Democracy, the Worst Form of Government ever Tried, Part II
America and China, Republics not Democracies
August 29, 2005
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
1: Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives 2: A political or social unit that has such a government 3: The common people, considered as the primary source of political power 4: Majority rule 5: The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community
— The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
1: the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives 2: a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them [syn: republic, commonwealth] [ant: autocracy] 3: the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group [syn: majority rule]
— WordNet 2.0, 2003 Princeton University
The Progressive Era … began in … the 1890s and lasted through the 1920s … Many reforms dotted this era, including Prohibition with the 18th Amendment … the Income Tax with the 16th Amendment and direct election of Senators with the 17th Amendment. Muckrakers … reaction-producing writers … were among … the best examples of progressive reformers … Initiative, Referendum and Recall, all parts of the … fully democratic state, were … pioneered during the movement.
— Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
China, like America, was never intended to be a democracy. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Founding Father of modern China, like Benjamin Franklin, intended that the nation he bequeathed to posterity would be “A republic, if you can keep it!” This much is beyond dispute. The name of the nation Sun founded, after all, is “The Republic of China.” This would hardly be worth mentioning were it not for the fact that so many people have forgotten it.
Yes, Sun made frequent and abundant use of the term “min zhu,” i.e., “people rule,” i.e., “democracy.” But Sun was using “democracy” in the greatly expanded, grossly inaccurate 20th Century sense of the word, as if it were a synonym for republic and an antonym for autocracy. When Sun used the word democracy, he meant republic. No one who knows anything about Sun’s “San Min Zhu Yi” (Three People’s Principles) can have the slightest doubt about this.
Sun, like America’s Founding Fathers, was a firm believer in republican government, not democracy. Sun, like America’s Founding Fathers, was a firm believer in indirect as opposed to direct government. Sun, like America’s Founding Fathers, was a firm believer in structural constraints as obstacles to “democracy,” aka “mobocracy.”
All this should be abundantly clear from the structural constraints Sun incorporated into the Chinese constitution, which closely mirror the structural constraints the Founding Fathers incorporated into the American constitution. The National Assembly is a good example. The National Assembly was Sun Yat-sen’s answer to the Electoral College. The National Assembly, like the Electoral College, is a proudly, unabashedly “undemocratic” feature of the Chinese constitution. The Control Yuan is another. The Control Yuan represents Sun’s attempt not only to emulate the American constitution’s checks and balances, but to enhance them.
What is the difference between a republic and a democracy?
A republic is a nation ruled by law. The highest law in a republic is its constitution. In a republic everyone obeys the constitution.
A democracy, on the other hand, is a nation ruled by men. The highest law in a democracy is the “Will of the People.” In a democracy, everyone obeys a man who represents the Will of the People. A man who represents the Will of the People is better known as a dictator.
It is no accident that Pan Green Taiwan independence fascists spearheaded the elimination of both the National Assembly and the Control Yuan. The aptly named Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) understands only too well that democratic political institutions such as Initiative, Referendum, and Recall, are highly compatible with fascism, whereas republican political institutions such as Constitutionalism, Original Intent, and the Rule of Law are insurmountable obstacles to fascism that must first be eliminated before the Pan Green camp can implement their fascist agenda.
It is no accident that Pan Blue “Da Zhong Guo” (Greater China) reunificationists spearheaded the successful boycott of Chen Shui-bian’s illegal and unconstitutional “Defensive Referendum.” Pan Blue reunificationists, after all, are true blue champions of the Republic of China Constitution and the Rule of Law.
George Orwell, in “Politics and the English Language,” observed that “The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts… to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration… the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.”
Truer words were never written. What language could be more slovenly than modern political language? What thought could be more foolish than modern political thought?
Terms such as “liberal” and “democracy” once had exact meanings.
The term “liberal” originally meant “an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism.” A liberal was a disciple of Adam Smith and John Locke.
Today “liberal” means “an advocate of redistributionist welfare statism.” Today a liberal is a disciple of John Maynard Keynes and John Kenneth Galbraith. Today, the term “liberal” means the diametric opposite of what it meant during the Enlightenment. Today bonafide liberals have no choice but to refer to themselves as “classical liberals” or “libertarians.”
The term “democracy” originally meant “people rule,” or more idiomatically, “rule by the people.” A democracy was a form of government that stressed universal suffrage, multiparty elections, and majority rule. Nothing more. The term did not contain any unwarranted positive connotations. It did not imply superiority over other forms of government. It did not imply, a la Neoconservative polemicist Francis Fukuyama, that mankind had arrived at “The End of History” and that democracy was the final stage of political evolution.
Today democracy is defined as the only legitimate form of government. Rejecting democracy is not an option. “Non-democratic” is equated with “undemocratic.” “Undemocratic” is equated with “autocratic.”
Today “democracy” is no longer a scientific definition. It is a religious catechism, to be invoked in the same breath as motherhood and apple pie. It is a catch-all phrase for “good government,” for “enlightened government,” for “progressive government,” for “social equality and respect for the individual within a community.”
Today, two centuries after the American Revolution, one century after the fascistic, populist Progressive Era, the critical distinction between a republic and a democracy has been thoroughly obliterated. Today “democracy” is considered a synonym for “republic” and an antonym for “autocracy.”
This sort of equivocation, enormously useful for enforcing pro-democracy Political Correctness, has made our political language as worthless as fiat currency following runaway inflation.
Alexander Hamilton warned that the essential nature of democracy is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson warned that democracy is nothing more than mob rule. James Madison warned that democracies are spectacles of turbulence and contention, incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.
In today’s America, the solemn warnings of these far-sighted champions of republican government and opponents of democracy are treated as “er bian feng” (wind whistling past the ears), and the proud republic established by America’s Founding Fathers has been perverted into the very system they feared and loathed the most — democracy.
The Republic of China under the Two Chiangs was a republic — a flawed, imperfect republic, but a republic nonetheless.
The Republic of China under Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shiu-bian is a “democracy.” Not a democracy in today’s ambiguous, equivocal sense of the word, but a democracy in the Founding Fathers’ semantically precise sense of the word, i.e., an elective dictatorship.
What Taiwan needs today is not a Pan Green “deepening of democracy,” but a Pan Blue rebirth of republican government.