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John Simkin

Is America a democracy?

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Don't you find that sad, or disconcerting?  Or am I over-reacting? Maybe it's all a lost cause, and I'm the odd man out. I just always thought there was more to life than material acquisitions, especially when these acquisitions happened to create such a negative effect on our surroundings, and on the planet, itself.  If we could put a shuttle in orbit, why haven't we been able to perfect another form of fuel or energy withwhich to power our vehicles, heat our homes, etc.?  There's got to be another alternative source.

You are not alone Terry. There are several members of this Forum who still hold onto their beliefs they developed in the 1960s. We won the political argument for a better, fairer world, but were defeated by the right’s control of the mass media. This enabled right-wing extremists to take control of the political system. On another thread I have illustrated the role that Rupert Murdoch has played in this.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4644

Murdoch has tremendous media power in the US, UK and Australia. Murdoch owns 179 newspapers worldwide and all of them supported the invasion of Iraq. Murdoch admitted in an interview in the Guardian that he had ordered all his newspapers to support this war. The main reason for this was his belief that the invasion would result in lower oil prices. This in turn would increase share prices and would help the economies of both the US and UK before Bush and Blair went to the polls. He was wrong about the price of oil and the stock market but with his help, Bush and Blair won their elections.

It is no coincidence that right-wing extremists like Murdoch now supports so-called left of centre organizations like the Labour Party. This strategy began after the war when the OSS and later the CIA used Marshall Plan funds to bribe left-wing politicians in European countries. Tom Braden, who was head of a CIA fronted organization, International Organizations Division (IOD), admitted in the 1970s that it was vitally important in the fight against communism to “turn” the leaders of left of centre political parties in Europe (they were particularly active in France, Italy, Greece and the UK).

In the 1980s Murdoch supported right-wing political parties such as Thatcher’s Conservative Party. By the 1990s, despite the propaganda of Murdoch’s media empire, people began to reject this right-wing agenda. By about 1996 it was clear that in the UK the British people were ready for change. Murdoch therefore had to get to Tony Blair in order to get him to follow Thatcher type policies. This has been highly successful and Blair has loyally followed Murdoch’s policies.

Murdoch of course does not work on his own. He has many allies in his successful strategy of stopping governments from employing progressive taxation and closing tax loopholes that enables people like Murdoch to avoid paying any tax at all. A couple of years ago an article in the Sunday Times pointed out that the Labour Party was mainly funded by a small group of extremely wealthy businessmen. Apparently, they were concerned about what would happen when Gordon Brown replaced Tony Blair as leader. Over the years Brown had made speeches in favour of progressive taxation and closing tax loopholes. This group had been threatening to cease funding the Labour Party. Murdoch, who is apparently head of this group (he does not provide money to the Labour Party but uses his newspaper empire to support its policies), had a series of meetings with Brown. It has recently been reported that Murdoch now has no problems with Brown replacing Blair.

In the US Murdoch currently supports the Republican Party. If as I expect, the American public become disillusioned by these right-wing policies. Surely it is only a matter of time when people begin to reject these expensive foreign adventures and become concerned about the US budget deficit. When that happens, people like Murdoch will do what they did in the UK, they will begin to manipulate the selection of the 2008 Democratic Party candidate. Although on the surface they will appear to be to the left of Bush, once in power, they will play the same role as Blair plays in the UK.

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Don't you find that sad, or disconcerting?  Or am I over-reacting? Maybe it's all a lost cause, and I'm the odd man out. I just always thought there was more to life than material acquisitions, especially when these acquisitions happened to create such a negative effect on our surroundings, and on the planet, itself.  If we could put a shuttle in orbit, why haven't we been able to perfect another form of fuel or energy withwhich to power our vehicles, heat our homes, etc.?  There's got to be another alternative source.

You are not alone Terry. There are several members of this Forum who still hold onto their beliefs they developed in the 1960s. We won the political argument for a better, fairer world, but were defeated by the right’s control of the mass media. This enabled right-wing extremists to take control of the political system. On another thread I have illustrated the role that Rupert Murdoch has played in this.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4644

Murdoch has tremendous media power in the US, UK and Australia. Murdoch owns 179 newspapers worldwide and all of them supported the invasion of Iraq. Murdoch admitted in an interview in the Guardian that he had ordered all his newspapers to support this war. The main reason for this was his belief that the invasion would result in lower oil prices. This in turn would increase share prices and would help the economies of both the US and UK before Bush and Blair went to the polls. He was wrong about the price of oil and the stock market but with his help, Bush and Blair won their elections.

It is no coincidence that right-wing extremists like Murdoch now supports so-called left of centre organizations like the Labour Party. This strategy began after the war when the OSS and later the CIA used Marshall Plan funds to bribe left-wing politicians in European countries. Tom Braden, who was head of a CIA fronted organization, International Organizations Division (IOD), admitted in the 1970s that it was vitally important in the fight against communism to “turn” the leaders of left of centre political parties in Europe (they were particularly active in France, Italy, Greece and the UK).

In the 1980s Murdoch supported right-wing political parties such as Thatcher’s Conservative Party. By the 1990s, despite the propaganda of Murdoch’s media empire, people began to reject this right-wing agenda. By about 1996 it was clear that in the UK the British people were ready for change. Murdoch therefore had to get to Tony Blair in order to get him to follow Thatcher type policies. This has been highly successful and Blair has loyally followed Murdoch’s policies.

Murdoch of course does not work on his own. He has many allies in his successful strategy of stopping governments from employing progressive taxation and closing tax loopholes that enables people like Murdoch to avoid paying any tax at all. A couple of years ago an article in the Sunday Times pointed out that the Labour Party was mainly funded by a small group of extremely wealthy businessmen. Apparently, they were concerned about what would happen when Gordon Brown replaced Tony Blair as leader. Over the years Brown had made speeches in favour of progressive taxation and closing tax loopholes. This group had been threatening to cease funding the Labour Party. Murdoch, who is apparently head of this group (he does not provide money to the Labour Party but uses his newspaper empire to support its policies), had a series of meetings with Brown. It has recently been reported that Murdoch now has no problems with Brown replacing Blair.

In the US Murdoch currently supports the Republican Party. If as I expect, the American public become disillusioned by these right-wing policies. Surely it is only a matter of time when people begin to reject these expensive foreign adventures and become concerned about the US budget deficit. When that happens, people like Murdoch will do what they did in the UK, they will begin to manipulate the selection of the 2008 Democratic Party candidate. Although on the surface they will appear to be to the left of Bush, once in power, they will play the same role as Blair plays in the UK.

"If as I expect, the American public become disillusioned by these right-wing policies. Surely it is only a matter of time when people begin to reject these expensive foreign adventures and become concerned about the US budget deficit."

Between you and me, John? I seriously doubt the majority of the American public have/has half a brain between them, to even consider the consequences of these foreign adventures, or even know of what a budget deficit is, let alone that the U.S. has one. They merely mimick sound bytes. I seriously doubt if they could even explain what they're mimicking due to their propensity for the knee-jerk methods of sloganeering they're constantly bombarded with via the advertising and news media swill.

Thanks for all your hard work and efforts in trying to impart the truth about our two countries' collaborative, albeit coersive, efforts in maintaining what the Murdochs, Scaife-Mellons, Morgan-Rockefellers, Dupont-Dow, Cargill-ADM, et. al., really have in mind as the "status quo", and how easily the sheeple are willing to be led into the virtual stockyard.

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I am 46 years old and like a million other people throughout history, I cannot believe what we all are living through. I believe one of the problems we have in America is one of education and the negative effect the media has on our culture. I live in Texas, Dallas as a matter of fact, so I get to see first hand the bulwark of Republican sentiment in daily life. It make mw want to get sick. We have a President who continue's to stumble through Iraq, a "phony war" if I ever saw one. He and his minions uses the terrorism issue to basically keep everybody afraid while the raping of civil liberties continues at breakneck speed. I personally do not feel we "really live in a democracy," when the Commander-In-Chief can simply issue a Presidential Executive Order to do basically whatever "he" wants to (including going to war) and everyone yawns asw if watching re-runs of American Idol. I hate to say it but I feel like the London papers had it right after the last election i.e. the headline (How can 280 million people be so stupid?). George H.W. Bush has the distinction of being the only President (as of now, anyway) that has the records of his administration hidden away where they are not perusable even through the F.O.I.A. which I hear some Bush administration officials would like to roll that back as well. You might be surprised to know that I am a traditional conservative, at least, in theory. Nowadays nothing ever surprises me about the depths of lunacy our country has plunged to. I am sorry but after reading John's thoughts on this post I couldn't agree more. I also feel there is a "area" somewhere in our government that has been in the process of destroying the Democratic Party ever since 1963. Oligarchy seems to be the wave of the future in the "land of the free."

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Tim Gratz said:

If I remember my history correctly, it was Ben Franklin who was asked what kind of a government the founders had created. He replied: "A republic--if you can keep it."

America is a constitutional republic. It is NOT a democracy.

Words Get Around

To the People of the State of New York:

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a wellconstructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that 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. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

By a faction, I understand 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.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. 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.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.

The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that 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. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:

In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents, and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that, if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.

In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.

It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representatives too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects. The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,--is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.

Brent Crosby said:

How can America be a Republic when its own party is more along the lines of the Democrats of the '70s?  Couldn't America be a combination of all three: plutocracy, democracy, and a republic?  If unholy rule over a body of people is your measure, then I'm not seeing your point.  Maybe you could apply counter examples to a democracy, or to our modern day political landscape.

Hmm, yes. I should clarify by saying that we are only a de jure republic; thanks mainly to liberals and partly to conservatives, we are a de facto socialism. There are several ways to look at that.

First, there's what we might call the de-Federalization of the political system. The dominant faction of the Founding Fathers preferred a Federal system -- that is, a weak central government with strong several States -- rather than the reverse, a national system -- a strong central government and weak States. The Federalist view was championed (among others) by Madison, the "architect of the Constitution," while the nationalist view was championed (among others) by Hamilton. The conflict between these two factions, and the resulting political disagreements which carried over into the early 19th century, need not concern ourselves here. What is more germaine is that the dominant view of how our nascent country should be run was that the United States of America should have its politics based primarily on the States rather than on the Federal system which tied them together. Ideally, the several States would be the essence, with the Union the afterthought.

Sadly, this situation does not obtain any longer. Thanks to Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression (mistakenly called the "Civil War") against the South, a precedent was set whereby the Union became more important than the States; this was a complete intellectual reversal of the concept on which this Union was founded, namely that the States are the most significant component of the American polity.

Now, thanks to Lincoln's unconstitutional acts of empire-building (which had nothing to do with slavery, and more to do with the 40% tax increase levied on the South by the North) rather than slavery (Lincoln never intended to free all black slaves, but merely those in the South for military purposes; read the actual Emancipation Proclamation sometime), like any tyranny the Federal government exists solely for its own sake. The goal of "saving the Union" was achieved, but only at the cost of destroying the American Republic. The Federal government has become the de facto primary unit of American politics; nowadays when people speak of "the government" they invariably mean the Federal government rather than their own State government.

This process was accelerated before FDR's time, when the concept of socialism was applied systematically to the American system. Socialism, or the suppression of the individual for the sake of the group (whether it be the majority, all society, or a group of a few people), became the standard American political theory, supplanting the rights of the individual. These socialists of the 1920s -- who may not have been the flaming Marxists of the 1960s, but still possessed the poisonous contempt for the individual which became common in FDR's time -- took it upon themselves to begin a grand experiment in the tyranny of the group. Prohibition was just the most famous tyrannical act to come out of this trend.

More subtle, but more damaging, was the systematic effort to transform the Federal system into a welfare system in which the government actively tries to "make things better" by legislating away economic depressions. This is an intricate point, but it deserves to be mentioned. In the 1920s, these neophyte socialists developed a Treasury system whereby the role of local banks in issuing interest loans was subverted, and the US government began arbitrarily setting interest loans regardless of the actual risk of the business involved. Before this change, a local bank would deal with a business and set a loan for the enterprise, giving it a high interest or low interest based on how risky the bank decided the enterprise is. After all, the bank should get some recompense for taking on a high-risk loan, if needs be. The Treasury system forestalled the decision-making ability of banks, and arbitrarily set all interest rates -- regardless of risk! Naturally, this meant that high-risk businesses which otherwise would not have gotten any money could now afford comparitively low rates on their loans; simply put, a great many enterprises were begun which should not have been started in the first place. A gigantic "bubble" was created of impetuous, reckless loaning and spending which had little to do with the actual market. (Compare this effect to the "dot-com bubble" of the late 1990s.) In short the US government had anaesthetized the loan industry from the up-and-down pains of the free market. To the short-sighted and superficial, this was heavenly; the economy was flush with new cash (loans, many of which were doomed to default), businesses were springing up everywhere, millionaires were created on the spot, and the Roaring '20s had begun. Like any expensive party however, the bill had to be paid. That bill was called in the day of the market crash that started the Great Depression. Socialism had created the Great Depression by those who had hoped to prevent depressions in the first place. The free market had been manipulated, and it had backfired; the free market cannot be governed successfully. Sadly, it would be clear that no one would learn this painful lesson.

The Great Depression was made worse by FDR's socialistic "New Deal," which was a series of measures designed to fix socialism by adding more socialism on top of it; the free market was strangled further by "creating" "new" "jobs" to put people to work, all on the government payroll. An economy's vigor cannot be measured by the growth of government jobs, however; quite the opposite, it should be measured by the growth of private-sector jobs. No one seriously bothered with this distinction. Like in Soviet Russia (which many top Democrats were beginning to openly admire), success was defined as the government putting as many people to work as possible. One can only assume that the socialists of the era would have been ecstatic if they had managed to put every American in the government workforce, as is the goal of every good communist.

The next phase of socializing of America was in the 1960s, with LBJ's "Great Society." Welfare in the modern sense was defined; now, the goal of government would no longer be to stay out of people's way, but to interfere with their lives for their own good. The free market was seen as something inherently evil, something which should be forestalled as much as possible in defense of the American citizenry.

It began with the hijacking of the Democrat party; radical Marxists gave themselves the scandalously deceptive title "liberals" and proceeded to turn a once-proud party into a party of insidiously un-American ideals. In a way, though, these "liberal" Marxists already saw the way paved for them. The American people had had half a century to prepare themselves for the open conversion from a capitalist economy to a socialist economy. Generations of political leaders, beginning with Lincoln, instituted measures which boldly undercut the American ideal of individualism, capitalism, and Federalism.

Politics, society, and economics are closely connected, at least in modern politics. The "liberals" believed that society  could be "improved" only by "improving" the economy, according to the (to them) tried-and-true method of vigorous economic regulation by the government. "Liberals" naturally used politics to achieve these "socioeconomic" "gains." This process continued for several decades after LBJ, resulting in the thoroughly socialistic, highly taxed, highly regulated economy we have today. The American economy is strong despite the American government, not because of it. The Federal government -- which is in no wise "Federal" any longer, but national -- has usurped a great many economic powers unto itself. Thanks to Lincoln, FDR, and LBJ's efforts (among others), the Union now exists for its own sake, not for the sake of the States or their citizens. This economic process can mostly be blamed on modern "liberals" and their  Democrat party (which exists for "liberals" the same way a host organism exists for its parasite). True, in the early 20th century such distinctions as "liberal" and "conservative" were more subtle and far less meaningful to modern persons; but there were socialists, people who generally felt that the "greater good," or "society," is more important than the selfish whims of the individual.

Sadly, this view obtains in modern "conservatives" as well. This humble student of politics has engaged in several passionate debates with "conservatives" about the nature of socialism versus individualism. It is clear that in regards to "social" issues such as gambling, prostitution, gay marriage, or drug use, conservatives are socialists: they invoke society as a justification to suppress individual rights on the grounds of making society more "moral." Whereas "liberals" invoke Marxist socialism to create what they see as economic improvements, "conservatives" invoke moral socialism to create what they see as societal improvements. Between the two, there is indeed little room for the individual. Both ideologies take it for granted that the individual can have his rights dispensed and revoked at the whim of the group -- whether the group in question is society, the majority, or even some group which is perceived to be oppressed, such as the "poor."

Here is a selection from the libertarian thinker Ayn Rand's essay "Man's Rights" (emphases are Rand's):

The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of Amerca was the subordination of society to moral law.

The principle of man's individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system -- as a limitation on the power of the state, as man's protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral society in history.

All previous system had regarded man as a sacrifical means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself. The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary co-existence of individuals. All previous systems had held that man's life belongs to society, that society can dispose of him in any way it pleases, and that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may be revoked at any time. The United States held that man's life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights.

Radical thoughts? No. Just uniquely American thoughts. Thanks to the domination of American schools by "liberal" Democrats for at least one full generation, few people of either side of the "liberal/conservative" debate are willing to accept such ideas. Liberals adore their economic meddling, while conservatives adore their societal meddling.

So while the socialization of America (economically, societally, and politically) can largely be attributed to "liberals" -- if only because they dominated Congress for so long, and thus had more time to meddle with things -- there is some blame left over for "conservatives."

But enough blame. What could be done? Principle says that the US government should be trimmed back dramatically.  The ideal of the individual must be reestablished; he should not be violated for the sake of "liberal" economics, not for the sake of "conservative" morality either. The States should hold all the powers not relegated to the Federal government. The States, for their part, should not engage in activities which oppress the individual for socialistic reasons. We need a Judiciary which refuses to interpret the Constitution along socialist lines; it would be just as wrong to force abortion on the entire country a la Roe v. Wade as it would be to force a "Federal Marriage Amendment" strictly defining marriage according to Christian precepts as one man and one woman. Socialism is wrong no matter its justification, as this student has carefully tried to explain to several conservatives elsewhere. Like eating M&Ms, tyranny all comes out the same in the end no matter its original colour.

The American polity has descended into a gang of bullies all finding reasons to shove around the individual. In this way, America is no different from all the other civilizations in world history. But there is always hope. The message of liberty trumps socialism any time, as long as it is clearly and vigorously expressed. It would be easier if the US government's branches, the news media, schools, colleges, and universities were liberated from the grips of socialism, however. But liberty was never easy; as the old cliche goes, freedom is not free. The dream of freedom is inherently superior to any legislative Utopia imagined by people.

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Tim Gratz said:

If I remember my history correctly, it was Ben Franklin who was asked what kind of a government the founders had created. He replied: "A republic--if you can keep it."

America is a constitutional republic. It is NOT a democracy.

Words Get Around

To the People of the State of New York:

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a wellconstructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that 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. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

By a faction, I understand 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.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. 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.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.

The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that 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. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:

In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents, and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that, if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.

In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.

It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representatives too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects. The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,--is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.

Brent Crosby said:

How can America be a Republic when its own party is more along the lines of the Democrats of the '70s?  Couldn't America be a combination of all three: plutocracy, democracy, and a republic?  If unholy rule over a body of people is your measure, then I'm not seeing your point.  Maybe you could apply counter examples to a democracy, or to our modern day political landscape.

Hmm, yes. I should clarify by saying that we are only a de jure republic; thanks mainly to liberals and partly to conservatives, we are a de facto socialism. There are several ways to look at that.

First, there's what we might call the de-Federalization of the political system. The dominant faction of the Founding Fathers preferred a Federal system -- that is, a weak central government with strong several States -- rather than the reverse, a national system -- a strong central government and weak States. The Federalist view was championed (among others) by Madison, the "architect of the Constitution," while the nationalist view was championed (among others) by Hamilton. The conflict between these two factions, and the resulting political disagreements which carried over into the early 19th century, need not concern ourselves here. What is more germaine is that the dominant view of how our nascent country should be run was that the United States of America should have its politics based primarily on the States rather than on the Federal system which tied them together. Ideally, the several States would be the essence, with the Union the afterthought.

Sadly, this situation does not obtain any longer. Thanks to Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression (mistakenly called the "Civil War") against the South, a precedent was set whereby the Union became more important than the States; this was a complete intellectual reversal of the concept on which this Union was founded, namely that the States are the most significant component of the American polity.

Now, thanks to Lincoln's unconstitutional acts of empire-building (which had nothing to do with slavery, and more to do with the 40% tax increase levied on the South by the North) rather than slavery (Lincoln never intended to free all black slaves, but merely those in the South for military purposes; read the actual Emancipation Proclamation sometime), like any tyranny the Federal government exists solely for its own sake. The goal of "saving the Union" was achieved, but only at the cost of destroying the American Republic. The Federal government has become the de facto primary unit of American politics; nowadays when people speak of "the government" they invariably mean the Federal government rather than their own State government.

This process was accelerated before FDR's time, when the concept of socialism was applied systematically to the American system. Socialism, or the suppression of the individual for the sake of the group (whether it be the majority, all society, or a group of a few people), became the standard American political theory, supplanting the rights of the individual. These socialists of the 1920s -- who may not have been the flaming Marxists of the 1960s, but still possessed the poisonous contempt for the individual which became common in FDR's time -- took it upon themselves to begin a grand experiment in the tyranny of the group. Prohibition was just the most famous tyrannical act to come out of this trend.

More subtle, but more damaging, was the systematic effort to transform the Federal system into a welfare system in which the government actively tries to "make things better" by legislating away economic depressions. This is an intricate point, but it deserves to be mentioned. In the 1920s, these neophyte socialists developed a Treasury system whereby the role of local banks in issuing interest loans was subverted, and the US government began arbitrarily setting interest loans regardless of the actual risk of the business involved. Before this change, a local bank would deal with a business and set a loan for the enterprise, giving it a high interest or low interest based on how risky the bank decided the enterprise is. After all, the bank should get some recompense for taking on a high-risk loan, if needs be. The Treasury system forestalled the decision-making ability of banks, and arbitrarily set all interest rates -- regardless of risk! Naturally, this meant that high-risk businesses which otherwise would not have gotten any money could now afford comparitively low rates on their loans; simply put, a great many enterprises were begun which should not have been started in the first place. A gigantic "bubble" was created of impetuous, reckless loaning and spending which had little to do with the actual market. (Compare this effect to the "dot-com bubble" of the late 1990s.) In short the US government had anaesthetized the loan industry from the up-and-down pains of the free market. To the short-sighted and superficial, this was heavenly; the economy was flush with new cash (loans, many of which were doomed to default), businesses were springing up everywhere, millionaires were created on the spot, and the Roaring '20s had begun. Like any expensive party however, the bill had to be paid. That bill was called in the day of the market crash that started the Great Depression. Socialism had created the Great Depression by those who had hoped to prevent depressions in the first place. The free market had been manipulated, and it had backfired; the free market cannot be governed successfully. Sadly, it would be clear that no one would learn this painful lesson.

The Great Depression was made worse by FDR's socialistic "New Deal," which was a series of measures designed to fix socialism by adding more socialism on top of it; the free market was strangled further by "creating" "new" "jobs" to put people to work, all on the government payroll. An economy's vigor cannot be measured by the growth of government jobs, however; quite the opposite, it should be measured by the growth of private-sector jobs. No one seriously bothered with this distinction. Like in Soviet Russia (which many top Democrats were beginning to openly admire), success was defined as the government putting as many people to work as possible. One can only assume that the socialists of the era would have been ecstatic if they had managed to put every American in the government workforce, as is the goal of every good communist.

The next phase of socializing of America was in the 1960s, with LBJ's "Great Society." Welfare in the modern sense was defined; now, the goal of government would no longer be to stay out of people's way, but to interfere with their lives for their own good. The free market was seen as something inherently evil, something which should be forestalled as much as possible in defense of the American citizenry.

It began with the hijacking of the Democrat party; radical Marxists gave themselves the scandalously deceptive title "liberals" and proceeded to turn a once-proud party into a party of insidiously un-American ideals. In a way, though, these "liberal" Marxists already saw the way paved for them. The American people had had half a century to prepare themselves for the open conversion from a capitalist economy to a socialist economy. Generations of political leaders, beginning with Lincoln, instituted measures which boldly undercut the American ideal of individualism, capitalism, and Federalism.

Politics, society, and economics are closely connected, at least in modern politics. The "liberals" believed that society  could be "improved" only by "improving" the economy, according to the (to them) tried-and-true method of vigorous economic regulation by the government. "Liberals" naturally used politics to achieve these "socioeconomic" "gains." This process continued for several decades after LBJ, resulting in the thoroughly socialistic, highly taxed, highly regulated economy we have today. The American economy is strong despite the American government, not because of it. The Federal government -- which is in no wise "Federal" any longer, but national -- has usurped a great many economic powers unto itself. Thanks to Lincoln, FDR, and LBJ's efforts (among others), the Union now exists for its own sake, not for the sake of the States or their citizens. This economic process can mostly be blamed on modern "liberals" and their  Democrat party (which exists for "liberals" the same way a host organism exists for its parasite). True, in the early 20th century such distinctions as "liberal" and "conservative" were more subtle and far less meaningful to modern persons; but there were socialists, people who generally felt that the "greater good," or "society," is more important than the selfish whims of the individual.

Sadly, this view obtains in modern "conservatives" as well. This humble student of politics has engaged in several passionate debates with "conservatives" about the nature of socialism versus individualism. It is clear that in regards to "social" issues such as gambling, prostitution, gay marriage, or drug use, conservatives are socialists: they invoke society as a justification to suppress individual rights on the grounds of making society more "moral." Whereas "liberals" invoke Marxist socialism to create what they see as economic improvements, "conservatives" invoke moral socialism to create what they see as societal improvements. Between the two, there is indeed little room for the individual. Both ideologies take it for granted that the individual can have his rights dispensed and revoked at the whim of the group -- whether the group in question is society, the majority, or even some group which is perceived to be oppressed, such as the "poor."

Here is a selection from the libertarian thinker Ayn Rand's essay "Man's Rights" (emphases are Rand's):

The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of Amerca was the subordination of society to moral law.

The principle of man's individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system -- as a limitation on the power of the state, as man's protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral society in history.

All previous system had regarded man as a sacrifical means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself. The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary co-existence of individuals. All previous systems had held that man's life belongs to society, that society can dispose of him in any way it pleases, and that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may be revoked at any time. The United States held that man's life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights.

Radical thoughts? No. Just uniquely American thoughts. Thanks to the domination of American schools by "liberal" Democrats for at least one full generation, few people of either side of the "liberal/conservative" debate are willing to accept such ideas. Liberals adore their economic meddling, while conservatives adore their societal meddling.

So while the socialization of America (economically, societally, and politically) can largely be attributed to "liberals" -- if only because they dominated Congress for so long, and thus had more time to meddle with things -- there is some blame left over for "conservatives."

But enough blame. What could be done? Principle says that the US government should be trimmed back dramatically.  The ideal of the individual must be reestablished; he should not be violated for the sake of "liberal" economics, not for the sake of "conservative" morality either. The States should hold all the powers not relegated to the Federal government. The States, for their part, should not engage in activities which oppress the individual for socialistic reasons. We need a Judiciary which refuses to interpret the Constitution along socialist lines; it would be just as wrong to force abortion on the entire country a la Roe v. Wade as it would be to force a "Federal Marriage Amendment" strictly defining marriage according to Christian precepts as one man and one woman. Socialism is wrong no matter its justification, as this student has carefully tried to explain to several conservatives elsewhere. Like eating M&Ms, tyranny all comes out the same in the end no matter its original colour.

The American polity has descended into a gang of bullies all finding reasons to shove around the individual. In this way, America is no different from all the other civilizations in world history. But there is always hope. The message of liberty trumps socialism any time, as long as it is clearly and vigorously expressed. It would be easier if the US government's branches, the news media, schools, colleges, and universities were liberated from the grips of socialism, however. But liberty was never easy; as the old cliche goes, freedom is not free. The dream of freedom is inherently superior to any legislative Utopia imagined by people.

********************************************************************

Here is a selection from the libertarian thinker Ayn Rand's essay "Man's Rights" (emphases are Rand's):

The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of Amerca was the subordination of society to moral law.

The principle of man's individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system -- as a limitation on the power of the state, as man's protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral society in history.

All previous system had regarded man as a sacrifical means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself. The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary co-existence of individuals. All previous systems had held that man's life belongs to society, that society can dispose of him in any way it pleases, and that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may be revoked at any time. The United States held that man's life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights.

Radical thoughts? No. Just uniquely American thoughts. Thanks to the domination of American schools by "liberal" Democrats for at least one full generation, few people of either side of the "liberal/conservative" debate are willing to accept such ideas. Liberals adore their economic meddling, while conservatives adore their societal meddling.

So while the socialization of America (economically, societally, and politically) can largely be attributed to "liberals" -- if only because they dominated Congress for so long, and thus had more time to meddle with things -- there is some blame left over for "conservatives."

But enough blame. What could be done? Principle says that the US government should be trimmed back dramatically. The ideal of the individual must be reestablished; he should not be violated for the sake of "liberal" economics, not for the sake of "conservative" morality either. The States should hold all the powers not relegated to the Federal government. The States, for their part, should not engage in activities which oppress the individual for socialistic reasons. We need a Judiciary which refuses to interpret the Constitution along socialist lines; it would be just as wrong to force abortion on the entire country a la Roe v. Wade as it would be to force a "Federal Marriage Amendment" strictly defining marriage according to Christian precepts as one man and one woman. Socialism is wrong no matter its justification, as this student has carefully tried to explain to several conservatives elsewhere. Like eating M&Ms, tyranny all comes out the same in the end no matter its original colour.

The American polity has descended into a gang of bullies all finding reasons to shove around the individual. In this way, America is no different from all the other civilizations in world history. But there is always hope. The message of liberty trumps socialism any time, as long as it is clearly and vigorously expressed. It would be easier if the US government's branches, the news media, schools, colleges, and universities were liberated from the grips of socialism, however. But liberty was never easy; as the old cliche goes, freedom is not free. The dream of freedom is inherently superior to any legislative Utopia imagined by people.

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I've read every book of Ayn Rand's as well as her journals, and although I respect her intellect, I believe she really did not possess an adequate perspective with regard to the racial and ethnic issues plaguing an ever diversifying country. A country known for its paradoxical and hypocritical form of governance which it insists on identifying as a "democratic republic," an oxymoron, in and of itself.

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