Questions of liberty (2) 11

Winston Churchill, speaking in the House of Commons on November 11 (Remembrance Day), 1947, said:

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Is democracy the best form of government?

Does it have any drawbacks, and if so what are they?   

Should all adults have the vote, and if not who should be the exceptions?

Should there be qualifications for voting, and if so what should they be? 

Debate is invited.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Posted under government, Philosophy by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tagged with ,

This post has 11 comments.

  • TyS

    An interesting coming from a man who also stated that, “the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter.”

    “Measures are too often decided, not according to the
    rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior
    force of an interested and overbearing majority.

    A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of
    faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and
    there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party.
    Hence it is, that democracies 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

    “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual
    ignorance. Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of
    Jackals by Jackasses. Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the
    same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven. Democracy is the art
    and science of running the circus from the monkey cage. Democracy is
    the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to
    get it good and hard. Every decent man is ashamed of the government he
    lives under. Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his
    hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

    -H.L. Mencken

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”

    -Benjamin Franklin

    Thankfully, we live in a Republic…which reminds me of yet another quote:

    “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

    -Benjamin Franklin

  • Ken Hawley

    No one who receives compensation from the government in any form … employees, grantees, owners of subsidized businesses, welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, etc … should be allowed to vote during the period they receive such benefits.  Period, end of story.  This would include all government workers, elected and appointed officials, including those in the military.  Government service should not be without sacrifice and the ability to have a say in your own compensation, no matter how indirect, is one such sacrifice.

    • Don L

      I think Newt Gingrich…maybe Paul…said this at one of the debates.  It would sure kill the progressive strategy of power through dependency. Social Security and military…..hmmmm.  A different penalty as it were for politicians but would mandate term limits.  No exemption for those on the dole however!

  • Anonymous

    Three major problems with democracy:

    Short term thinking —  Iraq invasion couldn’t have happened, except post-9/11
    Discrimination — Making lesser citizens out of others
    Insufficient super-law — Need a First Amendment to prevent democratizing individual rights; lack of budget controls makes it too easy to spend today while taxing future voters

  • Don L

    The biggest drawback to freedom is complacency.  The enemies of liberty and free markets adopted an evolutionary strategy to overthrow America and today we are at a tipping point.  The election of Obama may actually have been fortuitous as it woke Americans up. The difficulty is that Americans have been purposefully and effectively made stupid with nearly 50% now dependent on the government for their subsistence. “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government,so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” — Jefferson

    The Declaration of Independence is unique whereas it sets forth the American principle that rights are not derived from government; and, In fact, it is the governed who establish government specifically to protect rights which are unalienable and inherent to man.

    (respective of rights: Sans full discussion, suffice it to say that in the days of our founding, the word god had a dramatically different meaning than it does today and the predominance of the Founders did not believe in christianity and saw it as a dangerous abomination. The Constitution does not include the word god anywhere.  The Declaration merely establishes that rights do not derive from government…Period!)
    “…to secure these [unalienable] rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    If by “democracy” it is meant government by majority rule then anarchy is the result and some form of totalitarianism follows. Our Founders established a constitutional republic whereby law rules. The idea was to “chain” government down.

    All of the “governed” had the right to vote for who they wished to represent them in the Congress of the united states.  The State’s also had the right to appoint representatives to the Congress: senators.  And, all the people have the right to vote for those in their respective state who would elect the president of the executive branch of the federal government: the electoral college gives every state equal status.The only qualification for voting is sufficiency of mental capacity. 

    The checks and balances on the republic have been obliterated overtime.  Senators no longer represent their state (17th Amendment severed the tie) but rather self- and special-interest (36 states were against Obamacare…if it weren’t for the 17th there wouldn’t be an Obamacare).  The presidency has assumed powers not found anywhwere in the Constitution, The supreme court is an abomination which has ignored it’s constitutional duties.  There are too many atrocities to cover here.

    Here are a couple of recommendations:

    Viewing Suggestion: The American Form Of Government —

    Reading Suggestion: The Original Constitution by Robert Natelson —

    • Don L

      Sorry…I tried posting from notepad and this disqus program jumbled the entire comment…paragraphs are out of order and run together…

    • Ralph

       You said almost everything I was about to write. The only thing I would add is that the laws enacted by a republic should be an attempt to define justice. That may be an impossible task because justice means different things to different people, but it must be attempted.

      From my encounters with the County Attorney concerning a debt owed to me I must concur with Frank Zappa when he said ” The United States is a nation of laws poorly written and randomly enforced”.

      • Don L

        Hi Ralph.

        I think they did define it…if it damages property, inteferes with someone elses rights or harms someone…it’s a crime.  Perhaps degrees and remedies may have to be worked out.  But, essentially, if it doesn’t effect you…it’s not any of your business and if it does…it’s a crime.   There’s just too much: “what they ought, should do…or…there ought should be a law” which relate only to pet peaves.

        Regulation is just code for interference in favor of some one group over another.  The less law the better.

        • Don,

          You are absolutely right about your reference to over-regulation. As a small businessman-owner of a grocery store, I’ve seen how regulations serve to erect barriers to entry while offering only marginal (if any) affects on public safety.

      • Don L

        Oh…almost forgot…you’re right about poorly written and randomly enforced.  There are more and more great treatises appearing on how private protection and a justice system would be better. Like everything else government does…it does it badly! 

  • I believe Mr Churchill’s comment was made “tongue in cheek.”  I think he is saying that government “of the people…” is the best form of government and that the “elites” are frustrated because in a democracy, they cannot dictate to the people. 

    I think our founding fathers had it right. The constitution describes a representative (or small ‘r’ republican) federal government. It left local government to the people, and it is in local government where democracy works best. The powers federal government are severely limited by the constitution and consists of elected representatives. The power of local governments is supposed to be limited by the (small ‘d’) democratic action of the people.

    At least in theory…