It appears that Politico, that epitome of biased, government-lusting “journalism” has published an editorial that the United States Constitution of 1787, as amended, is un- and anti-democratic. They are far from alone in that.
As a result, many so-called “Conservatives” have condemned this as totally partisan and flat-out wrong.
They can picture the Founding Fathers as spinning in their graves at this accusation.
So can I – not at the claim of the editorial, but at the response of the “conservatives.” The Constitution WAS and IS anti-democratic in general, even though some parts of the form of government it established included elements of democracy.
But today, most (if not almost all) “conservatives” are as vocal about “American Democracy” as their supposed leftist opponents. Those of us who ask for some logic and reason are few and unheard.
Let us delve into that.
Democracy is rule by the people. While not actually mob rule, it tends to become just that. The difference between “democracy” and “republic” is NOT, as some claim (The Atlantic magazine, for example) whether or not people elect representatives or make the decisions directly. In a democracy, the people rule: 51 percent (or 50.00001% of those who choose to vote) decide all the actions – if the elections are honest and actually mean something.
“Direct democracy” is where all decisions are made by a vote of the people, but democracy is SUPPOSED to be a majority vote of people to elect representatives who in turn make decisions by majority vote. In honest elections.
On the other hand, a “republic” is a government with limited powers generally as defined in a constitution, and usually with both a limited franchise and free elections of representatives (and other government officials) by voters. In both theory and practice, it is much different from a democracy.
This is, of course, very commonly confused. The following table gives an example.
This visual aid misses what to minarchists and rational anarchists is perhaps the key point of difference: A republic’s government – of whatever nature – has LIMITED powers. Limited by a constitution, by tradition, by checks and balances, or by fear – there are many different ways to limit governmental power. Democracies tend to assume that the government can have constantly gain more and more power, as the only limits are what the majority of those voting are willing to accept.
Still, the table still helps clarify the situation.
Note the table points out correctly that not all democracies are “direct democracies” (as we discussed above). BUT all republics do NOT have representatives – elected or otherwise. Indeed, you can have a republic in which power is exercised by the people – the voters – directly. And a democracy can still have significant restrictions on who has the franchise: it is not always the “general public.”
Nor, usually is a constitution the “highest power.” First, documents do not have power. A document can state who has power BUT it can be ignored. Second, almost all constitutions can be amended in some way: even “unwritten” ones. Whomever has the power to amend it really has more power than the constitution itself.
And that is another way in which the US Constitution is anti-democratic, of course.
So why is the US Constitution “undemocratic” and “anti-democratic?”
- Only ONE of the two Houses of Congress is “democratic” – one-man, one-vote, but even it is not truly “one-man, one-vote” since the 435 districts are organized inside states, so that each of them does NOT represent exactly the same number of people!
- The OTHER House of Congress – the Senate – is NOT representative – the 100 Senators represent States and therefore anything from about 250,000 people up to 20 million people!
- NONE of the millions of people who live in American territories – including the District of Criminals – have no real representation in Congress – House or Senate.
- The President, of course, is not elected by a majority one-person, one-vote. The Electoral College not only shares the sins of the Senate, but has other nastiness!
- The Nine Nazgul can overrule the combined votes of 535 members of Congress!
- The Bill of Rights prohibits the People’s Representatives from voting laws into effect even if a majority of the People WANT those laws!
- People can live here (border-jumpers and green-card immigrants, and people under age 18) and NOT be allowed to vote!
Obviously, all of this is evil incarnate to those who believe in Power to the People (except of course, the unborn and a few other people).
So anyone who supports that Constitution must be evil: they don’t believe in real democracy so they must be racists, fascists, and believers in white supremacy! As Politico and others imply (or flatout state) in their rantings.
But don’t expect them to join up with those of us who believe the Constitution is wrong because we believe that mandatory human government is wrong. Or even those who believe that most of the Federal government which exists today is UNconstitutional. No, Politico and those others are no friends of liberty.