Democracy Is Not Essential To The Preservation Of Individual Rights And Liberty

Natural Law does not depend on the will of the majority.  It exists independent of the opinion of the masses.  In fact, the majority opinion is quite often opposed to the dictates of Natural Law.  Our founders understood this.  It is why they rejected the notion of a democracy and chose instead to create a republican form of government, where the rule of law could be relied upon to preserve individual rights and liberty:

“Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few.”

–John Adams

Our founders realized that democracy is a natural enemy of Natural Law and, had they created a democracy, they would be subjecting future generations to the inevitable tyranny of the majority.  However, if it is designed to protect and preserve Natural Rights, the rule of law – represented by a republican form of government – is the natural ally of Natural Law.  It can protect and preserve individual rights and liberty independently of any democratic participation from the people.  In fact, had they chosen to do so, our founders could have just as easily designed our Constitution without any direct input from the people and it would have functioned just as well as it ever has – possibly even better.

If you will read the text of the Constitution, you will find it only requires a vote for two Constitutional offices: that of the President and Vice President.  It does not require that State Senators and Representatives be elected by majority vote of the people of their States.  It does direct that the manner of selecting these positions be left to the people of the States and their State governments, but it does not require they be elected.  They could just as easily be appointed by some other means to which the people of a given State agree.  The same applies to the Electors who actually vote for the President.  The Electors can also be appointed by the States.  In truth, the founders mandated only one vote in the entire Constitution: that for President.

If the truth be told, so long as the people of the States so desired, our republic could actually function by drawing lots to fill the various Constitutional positions.  Rather than elections, every so many years, as dictated by the Constitution, instead of elections, we could hold a draft.  If your number is drawn, you leave your life to go serve your State or Country for whatever period of time is defined, then you return home and the next person is drafted to take your place.  This would have the added benefit of providing a real incentive to properly educating our children while – at the same time e—taking money out of politics.  In fact, it would even end partisan politics and return the governance of this nation to something more in line with what our founders originally envisioned.

So, what does this mean?  It means that the Constitution can function properly without a single American citizen ever voting for any Constitutional office.  What’s more, we might not even notice a difference.  The Federal government would run exactly the same (or better) as it does today.  The rule of law would operate exactly the same as our founders intended it to function.  Individual rights and liberty would be as protected without a vote as they are with it – possibly even more so.  Most likely, we wouldn’t even have as much trouble with corruption in government as we have today.  Thus, we can conclude that democracy is not an essential element to the preservation of individual rights and liberty.

This leaves us with this question:  if it is a known enemy of Natural Law (and it is), then why do so many people push so hard to establish a link between democracy and liberty?  The answer to that question is simple: in a democracy, the ‘will’ of the people can be bought with their own money:

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

–Benjamin Franklin

7 thoughts on “Democracy Is Not Essential To The Preservation Of Individual Rights And Liberty

  1. Appointment by lots would indeed be representative of the virtue of the citizenry, but even that could be dangerous in times of moral decline such as today. The big advantage would be that it is term limits without any possible appeal to special-interest money. I would suggest that lots be drawn for about three individuals for each office in each district and those names be put on a ballot for a popular vote so that each could present their resume’. Election to public office should be based on a person’s actual record of acquiring and using their skills, not on promises to do something.

    1. BillC,

      I appreciate your thoughts, but I would focus on the point I am making. Yes, we could do this in any number of ways, but the point is that elections are not essential to a free and self-governing society.

      However, if I may, I’s like to provide a little feedback for you. If we stuck with lots (provisions for criminals and those who are not mentally or emotionally fit), then doesn’t this actually provide for a built-in check against moral decay? If everyone’s liberty and well being is mutually dependent upon the moral character of the next person, then we would have more of a personal interest in holding our neighbor accountable than we do currently — wouldn’t you think?

      Anyway, it’s just a thought 🙂

  2. Yes indeed, Joe – accountability (or the difficulty thereof) is a problem in current society. Seems to be one of the disadvantages of easy mobility. That dependency does exist, we just tend not to realize it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s