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  1. #81
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    Sheesh, you people must never look outside of the box you're in do you? Always need to be spoon fed. It's no wonder our democracy is at risk!
    We don't have a democracy...never have. Why do you get this wrong every time? Sheesh!
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    We don't have a democracy...never have. Why do you get this wrong every time? Sheesh!
    Not this nonsense again. First, even if JimL's use of "democracy" was wrong (and it is not, which I will get to in a moment), that's completely irrelevant to his point. Granted, I find his point to be silly, but trying to nitpick the meaning of a particular word does not actually address his message. Perhaps you found it sufficiently silly of a point that a nitpicking is all it warranted, but that only works if the nitpicking is correct.

    "We" (if you mean Americans) do in fact, live in a democracy. Grab any recent dictionary and look the term up and you will see the country qualifies. For example, "a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives." Wow, that sounds... exactly like our system of government.

    Perhaps, in the past, the term "democracy" had a more narrow meaning than it does today and referred solely to direct rule by the people, excluding the possibility of elected representation. But the meaning of words shift over time, sometimes subtly, sometimes strikingly (perhaps the most dramatic example is "egregious" which now means the opposite of what it originally did). Whatever the meaning of any term in the past was, it's the present definition that matters when using it in the present, and the present definition of democracy absolutely does describe the United States.

  4. #83
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    Not this nonsense again. First, even if JimL's use of "democracy" was wrong (and it is not, which I will get to in a moment), that's completely irrelevant to his point. Granted, I find his point to be silly, but trying to nitpick the meaning of a particular word does not actually address his message. Perhaps you found it sufficiently silly of a point that a nitpicking is all it warranted, but that only works if the nitpicking is correct.
    It IS technically correct. The US is a Representative Republic. Yes, I did find his post silly to the point of needing to be nitpicked.

    "We" (if you mean Americans) do in fact, live in a democracy. Grab any recent dictionary and look the term up and you will see the country qualifies. For example, "a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives." Wow, that sounds... exactly like our system of government.
    Maybe by that VERY broad definition, but, the non-elected officials like the appointment of Federal and Supreme Court Justices, and the Presidential Electorate College move us away from even a representative democracy.

    Perhaps, in the past, the term "democracy" had a more narrow meaning than it does today and referred solely to direct rule by the people, excluding the possibility of elected representation. But the meaning of words shift over time, sometimes subtly, sometimes strikingly (perhaps the most dramatic example is "egregious" which now means the opposite of what it originally did). Whatever the meaning of any term in the past was, it's the present definition that matters when using it in the present, and the present definition of democracy absolutely does describe the United States.
    Let's see what our Pledge of Allegiance says:

    I pledge allegiance to the flag
    Of the United States of America
    and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands
    One nation under God, indivisible with
    Liberty and Justice for all.

    Hmmm...the writer of the pledge disagrees with you.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

  5. #84
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    It IS technically correct. The US is a Representative Republic. Yes, I did find his post silly to the point of needing to be nitpicked.

    Maybe by that VERY broad definition, but, the non-elected officials like the appointment of Federal and Supreme Court Justices, and the Presidential Electorate College move us away from even a representative democracy.

    Let's see what our Pledge of Allegiance says:

    I pledge allegiance to the flag
    Of the United States of America
    and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands
    One nation under God, indivisible with
    Liberty and Justice for all.

    Hmmm...the writer of the pledge disagrees with you.
    A chance to repost my rant over whether the U.S. is a democracy or a republic

    Our founding fathers had every opportunity to create a democracy but did not choose to do so. Why? Because they were utterly repulsed by the idea recognizing it for what it is. That is why they established a republic instead.

    Let's take a quick peek at what some of them had to say about it shall we

    Source: James Madison, in Federalist Paper 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 have been violent in their deaths.

    © Copyright Original Source



    In the same document Madison, regarded as the "Father of the Constitution" as well as author of and biggest supporter of our Bill of Rights, stated that in a pure democracy "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.” It is in essence mob rule.

    Source: John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration of Independence


    Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state, it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Fisher Ames, author of the House language for the 1st Amendment


    A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way. The known propensity of a democracy is towards licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be liberty.

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    Source: Gouverneur Morris, signer and Penman of the Constitution, in a 1814 speech


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

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: John Marshall, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court


    Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Zephaniah Swift, author of America’s first legal treatise


    It may generally be remarked that more a government resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, in a 1789 letter to John Adams


    A simple democracy ... is one of the greatest evils.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Edmund Randolph, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention


    ...that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found in the turbulence and follies of democracy.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury


    "We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship."

    © Copyright Original Source



    IIRC, the last words that Hamilton penned were "our real disease is Democracy."

    Source: Noah Webster, in his 1801 “American Spelling Book”


    In a democracy ... there are commonly tumults and disorders… Therefore a pure democracy is generally a very bad government. It is often the most tyrannical government on earth.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: John Quincy Adams in a speech celebrating the Jubilee of the Constitution


    The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.

    © Copyright Original Source



    And from his father...

    Source: John Adams, in a letter from 1814


    Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history.

    © Copyright Original Source



    In his highly influential Thoughts on Government Adams stated unequivocally that "There is no good government but what is republican" and that was the form of government that was established. After the Conventional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what had been wrought to which he famously answered: "A republic, if you can keep it."

    The word "democracy” appears absolutely nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution – the two most fundamental documents of our nation. Instead of a democracy, the Constitution’s Article IV Section 4, guarantees "to every State in this Union a Republican form of government."[1]

    In fact, the Constitution is replete with undemocratic mechanisms. The Electoral College and Senate representation come to mind. The Bill of Rights enumerates individuals with similar protections against the majority. The First Amendment, for example, is totally undemocratic. It was designed to protect unpopular speech against democratic fervor.

    Instead of a democracy which they viewed as merely another form of tyranny our founders gave us a republic, with a representative form of government. Democracy is rule by majority or mob rule (often expressed as two wolves and a sheep voting on what's going to be had for dinner), whereas a representative Republic is based upon the rule of law -- the Constitution.

    The latter recognizes the unalienable rights of individuals (the power of the majority is limited by a written constitution which safeguards the God-given inalienable rights of minority groups and individuals alike) while the former is only concerned with group wants at any given moment. As I said -- mob rule or maybe a "mobocracy."

    The great American author James Fenimore Cooper put it another way:

    Source:

    It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.

    © Copyright Original Source



    In closing I'll note that the founding fathers never used the words" republic" and "democracy" interchangeably like we do today. They carefully studied various forms and systems of government from throughout history in order to establish a system of government that would best deter any form of tyranny, including the tyranny of the majority.

    Maybe things would be different if every elected official was required to memorize what the founding fathers had to say or even how the U.S. Department of War (superseded by the U. S. Department of Defense) training manual (No. 2000-25), published in 1928, which every American soldier once carried, defined Democracy.:

    Source:

    A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of ‘direct’ expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic – negating property rights. Attitude toward 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. Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.” The manual went on to state: "Our Constitutional fathers, familiar with the strengths and weakness of both autocracy and democracy, with fixed principles definitely in mind, defined a representative republican form of government. They ‘made a very marked distinction between a republic and a democracy and said repeatedly and emphatically that they had founded a republic.’

    © Copyright Original Source
















    1. Think of it this way, does our Pledge of Allegiance to the flag say "to the democracy for which it stands"? Or do we sing the “Battle Hymn of the Democracy” or the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”?

    I'm always still in trouble again

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  7. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    It IS technically correct. The US is a Representative Republic. Yes, I did find his post silly to the point of needing to be nitpicked.
    And a representative republic is a democracy. So it is not technically correct that the United States is not a democracy.

    Maybe by that VERY broad definition, but, the non-elected officials like the appointment of Federal and Supreme Court Justices, and the Presidential Electorate College move us away from even a representative democracy.
    That "very broad" definition is straight from a recent dictionary, specifically the Oxford Dictionary. All other dictionaries consulted give similar definitions. The United States is, by the modern definition of the term, a democracy. It's a democracy. Unless you want to make an argument for descriptivist meaning rather than prescriptivist, but that fails as well because according to descriptivist meaning the US would count.

    I suppose someone could put forward the argument the US is really an oligarchy because the "true" power in elections lies in the hands of the rich, but that's a separate matter and isn't what I expect you are arguing.

    Let's see what our Pledge of Allegiance says:

    I pledge allegiance to the flag
    Of the United States of America
    and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands
    One nation under God, indivisible with
    Liberty and Justice for all.

    Hmmm...the writer of the pledge disagrees with you.
    Ignoring the fact that the pledge of allegiance was written over a century ago, and by someone who had some rather odd ideas to begin with, in what way do they "disagree" with me? Something can both be a republic and a democracy; in fact, by modern definitions of the words, if something fulfills the definition of republic, they fulfill the definition of democracy.

    Your argument is akin to "disproving" the claim that tigers are quadrupeds on the basis of someone referring to tigers as cats, ignoring the fact that a cat is a type of quadruped and there is therefore no disagreement or contradiction between those statements.

    But even setting all of that aside... guess what? The writer of the pledge of allegiance referred to the United States as a democracy in other writings! If Francis Bellamy is such an authority on word meanings that his reference to the US as a republic inherently makes it one, then his description of it being a democracy should also.

  8. #86
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    And a representative republic is a democracy. So it is not technically correct that the United States is not a democracy.

    That "very broad" definition is straight from a recent dictionary, specifically the Oxford Dictionary. All other dictionaries consulted give similar definitions. The United States is, by the modern definition of the term, a democracy. It's a democracy. Unless you want to make an argument for descriptivist meaning rather than prescriptivist, but that fails as well because according to descriptivist meaning the US would count.

    I suppose someone could put forward the argument the US is really an oligarchy because the "true" power in elections lies in the hands of the rich, but that's a separate matter and isn't what I expect you are arguing.

    Ignoring the fact that the pledge of allegiance was written over a century ago, and by someone who had some rather odd ideas to begin with, in what way do they "disagree" with me? Something can both be a republic and a democracy; in fact, by modern definitions of the words, if something fulfills the definition of republic, they fulfill the definition of democracy.

    Your argument is akin to "disproving" the claim that tigers are quadrupeds on the basis of someone referring to tigers as cats, ignoring the fact that a cat is a type of quadruped and there is therefore no disagreement or contradiction between those statements.

    But even setting all of that aside... guess what? The writer of the pledge of allegiance referred to the United States as a democracy in other writings! If Francis Bellamy is such an authority on word meanings that his reference to the US as a republic inherently makes it one, then his description of it being a democracy should also.
    See Rogue's post above yours. He said much better than I did.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    A democracy doesn't use representation - a republic does. The US is a democratic republic in form - it is neither a true democracy nor a true republic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    A chance to repost my rant over whether the U.S. is a democracy or a republic
    Oh, this again. You've posted this repeatedly, and I have repeatedly shown how it's a bad argument. But sure, let's go through it again.

    Our founding fathers had every opportunity to create a democracy but did not choose to do so. Why? Because they were utterly repulsed by the idea recognizing it for what it is. That is why they established a republic instead.

    Let's take a quick peek at what some of them had to say about it shall we
    I won't include all the quotes because the issue with them is all the same: How do quotes from people centuries ago mean anything in regards to definitions? As I've pointed out, words shift meaning, and the word "democracy" has a more expansive meaning now than it does then. These quotes of yours, and therefore your entire post, mean absolutely nothing in regards to the modern meanings of those words. You might as well argue that Donald Duck is homosexual because he's referred to as "gay" in The Three Caballeros (released when the word simply meant "happy").

    Your post may be have merit as an argument as to why we have elected officials rather than deciding everything via referendum, but that is a completely separate topic than what a particular word means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    See Rogue's post above yours. He said much better than I did.
    All he did was repeat the claim that I had already refuted. If my point is "pulling out quotes from centuries ago doesn't mean anything because of definition shift" then pulling out more quotes from centuries ago doesn't mean anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    A democracy doesn't use representation - a republic does. The US is a democratic republic in form - it is neither a true democracy nor a true republic.
    Every modern dictionary I have consulted states that democracies can, in fact, use representation.

    Let's consult Merriam Webster, for example. According to it, democracy is:
    "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections"

    And a republic is:
    "a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law"
    (there are other definitions for both provided, but these are the ones relevant to our interests)

    Based on these definitions, the relationship of "republic" and "democracy" (in their modern definitions) is that a republic is a kind of democracy. Democracy includes government directly by the people or indirectly through their representatives. A republic is only the variety that is done via representatives. One will find this relation to be the same if one examines how other dictionaries define the two terms. Though in terms of application in the real world, they are essentially synonyms because as far as I know, every democracy in the world is a republic.

    Of course, someone may ask what the proper term would be for the "original" definition of democracy, i.e. the idea of everything being decided directly by the people by majority. Even if the term democracy is no longer that narrow, there's still reason to want a way to refer to such an idea. "Direct democracy" is likely the best term to describe that.
    Last edited by Terraceth; 07-11-2018 at 10:24 PM.

  12. #89
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    Oh, this again. You've posted this repeatedly, and I have repeatedly shown how it's a bad argument. But sure, let's go through it again.

    I won't include all the quotes because the issue with them is all the same: How do quotes from people centuries ago mean anything in regards to definitions?
    Yeah, let's not listen to those who were involved with forming the country and what they thought about democracies as opposed to republics.

    Just because folks are ignorantly trying to conflate the two does not make it so.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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  14. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Yeah, let's not listen to those who were involved with forming the country and what they thought about democracies as opposed to republics.
    Well, at least you replied, even if you seem to not actually understand the point. Let's go through it again.

    The problem is that words shift in meaning. "Myriad" used to mean exactly 10,000, but nowadays doesn't have any specific number connected with it and instead refers to a generically large number. In this case, when they talk about how democracy is bad or the US isn't one, what they are really talking about is what we would now refer to as "direct democracy". Simply put, due to word shift, they are using the word in a different fashion than nowadays, and thus their writings cannot be used as a defense for the modern definition of a word. Indeed, this would be true for any word--attempting to ascertain the modern definition of a word based on old writings simply doesn't make sense. Their writings may be useful in refuting things like the idea that the majority should always win in a debate, but that is a separate issue from what particular words mean.

    Again, look up the word "democracy" in any notable modern dictionary and you will see something that well describes the government of the United States. Heck, it doesn't even need to be a modern dictionary, the word shift occurred quite a while ago. One can find dictionaries or other sources even in the 19th century that give definitions of democracy that adequately describe the United States government.

    Just because folks are ignorantly trying to conflate the two does not make it so.
    It is true that republic and democracy are not synonyms, but they do (in modern definitions) have similar meanings, and in terms of describing actual governments are mostly interchangeable for the simple fact that republics are by far the preferred form of democracy.

    It is not "ignorant" to use a word according to its current definition rather than insisting on an out-of-date definition from several centuries ago.
    Last edited by Terraceth; 07-12-2018 at 12:48 AM.

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