A Republic, Not a Democracy
Last week marked the conclusion of the grand taxpayer funded spectacles known as the national party conventions. It is perhaps very telling that while $18 million in tax dollars was granted to each party for these lavish ordeals, an additional $50 million each was needed for security in anticipation of the inevitable protests at each event. This amounts to a total of $136 million in taxpayer funds for strictly partisan activities – a drop in the bucket relative to our disastrous fiscal situation, but disgraceful nonetheless. Parties should fund their own parties, not the taxpayer.
At these conventions, leaders determined, or pretended to determine, who they wished to govern the nation for the next four years amidst inevitable, endless exaltations of democracy. Yet we are not a democracy. In fact, the founding fathers found the concept of democracy very dangerous.
Democracy is majority rule at the expense of the minority. Our system has certain democratic elements, but the founders never mentioned democracy in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence. In fact, our most important protections are decidedly undemocratic. For example, the First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn’t – or shouldn’t – matter if that speech is abhorrent to 51% or even 99% of the people. Speech is not subject to majority approval. Under our republican form of government, the individual, the smallest of minorities, is protected from the mob.