Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Walter Williams: "How To Create A Conflict"

I have this argument with my kids every so often about the United States being a "democracy." Well, of course, we don't live in a democracy. In fact, many of the founding fathers detested the thought of democracy, fearing the majority would trample the minority. This is how we ended up with a "republic" and not a democracy.

It is easy to see the confusion amongst the younger people today when it comes to debating this point when even our President tosses around the term democracy in errant form.

Walter Williams in Townhall explains why we don't live in a democracy, and why Iraq should not either.

But let's cut to Iraq and President Bush's call for it to become a democracy. I can't think of a worse place to have a democracy -- majority rule. Iraq needs a republic like that envisioned by our founders -- decentralized and limited government power. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. All citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government intervenes in civil society to protect its citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange.

Democracy, what the Bush administration calls for, is different. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. The law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws aren't necessarily based upon reason but power. In other words, democracy is just another form of tyranny -- tyranny of the majority.
Of course, whether America is a democracy or a republic is irrelevant in one particular case: in my house we operate under a dictatorship.

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