We live in a democracy. Most nations in the western world are democracies. We think so highly of democracy, that one of the rationales for invading Iraq and killing thousands of Iraqis was to give the Iraqi people the “blessing” of democracy. As Americans, we are prepared to fight, kill, and sometimes die for our beloved democracy.
Nevertheless, our national commitment to democracy is a little odd since the word “democracy” does not appear in The Constitution of the United States. In fact, the only form of government that’s expressly mentioned in our Constitution is seen at Article 4 Section 4 which declares in part,
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”.
So why did we kill all those Iraqis to give ‘em democracy?
Why didn’t we kill ‘em to give them a “republican form of government”?
• The federal Constitution’s mandate for the “Republican Form of Government” is expressly echoed in some State constitutions.
For example, Article I Section 2 of The Constitution of The State of Texas declares in part,
“The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”
In other words, Texans can change their State’s Constitution any way they like, any time they please, with only one, itty-bitty exception: we must preserve our “republican form of government”. No matter what, we must maintain our “republican form of government”. And yet, here on Texas, we live in a “democracy”.
Again, that’s odd since the word “democracy” does not appear in the Texas Constitution.
The word “democracy” does appear in four or five state constitutions, but it’s only been added in the past 20 or 30 years. As originally written, all of our State and federal constitutions expressly or impliedly guaranteed a “republic form of government”—but made no mention of “democracy”.
Of course, if the terms “republican form of government” and “democracy” were synonymous, there’d be no problem. Maybe the word “democracy” is merely shorthand for “republican form of government,” hmm?
But if the two terms are not synonymous, our love for “democracy” and our willingness to fight, kill and die to spread democracy are unconstitutional and treasonous.
• I’ve been a casual student of the nature of governments for over a decade. Trying to find precise a definition of the “republican form of government” is almost impossible. Early editions of Black’s Law Dictionary defined “republican form of government” as “government in the republican form,” but that’s like defining the word “red” to mean “the color red”. In both instances, the definitions break the fundamental rule of lexicography: you can’t use the word or term that’s being defined as part of its definition.
I’ve yet to find a precise definition of the “republican form of government”. I have no doubt that that definition is intentionally concealed. The Powers That Be don’t want the great unwashed to understand the differences between the “democracy” we have and the “republican form of government” which we are guaranteed.
However, about ten years ago, I began to understand the difference between “democracy” and the “republican form of government” when I read the definition of “republic” in the 7th edition (A.D. 1999) of Black’s Law Dictionary:
“republic, n. A system of government in which the people hold sovereign power and elect representatives who exercise that power. • It contrasts on the one hand with a pure democracy, in which the people or community as an organized whole wield the sovereign power of government, and on the other with the rule of one person (such as a king, emperor, czar, or sultan). — Abbr. rep. — republican, adj. Cf. DEMOCRACY.”
That definition told me that in a democracy, the people hold sovereign power as “an organized whole”—not as individual men and women.
I believe that the term “organized whole” is synonymous with the word “collective“.
If so, Democracy must be a collectivist form of government.
• In broad strokes, every form of government can be determined by answering one question: Who holds sovereign power?
The question is important since the essence of “sovereignty” is authority. Sovereignty offers a legally cognizable answer to the question, “Who duh boss?”
The authority and power of all nations are generally structured in the following hierarchy:
The sovereign makes the law and gives the orders. The government always serves the sovereign(s) and controls or even oppresses the subjects.
As Mel Brooks remarked in his movie History of the World, Part I, “It’s good to be the king [sovereign].” Conversely, it sucks to be a subject.
If you’re a sovereign, the government is your servant. If you’re a subject, the government (acting on behalf of the sovereign) is your master. If you’re a subject, you have no meaningful rights to resist the action or even oppression of the government.
• Broadly speaking, there are three fundamental forms of government:
1. Monarchy wherein one man—the king—holds sovereign power and is the “sovereign”; all others are subjects.
2. Aristocracy (or a plutocracy, etc.) wherein a relatively small but elite group of men or families (the “aristocrats”) hold sovereign power; all others are subjects.
3. Republic wherein the sovereign power is held equally by all people. Everyone is entitled to participate in the government by voting and/or holding public office. All citizens of a republic are equal in terms of rights and obligations.
In every republic, the people are sovereign—and that’s theoretically better than having one man (a king) or a handful of men (aristocrats) be the sovereign(s) . But not all “republics” are benign.
Therefore, whenever we deal with a “republic”—in addition to asking “Who holds sovereign power?”—we need also ask a second question to determine the kind of “republic” we’re dealing with: In what capacity do the people hold sovereign power—as sovereigns or as subjects?
For example, in the “republican form of government” that’s expressly guaranteed by our federal Constitution, We the People of the States of the Union are sovereigns in the capacity of individual men and women. I’m a sovereign, you’re a sovereign, the guy across the street is a sovereign. Our status as individual sovereigns was born out in the A.D. 1793 Supreme Court case of Chisholm vs. Georgia which declared the American people to be “sovereigns [plural] without subjects”. In the “republican form of government,” everyone is a sovereign—no one is a subject.
The resulting hierarchy of authority in the “republican form” looks something like this:
1) God–the universal sovereign (all earthly sovereignty flows from God);
2) We the People as individual, earthly sovereigns by virtue of being endowed by our Creator with “certain unalienable Rights” and subject to God’s law;
3) Government (subject to the People’s law a/k/a the Constitution).
In the “republican form of government,” because the people are individual sovereigns, the government is our servant—not our master. The people who work for government are our “public servants”.
• The “republican form of government” is a very special and specific kind of “republic” where all the people are equal as individual sovereigns. But there are other republics where all the are all equal as subjects.
For example, communism is a republic.
Don’t think so? Remember the proper name for the former USSR? It was the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics“. There’s no mistake there. The communists correctly described their form of government as union of “Republics“.
Socialism is also a republic. In the case of both communism and socialism, any young man (or woman) who is sufficiently intelligent, ruthless or lucky can grow up to the “Premier” over a communist or socialist nation. But, as “Premier,” he may wield maximum power, but he remains as much a subject of that republic as any street sweeper. He is not the “sovereign” or even a “sovereign”.
The “republican form of government” and the communistic/socialist “republic” are both “republics” because all the people can participate in government by voting or holding public office. However, while all are individual “sovereigns” in the “republican form of government,” all member of a communist or socialist “republic” are subjects. As Mel Brooks said, “It’s good to be the king (sovereign).” As I said, it sucks to be a subject.
There are no subjects in the “republican form of government”.
There are no individual sovereigns in a communist/socialist “republic”.
In the “republican form of government,” each of us can be “free” as individuals because we are each deemed to be a sovereign.
In a communist “republic,” we’re all individual subjects who are each equally liable to being oppressed by our government “master”. In a communist “republic” subjects have no right to resist governmental oppression. There is no individual freedom in a communist republic because there is no individual sovereignty.
• If the foregoing commentary seems unclear, it’s probably because I haven’t yet answered the second question concerning “republics”. The first question is “Who holds sovereign power?”
We know that in any “republic” the people are sovereign. That’s always true. But it’s critical to ask the second question: ”In what capacity are the people sovereign in a particular republic?”
In the “republican form of government,” We the People are each sovereign in the capacity of individuals. Again—I’m a sovereign; you’re a sovereign; the guy across the street is a sovereign. We are each sovereign in our capacity as individual men and women.
In a communist or socialist “republic,” we the people are also sovereign–but not as individual sovereigns. Instead, under a communist or social “republic,” we the people are sovereign in the capacity of a single collective. In the communist/socialist “republic,” I am not a sovereign. You are not a sovereign. The guy across the street is not a sovereign. No living man is the sovereign or even a sovereign. All are subjects.
So who/what is the sovereign in a communist republic?
Answer: The artificial entity and/or legal fiction called the “collective” is the one and only sovereign.
That’s why communist and socialist systems are called “collectivist” forms of government. In that kind of “republic,” you and I and the guy across the street are collectively members of the sovereignty, but each of us is individually a subject of that collective/sovereign.
In a collectivist “republic,” the hierarchy of authority runs like this:
1. Sovereign Collective. A legal fiction that consists of all the people acting together in the capacity of a single collective.
2. Government (alleged servant of the collective/sovereign/people)
3. Subjects. We the people in the capacity as individuals.
Thus, in a collectivist form or government, the people who are presumed to comprise the collective-sovereign are also, in their individual capacities, subjects of that collective.
Tyrannical like collectivism because under that pretext, all of the individual people are subjects who have no right to resist government.
• In a collectivist state, it is presumed that the will of the sovereign collective is expressed by the majority of the votes in any given election. In a collectivist state, the people’s only way to express their small relation to sovereignty is by voting in elections. But in every other aspect of their lives, the people are rightless subjects. This is exactly why Stalin could send millions of subjects to Siberian gulags to die. As subjects, they had no rights to resist the government’s tyranny.
In a collectivist state, the will of the sovereign is essentially unbridled. That is, the members of the collective can do anything the majority (or their representatives) vote to do in any election. The collective-sovereign is not bound by previous elections, morality or God’s law. The collective is purely man’s unbridled law.
For example, today, the majority (or their representatives) can vote to free the slaves. Tomorrow, they can vote to restore slavery. The day after that, they can vote to kill the slaves. The day after, the majority (or their representatives) can vote to reward all the slaves who survived. Then they can vote on whether to shoot, imprison or reward everyone who has blue eyes or was a Ron Paul supporter.
Whatever the majority votes to do at any particular time is perceived to be the “will of the collective-sovereign” and can be carried out brutally by the government (which always serves the sovereign). If the majority voted to kill all the slaves (or voted to elect representatives who subsequently voted to kill all the slaves), the government will execute the slaves without any judicial process since subjects have no meaningful rights to litigate. If the majority (or their representatives) vote to seize all property of people who have blue eyes, the government will so seize—and without any legal niceties. For the individuals targeted by the majority, there’s no legal defense against the “will of the collective/sovereign” because subjects have no significant rights.
Thus, in a collectivist “republic,” at any moment, each subject is liable to be taxed, robbed, imprisoned, assaulted or executed by the government (acting under the guise of “servant” for the collective/sovereign).
All collectivist “republics” are stupid, ungodly and dangerous to every “individual”.
• There’s an old joke definition of democracy: Two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
We know that the two wolves will vote to eat the one sheep. But we suppose that meal will be based on nothing more than mathematics. Two wolves is greater than one sheep. The majority rules. Therefore, the two (majority) can vote to eat the one (individual). Eating the sheep is deemed the irresistible “will” of the collective-sovereign.
If fact, that joke definition offers enormous insight into the reality of democracy. Yes, the majority rules. Yes, the majority can vote to “eat” the minority. But the fundamental reason for this cannibalism isn’t mere mathematics. It’s because each individual member of the democracy (be he sheep or wolf) has no right to resist the will of the collective as expressed by the majority of voters. The two wolves can vote to eat the one sheep—not because two is greater than one—but because, in a collective, no member has any God-given, unalienable Right to Life (as declared in our Declaration of Independence and which laid the foundation for the “republican form”). Within the democracy, the individual is merely a rightless “thing” (or, at best a subject) who can be lawfully deprived of his property, family, liberty or life any time the majority or their elected representatives vote to do so.
Democracy is another variety of a collectivist form of republic. Yes, We the People are sovereign in a democracy—but we are sovereign in the capacity of a single collective—not as a multitude of individuals. Democracy, is functionally identical to communism and socialism. Thus, for most of a decade, we’ve fought, killed and died in Iraq to give the Iraqis a collectivist form of government fundamentally identical to the “evil empire” formerly condemned by Ronald Reagan.
• Every subject in a democracy is constantly exposed to absolute vulnerability to government oppression. Compare that vulnerability to the fundamental principles of the “republican form of government”: That “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Under the republican form, each individual is deemed to have certain unalienable rights that can’t be taken away or even waived, but must be respected by the public servants of that “republican form of government”. In the “republican form,” it matters not if two wolves, or 200 hundred million wolves are hungry–they can’t vote to “eat the sheep” since doing so would deprive the “sheep” of his God-given, unalienable Right to Life.
Where would you rather live—in a democracy where you have no real rights as an individual man or woman? Or in the “republican form of government” where you have God-given rights to resist the will of the majority or the actions of the government?
And why has our government subjected us to a “democracy” when our Constitution mandates the “republican form of government”?
A: Because our government wants to oppress the American people rather than serve them.