Who Votes for Democracy? November 4, 2011Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: democracy, democracy now, Dr. Robert Owens, Founders on democracy, Occupy Wall Street
Democracy has long been the cover for all manner of despotic totalitarian regimes creating hellholes for their own people and nightmares for the rest of us. One needs only to recall that even though the popular myth of Hitler being elected is demonstrably false, he lost the only election he ever ran in, he was however appointed Chancellor in 1933 after his Nazi Party became the largest single party through democratic elections. His ghoulish regime achieved total power when 90% of the German people voted to make Hitler the Führer or undisputed dictator of their nation. And who can forget the many Democratic People’s Republics that have graced the world with their despotic presence, East Germany, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam and North Korea. The cover of democracy and the votes of the people have been used to legitimize the most insidious forms of human depravity.
It is popular among conservatives to decry the nation-wide and world-wide demand for democracy as if it were something new under the sun. It is also popular to point out that the United States of America was founded as a representative Republic not as a Democracy. The representative nature of the Republic was enshrined in both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. The difference is proudly pointed out that we are a representative republic which operates on democratic principles NOT a democracy.
It is not quite as popular to point out that though our representative Republic has always operated on democratic principles in the beginning that democracy did not spread out very far. The franchise was restricted only to males of the Caucasian persuasion who owned a certain amount of property. The dirty little secret teachers of American History Survey classes fought for years to keep from their impressionable students was that even though Wilson led America into fighting World War I to make the world safe for democracy and FDR led us into World War II as the Arsenal of Democracy the Founders of our country went to great lengths to protect our Republic from the perils of democracy.
Examples of the Founders distaste for democracy are easy to find:
James Madison said, “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.”
John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide” and, “The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.”
Alexander Hamilton said, “It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.”
The circle of American democracy was at first drawn closely around the ruling circle of intellectuals, lawyers and men of property because they feared the tyranny of those unable or unwilling to learn the rudiments of History, Economics or Governance. However, as time passed spurred on by a combination of their desire to participate and the cajoling of those who wanted to rule them people began to agitate for an extension of the franchise and for one reason or another the circle began to expand until by the 1830s throughout the United States most Caucasian males could vote. By comparison in Britain at the same time less than 10% could vote.
The watchword in America became democracy, not in the speeches of the first Progressives in the 1890s but in the voices of their great grandfathers in the second generation after our Revolution. Within a generation leadership passed from Washington, Jefferson, Madison and other statesmen with grand visions of liberty and freedom to partisan leaders of political factions. The stirring and deeply reflective tone of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers was replaced by clever slogans designed to move the masses and win votes.
Alexis de Tocqueville is often quoted to show the high state of American involvement and participation in the democratic process. He is less often quoted in his assessment of that process, “The most able men in the United States are very rarely place at the head of affairs.” He pointed to the character of a democracy where people ignored important issues, disdained intellectuals who were informed of these issues and instead were moved by “the clamor of a mountebank [a demagogue] who knows the secret of stimulating their tastes.”
In the recent past President Bush in 2005 during his second inaugural speech declared the doctrine that bears his name by saying, ‘‘it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.’’ Since that time democratic elections have brought us Hamas as the elected representatives of the Palestinian People, Islamists have won the first post-Arab Spring election in Tunisia and who can forget that Hugo Chavez has won multiple elections in Venezuela and then there is our new partner in our latest military adventure Yoweri Museveni Uganda’s President-for-Life who was democratically elected as was his more famous predecessor Idi Amin Dada.
The democratic revolution which began in America a generation after the establishment of our representative Republic has grown through the roughshod years of Jackson, the tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend, elect, elect, elect days of FDR and has morphed into the Occupy Everywhere movement currently polluting our cities and clamoring for the predictable goal of pure democracy, “From each according to their ability to each according to their need.”
We are witnessing the tyranny not of the majority but instead of the majority of voters coming to fruition. In America in a typical election only 50% or less of eligible voters bothers to cast their ballot. Many congressional districts are gerrymandered into personal possessions, local counties, cities and states belong to good-old-boy networks and the Senate is the province of millionaire media stars. The uninformed elect the unqualified to give them what is unearned.
Or as our old friend Alexis de Tocqueville also said, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
The democratic revolution begun in America 200 years ago has circled the globe. The leaders of the Egyptian revolutionaries have come to New York to join the protesters at Zuccotti Park to chant, the mantra, “Democracy Now!” Looking at the paradise on earth replicated from New York to Oakland in these demonstrations supported by the unions, Democrats and the President I only have one question, “Who will vote for that?”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens
Freedom is as Freedom Does August 26, 2011Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: Capitalism, democracy, Dr. Robert Owens, free enterprise, Representative republic
Is there any one political or economic system that God wants everyone to follow? I do not believe God has ordained any one type of government or economy as the divinely ordained path.
The only government He ever instituted was a kingdom with Himself as the king and that was rejected by His own people when they instead wanted to be like the people who surrounded them. And even though God had His prophets warn them that this earthly king would take their lands, their children, their goods and their freedom they persisted in rejecting a divine King for kings who would claim divine rights.
The only economy God has instituted is the divine economy where there is never a lack and always abundance. With cattle on a thousand hills God does not participate in recessions and He has promised many times that those in His hands cannot be plucked out. He promises that though a thousand fall on one side and ten thousand on the other destruction shall not consume those who trust in Him. And though in the eyes of this world it may appear that the evil often triumphs and the good are forsaken He tells us, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Free choice is a major part of God’s plan. As a matter of fact that is His plan. He could have just as easily created humans who had no free choice, could not disobey, never fall and always remain just as He designed them. But instead He desired the loving family that can only come about from love freely given and freely received.
Individually God has given each of us free choice. Therefore, I believe freedom to make choices unencumbered by outside interference is a fundamental building block of human nature and thus a required element of any society which matches the reality of the human condition. Each of us gets to decide which we are going to believe, our eyes of flesh or our eyes of faith. Is the world true or is God true? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. That is my free choice and you are free to make yours.
I believe that God desires us to make free choices with regard to faith and lifestyle. Therefore, personal freedom is necessary for life as God intended. And this has a great impact upon the first half of our question, is there any one political system that God wants everyone to follow?
It is apparent that the only form of government ever devised by man that requires personal free choice as a prime component is democracy. All other forms of government are some variation of the divine right of somebody to tell everybody else what to do. By the way, that’s democracy as in one-citizen-one-vote not as in Democratic People’s Republic. And since all forms of direct democracy eventually devolve into a tyranny of the majority the only thing that works over time is a representative republic which operates on democratic principles. Meaning a system wherein the people have the opportunity to select their own representatives as long as those representatives actually represent the people and do not become the pawns of powerful special interests.
Also based upon the fact that personal freedom is a fundamental component of life as God desires for humanity which brings us to the second half of our question: is there any one economic system that God wants everyone to follow? It is apparent to even a casual observer that free market capitalism is the only economic system ever devised by man that requires personal freedom to operate. All other economic systems ultimately translate into some variation of a command economy. Some bureaucrat somewhere decides how many widgets to make and that’s how many widgets are produced regardless of need or demand. Command economies foster disequilibrium and maladjustments. There are always either too many widgets or not enough. In a fee market capitalist system demand always dictates production and inherently guides supply.
America was originally launched as a representative republic based upon democratic principles with a free economy which based upon the above exemplifies the ideal for a nation-state. This is what we have known. If the Progressives continue to succeed in their efforts to fundamentally transform America what can we expect?
Look at the areas of American life so far transformed, massive government take-overs either through outright purchase or indirectly through regulation of industry, insurance, and finance. Taking this as a guide we should expect further intrusion of the central government into the economy thus transforming America into a command economy with all the problems inherent in that type of system.
The health care take-over which is scheduled to phase in like boiling water phases in for a frog, feeling so comforting until it’s too late to jump out. Using the need to modify our behavior to cut health care costs we should expect the central planners to inch-by-inch transform our daily routines of eating and exercise until they are telling us when to jump and how high. It is often the unintended consequences which have the greatest effects as a result of the Progressive impulse to create a Utopia.
The only way Utopians ever try to create a heaven on earth is to build nanny-states to protect us from ourselves with no thought of how the unintended consequences actually harm the people the intention was to help. Eventually there is also no limit to the amount of force it takes to compel compliance once the bureaucracy has decreed something is good for the collective. An example from Obamacare is the provision forcing insurance companies to accept pre-existing conditions for all children insured. This sounds great. And it will surely protect the Kids. But what it really does is prompt many insurance companies to quit insuring children because they realize this government mandated provision will cause them to lose money, and despite the progressive belief that people should open and maintain private businesses as non-tax supported social agencies people who own businesses do so to make money.
Another example is businesses either dropping insurance for their employees because the fines imposed will be cheaper than the insurance or seeking an exemption. It is projected that 30% of employers will drop their employee healthcare once Obamacare is fully instituted. So much for “If you have your plan and you like it,… or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans.”
The Financial take-over through regulation has not been unwrapped yet and even the politicians most involved in writing it say they don’t know what’s in it so its long term impact can only be imagined. Does anyone imagine it will be good for free-enterprise, competition, and capitalism? As the Progressives continue to experiment looking for some way to accomplish the impossible, heaven on earth, the uncertainty keeps people from investing, businesses from growing and the economy from recovering. After two and a half years it should be apparent the current administration has successfully turned a recession into a new normal of lower expectations and a loss of hope.
But then again my hope was never in the government to begin with, and since they didn’t give it to me they can’t take it away. My hope is in Jesus and He never fails.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens email@example.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.