Meaning of Liberalism
The term “liberal” was coined to mean those who loved and defended individual human rights, the rights of man, not the rights of groups or collectives. Thus the definitive form of liberal government is the republic, wherein rights of individuals are codified in constitutions that protect each member of a society from the government that is supposed to serve them. A pure democracy is NOT the tool of individual rights, but the mechanism by which said rights are abrogated, presumably by a majority who will something. Pure democracies are collectivist forms of government, nothing more than mob rule, unless they are tempered by a republican superstructure which underlies it and secures the rights of every individual citizen against abrogation of those rights by a majority. In a true Republic, there can be majority rule, but it must be accompanied by scrupulous recognition of minority rights. In a pure democracy, if a majority of the people decide to behead someone because he or she is black or red or of some religion other than that approved of by the majority, they can behead that person according to law. In a true republic which guarantees the right of due process and the right to life unless a capital offense has been committed, the rights of individuals are guaranteed. Thus, a majority CANNOT simply abrogate those individual rights. They cannot behead anyone simply by vote.
In a true republic, a document, such as a constitution, is put in place to guarantee that each citizen’s rights, derived from the fundamentals of life, liberty and property, are unalienable. Democratic processes are used almost exclusively to select representatives who will uphold the constitution and the individual rights it guarantees. A true republican form of government enables people to vote their will, but have it tempered by that central set of rules put into their governing constitution. Thus, amendments to a constitution may be put to popular vote (referendum) but must be introduced, thereby approved of, by the representatives elected by the people. But no state can offer unlimited referenda for all its laws and all of the amendments to them. It would be unwieldy and dangerous to do so, for the closer to pure democracy a nation gets, the closer it also gets to prospects for chaos, hence for a dictatorship that can restore order. And because the concepts upon which a true republic is built are easily perverted and misunderstood, a true republic can be vulnerable to ignorance of its citizens and to fraud by its leaders, even though they have been elected by a majority. It may be well remembered that Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany before declaring himself supreme leader, or Fuhrer. When, after the first Continental Congress met, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form of government the people had been given, he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Politicians who preach endlessly to advocate what they call “democracy” are trying instead to insure their own power against even the democratic principles they preach. They want power. They want to hold it and wield it. They do not care ultimately whether they uphold individual rights or not, so long as they can hold political power. We have some safeguards against the encroachments of tyranny, but they must be brought out again for everyone to see and learn.
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