By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

The word “democracy” makes me climb the walls, especially when the word is used to describe the United States.  I can’t count how many times politicians on both sides of the aisle, and even some of my favorite commentators, refer to this country as a democracy.  “We must save our democracy,” we hear ad nauseam.  In the pledge of allegiance we don’t recite the salute to the flag for the “democracy” for which it stands.  The word in that phrase is “republic.”  And we all know the story about the woman (Elizabeth Powel) who approached Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention concluded during the summer of 1787, right?  She asked, “Doctor, what have you given us?  A republic, or a monarchy?”  He responded, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”


The Founding Fathers specifically did not use the word “democracy” in any of our founding documents because the United States was never intended to be a democracy.  John Adams proclaimed after looking back in history, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”  James Madison provided, in one of his federalist paper writings, “Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.”  Alexander Hamilton observed, “…ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government; their very character was tyranny.”  John Marshall provided, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”  According to John Quincy Adams, “The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.”  And finally, Thomas Jefferson explained in a letter in 1790, “The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.”


I am sure many of us are familiar with the lamb versus the wolves adage; “Democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.”  I would like to adjust it and say that “a republic is four wolves voting for what to have for dinner, and a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”


Understanding the difference between a democracy and a republic, Winston Churchill once quipped, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”


Democracy excludes the rights of the minority.  Democracy becomes the playground of the majority, a situation commonly known as “majority rules,” or “the tyranny of the majority.”  Democracy is when fifty-one percent of the voters may vote away the rights of the other forty-nine percent.  “Mob rule.”


This is not to devalue the importance of the consent of the governed.  While democracy is not the foundation of the American System, democratic processes do indeed occupy the American governmental system in many places, ensuring that the various governmental bodies operate due to a mixture of direct and indirect influence by the vote of the people.  The indirect influence by the people on those parts of government includes various checks and balances, making our system one that functions under a mixed constitution; a republic, rather than a democracy.


The distinction between democracy and republic was so important that James Madison explained in five of his federalist essays the difference between a republic, and a democracy.


Through democracy the ruling class maneuvers and takes possession of the offices that are supposed to belong to the people.  They claim they were democratically voted in, but their methods are littered with corruption, collusion, and fraud.  The tyrants have no interest in our traditions and freedom.  With a mindset focused on command control from a centralized government with all power consolidated under one part of government, they seek to control the car you drive (if they desire you to drive a vehicle at all), what kind of stove you have, how much water your toilet uses, the type of light bulb you are allowed to use, what you are allowed to think and say with the claim that it is only to make sure that nobody is hateful to each other.  They claim it is their job to interpret the law and the Constitution so that they may define what it says, and they claim to have reached a consensus in medicine and science so that they may determine if you are mentally ill, if you should be allowed to be armed, and so that they may proclaim emergencies gives them even more power to dictate their will upon the public.  We are in a state of never-ending emergency, according to the tyrants; giving them the ability to make laws and mandates to save us from climate change, rampaging viruses, and whatever else they can cook up.  Obey, and life will be fine.  Dissent, and you may serve in federal prison for daring to be seditious, and an insurrectionist.


Wasn’t it amazing how during the COVID lockdowns their enemies like small business owners and churches, were forced to shut down, but their allies were considered “essential,” and carried out business as usual, as long as you wore a worthless mask.


Democracy always transitions to oligarchy, the many ruled over by the few.  Our system finds its foundations in the beliefs of the Saxons who settled in Britain, and Mosaic Law in the Old Testament of the Bible.  Western Civilization owes its extraordinary run over the last two and a half centuries to the United States Constitution which was written based on Saxon and Christian principles.  Our heritage is one of a godly foundation and construction influenced directly by Christianity.  America doesn’t work without Liberty, God and these Truths which are self-evident. 


Thomas Jefferson explained, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And 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?  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever…”.


“A Republic if You Can Keep It,” unless we decided to lose it to democracy, and ultimately, tyranny of the majority and an oligarchy.


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