[OT] Are we a democracy or a republic?

Michael Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Fri Sep 2 10:08:53 MDT 2005

On Thu, 2005-09-01 at 22:45 -0600, Kenneth Burgener wrote:
> I have been hearing a lot about how we are happy to see democracy 
> developing in Iraq [1].  This lead me to think about us.  Are we a 
> democracy or a republic?  Are we both?

Well you must define the terms first.  If you are thinking about
athenian democracy, then no, we are not a democracy.  But no athenian
democracy has ever worked anyway.  And actually the athenian system
wasn't really true democracy either.  In any case, it is clear that the
founding fathers modeled much of our system on Roman ideas and ideals
from thousands of years ago.  Anyway, this is a fascinating but very
deep topic that we can't really address here.

The only system that will work for Iraq would be a proportional
representation system.  Although this can lead to government instability
(italy anyone?) this probably is the only way to effectively handle so
many different factions. 

The truth of the matter is, democracy is not a very great system,
especially for the middle east.  They are not ready for democracy and I
sometimes think we are forcing this on them early.  The middle east is
best handled by benevolent dictatorships.  Actually the whole world is
probably best governed by benevolent (righteous?) dictatorships.  (No
this is not a polar opposite to freedom and rights.)

> We have democrats[2] which advocate a democracy, and we have 
> republicans[3] which advocate a republic.  Do we possibly swing back and 
> forth from a democratic nation to a republican nation every 4 years?

Over the years the democrats and the republicans have switched sides
several times.  I doubt that this means anything.  Both parties are
quite right of center, in my opinion.  Thus I consider your definitions
to be kind of not applicable.

> Last time I checked we pledge allegiance to the republic and not the 
> democracy.  "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." [4].

Very true.

Anyway.  Back to linux stuff.


> This particular site [5] seems to be on a quest to inform us that we are 
> indeed a republic, and not a democracy.
> Just thought I would send this off topic question out into the air, 
> along with the other fun off topic questions going around, and possibly 
> help my wife with her American History homework.  :-)
> Oh and for my 2 cents, and my democratic vote, I say keep the plug list 
> as one, and keep the off topic conversations, and loose the flamewars.
> Kenneth
> [1] http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/08/30/bush.iraq.ap/index.html
> [2] http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=democrat
> [3] http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=republican
> [4] http://www.usflag.org/
> [5] http://www.chrononhotonthologos.com/lawnotes/repvsdem.htm
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Michael Torrie <torriem at chem.byu.edu>

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