November 12, 2006

"... and to the Republic for which it stands"

Oops! I must retract the word "democracy" from a previous post and replace it with the word "republic." This is a republic, and thankfully so. To understand the important difference, see the Capitalism Magazine article by Alexander Marriott.

For some reason, it seems to be primarily right-wing sites that emphasize our republican form of government. Ironically, Republicans demonstrate the least concern about the protections the Republic affords its citizens. Perhaps they are upset that our government has evolved in the direction of democracy (see Amendments XV and XIX, for example) and that many of us passionately believe in democratic ideals.

Yes, we love democracy, but would we really want rule by the majority? I think not. We want neither rule by a majority mob nor rule by minority elitists. The ideas and ideals in our Constitution have made this an amazing country, all of its crimes and failures notwithstanding.

To paraphrase James Madison, the purpose of government is to protect human beings from themselves (collectively speaking). That is, to govern for the common good. It must also police itself, so as to protect its citizens from tyranny. Our Republic was designed--and is legally obligated--to do both.

Long live the spirit of James Madison and the Constitution he helped to craft. For more on Madison's rationale for the need for a republic form of government, see the Federalist Papers, No. 39.

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