|(Sources: Text, Photo)|
Truth be told, I don't care for labels. Politically one could argue that I am neither fish nor fowl. As Hizzoner once put it, “Believe certain things to be true. Don’t declare them to be, however.”
I won't argue with you about your political beliefs as that would be a waste of your time and mine. Beliefs are simply that, if you can be swayed from your beliefs, well, they weren't really beliefs, were they?
Now there has been a great hue and cry as of late (as there is at every Presidential election), over the Electoral College, with some of the usual suspects declaring that what made sense in 1787 no longer does so. Technology dontcha know? We can do everything digitally, it's fast, it's painless, and it's also a pipe dream.
If we go by population alone then California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and New Jersey have 179,846,633 people (as of 2013). Those 11 states held nearly 59% of the population of the United States. Without the Electoral College, those are the states where the politicians would spend most of their time campaigning. Those of us in the other 39 states? Might as well stay home.
The Founding Fathers were much smarter than many of our modern "intellectuals." They had to put their lives on the line for their beliefs. They also wanted to create a system which would stand the test of time. For 241 years the system has worked pretty well.
I'm not going to go on about the Electoral College and the concept of pure democracy. There's a reason why there are no pure democracies in the world. They don't work very well. It's that two wolves and a lamb thing. If the two wolves start shopping for mint jelly, well you better believe the lamb is screwed.
If the people in those top 11 eleven states don't want to pay taxes, but think all the other states should, well, what's to stop them? (Why yes, that was rhetorical.)
Anyhoo, I've always considered myself a small-r republican. Now what do I mean by that? Well, this explains it pretty well -
Some of the main attributes of small-r republicanism (as it was generally understood in America’s Founding Era) include citizen engagement in the political process; a belief in individual liberties, balanced with the responsibilities that accompany liberties (or, as John Locke framed it, liberty without responsibility is license, which can render harm to a society); equality; sovereignty rests in the people; individuals have the right to private property; and the need for localized systems, both political and economic. (Source)Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution states -
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.What, you may ask, is a Republican Form of Government?
The government of Rome was called a republican government. The Founders read that republican government was one in which:This site has an informative (and amusing) take on just what kind of government we have in these here United States. Especially this -
- The power of government is held by the people.
- The people give power to leaders they elect to represent them and serve their interests.
- The representatives are responsible for helping all the people in the country, not just a few people. (Source)
The word "democracy" comes from two Greek words: demos meaning "the people" and kratia meaning "to rule", therefore democracy means "the people rule". Majority rule may sound like a good idea, but, essentially, it translates to mean "mob rule". The flaw of democracy is that the majority is NOT "restrained" - meaning if more than half of the people can be persuaded to want something in a democracy, that whim will rule.
The word "republic" comes from two Latin words: res meaning "concern" and publicus meaning "public", therefore republic means "concern for the public". A true republic is one where the government is limited by law, leaving the people alone. For example, in the "Wild West", if a lynch mob captured a suspected criminal, instead of hanging him because the majority voted for it, the criminal would be given a trial due to "the rule of law" in a republic instead of the "mob rule" of a democracy.Good stuff and it all affirms my belief in a republican form of government.
I spent some time today trying to find exactly what I mean when I say I'm a small-r republican. This site sums it up very nicely, to wit...
The organic American form of small-r republicanism:
a) declares all humanity as created equal, in that all possess the same divinely-given or naturally-imbued rights, natural in that no external body bestows these liberties on individuals, thus they cannot be arbitrarily revoked;Yup, small-r republican, that's me.
b) establishes these natural rights as individual liberties, liberties that need citizens to voluntarily uphold through social and civic responsibilities, otherwise liberties without responsibilities degenerate into license, which tears asunder the fabric of society;
c) defines sovereign power as resting in the people, since it is the people who possess natural rights and liberties, with the people bestowing limited powers to local, state, and national governments so that government can ensure the good of society. Power emanates from the citizenry, laws emanate from the legislatures;
d) realizes that government does not always provide for the good of society, thus establishes not merely a vote, but the need for citizen engagement within the political process to ensure political and economic powers do not tyrannize individual liberties nor corrupt governance. This is why America’s founders included the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, and the main purpose for its existence is to create a free space in society so that citizens can act as a check and balance against the usurpation of powers by government, powers that were never intended for it;
e) positions most governance near the people, which enables civic engagement and does not isolate government in a remote, opaque, centralized institution with increasing arbitrary powers;
f) upholds private property which, when held without debt encumbrances, ensures a citizen’s independence;
g) supports the presence of decentralized free markets with numerous independent proprietors, so that large monopolies or oligarchies operating in corporate- and/or government-controlled centralized markets do not threaten liberties;
h) regulates society by the rule of law, wherein fixed rules provide guidance to citizens, thus assuring no assertion of arbitrary powers nor lawmakers existing above the law; and
i) values a society where citizens can secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with contentment, preferable to a hyper-competitive, distraught, over-stretched empire that is globally despised.
Tip o' the hat to Joe (the Cranky one), his post inspired this.