Democracy in History
Democracy is from Greek "δημοκρατία" meaning the "rule of the commoners". It may be direct or indirect. It often consists of several key elements:
- Elections by voters,
- Participation of the people as citizens,
- Protection of the legal rights of citizens,
- A rule of law, in which legal procedures apply to all citizens.
In 1928 The United States Army Training Manual read as follows:
- “DEMOCRACY: A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic - negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard for consequences. Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.” 
By June 1952, the following definition was altering the understanding and attitude of the American nation:
- “Meaning of democracy: Because the United States is a democracy, the majority of the people decide how our government will be organized and run - and that includes the Army, Navy and Air Force. The people do this by electing representatives, and these men and women carry out the wishes of the people.”
Is that what you were taught in Public schools?
When did the definition of democracy change and why did no one notice?
Socrates noted that democracy can lead to tyranny, "Say then, my friend, in what manner does tyranny arise? — that it has a democratic origin is evident."
At the beginning of the 1900s, a number of powerful and wealthy men began to make a concerted effort to change the way Americans view history.
- Democracies lead to evil and always fail because of the moral frailty of man. A democracy can only work in a nation of saints but they would have no need of it. A republic on the other hand is where the individuals are "free from things public". A "Pure Republic" is not an indirect democracy and requires by its nature the charitable practice of "Pure Religion".
The following is sumarized from the book The Higher Liberty with a Study Guide on the right.
Somewhere along the way, people began to believe that we collectively had the right to decide what was good and evil, not only for ourselves, but for our neighbor, as well. We called it democracy.
In early America, the success and prosperity of the people was, no doubt in part, due to the fact that “The churches in New England were so many nurseries of freemen, training them in the principles of self-government and accustoming them to the feeling of independence. In these petty organizations were developed, in practice, the principles of individual and national freedom. Each church was a republic in embryo. The fiction became a fact, the abstraction a reality...”
Americans have moved from a virtuous self-reliant republic to covetous “democracy in a republic.” This process is done more by contract, application, and participation than by vote.
The people have become a nation of consumers, who will bite their neighbor for their own personal benefit and security. People have fallen in love with the benefits offered by democracy. But at what price?
James Madison, 1787, stated in the Federalist Paper #10 that “Democracy is the most vile form of government ... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Fisher Ames, an author of the First Amendment, said, “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.” In 1815 John Adams: “Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."
John Marshall, longest serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, “Between a balanced Republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”
Even Alexander Hamilton said, “Real Liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”
Benjamin Franklin warned emphatically that “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” He understood that a “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”
Long before these men voiced their objections Plato postulated “Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy...” And long after Adams, Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Democracy is morose, and runs to anarchy.” Winston Churchill wrote that: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” He went on to say that “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
More recently historian and Congressman Ron Paul said: “Our country’s founders cherished liberty, not democracy.” I did find that Karl Marx, who was an advocate of communism, claimed “Democracy is the road to socialism.”
“It is difficult to understand, how any one who has read the proceedings of the Federal Convention can believe that it was the intention of that body to establish a democratic government.”
“Accustomed to trampling on the rights of others you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.”“Under a democratic government, the citizens exercise the powers of sovereignty; and those powers will be first abused, and afterwards lost, if they are committed to an unwieldy multitude.”
“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to [do] evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest [judgment]:” Exodus 23:2
“A simple democracy is the devil’s own government.”
Caesar was right, mankind is governed by names and their definitions. This why I began by sharing with you the change in the definition of democracy between 1928 and 1952 in a similar publication.
- “The multitude of those who err is no protection for error.”
History is replete with warnings about the dangers of democracy but they have not been teaching proper history to your children for more than a generation. Even your own view of history may have been altered without your knowledge.
- “If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy... with great increase of the public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps endanger your independence. You will in due season find your property is less valuable, and your freedom less complete.”
Ben Franklin advised that “A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.” Those rights depend upon us valuing our neighbors’ rights as much as we value our own, which is virtue.
Nothing is beyond re-examination. In a constitutional republic, you might have some safeguards but Patrick Henry argued against the Constitution of the United States because he saw that “When evil men take office, the whole gang will be in collusion! They will keep the people in utter ignorance and steal their liberty by ambuscade!”
Do we understand those flaws, and are we prepared to guard against them?
It was not the Constitution that made this nation great, but the noble individuals who rose up every day, worked in the fields and factories, cared for their families, and provided for the honest needs of their community.
James Russell Lowell said, “Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor” and he begins the process by oppressing his neighbor.
Jefferson wanted to free slaves and worked to change the laws so that all men might be free saying, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”
While Jefferson supported some ideas that could be considered democratic he was adamant about the limitations of democracy since rights came from God and not the mob or governments.
"To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, — the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, & the fruits acquired by it."
Democracy has no inherent right to regulate or even hew the rights of their fellow man for either our individual or collective benefit. Jefferson continually limited the power of democracy against the bulwark of natural rights granted by God. His insistence upon listing "the pursuit of Happiness" as an "unalienable rights" rather than "property" was not only in hopes of freeing the slaves of America but to prevent all men from becoming slaves of democracy.
Jefferson knew that, "In a democratic republic, where the mass of the people of all parties have the same interest at stake, some respect must be had to the feelings and wishes of the minority, especially when that minority is large and clamorous; otherwise, it will be impossible to avoid discord, and discord weakens the bonds of union."
Socialism disregards the right of the individual and identity politics would divide the interests of the people until they each clamor for benefits at the expense of others. Polybius warned that the people would be altered "... with an appetite for benefits and the habit of receiving them by way of a rule of force and violence." As the people grow "... accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others... they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch." Polybius saw the downfall of the republic a 150 years before the first Emperor of Rome and 175 years before the birth of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.
Jefferson's view of limited government also limited the power of Democracy. It was limited by the recognition that rights come from God and not the government democratically. Jefferson knew that "The path we have to pursue is so quiet that we have nothing scarcely to propose to our Legislature. A noiseless course, not meddling with the affairs of others, unattractive of notice, is a mark that society is going on in happiness. I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
We may relinquish right by consent for mutual benefits. “I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and courts. These are false hopes, believe me; these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no court can save it.”
God “let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” but not over his fellow man. The Cains of this world gain power over you by first offering you power over your neighbor.
The Constitution of the United States may describe a democratic government but it was established by the States to guarantee a Republican form of government. Understanding the principles of a true Republic which differs from an indirect democracy may be critical to understanding the intent of the Constitution. But it is also important for us to understand how we can change our relationship to the government by our Appetite and Consent.
Study Guide content
We see that Democracy is not and has not been desirable yet countries are spending millions of dollars and kill thousands even millions of people to spread democracy,
How did this change?
Part of this topic is also covered in the following topic entitled Deception in the book The Higher Liberty.
Book V, Socrates thoughts about Democracy:
- “Unless the philosophers rule as kings or those now called kings and chiefs genuinely and adequately philosophize, and political power and philosophy coincide in the same place, while the many natures now making their way to either apart from the other are by necessity excluded, there is no rest from ills for the cities, my dear Glaucon, nor I think for human kind, nor will the regime we have now described in speech ever come forth from nature, insofar as possible, and see the light of the sun.” ( Republic 473d-e)
Philosopher kings were those who Love wisdom rather than power. But offices of power do not attract philosophers. Offices of service amongst virtuous people might. This is why John and Jesus and Paul and Peter told us to live by charity and not by force. We were not to be like the rulers of the other nations, nor even covet our neighbors goods. Such practices would make a merchandise and curse our children with debt and bondage.
The Levites, love to serve rather than rule and Christ taught the same to his appointed Church. “People who will not be ruled by God will be ruled by tyrants.” William Penn
Plato thought that democracies were flawed governments, In fact he thought that it was the worst except for tyranny itself.
- He thought Democracy would produce:
- Leaders who were popular and look good.
- Leaders who pandered the people with short term solutions.
- Leaders reluctant to ask for sacrifice but quick to force it.
- A systems more involved with image than substance.
- Shared values become hard to find in a democracy
- A rise in crime
- Separation of the generations
- Separation of communities and its members
- A succession of fads and fashions with no common value.
- Artificial values void of virtue high in personal comforts.
- Flawed states affecting the soul and
- Flawed souls corrupting the state.
Civil Government |
Government and Liberty Described |
Social contract | Covenants of the gods | Contracts, Covenants and Constitutions |
Nationalism | Republic | Democracy | Minarchism | Statism | Fascism | Federation
Communism | Anarcho communism | Communist Manifesto | Saul Syndrome |
Communist Altruism | Primitive Communism | Karl Marx Marriage |
Collectivism | Altruism | Anarchist | Capitalism | Socialism | Rules For Radicals | Atheist |
Viable republic | Republican form | The Way | Perfect law of liberty | NAP |
Taxation | Tribute | Tithe | Tithing | Pay tribute | Social Security | Corban | Hierarchy |
Imperial Cult of Rome | The Democracy Cult | Employ | Bondage | Mammon |
Nimrod | Mystery Babylon | Saving Babylon | Exiting Babylon | Temples |
Supreme being | gods many | Ideological subversion | Foolishly | Law |
Schools as Tools | Roots of the Welfare State | Covetous Practices |
Consent not | Withdraw consent | Come out | Put out | Cry out | Voice |
Kingdom of God | Church legally defined | Pure Religion | Christian conflict |
== Footnotes ==
- 1928 U.S. Army Training Manual
- Army Field Manual Soldier’s Guide,1952.
- Lives of Issac Heath and John Bowles, Elders of the Church and of John Eliot, Jr., preacher in the mid 1600’, written by J, Wingate Thorton. 1850
- April 3, 1918, the American creed was read in Congress, “I believe in the United States of America as a government… whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed: a democracy in a republic.”
- The Spirit of American Government, Professor J. Allen Smith.
- Abraham Lincoln, September 11, 1858.
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776.
- Benjamin Rush and attributed also to John Joachim Zubly, pastor and delegate to Congress, in a 1788 letter to David Ramsay. William Elder, Questions of the Day, (Baird publisher, 1871) p.175. Also attributed to Jefferson & Jedidiah Morse.
- Multitudo errantium non parit errori patroeinium. 11Coke, 73.
- Benjamin Disraeli(1804-1881), British Prime Minister
- Covenants, Constitutions, and Contracts http://www.hisholychurch.info/study/covenants/ccc.php
- Exodus 23:9 “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger... seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
- Lev. 25:17 “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I [am] the LORD your God.”
- Psalms 119:45 “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.”
- Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVIII, 1782. ME 2:227
- Jefferson's comment in a prospectus for his translation of Destutt de Tracy's Treatise on Political Economy. L&B, 14:446. Thomas Jefferson Quotes and Family Letters
- "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", "Declaration of Independence"
- Account of a conversation of Jefferson with Col. Richard M. Johnson in 1809, as recounted in A Biographical Sketch of Col. Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky, p.12 (Saxton & Miles, New York, 1843)
- Polybius: The Histories (composed at Rome around 130 BC)Fragments of Book VI, p289
- The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes. Federal Edition. Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford. Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802
- James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
- Judge Learned Hand , Spirit of Liberty 189
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