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  • I can't tell you how many times I have told people we are not a "democracy" but a "republic". *sigh*
    • Why does that matter? No offense, but I've always viewed that as a pedantic point that merely detracts from the argument at hand.

      • by jdavidb (1361) on 2005.05.16 15:42 (#40446) Homepage Journal

        I'm coming from where you're at. The way I see it, government began with the tyranny of conquest and monarchy, neither of which were justifiable. Democracy was invented as a hedge against the possible tyranny of unlimited government. As such, it was a great idea. But it is not an absolute defence against government tyranny, and I am one of a minority of people who wants to point out that "democracy != freedom," and that there may be better ways to do things.

        I tend to see representative Republics in the same light. They were another great hedge against the potential tyranny of government, and offer some advantages over pure democracy. But to me they are still not the absolute cure, and "republics != freedom" as well. (The author of the article would probably flay me alive for saying that.) A representative republic stands a chance of being a better hedge against tyranny than a democracy, but the distinction is slight enough that I don't think it's the end of the world if we can't tell the difference. And I think we make a grave mistake if we equate either system with liberty and freedom, or assume that either system is the best mankind can conceive.

        Here's a pair of example problems with democracy:

        A democracy can vote to prohibit gay marriage.

        A democracy can vote to compel the teaching of creationism in schools.

        I believe both of these are serious problems with democracy, but morally, democracy teaches that a majority vote makes it right.

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers