Reason # 1,725 Why Government-Run Schools Make Me Sick–by Michael J. Hurd

Students at an Ohio middle school were asked to decide who they would leave behind if the world was about to end, using age, religion and other descriptions as markers for their decisions.

The assignment sparked widespread uproar.

“Whom to Leave Behind” asked students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls to choose eight out of 12 people to put into a space ship and take to a different planet because the world was ending, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Choices included a homosexual pro athlete, a militant African-American medical student and a female movie star who was a victim of sexual assault. [Source: Fox News online]

Government-run schools do not exist to teach children how to think. They exist to teach children WHAT to think. And this ridiculous exercise serves as yet another example.

The purpose of the exercise is clear: To shame and moralize students who give the “wrong” answer.

A reader of mine wrote me the following:

Notice that the criteria for who gets ‘left behind’ doesn’t include a single word about the moral stature, virtues, or values of the individuals. Just what color they are, what their jobs are, or what their victim status is. Hm…Should we take the Papuan vegan lesbian who was recently raped?

Eloquently put!

That’s my main objection, too. Why are the distinguishing attributes of the people you’re asked to save demographic variables over which the person has no control? Who cares what the race, sexual orientation or sexual abuse status of the potential victims are?

Why rig the question in this way? If you’re going to ask the question at all, why not ask students what qualities they’d look for in deciding who to save? And if you’re going to rig the question, why not do so with rational and universal values rather than ones only important to leftist twits who inhabit Manhattan and San Francisco?

The question actually is rather sick. It implies that life is a zero-sum game where sooner or later, somebody will have to be sacrificed. That’s the leftist, “liberal”, collectivist and Communistic outlook on life. They have nothing to offer us. Only despair — from which they will conveniently rescue us, provided we give them unlimited funds and power.

Notice how there’s no room for another point-of-view–the uplifiting, individualistic and rational one that would put qualities such as character, intelligence and integrity on a much higher plane than sexual orientation and race.

We’ve got to get rid of government-run schools. At least in a free market for education, parents and students would have alternatives to this diabolical trash.

We’re destroying our civilization by indoctrinating the vast majority of kids in schools with the idiotic, shallow and illogical values and standards of progressives.

I say this in the most atheistic spirit imaginable: God help us all.

Why Intellectuals Hate Capitalism – Reason.com

Intellectuals have always disdained commerce,” says Whole Foods Market co-founder John Mackey. They “have always sided with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kept down.” Having helped create the global grocery chain intellectuals arguably like best, Mackey has evolved into one of capitalism’s most persuasive champions, making the moral, practical, and even spiritual case that free exchange ennobles all who participate.

More than any other retailer, Whole Foods has reconfigured what and how America eats. Since opening its first store in Austin, Texas, in 1980, the company has helped its customers develop a taste for high-quality meats, produce, cheeses, and wines, as well as for information about where all the stuff gets sourced. Mackey, 62, continues to set the pace for what’s expected in organic and sustainably harvested food.

Because of Whole Foods’ educated customer base and because Mackey is himself a vegan and a champion of collaboration between management and workers, it’s easy to mistake him for a progressive left-winger. Indeed, an early version of Jonah Goldberg’s bestselling 2008 book Liberal Fascism even bore the subtitle “The Totalitarian Temptation from Hegel to Whole Foods.”

Yet that misses the radical vision of capitalism at the heart of Mackey’s thought. A high-profile critic of the minimum wage, Obamacare, and the regulatory state, Mackey believes that free markets are the best way not only to raise living standards but to create meaning for individuals, communities, and society. At the same time, he challenges a number of libertarian dogmas, including the notion that publicly traded companies should always seek to exclusively maximize shareholder value. Conscious Capitalism, the 2013 book he co-authored with Rajendra Sisodia, lays out a detailed vision for a post-industrial capitalism that addresses spiritual desire as much as physical need.

Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie talked with Mackey earlier this summer at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. To see the full video, go to reason.com. (Disclosure: Whole Foods Market is a supporter of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this magazine.)

reason: You believe capitalism is not only the greatest wealth creator but helps poor people get rich. But you see it as constantly being misrepresented, even by its champions. Why is capitalism under attack?

John Mackey: Intellectuals have always disdained commerce. That is something that tradesmen did—people that were in a lower class. Minorities oftentimes did it, like you had the Jews in the West. And when they became wealthy and successful and rose, then they were envied, they were persecuted and their wealth confiscated, and many times they were run out of country after country. Same thing happened with the Chinese in the East. They were great businesspeople as well.

So the intellectuals have always sided with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kept down. You might say that capitalism was the first time that businesspeople caught a break. Because of Adam Smith and the philosophy that came along with that, the industrial revolution began this huge upward surge of prosperity.

reason: Is it a misunderstanding of what business does? Is it envy? Is it a lack of capacity to understand that what entrepreneurs do, or what innovators do, is take a bunch of things that might not be worth much separately and then they transform them? What is the root of the antagonism toward commerce?

Mackey: It’s sort of where people stand in the social hierarchy. If you live in a more business-oriented society, like the United States has been, then you have these businesspeople, who [the intellectuals] don’t judge to be very intelligent or well-educated, having lots of money—and they begin to buy political power with it, and they rise in the social hierarchy. Whereas the really intelligent people, the intellectuals, are less important. And I don’t think they like that.

(Interview trancript continues below.)

That’s one of the main reasons the intellectuals have usually disdained commerce. They haven’t seen it [as a] dynamic, creative force, because they measure themselves against these people, and they think they’re superior, and yet in the social hierarchy they’re not seen as more important. I think that drives them crazy.

reason: A lot of the times the businesspeople are plucky upstarts—they’re innovators, they’re disruptive, and they’re fighting against the power. But once they get to a certain point of influence or power, they often start to try and rig the market or freeze the market in their favor. Why is that?

Mackey: I don’t know if it’s a psychological switch so much as that they weren’t necessarily grounded in the philosophy of capitalism. They weren’t necessarily advocates of the free market. They were just advocates of their own advancement, their own personal enrichment. And so I think oftentimes, they don’t make a distinction between when they’re entrepreneurs on the way up versus when they’ve arrived. They’re attempting to not fall, so they try to rig the game, and we have crony capitalism.

reason: We live in an age where there are an unbelievable amount of government mandates that restrict the ability of business owners and employees to really negotiate about stuff. Some are things as obvious as the minimum wage, where it says, “Under no circumstances can a business offer somebody less than this amount.” How do these affect your ability to run a business in an extremely competitive market?

Mackey: The impetus behind so many of these types of regulations in the workplace is, in a sense, to shackle business again—to get it back under the control of the intellectuals. Just like commerce: If you study the history of business, you will see that most of the time in our history, commerce was controlled by the aristocrats. The merchants were kept under their thumb. And now they’ve escaped and we have this free-market ideology that says the market should determine all these things. They’re systematically undermining that marketplace to get business back, get the genie back in the bottle.

Of course, that will stifle innovation. It’ll stifle the dynamic creative destruction of capitalism. But I don’t think they’re thinking about it that way. They’re very concerned about the motives of business, and they see it as this selfish, greedy, exploitative thing. Businesspeople can’t be trusted, markets aren’t just, they’re not fair, so we need to intervene, we need to control this situation.

Why Have Our Public Schools Stopped Teaching English Grammar ?

Today, schools in the United States are relatively light in their approach to grammar. Students often learn grammatical concepts on an as-needed basis, mainly by having their writing corrected.

The History of Grammar in the U.S.
The marginal role grammar now plays in U.S. English language classes wasn’t always the norm, though. Through the 1960s, in-depth grammar instruction was par for the course in both public and private schools.

During this period, many educators not only didn’t foresee the imminent demise of grammar as a core academic subject but in fact thought they were on the cusp of bright future with revolutionary new methods for teaching grammar. This was a time when linguists were doing groundbreaking research on how language is put together, and educators thought some of these advances would trickle down into fresh approaches to teaching grammar.

At the same time, though, people working on another branch of education research were asking a question that didn’t bode well for the future of grammar instruction at all: “what’s the point of teaching grammar?”

It’s the question every teacher hates to hear: “why are we learning this?” But at a time when students were spending hours diagramming sentences and drilling parts of speech, it’s one that was begging to be answered.

Unfortunately, this answer was not forthcoming. The more researchers conducted studies looking for good reasons teach grammar, the more they started to wonder whether any such reasons actually existed.

This growing current of skepticism culminated in 1963 with a report titled Research in Written Comprehension. Looking at studies that had been done up to that point, the report concluded that “the teaching of formal grammar has a negligible or, because it usually displaces some instruction and practice in actual composition, even a harmful effect on the improvement of writing.”

In other words, the report passed a harsh verdict: teaching grammar is at best a waste of time and at worst something that actually hurts students.

The Downfall of Grammar
This conclusion set off a gradual dismantling of grammar instruction in the U.S. In the decades that followed, educators gleefully took hatchets to grammar curricula. It turned out a lot of people were fed up with grammar!

By 1985, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) had adopted a resolution explicitly discouraging “the use of isolated grammar and usage exercises not supported by theory and research,” instead urging that “class time at all levels must be devoted to opportunities for meaningful listening, speaking, reading and writing.” The resolution also called on teachers to stop giving tests focused on grammar rather than the more general “language arts.”

This resolution is still on the NCTE website. And it more or less summarizes the view of grammar instruction that continues to dominate the U.S. education system.

But that doesn’t mean everyone considers the question of whether to teach grammar closed. Many English teachers hold one of two sharply contrasting views:

  • Teaching grammar doesn’t help students. It distracts from more important material, uses time that could be spend actually reading and writing, and gives students an artificial, overly technical view of the writing process.
  • Teaching grammar is necessary. It prepares students to write well, express themselves clearly, and think logically.

The 1963 report that started the trend toward paring back grammar instruction in U.S. schools falls solidly inline with the first perspective. Although critics (like Martha Kolln) have since questioned whether the studies used in the report were methodologically sound, there has been more recent research supporting the idea that teaching grammar doesn’t help students become better writers.

For example, a meta-analysis published in 2007 looked at research into 11 different methods of teaching writing. The conclusion was that all but one of the methods seemed to be effective. The one that wasn’t? Well, you probably guessed it – grammar instruction!

If there’s no hard evidence that learning grammar separately helps students write, there is reason to believe that the tedium of grammar instruction actually turns students off from English classes. A 1979 study tracked students enrolled in three different English programs – two of which included formal grammar instruction, one of which didn’t. While there weren’t any differences between the three groups as far as writing skills, the group that didn’t learn grammar had a more positive attitude than the two groups that did, suggesting that time used for grammar instruction can be spent on things more engaging for students.

Besides the lack of evidence that teaching grammar serves any real purpose, there are a few other reasons grammar remains such a low priority in U.S. schools.

First, at around the same time as educators were starting to raise serious questions about why students were doing so many grammar drills, there was also a growing movement to make schools more inclusive and less culturally biased. In English, part of this was a shift away from a single, correct, “standard” dialect of English toward the understanding that different dialects of English are spoken with different grammars.

Second, formal grammar instruction has now been out of style so long that many teachers today couldn’t teach grammar in isolation even if they wanted to. The last time students received thorough grammar instruction in U.S. public schools was the 1960s, so many teachers who themselves went to school in the 1970s or later have the attitude of “I didn’t learn it, so why should my students?”

Where Does Grammar Stand Today?
However, with all that said, there are still many people who see the lack of rigorous grammar instruction in U.S. schools as a disservice to students that puts the U.S. at an international disadvantage.

These critics counter the studies showing a lack of correlation between grammar instruction and writing skills by saying that the problem isn’t grammar instruction itself, but the kind of grammar of instruction – that the solution isn’t to stop teaching grammar altogether, but to teach it better. Some add that even if it doesn’t improve students’ writing, learning about grammar still has value in its own right.

These advocates of grammar instruction also point out that there is a lot of work to be done on literacy in the U.S. – the way English is currently taught doesn’t seem to be doing the job. For example, recent reports by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) both suggest that relative to other developed countries, the U.S. scores relatively low on reading tests.

Although these arguments in favor of teaching more grammar have yet to catch hold in the U.S., they have started to gain traction across the pond in the United Kingdom. Like the U.S., the U.K. deemphasized grammar instruction over the final decades of the twentieth century.

Unlike the U.S., the U.K. has recently started to reverse direction, putting grammar back on top of the agenda. Recently, the country put into place a new national grammar test for 11-year-olds. To implement the updated, grammar-intensive curriculum, many teachers had to sign up for a special grammar crash course since they were not familiar with the material they were expected to present to their young students.

It’s too early to tell whether the U.K.’s renewed commitment to teaching grammar will lead to real gains in literacy. There’s no enough data yet – plus, the Department for Education had to cancel this year’s version of the test after accidentally posting it online.

In the meantime, U.S. students and parents find it odd that although grammar is a relatively low priority in the classroom, it still has a sizable portion on high-stakes tests like the SAT & ACT.  Many international students report to score higher on grammar questions due to the fact that they are require to take classes that drill U.S. grammar rules.

Because it’s hard to provide definitive proof one way or another, it’s hard to see this debate ending soon. Advocates for grammar instruction will point to the country’s uninspiring performance on international literacy tests; critics will bring up the studies showing that grammar exercises don’t help students learn to write.

What do you think? Is in-depth grammar work a necessity or a waste of time? Share your thoughts in the comments!


By Niels V.

Is English Deteriorating?

The grammar, punctuation, syntax, and spelling in our country are nothing less than dreadful.  And our youth don’t have a monopoly on this.  It includes major media figures, political leaders, public spokespersons of major corporations, organizations, and the clergy.  Examples:

*  Its a beautiful thing.  Sorry—IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING.

*  We visited many country’s.  Sorry—WE VISITED MANY COUNTRIES.  Simple plural, no need for a possessive or apostrophe.

*  Attorney-Generals.   Sorry—it’s ATTORNEYS-GENERAL, just like MOTHERS-IN-LAW.

*  We’re going to visit the Stewart’s.  Sorry—WE’RE GOING TO VISIT THE STEWARTS.

This is but a small smattering of the grammatical errors I see and hear everyday in both print and spoken media.  The other night, a screen bullet on the Tucker Carlson Show, read “warrents” instead of “warrants.”  Tucker bears the ultimate responsibility for this.

I understand that our schools have for all intents and purposes dropped traditional English from their curricula.  The explanations given include, “There’s no point in wasting precious classtime on memorizing a bunch of “subjective human constructs.”  But of course, there’s plenty of time to waste on climate change, racism, misogyny, and transgender bathrooms.

Another common explanation is that English is “racist and serves to advance and undergird white privilege.”  Try telling that to Bill Cosby who, despite his alleged crimes and character flaws, had much to say about “black English,” including, “I cannot understand what these kids are saying.”  I’ll take it a step further, “I can’t understand what any of our kids are saying.”

And this isn’t a current development.  Twenty-five years ago, my wife and I hosted a German exchange student for an academic year.  He became a tutor in his English class !  Can you effing believe that?

The public school system is our national disgrace.  The taxpayers are paying $15,000 a pop to educate each of our kids.  The teachers’ unions should be horsewhipped.  And get this–so should the parents.  The schools are supposed to augment what our kids are taught at home by their parents and elder siblings.  My parents worked with me every evening, sometimes unpleasantly so, on my multiplication and division tables, flash cards (anyone remember them), reading, spelling, and so forth.  Our kids would be better off watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune every night than going to school.

Everyone has dropped the ball on this.  Take matters into your own hands.  Don’t wait for the government to educate you children.  They can’t find the doorknob or pour piss from a boot.

I understand we have far more pressing problems in this country than periods and commas.  But the deterioration of English and grammar is just another example of the overall breakdown of discipline in our country.  —Artful Dilettante

FAMOUS LAST WORDS: THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE CRISIS

All quotes from Famous Last Words: The American Language Crisis ReconAllsidered, Harvey A. Daniels.

1.  The common language is disappearing. It is slowly being crushed to death under the weight of verbal conglomerate, a pseudospeech at once both pretentious and feeble, that is created daily by millions of blunders and inaccuracies in grammar, syntax, idiom, metaphor, logic, and common sense…. In the history of modern English there is no period in which such victory over thought-in-speech has been so widespread. Nor in the past has the general idiom, on which we depend for our very understanding of vital matters, been so seriously distorted.Recent graduates, including those with university degrees, seem to have no mastery of the language at all. They cannot construct a simple declarative sentence, either orally or in writing. They cannot spell common, everyday words. Punctuation is apparently no longer taught. Grammar is a complete mystery to almost all recent graduates.

2.  From every college in the country goes up the cry, “Our freshmen can’t spell, can’t punctuate.” Every high school is in disrepair because its pupils are so ignorant of the merest rudiments.

3.  The vocabularies of the majority of high-school pupils are amazingly small. I always try to use simple English, and yet I have talked to classes when quite a minority of the pupils did not comprehend more than half of what I said.

4. Unless the present progress of change [is] arrested…there can be no doubt that, in another century, the dialect of the Americans will become utterly unintelligible to an Englishman. Our language is degenerating very fast.

 

Democracy v. Republic

I’ve had it with pundits, politicians, and people who should know better that continuously refer to our country as a democracy.  The latest such reference was by renowned political commentator Thomas Friedman, who has never been confused with an intelligent person. But he has lots of company among the chattering classes, and even more so from among our so-called educators. At every educational level, teachers, professors, administrators, and even the elite collegiate Boards-of-Directors wrongly refer to the United States as a democracy and, in general, display an overall ignorance of American history and our Founding principles. And unfortunately, our youth (and their parent-underwriters) are the unwitting victims of this ignorance. At one time, our educators and learned elders passed on their wisdom to an eagerly receptive youth armed with the critical thinking skills necessary to challenge any such drivel. Now, our elders can be confidently relied upon to confer their collective stupidity upon a submissive, blindly receptive youth.

Repeat after me—the United States is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. The Founders, to a man, loathed and feared democracy. This is clearly supported by this selection of excerpts which illustrate why the Founders struggled mightily to forge a Republic rather than a democracy:

James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10:

In a pure democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.”

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, “… that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”

John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Chief Justice John Marshall observed,

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

In Federalist Paper #10, James Madison gave a comprehensive dissertation on how a Republic would guard against such losses of freedom, in an effort to get our proposed Constitution ratified by the people and their states.

The following are excerpts from Madison’s Federalist #10:

… When a majority is included in the faction, the form of popular government … enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. …

… Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security and the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. …

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.

Unlike today’s benighted political hacks, the Founders were deeply immersed in ancient history and the Classics, mostly Greece and Rome.  And they could read the Classics and comment about them fluently in the languages in which the texts were originally written. Latin and Greek were required courses of study in nearly every one-room schoolhouse in nearly every village and hamlet.

Some time ago, I was fortunate to have acquired an early 1700’s school reader. Today’s Millennials would become apoplectic and break out in hives if they had to master the material in this reader.  For example, say, schoolmaster to student:

“Mr. Penopscot, please stand and recite the declension of the infinitive “to be” in both Latin and Greek. Any mistakes will result in your being responsible for cleaning the common outdoor latrine for a month.”

The Founding generation knew instinctively that independence and liberty could not be secured and maintained without a clear understanding of these principles.  And they had no aversion to the swift application of corporal punishment like the one that befell our unfortunate fictional Mr. Penopscot.  Today’s parents would quickly lawyer up to challenge these harsh curricular standards, while the kids would endure years of mandatory emotional counseling to comfort them through such trauma.

At one time, nearly every student knew the differences between a democracy v. republic, dependence v. independence, God’s Law, natural law, and common law. Today’s youth (and most adults) are woefully ignorant in the basics of America’s Founding, and the principles underlying the Founding and the Constitution. It’s beyond sad—it’s downright scary. The Republic cannot survive such ignorance.

More than anything, I would really like to see President Trump and Education Secretary DeVos, using every tool at their disposal, to rigorously encourage revolutionary curricular changes in our public schools and stop the corruption of our children’s minds with cultural marxism. I would like to see the elimination of Common Core, the replacement of one-sided indoctrination with reason and critical thinking skills, and the wholehearted, nationwide restoration and support of our rights of Free Speech at every level of education, public and private.

The president and secretary should require every institution receiving so much as a dime of federal funding to be fully committed to honoring our rights of Free Speech, welcoming and ensuring the safety of those on campuses whose views are at variance with the prevailing campus ideology, and encouraging the open exchange and debate of ideas across the ideological spectrum. If you don’t like someone on TV, you don’t smash the TV, you change the channel. Similarly, if you don’t agree with the views of a speaker on campus, you don’t silence the speaker, you just respectfully stay home.

Whatever happened to the priceless maxim of Evelyn Beatrice Hall ?

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

It would be easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than to find a university professor who stands shoulder to shoulder with Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

Why Are Shootings Only at Government-Run Schools?

Why are shootings only at Public Schools ? Hmmm ?! Because it’s the government. They fail at EVERYTHING they declare war on ?

War on Poverty? Failure.

War on Terror ? Failure.

War on Drugs ? Failure.

War on Stupidity ? Failure.

War on Guns ? Soon to be a failure.

As the article, by Dr. Michael J. Hurd, so poignantly states, instead of having a War on Guns, we should be declaring a War on Public Schools. Obama frequently proposed having a “national debate or discussion” on whatever he or his marxist ass-kissers considered worthy of discussion. I don’t, however, recall him ever having suggested a national debate on the privitization of public schools.

I think it’s time we have one.

https://drhurd.com/2018/02/15/shootings-government-run-schools/

Why Our Founders Feared Democracy

The word Republic has all but disappeared from our political lexicon.  It has erroneously been replaced by Democracy.  The Founders must be turning over in their graves.  They had nothing but contempt for democracy.  They sought to, and did, create a constitutional republic, but not before doing their homework.

Unlike today’s politicians, talking heads, and academics, the Founders had an acute, in-depth, and nuanced understanding of history and political systems.  Prior to the 1787 constitutional convention, James Madison undertook a comprehensive study of every known republic in recorded history to ensure that the Founders didn’t repeat their mistakes.  The Founders as a group were also well studied in democracies.  They knew that every democracy in recorded history disintegrated in a pyre of chaos, tyranny, and mob violence.

The word democracy does not appear in any of the Founding documents: the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, nor the Constitution.  For good reason: the Founders had no intention of creating a democracy.  They wanted to fashion a mixed republic of constitutionally infused checks and balances which incorporated elements monarchy, aristocracy, and popular consent.  Monarchy would manifest itself in the Office of President, aristocracy the senate, and popular consent, the House of Representatives.  The checks and balances are both vertical and horizontal.  The division of the government into the executive, legislative, and judicial constitutes one form of checks and balances.  The “division of labor” among the federal, state, and local levels of government constitutes the other.  This division of labor was made law in Article 1, Section 8, and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Founders drew much of their inspiration and thought from Baron Montesquieu’s “Spirit of the Laws.” Montesquieu (1689-1755), a Frenchman, was a political philosopher and man of letters. He is one of the central figures of the Enlightenment.

Published in 1748, the Spirit of the Laws is a comparative study of three types of government: republic, monarchy, and despotism. Montesquieu held that government powers should be separated and balanced to guarantee individual rights and freedom.  It is considered one of the most influential political studies of all time.  The Founders would agree, and some 40 years later, would incorporate much of Montesquieu’s masterpiece in the founding of our Republic.

I’ll bet very few Americans can cite the differences between a republic and a democracy, or care for that matter.  But even high-level politicians and prime-time political commentators continue to refer to “our democracy” rather than “our republic.” Spread the good word—we don’t live in a democracy; it’s a republic, thank you.

The article below, by O.R. Adams, goes into great detail about this issue.

Why Our Founders Feared a Democracy

By O. R. Adams Jr.

© O. R. Adams Jr., 2008

Our Founders very much feared creating a government that had too many aspects of a pure democracy. They feared the destructiveness that a majority might have in trying to make everyone equal, and in the process taking away property, rights of property, and with it our basic freedoms which they considered “God given Freedoms.” They very much feared the development of the Robin Hood mentality we are seeing today – soak the rich and give to the poor. It is a democratic drift toward socialism. Such a program as the proposed “Universal Healthcare” is a prime example.

The fear had good basis. Our Founders were all knowledgeable people, and all knew and discussed how all prior democracies ended in disastrous failures – one of the most well known being that of Athens, Greece. As stated by Paul Gagnon:

American history reaches way back—to the texts of Judaism and Christianity, to the glory and failure of democracy in Athens, to Rome, Feudal times, and more. To explain our values, history classes need to reach back, too. http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/summer2005/

There has been a historical writing floating around for a number of years on principles that were well known to our founders, which is:

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. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: “From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.” (Emphasis added) http://www.democrats.com/node/807

The above, in the reference shown, is attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish born British lawyer and writer (1747-1813). However, there is some doubt about the original author, although the quotation has been often repeated by knowledgeable people. (See: http://www.lorencollins.net/tytler.html) Certainly, the principle was well known to our Founders, and to informed writers of that period.

One of the greatest of all writers about our American government, and the dangers it faced, was the French writer and historian, Alexis de Tocqueville. He toured all of America in the early 1800s, and after some years wrote the great two volume book, Democracy in America. The University of Virginia has done the great service to America of making this complete two volume works available online at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/toc_indx.html

A good part of Volume II of Democracy in America was on the dangers of a democracy, which was along the same line as the above quoted information. He very much hoped that our Republic form of government could escape those dangers. Some excerpts from the book, in that regard, are:

It frequently happens that the members of the community promote the influence of the central power without intending to. Democratic eras are periods of experiment, innovation, and adventure. There is always a multitude of men engaged in difficult or novel undertakings, which they follow by themselves without shackling themselves to their fellows. Such persons will admit, as a general principle, that the public authority ought not to interfere in private concerns; but, by an exception to that rule, each of them craves its assistance in the particular concern on which he is engaged and seeks to draw upon the influence of the government for his own benefit, although he would restrict it on all other occasions. If a large number of men applies this particular exception to a great variety of different purposes, the sphere of the central power extends itself imperceptibly in all directions, although everyone wishes it to be circumscribed. (Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter III, That the Sentiments of Democratic Nations Accord with Their Opinions in Leading Them to Concentrate Political Power [in] America)

… These powers accumulate there with astonishing rapidity, and the state instantly attains the utmost limits of its strength, while private persons allow themselves to sink as suddenly to the lowest degree of weakness. …

Hence the concentration of power and the subjection of individuals will increase among democratic nations, not only in the same proportion as their equality, but in the same proportion as their ignorance. … (Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter IV, Of Certain Peculiar and Accidental Causes Which Either Lead a People to Complete the Centralization of Government or Divert Them From It)

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. (Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter VI, What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear.)

These things we are seeing in America, today; and worse is proposed. As we get our government benefits, we resist less while it takes away our rights and controls our lives. Even our local governments are getting into the act. They even tell us how to flush our toilets. How long will it be before they regulate how we wipe our behinds?

Well knowing the reasons for the demise of past democracies, our Founders, by our Constitution, created a Republic in an effort to avoid those pitfalls.

In an article, Are We a Republic or a Democracy, Professor Walter E. Williams of George Mason University, explains how our Founders strove to create a Republic instead of a Democracy, and why. The following are some excerpts:

James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10:

In a pure democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.”

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, “… that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”

John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Chief Justice John Marshall observed,

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

In the article, Professor Williams also reflects on the sad situation we have in America today, in that it appears that today Americans seem to want the same kind of tyranny that our Founders tried to guard against.  http://reliableanswers.com/patriot/2005/01/are-we-republic-or-democracy.asp

When our Constitution was adopted the people of our country, against tremendous odds, had just fought and won the revolutionary war against Britain, and had a real sense of freedom and individual responsibility. They also feared the centralized government that a democracy could bring about, and by which their individual freedoms, which they had just gained by blood and sacrifice, could be lost. In Federalist Paper #10, James Madison gave a comprehensive dissertation on how a Republic would guard against such losses of freedom, in an effort to get our proposed Constitution ratified by the people and their states. The following are excerpts from Madison’s paper:

… When a majority is included in the faction, the form of popular government … enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. …

… Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security and the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. …

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.

Yale University has made available to the public the entire Federalist Papers at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed.htm

Our founders gave us a republic, with a representative form of government, and I believe that, under our Constitution, we have the best form of government that there has ever been. But an irresponsible people, electing irresponsible representatives, can ruin any government. We are today experiencing that very danger.

We have had so much prosperity and so much ease of living, that we have lost our belief in personal responsibility. With it we have grown to believe in the ability of the government to take care of us, and we have lost our individualism and more importantly, our Faith in God. Instead of considering the good of the country as a whole, candidates promise the people to take care of their every need, including their medical care. And the people, relying on their promises of milk and honey, and equality for everyone, vote for those candidates. They have forgotten about the long term good of the country, the rights and responsibilities of individuals to run their own lives, and are fast making our country a socialized welfare state.

We elect people who want to take away our right to bear arms. This will make it more difficult to ever overthrow our yoke of oppression. This is a necessity to socialist and communist countries.

We elect people that teach us that perversion is commendable, and who want to remove our rights to say otherwise, or to write otherwise. They want to remove the right of those who disagree with them to be on radio or television.

They have no real respect for human life, and particularly the lives of the unborn.

While they remove our rights to significant freedom of speech and freedom of press, they teach us that pornography, obscenity, and perversion are constitutional rights.

The freedom of religion allowed is to the extent that it is only within the walls of the church, and not offensive in any way to the atheists and nonbelievers. Practicing our religion in living our lives, and in conducting our schools and our businesses, is not allowed.

Contrary to the wishes of parents, their children are taught false anti-American history in public schools, and are taught that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are commendable.

These are the great principles of the Democratic Party of today.

Today, all of the leading Democratic candidates are preying on the desires of the people for healthcare and other benefits. The idea of President John F. Kennedy, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” has now been completely reversed. Apparently the Democratic candidates of today think that the person who can get elected is the person who can promise the most government benefits to the people. This is the exact thing that our Founders feared. It leads to a socialized welfare state, the loss of individual freedom and of individual initiative. It will lead to the demise of America as the great bastion of freedom, and to the end of its status as a world power. It will eventually destroy our form of government, as it has in all past democratic experiments.