Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Neither a Democracy Nor Republic

The difference between Democracy and Republic is important to understand the motivations, goals and necessity of conservatism in America.
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American Majority

Dear Friend,

As we prepare for Independence Day we not only celebrate our nation and its history but examine the challenges we face to keep America free.  Sometimes I wish the answers to those pressing problems faced by our great nation were found inside that magical D.C. beltway.  Then we would only have to deal with reining in one government. But that’s not the system our Founders created.  In this edition of Majority Points, we’ll examine why conservative activity at the local level and the fight for more local control is critical to saving America.  You see, our Founders created a Republic – not a Democracy. 

The difference between Democracy and Republic is important to understand the motivations, goals and necessity of conservatism in America.  A Democracy only suggests majority rule.  That majority elects a legislative body that then, because it is perpetuated by the majority, has practically absolute control of the affairs of state.  When he was Minister to France, Thomas Jefferson wrote James Madison about how democracy was playing out after the French Revolution stating,  "The tyranny of the legislatures is the most formidable dread at present, and will be for long years…”

In creating the Constitution, the Founders hoped to avoid such a concentration of power.  They believed then as we do now that no matter who is elected – no matter what the majority says – people’s God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness free from unjust government intrusion must be protected.  They had crafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with the idea firmly in mind that the people would rule and permit government limited power to protect all citizens – including the rights of the minority.  Notice I said rights – not wants or desires for expensive, excessive government programs.

Because they believed in individual responsibility, limited government and devolving power away from an all-powerful legislature, they created a Republic.  Our Republic devolves power away from the Federal government and ensures that government – even though popularly elected – is limited.  The American, Republican philosophy is aimed at preventing both elites and a tyrannical majority from infringing on our rights as citizens.

How far we’ve come from that ideal.  Today, Washington and consequently our Federal government has been overpowered by small minorities representing interest groups who fight to protect themselves at the expense of the rest of us.  The result has been an infringement of our rights as individuals to grow and achieve the American dream. The Federal government is no longer limited in its power.  It has taken on far larger roles than the Framers envisioned and all but destroyed the concept of states' rights. 

Today, for every state government power and responsibility, there is a duplicative power and authority competing with it on the Federal level.  Today, there are nearly 90,000 governmental units in the United States.  We’ve not only permitted the empowerment of the Federal government beyond its boundaries, but we’ve created tens of thousands of other governments all of which grows in size, scope and power seemingly unchecked by the citizens to which they are supposedly responsible. 

Yes, it’s time to bust the beltway and begin devolving power away from Washington.  But to do that we need to get our local communities in order by engaging in the political process.  We need to learn how to mobilize our friends and neighbors to ensure that government is limited, more efficient, and less intrusive at the local and state level.  Only then can we expect to send reformers to Washington to scale back the encroachment of government.  Remember, more than 70% of the officials we send to Washington start out at the local level. 

If we don’t mobilize Americans who understand and believe in the promise of America, we will be neither a Democracy nor a Republic and the very fabric of our nation will tear asunder.    

Keep America Free,

Ned Ryun

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Ohio officials may opt out of a costly Medicaid expansion in the wake of the June 28 U.S. Supreme Court decision blocking the federal government from making existing Medicaid funds contingent on broader eligibility rules.

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