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Topic: Democracy, Matches 14 quotes.



But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.

Source: Mosiah 29:20, 26

Topics: Democracy



When To Vote?

If voting could really be used to determine right from wrong—and what we should all be forced or forbidden to do—we could use it to settle the religious question once and for all. We could vote democratically to decide which religion we shall all be compelled to follow. (It always amuses me to observe how some of the most rabid of the social democrats back away from that one; and on occasion, I have been known to resort to the low trick of taunting the worst of them with this question: “What’s the matter—don’t you believe in democracy and the right to vote anymore?”)

Perhaps James Madison, in the tenth Federalist Paper, best answered this general question on voting and democracy. “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

That’s why our Founding Fathers deliberately established a Republic with heavy checks and balances against popular and hasty actions, instead of a Democracy in which the people are encouraged to believe that they have the “right” to vote on anything and everything. It’s too bad that their plan is being so constantly eroded away.

Source: Dean Russell
Legal But Immoral, Essays on Liberty, Volume IX

Topics: Democracy; Republic; Voting



(These paragraphs are not sequential in the original essay. I selected specific ones to include here for brevity.)

The Founding Fathers saw no reason to assume that a majority of citizens should have the final and deciding word on what bills should be enacted into law; decisions of such depth and complexity could not be left to the ever-changing whims of a majority. “No one imagines that a majority of passengers should control a plane. No one assumes that, by majority vote, the patients, nurses, elevator boys and cooks and ambulance drivers and interns and telephone operators and students and scrubwomen in a hospital should control the hospital. Would you ever ride on a train if all the passengers stepped into booths and elected the train crews by majority vote, as intelligently as you elect the men whose names appear in lists before you in a voting booth? Then why is it taken for granted that every person is endowed on his 21st birthday with a God-given right and ability to elect the men who decide questions of political philosophy and international diplomacy?

The federal government has also assumed enormous powers through a distortion of the phrase “the general welfare.” In the first Congress, in 1789, a bill was introduced to pay a bounty to fishermen at Cape Cod, as well as a subsidy to certain farmers. James Madison said: “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury: they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union: they may seek the provision of the poor . . . [all of which] would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.”

In a democracy, all such processes are easily sanctioned by popular outcries: “He’s a profiteer—take it away from him.” “He’s getting too much—give it to us.” People who haven’t succeeded, or weren’t willing to make the sacrifices he made, will do all they can to take it away from him after he has succeeded. A democracy easily becomes dominated by the morality of envy. A fickle mob, unaware of the facts of basic economics, but easily swayed by demagogues demanding as their right the fruits of the labor of others, can easily bring about the passage of laws which will inhibit production, destroy the free market, and in the end lead to such shortages and bottlenecks in production that they result, just as Plato said, in riots, calls for “law and order,” and dictatorship.

Only a republic, in which the powers of the government are constitutionally limited, can avoid this fate. That is why the Founding Fathers were careful to create this nation as a republic, so that each person could determine his own destiny and not have it determined by others, whether by the tyranny of one (dictatorship) or of a few (oligarchy), or of many (democracy). “It is the blessing of a free people, not that they live under democratic government, but that they do not.”. [Richard Taylor, “the Basis of Political Authority,” the Monist, Vol. 66 No. 4 (Oct. 1983), p. 471. See also Richard Taylor, Freedom, Anarchy, and the Law (Prentice-Hall, 1973).]

If the return to a republic is not achieved, Alexis de Tocqueville’s prediction of a century and a half ago may yet come true: that the American government will become for its citizens

“an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate . . . For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances—what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? . . . The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting; such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”. [Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, pp. 579-80 of the edition edited by Henry Steele Commager, 1946.]

Source: John Hospers
Freedom and Democracy, p337-8

Topics: Democracy; Government; Republic



[O]ur Constitution provides for a republic. That is, we have a republican form of government based upon the citizenry electing representatives to carry out the functions of government. The Founding Fathers did not frame a constitution that would set up a democracy—a kind of government where political power lay directly in the hands of the people. Under a pure democracy, the citizens of the state would exercise popular vote to decide what laws should be made. The majority view would be registered and then carried out by the administrative hand of the central government. There would be no representation (legislative branch of government) between the citizenry and the administrative branch of government.

A democracy might appear to be more “democratic” than a republic, but the authors of the Constitution knew that a democracy would lead to a loss of individual freedom . . . followed by anarchy or tyranny. While the Constitution was being considered for ratification by the Massachusetts Convention, Moses Ames observed:

“It has been said that a pure democracy is the best government for a small people who assemble in person . . . . It may be of some use in this argument . . . to consider, that it would be very burdensome, subject to faction and violence; decisions would often be made by surprise, in the precipitancy of passion, by men who either understand nothing or care nothing about the subject; or by interested men, or those who vote for their own indemnity. It would be a government not by laws, but by men.”

Source: Against All Enemies
Robert Bearce
The Freeman, 1980

Topics: Democracy; Republic; US Constitution



The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be, liberty.

Source: Fisher Ames
a framer of the bill of rights

Topics: Democracy



We have seen the tumults of democracy terminate . . . as [it has] everywhere terminated, in despotism. . . . Democracy! savage and wild. Thou who wouldst bring down the virtuous and wise to thy level of folly and guilt.

Source: Gouverneur Morris
signer and penman of the constitution

Topics: Democracy



Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.

Source: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Topics: Democracy



Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.

Source: Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Topics: Democracy



Democracy alone cannot promise perfect freedom, but its freedoms promise opportunity. And those freedoms legitimize the privilege of an individual’s pursuit of happiness.

Yet freedom does nothing to guide that search. It is much easier to advocate freedom than it is to determine what to do with it. That is one of the challenges facing newly liberated countries.

Indeed, Fourth of July celebrations will be different this year. Throughout our lifetimes, many have understood freedom solely in terms of an ideological struggle. We have been taught to contrast freedom to bondage, liberty to totalitarianism, capitalism to communism, or democracy to despotism.

Now as communism has collapsed in some nations, and as new democracies have arisen, the tempo in the battle of ideology winds down. President Havel described 1989’s “revolutionary changes in Europe as those which will enable us to escape from the rather antiquated straitjacket of this bi-polar view of the world” (Address to joint session of the United States Congress, February 21, 1990).

The remarkable crumbling of communism now brings us to a new era of freedom without the foe to which we have been accustomed virtually all of our lives. But as the zealous fervor for communism wanes, so might the zealous fervor for democracy also fade. That risk is real.

Source: Elder Russell M. Nelson
Address given 1 July 1990 at the Freedom Festival at Provo, UT.

Topics: Communism; Democracy

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