Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Difference Between Republicanism & Democracy

I am none too fond of democracy.

I understand that this qualifies as an unusual statement to make in the twenty-first century now that conservatives and liberals alike are so enthusiastic about invoking 'democratic rights' or the best interests of the democratic state to justify their domestic and foreign policy decisions and actions. One can hear them proclaiming from mountain tops that democracy is the root of all good in a political system. Why should the United States invade Iraq, Mr. Bush? Why, to bring them democracy, of course!

The root of all good in a political system - nay, the only proper function of the state - is the protection of individual rights. These individual rights have very little to do with the logically indefensible 'democratic rights' that were invented by the social democrats (I'm thinking here of the right to an education, the right to health care, or the newly discovered right not to be offended, among countless others). Rather, individual rights are the logical corollaries and consequences of the one basic right of every human being: the right to one's own life.

So what does holding this position make me if not a democrat? As the title of this blog suggests - and I know that a lot of my readers have inquired about this - it makes me a constitutional republican. In a Canadian republic, the legislature would still operate democratically but politicians would possess no power to violate the rights of their state's citizens under any circumstances. In Canada, that would mean no Human Rights Commissions violating the right to free expression, no federal confiscation of private property, no coercive taxation, and no compulsory unionism.

I stumbled across this video the other day which does, I believe, an excellent job of distilling the difference between a democracy and a republic down into an easily accessible and relatively concise presentation. Although the video is far from perfect, I hope that it will function as something of an introduction to the idea of a constitutional republic to freedom-loving Canadians.

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