary author of the U.S. Constitution, intended the U.S. governmental model to be. After all, other contributors to the Federalist Papers such as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, while certainly prominent in their own right, are not considered to have the same authority as Madison. Madison, in his legislation, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments further established what his beliefs are when it comes to tyranny of the few vs. a majority.

Madison Supported Direct Democracy

It should be observed that Madison (who studied theology and nearly became a minister[3]) was willing to support making Christianity the official religion of the United States so long as this was done through true direct democracy, a vote of the entire people of the United States. However, the logistics at the time made this impossible, which was why representatives were instead elected. In Madison's words, "a measure of such singular magnitude and delicacy ought not to be imposed, without the clearest evidence that it is called for by a majority of citizens, and no satisfactory method is yet proposed by which the voice of the majority in this case may be determined, or its influence secured."

Madison argues that certain rights, including religion, are exempt from governmental restriction by legislators because the rights are given by the Creator Himself. Furthermore, Madison states that the determination must be made by "the will of the majority" yet cautions that "it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority." In Madison's words, "The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves."

Madison Rejects Judicial Review

Madison, like Jefferson in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, denies that judges, i.e. 'civil magistrates,' can be "competent judges" when it comes to determining inalienable rights, stating that "the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation." (5)

Tyranny of the Majority / Mob Rule

Several of the founders refer to a "tyranny of the majority" or "mob rule" in the Federalist Papers or other early writings. However, this is in the context of their concern over the chaos occurring in Europe; specifically the uprisings which would lead to the French Revolution (1787-1788), where an angry mob of people was rampaging across France, killing all members of the aristocracy. For years, the aggrieved commoners would hunt down and publicly execute thousands of the French nobility via guillotine.

This was not a critique of voting booth democracy but literal 'mob rule' where people, losing all capacity for reason through 'crowd psychology' give way to their baser instincts in a state of "tyranny and anarchy."[7]

Alternative: Tyranny of the Minority

The alternative, tyranny of the minority, has always proven a greater, more consistent threat to freedom than a tyranny of the majority. There are numerous cases which could be given of a few elite authoritarian leaders ordering horrific atrocities whereas one would be hard pressed to identify cases where such evils have been perpetrated by large groups of people making democratic decisions. As pointed out recently by Neil Gorsuch, the alternative of a 'tyranny of a few' is far less preferable and not what the founders envisioned:

Sources

  1. Lincoln, A. (1863, November 19). "The Gettysburg Address." Cornell University.
  2. National Archives (2019). "Declaration of Independence: A Transcription." U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  3. National Archives (2019). "The Founding Fathers: Virginia." USA.gov.
  4. Atkinson, Kathleen (2007). "Early Virginians and Religious Freedom for Americans." Virginia Commonwealth University. The World Religions in Richmond Project.
  5. Atkinson, Kathleen (2007). "Early Virginians and Religious Freedom for Americans." Virginia Commonwealth University. The World Religions in Richmond Project.
  6. Atkinson, Kathleen (2007). "Early Virginians and Religious Freedom for Americans." Virginia Commonwealth University. The World Religions in Richmond Project.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hamilton, A. (1787, November 20). "The Federalist Papers No. 9: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection." Congress.gov.
  8. Madison, J. (1787, November 23). "The Federalist Papers No. 10: The Same Subject Continued: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection." Congress.gov.
  9. Hamilton, A. (1787, November 20). "The Consequences of Hostilities Between the States." Congress.gov.
  10. Hamilton, A. or Madison, J. (1788, February 26). "The Federalist Papers No. 63: The Senate Continued." Congress.gov.
  11. Hamilton, A. or Madison, J. (1788 February 15). "The Total Number of the House of Representatives." Congress.gov.
  12. De Vogue, A. (2019, September 10). "'Do You Really Want Me to Rule the Country?': Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court's Right Turn and Racing Mascots in the Halls." CNN Politics.