“There is the kind of State that seeks always to extend its administrative powers and functions into the realms of society, always seeking a higher degree of centralization in the conduct of its operations, always tending toward a wider measure of politicization of social, economic, and cultural life…It builds up a sense of the absolute identity of the State and society—nothing outside the State, everything in the State.” (Robert Nisbet)
This is a quote at the beginning of a video clip I’ve included below by Academy of Ideas titled “Democracy and the Road to Tyranny” that I thought would be an excellent addition to my post, “Tyranny or Freedom.” (See also: “Democracy and other slogan manipulations.”)
It probably bears repeating here that America is NOT a Democracy, even though we repeatedly refer to it as such. Regardless of how much we might say America is one, or who might say it, the assertion is false. America is a Constitutionally-based Republic that includes limited democratic features (like voting for our representatives). And there’s a very good reason for this.
As our founding fathers would say,
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for lunch.”
For instance, Alexander Hamilton said the following during the Constitutional Convention of 1787:
“We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.”*
John Adams said the following about democratic governments in a letter in 1814:
“Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide….”
“It is in vain to Say that Democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious or less avaricious than Aristocracy or Monarchy. It is not true in Fact and no where appears in history. Those Passions are the same in all Men under all forms of Simple Government, and when unchecked, produce the same Effects of Fraud Violence and Cruelty.”*
When we understand how our founding fathers viewed pure democracies, we will soon realize that they would never have said, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” to trade one form of abusive tyranny for another.
Likewise, ancient Greek philosophers, like Socrates, warned against “too much democracy.” (See clip: “Why Socrates Hated Democracy.”) The following is quoted in the video:
“In Book Six of The Republic, Plato describes Socrates falling into a converation with a character called Adeimantus and trying to get him to see the flaws of democracy by comparing a society to a ship.
“If you were heading out on a journey by sea,’ asks Socrates, who would you ideally want deciding who was in charge of the vessel? Just anyone or people educated in the rules and demands of seafaring?”
“The latter, of course,” says Adeimantus.
“So why then,” responds Socrates, “do we keep thinking that any old person should be fit to judge who should be ruler of a country?””
We would all, young and old alike, do well to understand these things and learn from history, because to ignorantly pursue the path we’re on right now in the name of “democracy” is not only foolish but will only end up in tyranny. It can have no other ultimate outcome.
Here’s the video. It’s well worth taking a few minutes to watch.