Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Liberty vs Democracy

And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide
And the shotgun sings the song
--The Who

Consistent with the thread developed on these pages, Prof Williams argues against democracy as an ideal, or even desirable, system for organizing human conduct. The ideal system, as Jefferson observed, is one that upholds man's natural rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Contrary to popular belief, "liberty and democracy are not synonymous and most often are opposites."

Quotes from Madison, Randolph, Adams, and Hamilton clearly demonstrate our founding ancestors' understanding of democracy's threat to freedom. In Federalist #10, for example, Madison observes, "Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority."

The proper role of government is to protect man's inalienable rights from invasion--not to infringe upon them. The founders clearly understood that "because the essence of government is force, and force is evil, government should be as small as possible."

Their resulting framework was not a democracy. The design was a federal republic. In fact, the word "democracy" does not appear in our founding documents. Limited powers were enumerated for central government along with a design to check power among the branches.

Changes to the design were not to be made by majority vote. Instead, supermajorities such as 2/3 congressional approval and 3/4 state ratification to pass constitutional amendments were required.

The intent of these measures was to support rule of law--durable law. Not discretionary rule of democracy that changes with the reigning dominant coalition.

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