Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I'm A Small-R Republican

(Sources: Text, Photo)
While I am generally conservative in most things, there are some areas where I hold rather liberal views. I don't care much at all for the Democratic Party, my feelings about the Republican Party are only slightly less disparaging. As for the Libertarians, I'm not sure at all how I feel about them. Recent experience leads me to believe that they are political opportunists, feeding us old broken down former Republican Party types and wanting us to believe that they are somehow different from the two big parties. They seem, to me at any rate, naive when it comes to the true state of humankind and the world. (Yeah guys, a smaller military is just the thing to deter all the bad actors out there!)

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:
  • 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)
This site has an informative (and amusing) take on just what kind of government we have in these here United States. Especially this -
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;

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.
Yup, small-r republican, that's me.

Tip o' the hat to Joe (the Cranky one), his post inspired this.


  1. must read, the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:

    The First 10 Amendments to the
    Constitution as Ratified by the States
    December 15, 1791
    Congress OF THE United States
    begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday
    the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
    THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution
    RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.:
    ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

    1. Pretty important stuff, oft forgotten, misunderstood, or deliberately ignored. You can read the entire document plus the Declaration of Independence via the "Things You Should Read" links at the top of the sidebar.

      Good to have copies to hand when needed.

  2. There was much concern by some that the Constitution was not sufficiently explicit as to the Rights of the States. I am still impressed that those holding such concerns trusted the word of a few FF's and, based on that trust, ratified the Constitution with the expectation that the Bill of Rights would be forthcoming. And it was.

  3. Good civics lesson this. If only certain crowds now "demonstrating" and emitting anguished howls of outragearound the country had learned it in school---or even (choke snigger giggle) from their parents.

    1. The anguished howls of the "everybody gets a trophy" crowd. Funny how life will sometimes get in the way of fantasy innit?

  4. That seems a very acceptable definition.

  5. Brilliant!

    I recently posted on this subject and laid out several reasons in favor of the EC, while still leaning toward preferring popular vote, while also explaining that the EC will probably never be changed as the process is difficult and there will never be enough support to change the Constitution.

    I am no longer leaning, you have swung me to your side very convincingly.

    1. Well, it's all your "fault" Joe. Your post got me to thinking. So I looked around, examined how I really felt about the subject and once again came to the conclusion that the Founders were a lot smarter than we sometimes give them credit for.

      I've also added a footnote to the post to credit you for the idea.

    2. Thanks OAFS, The best result of an opinion post is to get people to think and research. I am also glad to see someone else who can not eat lamb without mint jelly. People in these parts oh NJ seem to think it is weird.

    3. The mint jelly is something I remember from my youth. Parents liked lamb. I liked mint jelly.

  6. I tried several versions of "I'm a ...", but finally settled on "I'm a Jeffersonian Constitutionalist." It's a) accurate, and b) confusing to pollsters.

    1. Now that took some digging, but I think I know what you mean.

      I can see where it would be confusing to pollsters.

  7. Amen, brother. . . . preach it Brother Chris.

  8. And again you're right on the money. I'm an Independent but your blog got me thinking about may years of
    voting and I have to say over 90% of my votes over the years have been for Republicans. I guess I'm also
    a Small-R Republican.

    When I was a young lad in school (yeah, I know that was back when dirt was a new concept) we studied the
    Declaration of Independence and even more, the Constitution many times over the course of my 12 years from
    the 1st to the 12th grade. When I talk to the students here at the college all most of them seem to know is
    that they're just documents stored in museums in Washington. And I wouldn't be surprised if many of them don't
    know if it's Washington the state or Washington DC!!

    1. :)

      Sad about some of the youth today. (Not all, there are still plenty of good ones.)

  9. Yet another outlovingstanding post. Y'all are on a roll.

    Paul L. Quandt

  10. Lapsed Blue Dog Democrat here. Raised in a staunch Republican family. Left the GOP when the evangelicals started hijacking the GOP from school boards to State Legislatures. Left the Democrat Party when the (P)regressives swept in with Obama. My ideal? A level playing field. Once spent the better part of twenty years as a Precinct Committeeman.

    1. A level playing field would be great. Perhaps someday.

  11. Have to agree completely with your post. I'm not at all happy with the Dem Party either. As for the Repubs? I ascribe to Repub "ideals," but the Party sure as heck isn't. Maybe they will get some spine with a small R repub in the white house. At least I think he is.

    1. We shall see. While I'm not holding my breath, I am cautiously optimistic.

  12. Great post Sarge.

    I'm a Sovereign American. I get twitchy when folks suggest that I, too, should be owned and operated by the gubmint or a political party.

    1. Sovereign American. I like that.

      In my Weltanschauung only Nazis and Communists are Party Members. "Belonging" to a political party is anathema to me.

    2. I got stopped for speeding in Jolly Olde one time, on the A37 hard by RNAS Yeovilton, and I complained to the Constable that I was going to be late for morning muster. He told me he'd give me a form that I could present to my superior to make things right. Useless, I said, Americans don't have superiors. He tried hard but couldn't quite wrap his mind round that concept.

    3. Hahaha!

      I once had a lieutenant caution me, "be careful how you talk about your superiors!"

      I noted that I was always cautious when talking about God. No, he didn't get it...

      I wonder if he's related to that constable?


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