- Posted October 4, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
By Drlamba | Posted 23 hours ago | Innisfil, Ontario
In every society, those in the minority are at risk if democracy is held as the highest good. It's so easy, to democratically violate rights. The question: how do we do that? That is a huge question for me right now. I’d say that every bit of news we get out, every person we reach, all that counts enormously. But more big breakthroughs … those would be great.
Consider the words of the Founding Fathers of US themselves, who — one after another — condemned democracy.
• Virginia’s Edmund Randolph participated in the 1787 convention. Demonstrating a clear grasp of democracy’s inherent dangers, he reminded his colleagues during the early weeks of the Constitutional Convention that the purpose for which they had gathered was "to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and trials of democracy…."
• John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, championed the new Constitution in his state precisely because it would not create a democracy. "Democracy never lasts long," he noted. "It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself." He insisted, "There was never a democracy that ‘did not commit suicide.’"
• New York’s Alexander Hamilton, in a June 21, 1788 speech urging ratification of the Constitution in his state, thundered: "It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity." Earlier, at the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton stated: "We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy."
• James Madison, who is rightly known as the "Father of the Constitution," wrote in The Federalist, No. 10: "… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths." The Federalist Papers, recall, were written during the time of the ratification debate to encourage the citizens of New York to support the new Constitution.
• George Washington, who had presided over the Constitutional Convention and later accepted the honor of being chosen as the first President of the United States under its new Constitution, indicated during his inaugural address on April 30, 1789, that he would dedicate himself to "the preservation … of the republican model of government."
• Fisher Ames served in the U.S. Congress during the eight years of George Washington’s presidency. A prominent member of the Massachusetts convention that ratified the Constitution for that state, he termed democracy "a government by the passions of the multitude, or, no less correctly, according to the vices and ambitions of their leaders." On another occasion, he labeled democracy’s majority rule one of "the intermediate stages towards … tyranny." He later opined: "Democracy, in its best state, is but the politics of Bedlam; while kept chained, its thoughts are frantic, but when it breaks loose, it kills the keeper, fires the building, and perishes." And in an essay entitled The Mire of Democracy, he wrote that the framers of the Constitution "intended our government should be a republic, which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism."
In light of the Founders’ view on the subject of republics and democracies, it is not surprising that the Constitution does not contain the word "democracy," but does mandate: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government."
20th Century Changes
These principles were once widely understood. In the 19th century, many of the great leaders, both in America and abroad, stood in agreement with the Founding Fathers. John Marshall, chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835 echoed the sentiments of Fisher Ames. "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos," he wrote. American poet James Russell Lowell warned that "democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor." Lowell was joined in his disdain for democracy by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who remarked that "democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors." Across the Atlantic, British statesman Thomas Babington Macauly agreed with the Americans. "I have long been convinced," he said, "that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both." Britons Benjamin Disraeli and Herbert Spencer would certainly agree with their countryman, Lord Acton, who wrote: "The one prevailing evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections."
By the 20th century, however, the falsehoods that democracy was the epitome of good government and that the Founding Fathers had established just such a government for the United States became increasingly widespread. This misinformation was fuelled by President Woodrow Wilson’s famous 1916 appeal that our nation enter World War I "to make the world safe for democracy" — and by President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1940 exhortation that America "must be the great arsenal of democracy" by rushing to England’s aid during WWII.
One indicator of the radical transformation that took place is the contrast between the War Department’s 1928 "Training Manual No. 2000-25," which was intended for use in citizenship training, and what followed. The 1928 U.S. government document correctly defined democracy as:
A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of "direct expression." Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic — negating property rights. Attitude of the law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. All this rsults in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.
This manual also accurately stated that the framers of the Constitution "made a very marked distinction between a republic and a democracy … and said repeatedly and emphatically that they had formed a republic."
But by 1932, pressure against its use caused it to be withdrawn. In 1936, Senator Homer Truett Bone (D-WA) took to the floor of the Senate to call for the document’s complete repudiation. By then, even finding a copy of the manual had become almost impossible. Decades later, in an article appearing in the October 1973 issue of Military Review, Lieutenant Colonel Paul B. Parham explained that the Army ceased using the manual because of letters of protest "from private citizens." Interestingly, Parham also noted that the word democracy "appears on one hand to be of key importance to, and holds some peculiar significance for, the Communists."
By 1952 the U.S. Army was singing the praises of democracy, instead of warning against it, in Field Manual 21-13, entitled The Soldier’s Guide. This new manual incorrectly stated: "Because the United States is a democracy, the majority of the people decide how our Government will be organized and run…." (Emphasis in original.)
Yet important voices continued to warn against the siren song for democracy. In 1931, England’s Duke of Northumberland issued a booklet entitled The History of World Revolution in which he stated: "The adoption of Democracy as a form of Government by all European nations is fatal to good Government, to liberty, to law and order, to respect for authority, and to religion, and must eventually produce a state of chaos from which a new world tyranny will arise."
In 1939, historians Charles and Mary Beard added their strong voices in favor of historical accuracy in their America in Midpassage: "At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of ‘We, the People,’ in the preamble…. When the Constitution was framed no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat."
During the 1950s, Clarence Manion, the dean of Notre Dame Law School, echoed and amplified what the Beards had so correctly stated. He summarized: "The honest and serious student of American history will recall that our Founding Fathers managed to write both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution without using the term ‘democracy’ even once. No part of any of the existing state Constitutions contains any reference to the word. [The men] who were most influential in the institution and formulation of our government refer to ‘democracy’ only to distinguish it sharply from the republican form of our American Constitutional system."
On September 17 (Constitution Day), 1961, John Birch Society founder Robert Welch delivered an important speech, entitled "Republics and Democracies," in which he proclaimed: "This is a Republic, not a Democracy. Let’s keep it that way!" The speech, which was later published and widely distributed in pamphlet form, amounted to a jolting wake-up call for many Americans. In his remarks, Welch not only presented the evidence to show that the Founding Fathers had established a republic and had condemned democracy, but he warned that the definitions had been distorted, and that powerful forces were at work to convert the American republic into a democracy, in order to bring about dictatorship.
Means to an End
Welch understood that democracy is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Eighteenth century historian Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, it is thought, argued that, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship." And as British writer G.K. Chesterton put it in the 20th century: "You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution."
Communist revolutionary Karl Marx understood this principle all too well. Which is why, in The Communist Manifesto, this enemy of freedom stated that "the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy." For what purpose? To "abolish private property"; to "wrest, by degrees, capital from the bourgeoisie"; to "centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State"; etc.
Another champion of democracy was Communist Mao Tse-tung, who proclaimed in 1939 (a decade before consolidating control on the Chinese mainland): "Taken as a whole, the Chinese revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party embraces the two stages, i.e., the democratic and the socialist revolutions, which are essentially different revolutionary processes, and the second process can be carried through only after the first has been completed. The democratic revolution is the necessary preparation for the socialist revolution, and the socialist revolution is the inevitable sequel to the democratic revolution. The ultimate aim for which all communists strive is to bring about a socialist and communist society."
Still another champion of democracy is Mikhail Gorbachev, who stated in his 1987 book Perestroika that, "according to Lenin, socialism and democracy are indivisible…. The essence of perestroika lies in the fact that it unites socialism with democracy [emphasis in the original] and revives the Leninist concept…. We want more socialism and, therefore, more democracy."
This socialist revolution has been underway in America for generations. In January 1964, President Lyndon Johnson boasted in a White House address: "We are going to try to take all of the money that we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the ‘haves’ and give it to the ‘have nots’ that need it so much." What he advocated, of course, was a Marxist, not an American, precept. (The way Marx put it was: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.") But other presidents before and after have advanced the same goal. Of course, most who support this goal do not comprehend the totalitarian consequences of constantly transferring more power to Washington. But this lack of understanding is what makes revolution by the ballot box possible.
The push for democracy has only been possible because the Constitution is being ignored, violated, and circumvented. The Constitution defines and limits the powers of the federal government. Those powers, all of which are enumerated, do not include agricultural subsidy programs, housing programs, education assistance programs, food stamps, etc. Under the Constitution, Congress is not authorized to pass any law it chooses; it is only authorized to pass laws that are constitutional. Anybody who doubts the intent of the Founders to restrict federal powers, and thereby protect the rights of the individual, should review the language in the Bill of Rights, including the opening phrase of the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law…").
As Welch explained in his 1961 speech:
… man has certain unalienable rights which do not derive from government at all…. And those … rights cannot be abrogated by the vote of a majority any more than they can by the decree of a conqueror. The idea that the vote of a people, no matter how nearly unanimous, makes or creates or determines what is right or just becomes as absurd and unacceptable as the idea that right and justice are simply whatever a king says they are. Just as the early Greeks learned to try to have their rulers and themselves abide by the laws they had themselves established, so man has now been painfully learning that there are more permanent and lasting laws which cannot be changed by either sovereign kings or sovereign people, but which must be observed by both. And that government is merely a convenience, superimposed on Divine Commandments and on the natural laws that flow only from the Creator of man and man’s universe.
Such is the noble purpose of the constitutional republic we inherited from our Founding Fathers.
Dictatorship Through Democracy
Since the dawn of civilization, man has been making religions and attributing them to God. Democracy can be counted as one of the best of those religions, which we liked so much that we did not attribute to God; we preferred to keep this one to ourselves. Democracy is known and practiced all over the world but is more revered in the West, where people cling to it in a way that reminds us with the Muslims’ obsession with Islam.
Democracy means the rule of the people, where all eligible citizens participate directly, or through elected representatives, in law-making. This contrasts with dictatorships where the decisions are made by an individual ruler, the dictator. Democracy promises stability since it is based on the solid foundations of fairness, where all people have equal say. It also protects society from corruption that is often associated with dictatorships.
Democratic processes are not restricted to governments. They are often applied in managing professional organizations or societies of any kind or size. It is in these situations, where democracy tends to be ideally applied. Elections for a council of a professional organization, say doctors or engineers, is unlikely to be influenced by newspapers, TV channels or outsiders. The voters are well informed group of professionals who are capable of making their own free decisions.
In government politics, the democratic process is based on elections, the party that gets most votes forms the government. It is fair, but its fairness depends on the fairness of the elections, or so we like to believe.
It is common in third world countries to manipulate elections in a way that the rulers get re-elected again and again. However, this is of little significance, because cheating is obvious and those countries are not recognized as democratic at all, not even by their own citizens. Western monitors are often sent to certain third world countries to make sure that the process of elections proceed fairly and to western standards, only then a government can be described as democratic. In Western standards, the principle is: free elections lead to a democratic government, which is nothing more than a delusion, as will be explained.
The election is only one step in the democratic process which starts before the election day or even the election campaign. The elections are influenced by the information that makes up the public opinion, which depends on the media; newspapers, TVs, publications...etc. It is impossible for democracy to survive in an environment where freedom of expression is not fiercely protected and the media is not free and fair. Tampering with the election often takes place before the election day and the main stream media is the usual tool.
The power of the media
In the West, the media is regulated by strict rules and guidelines to assure the public of its fairness and professionalism. For further satisfaction, and to exclude the possibility of bias, the media is usually privately owned and fully independent from the governments. Indeed, the public in the Western countries have little concerns about the freedom of their main stream media and their own freedom of expression, which is another delusion.
Being privately owned doesn’t mean being fair and free. A newspaper owned by an individual can be biased to that individual’s political affiliation just as a newspaper owned by a government can be biased to that government’s policies. Although a free newspaper aims to provide the public with unbiased news but the owner of the newspaper is not a saint and has interests in financial returns, preferably with some power, through influencing public opinion.
The potential for newspapers’ bias is unlimited, no matter how strict the rules are. Newspapers make the most of that potential for bias all the time while still work within the law and abide by the guidelines. A respected and professional newspaper may influence its readers to adopt left wing views, while another equally respected and professional newspaper may influence its readers to adopt right wing views, yet both papers are officially fair and adhere to the guidelines! The same is true with TV channels and other forms of the main stream media.
In any nation, the majority of the population are gullible and believe whatever in the news. Only a tiny minority of the society bother to research and double check. And that is the secret of the media’s immense power - they have control on that majority of the population. In the UK, Tony Blair was elected by the press well before the election day, the same was true for Obama in the United States. Those millions who went to the ballot boxes were sleep walking to do exactly what the press wanted them to do, they thought they made up their minds but their minds were already made up for them by the press.
The media’s power extends to almost all aspects of life. Even the best film may not stand a chance if the press doesn’t like it, equally true for the best book or any product. The press can decide for the public which products to buy and where to buy them. The press has that magic power to create a celebrity from nothing or bring down a celebrity to nothing. Sheikh Al Qardawi was virtually unknown before that TV program at Al Jazeera, now he is the best known and most influential Muslim scholar in the world. In fact, Al Jazeera TV was the main power behind the wave of Islamic radicalization that swept the Middle East, and then the Islamic world, in the last twenty years. Thinking of the catastrophic consequences of Islamic radicalization, it is hard to believe that a TV channel can be responsible for so much damage in the world.
I followed Al Jazeera from the day it was launched and had a feeling that the channel will have remarkable, but negative, influence on the Arabs, who were not used to this kind of western style journalism. The channel used, or rather abused, professionalism and ‘selective objectivity’ to establish itself as the best in the field. In no time it became the most popular and most trusted in the Arab world. Once in control of the Arabs’ minds, it was easy for the channel to steer those masses to follow its agenda. After his humiliating defeat in the first gulf war, Saddam Hussain’s popularity and credibility suffered a severe blow, even among his Jordanian and Palestinian fans. That steep decline in popularity coincided with the launch of Al Jazeera which managed to reverse it. From the beginning, Al Jazeera offered the Muslim Brotherhood, in all their forms and names, a free platform to gradually radicalize the Arabs. Sheikh Qardawi was an unknown imam until his regular appearance as a guest on the TV program ‘Sharia and life’, which was hosted by another member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both ‘brothers’ used the program to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood agenda.
Dictatorship Through Democracy
The democratic process in a democratic country works through political parties. It is the major parties that have a chance of winning enough seats to form a government; the small parties do not stand a chance. Very often, members of the public do not even know about those small parties, regardless of their policies. In the UK, the Conservatives and Labour parties are the two major parties that have been ruling the country for the last hundred years. They are big parties because each has supporters and donors. The Labour is supported by the trade unions and receives generous donations from them. The Conservatives receive donations from the rich companies. But both parties are happy to receive donations from those who hope their interests will be served once the party is in office. On individual level, British politicians have been known to accept financial advantages in return for asking questions in the parliament, or other services. The infamous ‘cash for questions’ scandal in the 1990s says it all. This political culture is the basis of the British adage “we have the best politicians money can buy”.
Buying a politician is not necessarily expensive; here in Britain, it may not cost more than an invitation to a dinner party. Simon Hughes, a liberal politician, accepted an invitation to attended one of those Muslim gatherings. Apparently he was so impressed that he delivered a speech, which was more of an Islamic sermon, to the bothers and sisters of his audience, as he called them. In his speech, Mr. Hughes expressed his wish to see Britain in the future being ruled by Muslims. Simon Hughes didn’t know that, being a gay, he would be one of the first to be killed in the Islamic Britain of his dreams.
Simon Hughes case was not an isolated incident, it is increasingly common to see politicians who are prepared to bend over backwards to accommodate the endless list of Muslim demands. It is a bad sign, and unfortunately an increasing number of those, who join the political parties, are ‘career politicians’, motivated only by their wish to make good living at any cost. They are keen to win the elections, not to serve their country, but to acquire power and financial gains. As I watched Simon Hughes delivering his ‘Islamic sermon’, I remembered that politics is often compared with the oldest profession (actually, politics is older than prostitution). The politicians have no principles to defend and would do whatever their paying clients ask them to do.
Unfortunately, it is common for the political parties to promise something in the election campaign but do something else once in office. Back in October 2009, Andrew Neather, an aid to the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote that the labour government had encouraged immigration on purpose “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity”. Until his confession, it was believed that the flood of immigrants to the UK was a result of incompetence of the labour government, but now we know it was a result of deliberate and cynical policy of the labour government to change the face of the British society. More than ten million foreign immigrants settled in the UK as a result of that policy, which forced many millions of ethnic Britons to be squeezed out of their country. The British government was so keen to get as many Muslim immigrants from Pakistan and other Muslim countries, as quickly as possible, that their embassies in those countries distributed booklet explaining the advantages of the benefit system in the UK.
Before I settled in the UK, I spent many years in corrupt Middle Eastern countries which were ruled by corrupt dictators who were surrounded by even more corrupt politicians. Still, I do not think any of those dictators ever reached that stage of corruption to enforce a change of the demographic make up of their nations.
Of course the labour government had no mandate to enforce such a change to the society and the issue was never mentioned in the election campaign. The conservatives, who were supposed to make a big fuss of such breach of trust and abuse of power, kept very quiet about it, which means either they didn’t care or they were just as guilty. All this happened in Britain, the birthplace of democracy!
The fact that incidents like the above can happen makes a mockery of the entire concept of democracy. Democracy becomes meaningless in an environment that allows lies and dishonesty. It is more like a dictatorship in disguise where a group of politicians, with no motivation at all, other than greed and selfishness, have replaced the dictator. To be fair to dictators, some of them were motivated by a sense of patriotism and desire to serve their nations, which many did well. Many previous civilizations were built by dictatorships. On the other hand, our political parties seem to act like magnets that selectively attract the corrupts and liars with no integrity or sense of morality.
This generation of politicians love democracy and hate dictatorship, but for the wrong reason. The state is a very rich and tempting asset. Dictators, being lifelong leaders, tend to provide a lifelong protection to that asset, whether just to secure it or to keep it for themselves. Either way, the politicians do not like it. Toppling the regime and introducing a democratic system provides a chance for more politicians to alternate and share the wealth.
Freedom of expression
In the Middle Eastern, for example, there is no true democracy in any country; they are all different shades of dictatorships. The main stream media, whether privately or state owned, are under the control of the state. Newspapers may publish some constructive criticism concerning domestic policies like education, transport, health services and so on. The integrity of the leadership and the main policies of the government remain beyond criticism. The public is usually aware of this pattern of publishing and learn to look elsewhere for the ‘other news’ about the president, emir or the king.
In Western democracies, there is nothing beyond criticism, not even the head of state. The government’s policies are subjected to continuous scrutiny. Ditto members of the government and the royal family, if applicable. The public is generally satisfied that their freedom of expression is protected and their press is free, which is another delusion. You only need to send an article or a comment, with some truths about Islam, to find out!
A newspaper in a third world country may look like a propaganda tool for the state, yet may only cause little harm because, with so much bias and obvious lies, the public learn to read it with caution. This contrasts with a professional western newspaper with a reputation of objectivity which the readers trust and believe. In such papers a bias is not assumed and may go unnoticed.
In dictatorships, freedom of expression excludes the leaders who are protected from criticism. In democracies, it is Islam which is excluded from freedom of expression and is protected from criticism. I wonder which system makes more sense?
Leaders come and go and eventually they all die but Islam, if left untouched, can stay with us for centuries. Islam is a major issue in the West because it is threatening our way of life. It has already caused serious damage to our culture, social life, security, education, the legal system and more. Every day, scores of people get killed, injured, maimed or kidnapped because of Islam, yet it is the only religion that is fiercely protected and not available to the public for open discussion.
A basic human right has been abandoned to keep intolerant Muslims happy. Our politicians have no interest in listening to me and defend my rights, because they believe it is a waste of time to defend principles. Is this what we wanted to achieve by implementing democracy? Replacing dictators with more corrupt and greedy politicians? And is this the freedom of expression we aspired to? Praise Islam or stay away from the subject? There is no freedom of expression unless there is freedom to debate any religion or dogma- irrespective of its adherents. Until then claims of a free press and democracy remains a joke.