as published in the Blytheville Courier News on Friday, February 12, 2016
By TOM HENRY
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasure. After that the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship…” is a quote attributed to the Scottish Lord Alexander Fraser Tytler. Others have attributed it, despite the absence of any supporting documentation, to Alexis deTocqueville, the famed author of Democracy in America.
Historians know that the average length of time for any of the great civilizations of history to survive has been about two hundred years. The United States declared independence from Great Britain 239 years and 7 months ago and the uniquely American civilization began almost 175 years before that.
On September 17, 1787, at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a lady asked delegate Benjamin Franklin “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” To which he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” It is very possible to lose it indeed.
Notice that Franklin didn’t say the United States was a democracy…he said republic. The United States is a democratic republic. (See the Pledge of Allegiance, “and to the republic for which it stands”) The distinct difference is that we elect representatives to Congress and the White House to represent us, but we do not have a strict majority rule form of government. The democratic republic allows for the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. That is absolutely critical to the maintenance of our way of life. Even President and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson preached, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government”, but only if they are “well-informed”.
These quotes are extremely prophetic and relevant to us today as Arkansans go to the polls on March 1 to vote for party nominees in the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. More than ever is it YOUR duty to not vote for a candidate based solely upon their party label, sex or race…elections and afterwards governing, is all about ideas.
I find the need for such an elementary civics lesson to be both sad and necessary. Because, “are you kidding me”, an self proclaimed socialist just won New Hampshire’s Democratic Party Presidential Primary Tuesday by more than 22 percent! Did you read that? In the United States, an open Socialist won the nation’s first primary by over 22 percent!
Clearly, party platforms shift right and left over time and just in my lifetime of nearly a half-century, the perceived political mainstream has shifted to the left dramatically. So much so that in many ways this is the not the same country that I was born in. (See wire tapping, Patriot Act, imperial presidency, TSA muggings at airports, etc.)
Americans have been almost brainwashed and in many cases have sold their collective soul on “pocket book issues” to the exclusion of more weighty matters such as simple right and wrong or traditional Judeo-Christian, Western Civilization bedrock issues. American voters have simply given away most of their rights, out of ignorance, without even so much as a fight. Gone are the ideas of advancing liberty to all…its now all about “what will he/she give us”!
The American people wonder why their government deficits are skyrocketing at all levels government, but especially at the federal level. One main reason is that the government has grown far bigger than its legal mandate and the people have lost any concept that the government works for them, not the other way around. Elected officials derive their powers from the consent of the governed (voters). And if you think things are bad now with closet socialists in power (and it is), just wait until the day that we are ruled by openly, unashamed socialists.
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That means, the constitution limits the power that the federal government can exert and the areas that it can get involved in. But only when we demand our government follow the rule of law. Socialists believe in redistribution of wealth, government solutions/interference to all problems, and the end result is even higher taxes and less freedom. We need to shrink the federal government, not expand it.
Therefore do your research and don’t believe a single sound bite or campaign ad. The Arkansas primary is normally held in May, but this year it will be on March 1. That means that the voters of this state don’t have as long to wait before getting “up to speed” on the candidates. Also, there will be more serious candidates still in contention when we vote, whereas by May, most if not all would have normally already dropped out.
“It’s a republic, if you can keep it!”