True Democracy

True Democracy

A member gave this quote about Democracy

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” Then he added this argument: “Democracy is mob rule. Democracy collapses when the majority discovers it can vote for itself treasure from the public coffers. Democracy is the last plateau of social order before anarchy.”

This quote is usually attributed with Benjamin Franklin, though there is no evidence he originated it. In fact, the word “lunch” was not even in use until around 1820, thirty years after his death. The quote most likely originated in the 20th century and the author is unknown.

I’ve heard this many times and have difficulty in seeing why people cannot immediately see through the illusion in it.

First of all, we have never had a true democracy in the history of the world so the flaws here that are seen cannot be demonstrated. Athens in ancient Greece is the purest example of a Democracy, and only about ten percent of its inhabitants were entitled to vote. Even so, it was the greatest example of a civilianized society in the ancient world.

We can, however, see the problem with our current government which is far removed from being any democracy. The laws and spending that are passed are usually far removed from the majority will of the people.

Our current system is like two wolves living with 20 sheep and the wolves having power to decide what kind of sacrifice the sheep will make.

Under a true democracy we are all one breed — citizens deciding what will affect citizens.

His second illusion is as askew as the first. He says:

“Democracy collapses when the majority discovers it can vote for itself treasure from the public coffers. Democracy is the last plateau of social order before anarchy.”

So what has happened now in the current system with a republic instead of a democracy? Are the wolves voting us treasure from the public coffers?

Indeed, by the trillions at present.

Would a democracy do the same thing?

Very doubtful.

If you go through the spending disasters of history you will find that line by line the majority of people were against most of them. The spending disasters were created by a minority who thought they knew what was good for us. A democratic majority did not create our problems.

The anti-democracy people are at odds with numerous Founding Fathers — most notably Jefferson. Here are some quotes:

 “The fundamental principle of [a common government of associated States] is that the will of the majority is to prevail.” (Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 1809.)

 “I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law.” (Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793.)

 “Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends; the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them.” (Thomas Jefferson to Annapolis Citizens, 1809.)

 “[Bear] always in mind that a nation ceases to be republican only when the will of the majority ceases to be the law.” (Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Citizens of Adams County, Pa., 1808.)

A reader argued that we have had enough democracy  to prove that a pure one would be poisonous to the system

There was a little democracy even in Communist Russia, but did it kill the empire or even hurt it in any way?


There was much more democracy in our original Republic which allowed for majority will elections on several levels.

Was that a poison to the United States?

Verily no. If anything, democracy has been more like a life-giving force than a poison.

A true democracy is not an impossibility like getting 100% pure gold or a poisonous element. Democracy is not a physical thing, but a principle.

A true democracy is simply a system where each citizen has a right to vote on matters that affect them.

Now anyone could take this word “true” and compare it to the word “pure” and dissect it to the degree that would make the establishment of 100% pure democracy impossible, but I think the average reader who does not see things in an extreme black-and-white fashion can see the principle here.

If the word “true” is a stumbling block we could call it “A system where all citizens have the right to vote on laws and initiatives that affect them,”

So I do not have to repeat such a long definition over and over I use the term “true democracy” for simplicity’s sake.

I have concluded that a true democracy would be a lot better than what we have now. One can compare North Korea with no detectable democracy with the United States with some democracy and conclude that democracy is one of the main items that makes us a more successful country.

One can examine how elements of democracy have influenced society and then make an educated guess as to the pros and cons of a true (much more accurate word than “pure”) democracy. The evidence suggests that it would be a worthy experiment, just as the original Republic was a worthy experiment.

We can guess at the flaws of something that does not yet exist, but we cannot demonstrate them in the present.

The reader argues that Communists states in the past claimed that they did not work because they were not pure enough or because of external problems.

This argument has nothing to do with anything I have said. I never talked about “pure” anything from a perfectionist point of view.

The Soviets had a “true” communist state though it may not have been “pure” in some eyes. Even though there have been numerous true communist states there has never been one true democracy where all have had a right to vote on matters that affect them. Even in Ancient Greece the vote was only available to a few — but still it worked much better than totalitarian regimes.

The reader then maintains that ignorant people in a true democracy would vote themselves so many benefits that the state would go bankrupt.

I would submit   that they would be armatures at spending compared to what our representatives are doing today. Have you checked our national debt lately?

The average person has at least some feeling of responsibility when he gets a credit card, unlike our Congress.

I agree that the voters need to be informed and educated in a true (not pure) democracy. BUT even in our society of “Jay Leno voters” they will still do better than Congress who votes according to the whims of political pressure that often has nothing to do with the will of the people.

Because an informed majority will make democracy much better, I have stated that one of the main jobs of a Molecular candidate is to educate his co-legislators. Our representatives’ prime job needs to shift from power broker to manager and teacher.

The reader states that “democracy may be like giving a loaded gun to a child who does not have sufficient knowledge of the danger involved, or the knowledge of how to use it safely.”

The problem is we already have a loaded gun at our heads. A democracy through Molecular politics, even with some ignorant included, would be an improvement.

Keep in mind that the uninformed are also uninterested, and many would not have the initiative to participate and to become co-legislators. I am adamantly against enforced universal suffrage of any kind. People should only be encouraged to vote when they know what they are voting for.

As I have written, I do not see a pure democracy as the most enlightened government, but eventually we will have the best of a representative leadership with the best of democracy at play.

At this point in history, I see the best path is to shift toward a system that truly represents the will of the people by encouraging participation.

Just talk to the average construction worker about national spending and you will find he makes much more sense than the explanations we get from Congress about the reasons they borrow trillions of dollars for pet projects.

“When work becomes play, and play becomes your work, your life unfolds.” – Robert Frost

Dec 20, 2008

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