The USA: Republic or Democracy?

It all started when the Cato Institute said President Obama was wrong to invoke the Constitution as the basis for collective action. This then excited a discussion in the Barrelstrengthian anarcho-fascist collective about whether the United States of America is meant to be a republic or a democracy.

Arch-Tory Oban spoke as follows:

True enough, but the United States has, with the exception perhaps of the electoral college, evolved into a  robust democracy, albeit with ineffective governance structures.  The Bill of Rights does not so much protect from government, as from the ability of the majority to tyrannize the minority.  Unlike the Canadian Charter (and many other recent constitutions), the US constitution only addresses individual rights.  The so-called checks and balances of the US governance system frustrate majoritarian rule, even where individual rights are not affected – something that I consider a design error.  The anti-democratic sentiments of the founders should not – to my mind, shackle the mature imperial government of the US, nor frustrate the need for democratic legitimacy.

Capitalist shark, the Duke of Riga, replied:

Oban: Are you kidding!!!

In the last 20 years rent-seeking interests have taken complete control of the US legislative agenda aided and abetted by commie panderers like Hussein

This is why there are 110 million on some form of government handout. This is why there is one person on disability for every 16 workers (in the 1969’s this ratio was 140:1).This is why Black family units are dysfunctional in general.This is why there can be no fiscal reform and the whole mess will fall over the cliff edge. This is why there is no leadership in DC


Rebel Yell then intervened:

The John Birch Society was correct: This is a republic, not a democracy.  Unfortunately, the decay of a constitutional republic into a mobocracy has proceeded apace over the last half century.  Part of this has been due to the socialistic worship of group rights (the poor, the blacks, the gays, the ….fill in the blank) and the undermining of the pre-eminent relationship between the citizen and the state.

The Hussein [Obama for the uninitiated] regime is simply fulfilling its purpose in turning the Democrat Party into the Socialist Party.
Hussein is doing everything that the Marxist Gramsci would want him to do.  Attack individual liberty, disarm free citizens, make everyone dependent on the state.

As for the media, ABC, CBS, NBS, CNN, NPR etc. are all facets of one overarching network—OBN, the Obama Bootlicker Network.

Oh America, what has happened to you?  Awaken and shake off the flies of decay!

Duggan’s Dew threw in his two shillings worth:

I am sick of the ‘penny in the slot’, all voices must be heard, proportional representation, Andrew Coyne version of democracy.  Governments are not  there to reflect every shimmering desire and ambition, every passing moor (psychological slip there, meant ‘mood’ but too good to correct) or fad.  A government is there to ensure order,  enforce contracts, protect the borders and several other minimal and strictly defined chores.  They require legitimacy to effect that, and elections are there to confer that legitimacy, for a serious period of time. People who think governments should be responsive to the wishes of the ‘people’ have pretty much brought  western Europe and now the United States to states of moral and financial bankruptcy. One citizen, one vote.  Going good now, huh?

Oban rejoined the discussion this way:

Interesting as always.
The dysfunction of black families dates to slavery when blacks were not a family but chattels owned by masters who could sell or disperse families at will (and did).

The vast proportion of rent seekers are middle class retired people – not poor, blacks, minorities, etc.  They are the primary beneficiaries of Medicare and Social Security and by far the largest receivers of “handouts”.  Much of the Tea Party anger was directed at the thought that their benefits might be endangered if the health care benefit system was expanded.  Valid, but not principled.  Millions receiving handouts are veterans, students and the unemployed.  I don’t see that this is wrong in principle.
I don’t accept that the John Birch society is in a position to lecture me on republican values.
I don’t agree that the role of government was or was ever intended to be set in stone.  Governments change to reflect the needs of the society that selects it.  The early propertied men who led the “revolution” were, of course, primarily interested in retaining their rights and wealth (and enjoy the wealth expropriated without compensation from Loyalists and others deemed hostile to their grasping interests).  Times change.  Life moves on.  The republic foundered on the weight of slavery and the need to provide public infrastructure to permit industrialization and the colonization of a continent.  Now it needs to sustain an imperial ambition and infrastructure that has blast all to do with the functions of government outlined by Duggan’s Dew..  I doubt that the founding fathers thought that maintaining standing armies to change regimes in Iraq or Vietnam would be a legitimate government function – indeed, they would have recoiled from the thought.

The Barrelstrengthian collective has not yet settled upon its attitude to the American revolution, but on the whole we think the constitutional system it led to was a mistake.