December 01, 2020
“Save our Democracy!” editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books Roger Kimball writes in a commentary piece for The Tennessee Star. Kimball, like many of us, is anxious about the officially unresolved-at-this writing election results and believes he has a way to help President Donald Trump turn the tide in his favor.
“Donald Trump needs to mobilize the public with a series of high-profile ‘Save Our Democracy’ rallies,” Kimball declares. “I suspect that such Save Our Democracy rallies would attract tens of thousands of people, just as Trump’s campaign rallies did these past weeks.
“Save Our Democracy!” Kimball proclaims. “It has a ring to it. I hope team Trump will consider organizing a bunch of them now, today.”
It does have a ring to it, one that falls flat with those who pay attention to such matters. We are a republic, not a democracy. The “D”-word appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence, and more importantly, nowhere in the Constitution, which instead proclaims “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…”
Kimball’s not the only well-intentioned friend who seems to think the distinction is not worth raising.
“A dark moment for democracy affirms the need for the Second Amendment,” Andrew Pollack, the father of murdered Parkland student Meadow Pollack, who emerged from the unthinkable horror a vocal defender of the right to keep and bear arms, writes on Townhall.com. “As these mobs march through the street, they shout ‘this is what democracy looks like!’ But anyone who has taken more than an hour’s study of world history knows that violent mobs marching with the approval of a political party that aims to disarm its citizens is what fascism looks like. What communism looks like. What tyranny looks like.”
Studying history for more than an hour can also tell us that unchecked “democracy” like the kind practiced in the French Revolution looks exactly like that. Then again, how can supporters of the president be faulted if the man himself is unclear on the concept?
“So, what is Biden hiding?” Donald Trump asked in a statement responding to the Associated Press calling the race for the challenger. “I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”
Checks and Balances
We were taught in school that separation of powers was the key. The federal government was divided into three branches, the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. That kept any one branch from gaining too much power as a safeguard against tyranny. Except what happens when one party controls it all, passing, executing, and upholding laws inimical to liberty, or if superficial differences between establishment-vested parties produces essentially that same result?
There were other safeguards, other checks and balances, deliberately inserted into the Bill of Rights by the Founders. The checks enabled by the First and Second Amendments regarding free speech and “the Militia of the several states” comprised of the whole people, are obvious, which is why those who would control us are doing their utmost to “cancel” both. More ignored, and that is also deliberate, is jury nullification to negate unjust edicts, “reflected in the Sixth Amendment.” And then we have the Ninth and Tenth Amendments: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people [and] “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
You cannot have both unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as promised by the Declaration of Independence and then turn around and say a group with motives of its own can “vote” them away from you if they have enough numbers. Otherwise you would find yourself in a situation described in a famous (but unsourced) quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”
That goes to the heart of what rights are, and just how far democracy can go until it becomes a tyranny of the majority.
What is a right? Is it something that is granted by a government authority? If so, how does that differ from a privilege? Can something that is granted be withheld? Can something which is licensed be revoked? Are not rights unalienable? Do they not precede the establishment of government? Are they not, in fact, outside the authority of government?
Recognizing the dangers of mob rule, our Bill of Rights defined some of the areas where the individual would be immune to the will of the collective. That means no matter how many of us disagree with you, we cannot lawfully use force to shut you up, to suppress your political views, or to make you worship in the way WE see fit. We cannot break into your house and search your property without cause and a legal warrant. We cannot torture you into confessing to a crime. Barring behaviors on your part to disqualify yourself, we cannot strip you of your ability to keep and bear arms (which, if you think about it, is useless unless you’re also locked up). No matter how many of us vote on it.
Unchecked and Unbalanced
The Seventeenth Amendment enacted in 1913 took away another vital check and made ultimate rule by high population centers inevitable – no wonder the current gaggle of self-interested career poltroons refer to it as “landmark” on the United State Senate website. The amendment supersedes the Constitution as envisioned by the Founders, which specified senators were to be elected by their state legislatures. Rather than address corruption and bribery by using available legal tools to uncover and punish them, canny forces figured direct elections would allow the power centers controlled by the same interests doing the bribing to manipulate outcomes more effectively.
Think about it—if your state’s high-density population areas inflict a usurping scoundrel on you, forget about fixing anything at the ballot box. But if your district’s representative voted for the damn crook, it’s a lot easier to take political revenge on him and for locals in other districts to police their own. As things stand, that power has been taken away, and “flyover deplorables” are ruled by urban interests, with all that implies.
On the national scale, this is what we will face if current treasonous attempts to eliminate the Electoral College succeed. Not just the executive will be in thrall to citizen disarmament interests, but the courts which it nominates.
The Shape of Things to Come
IF we truly operated as a Republic there would be no worries about any laws being passed to infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But we do not, and the media isn’t about to do anything but push the lie that we are a democracy.
CNN, MSNBC, and even FOX (Faux) News all had big “Our Democracy” graphics during the election coverage driving that point home. Even most “conservatives,” celebrities and otherwise, thoughtlessly pass that manipulated belief along, including.
Since a loss of the White House, Senate, and Congress will certainly bring another “assault weapons” ban, that belief will be used as it has all along, to further citizen disarmament in spite of a clear “shall not be infringed” mandate. And even if Republicans hold on to the Senate (Georgia is having a special runoff election in January) and manage a miracle with the White House, that is no guarantee. One especially horrific mass shooting in a “gun-free zone” is all it will take for those spooked by how close November turned out. How much would you wager on Republicans showing unflinching courage against a barrage of funded and scripted outrage, or of federal courts placing Founding principles over precedents and the power to legislate from the bench?
Can Things be Turned Around?
Editor Vincent DeNiro of Firearms News raised many of these points two years ago in “How Republicans have damaged the 2nd Amendment.” As someone who have written numerous articles trying to pull Donald Trump back from demoralizing his supporters, I know firsthand how such efforts are often dismissed as “attacks” by some anonymous forum warriors too lazy to read beyond headlines. Such efforts are many times met with scornful “Would you rather have Democrats? Would you rather have Hillary?” non sequiturs, and thus remain confined in “pro-gun” echo chambers instead of being passed along and thus heard by the people who need to hear them.
“When the average American, no matter which side of the fence he or she is on, thinks about Republicans, a few things tend to come to mind: pro-life, moral values, small government, less taxes, and the big one: firearms freedom,” DeNiro noted. “However, even conservative Republicans, who feel they are well-informed, don’t always have a clear picture about their party or their country. For instance, many conservative celebrities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and even Tucker Carlson have told their audiences dozens of times that the United States is a democracy.
“This is absolutely not true, but Rush, Sean, and Tucker are not alone, thousands of newscasters, politicians, those in academia, political writers, and other conservative talk show hosts state the very same thing as fact,” he explained. “But if you feel that your favorite Republican representative, talk show host, or history professor is correct, here are the people we are looking to for clarification, the Founding Fathers of our nation.
“So, is a newscaster, politician, academic professor, political writer, conservative or liberal talk show host or even a modern-day Supreme Court justice more qualified to speak on what our government truly is than a Founding Father?” DeNiro challenged. “Why would the Founders of this nation, who recognized democracies as failed government institutions, create one? The short answer is that they would not, and they did not. We see that we can’t blindly trust anyone, even those who are ‘on our side’ to tell us what is going on.” DeNiro has also stated for decades that: “Fifty-one percent of the people cannot take away 49% of the peoples’ rights, by voting them away or any other means, in our Republic. Even if 99% of the people wanted to take away God-given, government-recognized rights from 1% of the people, it would not be legal according to the Founders who established this government. We have a Bill of Rights for a reason.”
This is what the Founders said about “democracy.” It’s not our opinion, it’s fact, and each of the following has been sourced. These are what each of us can use whenever anyone throws the lie out, whether intentionally or unthinkingly. The only way that will have an impact is if YOU take it on yourself to correct them, whether you do it by letter to the editor, or email, or politician contact form, or “tweet” or whatever:
"…Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few." - John Adams, “An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power”
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." - John Adams, “Letter to John Taylor”
"A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way." - Fischer Ames, “Debates and Proceedings in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”
"A simple democracy is the devil's own government." - Benjamin Rush, “Letter to David Ramsey”
"It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evil of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure." - George Washington, “Letter to Marquis de Lafayette”
"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." -James Madison, “Federalist Papers: No. 10”
"We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments… If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship." - Alexander Hamilton, “Constitutional Convention”
The term “our democracy” is ubiquitous and our task to have an impact on that is endless, but nonetheless necessary. Just to prove to yourself how entrenched it is in the public consciousness, do a Google search, for those words in quotation marks. Switch over to the “News” tab and you’ll see what the media is telling us. Then try “Our republic.”
Another quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin by one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, is his response to Elizabeth Willing Powel, wife of Philadelphia Mayor Samuel Powel, who asked him what kind of government we’d have:
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Those words have never been more relevant than they are right now.