01 March 2006
Republic Not A Democracy
Walter Williams writes another brilliant column explaining the difference between a democracy and a republic.
High up on my list of annoyances are references to the United States as a democracy and the suggestion that Iraq should become a democracy.This too is high on my annoyances list, ever since G. Gordon Liddy explained it on his radio show many years ago. Dr. Williams demonstrates the difference.
Our nation's founders had disdain for democracy and majority rule. James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10, said in a pure democracy, "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual." During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said that "in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy."His reason for bringing this up is the call for Iraq to become a democracy. He thinks it should be modeled on the cantonal system of Switzerland. Jonah Goldberg suggested the same thing shortly after the military victory in Iraq. Someone in the administration needs to heed their advice.
John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Chief Justice John Marshall added, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos." The founders knew that a democracy would lead to the same kind of tyranny suffered under King George III. Their vision for us was a republic.