Democracy Can't Work

by Ben Kinchlow

This 4th of July, two equally abused and misunderstood words come readily to mind? one is ?Christian?, the other is ?democracy.?  Ironically, in the words of an old song, ??you can?t have one without the other?.  ?Democracy? and ?Christianity? are probably thrown about more and understood less than any other words on the political landscape. A glaring example of the misapplication of these words is America.  America is a Christian country, and was never intended to be a true democracy - a most worthy consideration as we contemplate our beginnings? the 4th of July.  Patriotic rhetoric to the contrary, democracy is essentially ?mob rule?.

The debates taking place worldwide, particularly in the Middle East, regarding ?democratic forms of government?, have a warm, comforting sound.  Westerners, accustomed to living in what are, for the most part, mistakenly called ?democracies?, entertain high hopes. 

Any particular person, position, or thing, by a simple ?majority rule? vote can attain ascendancy.  Had America been a true democracy, we perhaps would have had ?President Presley?, or a Parliament headed by the Beatles.  Fortunately, America is a republic, which insists on intelligent citizens making informed decisions.  President Lincoln said it best, our republic is a ?government of the people, for the people, by the people.?   

?Democracy can?t work? in countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, or a host of other African and/or South American countries we could name.  The reasons are simple:

First (and most important) ? the people lack the preeminent virtue necessary to sustain a democratic form of government? ?individual self governance.?  

Second - the majority of the population has absolutely no idea of the concept of a democratic form of government. 

Self-governance would be ?the act of governing, or exercising authority over one?s self.?  The basis for self-governance is Judeo-Christian values.  Those countries where this perspective is not an integral part of the social structure are prime candidates for dictatorships.  Any political map will substantiate this assertion.

A failure to comprehend the virtues of freedom leads many to level the ?occupier/colonialists? charges at America.  This is owing to the fact that it is an incomprehensible concept to most that people should be free to govern themselves.  They have no basis for such a revolutionary leap.  This concept requires people, who for decades have not only been subject to, but have, in fact, been active participants in their own subjugation, to begin thinking like people who have never known anything but ?freedom?.   The individual responsibilities accompanying this unfamiliar word are absolutely foreign to these cultures.

Freedom is based on these Judeo-Christian perspectives?

>>Value of the individual
>>Responsibility for self-government
>>Sovereignty of the general population

Without these, ?democracy?, or any variation thereof, cannot survive.   Note, there are no forms of pure democracy in existence today.  The most vivid demonstration of ?democracy run amok? was the French Revolution.  Certainly the French monarchy of that day cannot be defended, but neither can the wild excesses of the ?democratic mob? carrying out ?guillotine justice?.

The most effective form of government, a republic, has stood the test of time with its several variations, most notably the Greek, and the Roman.   Arguably, the most successful, for the greatest number of people, is the American republic - free individuals voting their conscience on openly debated issues. 

Failure to distinguish between a democracy and a republic can lead to crises almost immediately.  The purpose of a republic is to ensure there is a ?cooling off period?, a time to debate and consider any particular political person or position.  A true democracy, on the other hand, lacks this time of introspection and proceeds immediately to implementation. 

Without this knowledge, sometime in the future, a brutal, ruthless dictator or mob somewhere will be heard to utter the phrase, ?Democracy can?t work!??

This danger is not restricted to foreign countries. 
America stands on the precipice.  

We must recognize this simple truth ? America is God?s idea.  

Any form of government which ignores this truth ? man is God?s idea, does so at its own peril. 

The 4th of July testifies to both these truths.

July Home