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America is not a "Democracy"

Reader comment on item: The Freedom Crusade, Revisited

Submitted by Alan Nitikman (United States), Jan 12, 2006 at 18:35

Again and again, the nonsense is perpetuated that the U.S. system of government is a "Democracy." When John Adams considered every kind of government that had been tried up to that point, Democracy, the system employed in late Greece, to the ruin of that nation, was quickly discarded. We have a Constitutional Republic. The Constitutional guarantee of individual rights against the government, the concept of a _limited_ government, were the cornerstones of our system, as important as the tripartite construction of the federal system, with its Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches.

The purpose of all these constructs, at every step of the way, was to limit the government to the role of protector and arbiter of the rights of individuals to their life, liberty, and property. I write this because the debate over whether or not we should "export democracy" does violence to our own interests and continues to confuse those at home and abroad. It is indicative of the terrible state of our own political system that our politicians don't understand the system of government in which they participate, so intent, it seems, that they are on violating it. As has often been pointed out, Germany democratically elected Hitler.

The Greeks democratically voted to execute their greatest general because of personal unpopularity. Regular classroom exercises in racism have had students voting blue-eyed students into inferior status. The method of selecting leaders falls far below the establishment of the rule of law and the enshrinement of individual rights as the overarching purpose of enlightened government. Totalitarianism, the enshrinement of thuggery, requires none of this, nothing but the willingness to use lethal force and abject fear to trample on the lives of others. You touch on this issue, but do not toss out on the garbage heap the fraudulently-employed term "democracy" and, therefore, the whole specious debate. If we export anything, it would be the rule of law.

Implicit in that process is the concept of individual rights, which it implicitly recognizes and without which it would be meaningless. This is what we did in Germany and Japan and the results were a reeducated public, a healthier economy and civic life, and a vastly safer world. The idea that this would be "Imperialism" has led us to abandon our own principles and leave Iraq to the incompetence and irrationality of mullahs and U.N. bureaucrats. By a failure to recognize what we have here in the U.S., we are losing it and exporting that failure to other fledgling nations.
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