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   The Wrongly Portrayed Spectrum of Left v. Right
   Types of Government
      Constitutional Republic
      Other Forms of Government
  Madison’s Cautionary Thought on Factions
  The Dangers of Misrepresenting the United States as a Democracy

The United States of America Is Not a Democracy
Frank Salvato, Executive Director

“Pure democracy is the most vile form of government...such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
– James Madison, Father of the US Constitution

The word Democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution...and for good reason. The United States is not a Democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic and it is essential that the American people understand this reality. If we continue to allow the untruth that the United States of America is a Democracy to flourish we invite the demise of our government and our nation; we invite the cessation of the American Experiment and doom future generations to a fate unknown.


Over the course of our day-to-day activities we enjoy freedoms and liberties that have been established by our founding documents -- The Charters of Freedom. These documents consist of: The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights. These documents established a Constitutional Republic; a nation, ruled by a government based on the rule of law, laws enacted by governmental representatives elected by the people.


But as we exist today, many among us -- including many of the more popular pundits, political activists, special interest groups and even many elected officials -- erroneously refer to our system of government as a Democracy. In fact, our Founders and Framers understood a Democracy to be a dangerous vehicle that, given time, would devolve into mob rule or government by majority; a government where the minority had little or no voice; a government unrestrained in it reach into our lives. It is for this specific reason that the Founders and Framers established our nation as a Constitutional Republic; a nation based on the rule of law and not the rule of men.


Those who possess nefarious and/or ideological agendas for our nation often refer to our system of government as a Democracy, knowing full well that Democracy is a transitional state between a Republican form of government and an Oligarchic form of government; a vehicle for transition to first, majority rule, which, in light of the corruptible and narcissistic frailty of human virtue, eventually leads to the establishment of an Oligarchy – or, rule by an elitist class – and the trampling of the rights of those in the minority. The implementation of this transition is facilitated by a distracted and uninformed citizenry and a people who exist constitutionally illiterate.


The Wrongly Portrayed Spectrum of Left v. Right

In order to better understand why it is so important to discern the critical differences between a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic we must first correct a major misconception regarding the Left v. Right political spectrum.


Over the centuries – and most applicably, decades – political opportunists and those who wished to compromise our system of government have preyed on the uninformed and under-educated by misrepresenting the true left-to-right political spectrum. Where these opportunists would have us believe that Left v. Right refers to Liberals versus Conservatives or Democrats versus Republicans; the fact of the matter is that this understanding is short-sighted and manipulative. It is a manufactured spectrum created solely to divide the American electorate politically.


The true left-to-right political spectrum finds total governmental control on the far left and no government at all on the right. Where on the left side of the more accurately defined political spectrum we would find Communism, Socialism, Nazism and Fascism, to name but a few forms of totalitarian forms of government, on the right side we would find no government at all; anarchy. In the center of this spectrum we find the representative form of government; the Republican form of government; the government our Founders and Framers established for We the People, the Constitutional Republic.


In light of the proper portrayal of the left-to-right political spectrum it is much easier to recognize that those who feigned intellectualism in their condemnation of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush as fascists and dictators – the links of Code Pink,, America Coming Together and ACORN – were not only delinquent in their understanding of the terms but completely devoid of any fact-based, accurate education in political science, government and history.


Types of Government

While there are many forms of government that have and do exist around the world, for our purposes we will focus on: Monarchy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Constitutional Republic and Anarchy. So that we can set the terms for discussion a brief definition of each is given here:

A monarchy is the government which is ruled (really or theoretically) by one person, who is wholly set apart from all other members of the state's (called his subjects); A form of government in which supreme power is absolutely or nominally lodged in an individual, who is the head of state, often for life or until abdication, and is wholly set apart from all other members of the state. Truth be told, the notion of a true monarchy is a fleeting one. Every king has (or had) his court, council or assembly of Lords; some assemblage of advisor or advisors. Even today, monarchs are either beholden to parliaments or the rule of law, with many serving as figureheads for nation states. (Sources: Wikipedia, Bouvier's Law Dictionary & Concise Encyclopedia, The Columbia Encyclopedia, MSN Encarta)


Oligarchy is a form of government where power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family, military influence or religious hegemony. Such states are often controlled by politically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy. This type of power by its very nature most often is not exercised openly with most oligarchs preferring to remain "the power behind the throne", exerting control through, for example, economic means. Oligarchies have been tyrannical throughout history, being completely reliant on public servitude to exist. Although Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group. (Sources: Wikipedia, The Columbia Encyclopedia, MSN Encarta)


Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy, comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. Depending on the particular system, this assembly might pass executive motions, make laws, elect and dismiss officials and conduct trials. Direct democracy stands in contrast to representative democracy, where sovereignty is exercised by a subset of the people, usually on the basis of election. Deliberative democracy incorporates elements of both direct democracy and representative democracy. Many countries that are representative democracies allow for three forms of political action that provide limited direct democracy: initiative, referendum and recall. Referendums can include the ability to hold a binding referendum on whether a given law should be scrapped. This effectively grants the populace a veto on government legislation. Recalls gives the people the right to remove from office elected officials before the end of their term.  And although pure Democracy may sound compelling and some of these actions sound familiar, in practice pure Democracy is transitory in character.

Given the corruptibility of human nature, Democracy, in all its states, has traditionally facilitated a transition from the one-man-one-vote-to-law system of government to Oligarchy. It has, throughout history, served as a vehicle for transition from majority rule  -- a form of government where minority rights are vulnerable -- to rule by an elitist class (a form of government that traditionally tramples the rights of those in the minority. (Sources: Wikipedia, The Columbia Encyclopedia, MSN Encarta, Merriam-Webster, American Heritage)


Constitutional Republic
A constitutional republic is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government's power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican; should the judicial review be maximized. John Adams defined a constitutional republic as "a government of laws, and not of men." Constitutional republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the perceived threat of majoritarianism, thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the "tyranny of the majority" by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who are required to legislate with limits of overarching constitutional law which a simple majority cannot modify. Also, the power of government officials is checked by allowing no single individual to hold executive, legislative and judicial powers. Instead these powers are separated into distinct branches that serve as a check and balance on each other. A constitutional republic is designed so that "no person or group [can] rise to absolute power." The United States of America was created as and intended to survive as a Constitutional Republic.


Our Constitutional Republic is separated into three separate but equal branches of government; the Executive, Legislative and Judicial, represented by the Presidency, Congress and the Courts. Because of this no branch has a rein on absolute power thus assuring that there will be checks and balances to the governmental system and protection for the rule of law.


Through the elected representation employed by our Constitutional Republic the influence of the majority is tempered by protections for individual rights as mandated by constitutional law. Our form of government is deliberate in its attempt to thwart majoritarianism, thereby protecting political dissent and individuals and minority groups from the "tyranny of the majority" by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who are required to legislate with limits of overarching constitutional law which a simple majority cannot modify. (Sources: Wikipedia, The Columbia Encyclopedia, MSN Encarta)

Anarchism is the theory that equality and justice are to be sought through the abolition of the state and the substitution of free agreements between individuals. Anarchy may refer to any of the following: No rulership or enforced authority; Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power; political disorder; A social state in which there is no governing person or group of persons, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder); Absence or non-recognition of authority and order in any given sphere.; A society free from coercive authority of any kind is the goal of proponents of the political philosophy of anarchism (anarchists); Independent from rule or authority. Central to anarchist thought is the belief that society is natural and that people are good but are corrupted by artificial institutions. Also central in anarchism are the belief in individual freedom and the denial of any authority, particularly that of the state, that hinders human development. Since the Industrial Revolution, anarchists have also opposed the concentration of economic power in business corporations. (Sources: Wikipedia, The Columbia Encyclopedia, MSN Encarta)


Madison’s Cautionary Thought on Factions
James Madison, considered the father of the US Constitution, in Federalist No. 10, stated plainly his distrust of and aversion to pure Democracy, endorsing instead the Republican form of government. The catalyst for this mindset came in his concern with the influence of factions in government and how factions in a pure Democratic form of government would invariably lead to the oppression of the minority and facilitate the transition from pure Democracy to Oligarchy.


Madison understood a faction to be:


“...a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”


In other words, Madison understood a faction to be a group of citizens with special interests that are hostile or contrary to the rights of other citizens or to the best interests and well-being of the whole country. Additionally, he understood that in a free society, factions are inevitable and, under the pure Democratic form of government unavoidable.


“Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”


Madison made clear his belief that if a faction is in the minority, the normal process of the Republican form of government, in which the majority of elected representatives decides the outcome, insures that the faction will not succeed in subjugating the rights of fellow citizens or enacting legislation detrimental to the country. He alluded to two elements of the Republican form of government that helped stem the tendency toward factious majorities: representative government and the expansiveness of the republic itself.


Because a representative government – a Republican form of government – would, in the eyes of Madison, employ citizens in elected positions beholden to the constitutional mandate of civic responsibility, these elected representatives would be less inclined to put self-serving factional interests ahead of the best interests of the whole nation. Further, he argued, the actual expansiveness of the Republic would control the influence of factions if only for the fact that a Congress of diverse individuals from wide-spread geographical locations would be less inclined to form special interest or factional alliances.


But, he warned, the mechanisms to thwart factionalism employed by the Republican form of government were not absolute and that they provided a governmental vehicle least likely to result in an elected class that was factionalized; that sacrificed the best interest of the whole nation. This elicited a response from Thomas Jefferson, in correspondence to Richard Price circa 1789, that charged the citizenry:

"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."


Today, as special interest, ideological political factions hold power in The US House of Representatives and the US Senate, we realize Madison’s concerns and stand at the moment of action as a citizenry as commanded by Jefferson. As Progressive-Left House leadership craft legislation behind closed doors and without input, debate or even descent from the minority party, and as House and Senate leadership emerge as a factionalized cabal – an Oligarchy comprised of an elected elitist class, the opportunity for the oppression of minority rights – as well as majority rights – presents itself. Should the American citizenry continue to abdicate its constitutional responsibility of governmental oversight our Republic would fall to the will of an ideologically elitist faction and Oligarchic rule.


The Dangers of Misrepresenting the United States as a Democracy
As I stated earlier, Democracies have traditionally facilitated a transition from a one-man-one-vote-to-law form of government to rule by an elitist class. Those who promote the misnomer that the United States is a Democracy infer direct governmental control by the people, thus usurping the established governmental system. In most cases, this cultivates a false sense of entitlement and in some cases promotes anarchical behavior among factions of the citizenry.


Further, misrepresenting our representative form of government as a pure democratic form of government allows the disingenuous among the elected class to falsely claim ideological and political mandates based on election vote tallies. Perhaps the most potent example of this politically deceptive practice came in the aftermath of the 2008 General Election where the hollow rhetoric of “hope” and “change” was foisted on a fickle electorate. This non-existent “mandate” has culminated in a flagrant and damaging raid on the US Treasury creating a national debt that will take generations to satisfy.


But perhaps the most lethal by-product in advancing the falsehood of an American Democracy comes in its direct threat to the well-being of our Constitution itself; in how the politically and ideologically opportune use it to force the transformation of our nation from a Constitutional Republic into a Socialist Democracy. The apathy of the American citizenry to render adequate governmental oversight has produced a congressional Oligarchy that is eviscerating our representative form of government. From crafting legislation behind closed doors and in exclusion of the minority party to employing procedural tactics to thwart the established legislative process, the leadership of the 111th Congress of the United States, for all practical purposes, has abandoned the representative form of government and has, instead, employed oligarchic strategies to fund and implement a special interest legislative agenda. This elitist contingent, by their refusal to enter into floor debate and the committee process, through their threat to use budgetary reconciliation to implement ideologically based programs and by their adherence to the tenets of one-world political correctness to the detriment of every American’s right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” uses the notion of an American Democracy to deceive the citizenry into abandoning the most successful form of government throughout the world’s history: the Republican form of government and, more refined, the Constitutional Republic.


It can be argued that at no other time in the history of our nation have we been so vulnerable to insurgent ideologies, ideologies that stand in direct juxtaposition to Americanism. I am frequently asked, “But what can I do...what can be done to help preserve our American Heritage?” Perhaps the most important thing that any patriotic American, any individual citizen can do, besides providing adequate governmental oversight by communicating with your elected officials on a continual basis, is to correct those who mistakenly refer to our system of government as a Democracy.


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