Kevin Price
A republic creates a responsible government
By Kevin Price
November 30, 2010

Every once in a while I like to remind readers about the importance of a republican form of government, because you typically will not find that from political leaders of either party. Both the Democrats and Republicans talk in terms as if democracies and republics are synonymous. Even the most conservative voices in the media seem to fail to understand the difference.

Recently I was reading Glenn Beck's Common Sense and found it an excellent book. Each chapter is full of sound reasoning as he made a case for liberty and limited government. In it, however, he discusses the virtues of democracy and how that force will restore our government. I find this interesting, because mob rule has contributed to the abyss we are in today.

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host who saved the AM dial and made that radio band the hot property it is today, has a section of his website and a recurring feature on his program in which he refers to himself as "The Doctor of Democracy." Limbaugh, like other conservative hosts, argues that we should restore the values of the founders that "made America great." Those founders had a very cynical view of democracy, seeing it as a form of extremism, but wanted to have a government based on the rule of law, which will protect people regardless if they are in the majority or few in number.

The Founders warned of the excesses of democracy and spoke passionately about limited government:

John Adams warned people to "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."

Benjamin Franklin noted that democracies failed because such is like "two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." A republican form of government, on the other hand, assures liberty, and "Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"

Fisher Aimes, who was one of the first members of Congress, noted that "The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

Even Thomas Jefferson, considered by most of his contemporaries to be the most sympathetic of democracy, was quoted as saying: "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." As the ambassador to France during the Constitutional Convention, Jefferson saw first hand, the excessiveness of democracy in that country as the mob ruled the day. The symbol of the American Revolution and its emphasis on republican government was the liberty bell, while the democratic revolt in France had the guillotine. These symbols speak volumes about the temperment of both philosophies.

When I traveled to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union following the fall of Communism, there were often protests because the people were seeking a quicker pace of reform. You would find signs, in English to get the message to the United States via TV, that would say "Democracy equals Freedom" and similar themes. Ironically, the first free elections in Germany's history were in 1932 and led to the rise of Adolph Hitler, whose party enjoyed a mandate. Democracy leads to mob rule and mobs behave in a most destructive fashion riddled with socialism and financial ruin, if not checked by the rule of law.

We need writers, radio hosts, TV personalities and more to discuss the virtues of republican government, which is found in rule by law. Such is found in a republic and not a democracy. Government should only do those things the people cannot do for themselves. It must be based on law and confined, in our country's case, to the 17 powers listed in the Constitution. This is why I say that the term "conservative" is a misnomer. There is little liberty left to conserve. The proper term is "restoration." We must restore liberty, limited government, private property, and free enterprise. It needs to become fashionable again to point out the virtues of republican government and to dismiss and to discredit the extremes of pure democracy.

When I listen to conservative hosts, you can almost "hear" the chagrin on their faces when a listener corrects them on the use of the term "democracy." They will dismiss it by saying, "yeah, yeah, representative democracy, I understand." No, they don't understand. The Constitution of the United States does not allow us to elect representatives to go and vote our freedoms away. In a republic, our elected officials can only do those things the law permits them to do. Continue to hold the politicians, and those in journalism who are suppose to watch our elected officials, accountable.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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