This is not a democracy

Have you ever referred to this country as a “democracy”? I have made that mistake in the past but I know better now. I’m not alone – I’ve heard many intelligent, educated people call this country a democracy, including the former occupant of the White House. Actually, our country was founded as a republic and there is a big difference between that and a democracy. Here is an excellent explanation from http://www.whatourforefathersthought.com :

A Republic is representative government ruled by law (in our case, the Constitution). A Democracy is government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A republic recognizes the unalienable (endowed by God, not by government) rights of the individual while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs for the “good of the public” or, in other words, social justice.  Lawmaking is a slow, deliberate process in our constitutional republic requiring approval from the three branches of government – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial – to assure checks and balance. Lawmaking in a democracy occurs rapidly, requiring approval from the majority by polls and/or voter referendums. 50% plus 1 vote takes away anything from the minority. Here is one example: if 51% of the people don’t pay taxes they can vote a tax increase on the 49% that do, which is mob rule.

Democracies always self-destruct when the non-productive majority realizes that it can vote itself handouts from the productive minority by electing the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury. To maintain their power, these candidates must adopt an ever-increasing tax and spend policy to satisfy the ever-increasing desires of the majority. As taxes increase incentive to produce decreases, causing many of the once productive to drop out and join the non-productive. When there are no longer enough producers to fund the legitimate functions of the government and its social programs the democracy will collapse, always to be followed by a dictatorship. 

Mitt Romney famously got in hot water during his 2012 presidential campaign when he said that he knew the 47% of the voting population who were receiving some form of public benefits would not be voting for him (this comment was made at a private fundraising event and was surreptitiously recorded and released to the press by Jimmy Carter’s grandson). The scary thing about this (aside from the fact that no one seems to be allowed to express an opinion anymore) is that 47 is precariously close to a tipping point. Without the serious reform of all public welfare programs, the tax code, and enforcement of immigration laws, we could very easily reach the point where there are not enough taxpaying, productive citizens to pay for the legitimate functions of government and its social programs.

I worked in social services for 22 years – both private non-profit and public sectors – and also did a lot of volunteer work for social service agencies over the years. I was able to help a lot of people who were in need as a result of circumstances beyond their control. I also saw more than my share of people who took any “free” assistance an organization or government program had to offer, whether they actually needed it or not. I was taught there is no such thing as a “free lunch” – someone has to pay for everything you call “free” – and that it is wrong to take a handout when you are perfectly capable of earning a living and getting it for yourself. Even your freedom isn’t free.

I believe in maintaining the legitimate functions of government and its social programs. I believe in helping those who are vulnerable or in true need. I believe in protecting our country. These are the things for which I don’t mind paying taxes. What frightens me is how close our republic is to being turned into a democracy as a result of entitlement programs that foster dependence on the government for everything, and the thousands of regulations that worm into every aspect of our lives. This is the exact opposite of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If you’re interested in reading some intelligent thoughts about the promise of government and the threat it poses to individual freedom I highly recommend Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom”.

Liberty wearing her new bandana 12-25-14

Chew on that for a while

Advertisements

Circus or FEMA?

Ringling Mansion, Sarasota

 

I just spent a week in Sarasota. It was my first visit and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk-ability of the downtown area, all the shops, restaurants, and the lovely bay front park. I walked 28 miles, which is almost double my usual weekly mileage! Stella did amazingly well but her stroller helps a lot! The weather was beautiful and I celebrated my 62nd birthday with dinner at an outdoor cafe saying a special thanks for being able to eat outdoors in late November – I certainly never did that when I lived in the Northeast.

While in Sarasota I visited the Ringling Estate – winter home of John and Mable Ringling (of circus fame) and I urge everyone who visits Sarasota to spend a day there. The grounds of the beautiful estate include not only the mansion, which sits right on the bay, but also a circus museum and an art museum. The mansion is an architectural delight, inside and out, and rivaled the mansions I have visited in Newport, RI, but it was the circus museum that captured my attention so much that I didn’t have enough time left to go through the art museum. There is a fantastic miniature replica of a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus  “tent city” as it would have looked circa 1918-1938, which was built over a period of 50 years by a man named Howard Tibbals. The detail is absolutely incredible and not only can you walk all the way around it but you can view it from above on the second floor of the museum. I have always loved miniatures and just wished I could climb into the display area and crawl around, peeking into all the tents.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering why this post is titled “Circus or FEMA?”. Before beginning my tour of the museum I sat in a small theater and watched black and white films from the 1920’s and 30’s of circus crews “de-training” (unloading up to 150 railroad cars of equipment, supplies and up to 800 animals) and setting up the “Big Top” and many other tents, often for just a one night stand. Their logistical and organizational expertise could rival the military! The first crews arrived very early, set up the cook tent and the huge dining tent in time to serve breakfast to some 1,300 circus workers and performers. Three meals a day were served, all on linen tablecloths with china and silverware. That’s almost 4,000 meals a day in a time before preserved and packaged food were prevalent!

As I watched the films in amazement it occurred to me that FEMA should get their hands on the organizational plans from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus of the 1920’s (this was all accomplished way before our fancy modern forms of communication and a lot of the machines and equipment we take for granted now) and follow them during the next disaster – or maybe the government should contract with a circus because I have a feeling these people are still experts in efficiency and time management!

Meanwhile, the Christmas season is upon us! One of my new Christmas card designs is below and I hope you’ll check out the others at Lynda Linke Productions – delivery is within 3 days OR you can have cards mailed directly to the recipient. If you don’t like my inside verse you can change it … can’t do that with a Hallmark! Just sayin’ …

  Merry Christmas-Love, Peace, Joy

My book “Try Lots of Hats” would make a nice gift for a pre-teen girl and my new book “Velvet Ropes: The Ties That Bind Mothers and Daughters” is a collection of true mother/daughter stories that any woman would enjoy reading. While you’re visiting my website don’t forget to like me on Facebook and Twitter!

Tis the season for shameless self-promotion! Fa-la-la-la-la!