I came across a blog today by a man named Dave Hunter, named simply "Thoughts Aloud". He wrote a post titled "Support and Defend", alluding to the oath he took back during the Vietnam Era when he joined the Army - just as I took back then, when I joined the Navy - to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. It contains a superbly written explanation of the difference between the representative republic we started out as being when our country was first formed after gaining our independence from England and the democracy that we have been "Hope-a-doped" and Changed into during the last 150 years of our history. Here is the pertinent section:
The essential difference between a constitutional republic and a democracy is that a republic enshrines protection for the rights of individuals and minorities in its constitution, protecting them from the whim of the majority; while a democracy is essentially mob rule, where the collective can utilize the coercive power of government to impose their will on individuals and minorities. Republics employ “representatives” to defend citizens’ interests from the natural inclination of government functionaries to overreach limited authority; the rights of the individual are paramount. Democracies select “leaders” with grandiose “visions” to utilize the coercive power of government to impose their model of an ideal society on others, the welfare of the collective is paramount.
Those of us old enough to have studied American History back before the Progressives invented “Social Studies,” understand that our Founders formed a constitutional republic, not a democracy. The notion that it would ever be empowered to violate the property rights of a minority, at the whim of the majority, and confiscate the earnings of industrious citizens for redistribution among the indolent, would have been anathema to them. These proud representatives of our self-sufficient pioneering stock considered charity, and such “social engineering” by nosey busybodies as they might have tolerated, to be within the purview of the church, not a coercive Federal government.
Our Constitution was not designed as a plaything for pandering demagogues to act out their altruistic Robin Hood fantasies. Government functionaries at all levels were meant to be servants of the people, with their activities closely monitored and regulated by the people – not the other way around. It only established a federation of thirteen individual sovereign states, as a combination free trade agreement (think European Union) and mutual defense pact (think NATO). Unrestrained commerce, sound money, and international relations were what was foremost on our Founders’ minds as they debated how best to govern themselves as a nation – not regulating the activities of individual citizens, whom they regarded as the true sovereigns in their classical liberal view of Natural Law. By design, the power of the Federal government to interfere in the affairs of its constituent states was extremely limited. Its ability to interfere in the routine daily lives of their citizens was virtually nonexistent.
As inspired as the Constitutional Convention’s work product was, Patriots freshly shed of the tyranny of a monarch routinely violating their Natural Rights as freemen, were mistrustful of surrendering any of their hard-won sovereignty to another distant and powerful central government (just as Patriots today balk at the Progressive NWO agenda for surrendering our sovereignty to a global government). Thus, several of the states refused to ratify the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was included. This was to make damn sure the Federal government they were agreeing to join understood that its powers were strictly limited to only those specifically enumerated, and the Natural Rights of its citizens would remain forever inalienable.
The resultant federation of individually sovereign states worked splendidly for nearly 100 years, as unfettered and productive sovereign citizens were empowered to flourish in a relatively safe free-trade zone with sound money. Admittedly, the basic nature of our government began unraveling with the Civil War, and was effectively eviscerated by the Progressive atrocities committed in 1913, our darkest year (Amendments 16 & 17, and the Federal Reserve Act). Still, thoughtful students of our true history cannot be faulted for pining for a return of the halcyon days of our nation’s youth, when individual opportunity trumped collective victimhood for industrious citizens. Only the numbed minds of the easily deluded could consider the pernicious slide back into serfdom offered by the collectivists, as anything even approaching “progress.”
I reckon our Constitution, if it has any meaning at all as the supreme law of the land, must mean precisely what our Founders intended it to mean at the time they penned it, except as duly amended. Since the process for amending it is clearly prescribed, I utterly reject the notion of a “Living Constitution” that can be capriciously modified by creative “interpretations” of partisan judicial activists, to give the government powers to meddle in our daily lives they clearly were never meant to have.
They are our employees, dammit, not our rulers. As a sovereign citizen, I owe no respect or allegiance to judicial fiat, and no duty to obey any statutes, rules, or regulations common sense alone would deem unconstitutional with regard to original intent. Born a freeman in the land of the free and the home of the brave, color me an unchained and incurably contumacious Patriot, who has had quite enough of such tomfoolery. If we somehow survive the looming Constitutional crisis, resolving this issue should be paramount in the aftermath.
Ah, but this man has got it nailed. I have relatives and friends who are so compassionate and caring toward their fellow man that they have been suckered into the collectivist mindset that the ends justify the means. That it is all right to change the meaning of the Constitution or to "interpret" it in whatever way they choose simply because it will help their fellow man. That the needs of the many overrule the rights of the few. That it is OK to steal the product of the labor of one man simply because there is another man who needs help. As Karl Marx said (and these relatives and friends are mostly ignorant of the fact that it was Marx), "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
Now, I understand and believe in charity. But the followers of this "philosophy" of theft via taxes given out as entitlements are not talking about voluntary giving, voluntary charity. They are not talking about reaching down into their pocket to provide. They feel it is perfectly acceptable to reach their hands down into your pocket, whether you like it or not. And they will take a grope while they are down there, just to make sure you aren't a terrorist.
A commenter on a different blog paraphrased Marx's famous line in a clever and very appropriate manner. He wrote, "From each according to their gullability, to each according to their greed."
For me, the primary, most significant difference between true conservatives (screw "Republican") and liberals/"progressives" is in how they value the rights of the individual. If the group, the collective, is more important than the rights of the individual, it is liberal - not to mention Marxist/Communist/socialist (but I repeat myself). If the basic, natural rights of the individual cannot be denied or overruled simply to satisfy the needs or desires of the group, it is conservative. L=g1, i2. C=i1, g2.
The other dimension to this is personal choice: it is never, ever acceptable for the group to choose for the individual. The Left believes it is acceptable to tell the individual what he can and cannot do, what he is required to do, what he must ask permission to do. The Right (as in true conservatives) neither wants nor tries to tell an individual what he must or must not do.
If there is anyone on the Left reading this, including my relatives and/or their spouses, answer me this: if the best outcome for the country would be the election of a particular man or woman to the office of the President of the United States, would it be OK for the group to tell an individual how he or she must vote? I'm not talking election by a majority (which is still "democracy" and means the individual gets screwed when a monster like Obama is elected), but actually forcing a person to vote for someone simply because it is obvious to most people that he or she really would be the best choice?
Those who favor Obamacare, excuse me, the Affordable Care Act, would mark this box a big "YES". Those who supported forcing drivers to purchase automobile insurance in order to be allowed to drive would have to mark this "YES" as well, if they are going to be honest. The same with seat belts, helmets for motorcycles, and a host of other rules and laws that have come into being, all for our own good. (Logically, we would all end up wearing bubble wrap and drinking our meals from a sippy-cup, because we could not be trusted to keep ourselves safe.)
Most of the few folks who read my posts more than once are likely to be conservatives - people who want to be left alone, and who will leave others alone. Progressives, who I'm told no longer want to be labeled as liberals, want to control other people. They don't want to let you alone. They want to tell you what you can drink, what you can eat, what you can smoke, and a host of other intrusions upon your day-to-day living, as well as the general direction of your life.
That was never the intent of the people who wrote the Constitution, and especially not the people who insisted upon a Bill of Rights before they would agree to ratify the Constitution. The rights of the individual are enshrined in those documents, because "the People" never meant "the Mob". The Founders wrote, as did De Tocqueville and others, that democracy was the bane of a free man's existence.
Please read all of Dave Hunter's essay at the link above. Then honestly ask yourself how much you like it when someone else tells you what to do. Does it matter if a thousand people tell you the same thing? If you truly think that having a hundred or a thousand or a million people telling you to do the same thing makes it valid, makes it necessary to do, let me know. I will gladly buy you a one-way airline ticket to North Korea. I'll buy one for Whoopi Goldberg at the same time. I'll try to get you seats next to each other, but I can't guarantee it.