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"Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies"

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posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 06:35 PM
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"Liberty and Democracy" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925), also in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy : New Selections from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (1994) edited by Terry Teachout, p. 35


Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority — that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law. One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions. At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty. Always they condition it with the doctrine that the state, i.e., the majority, has a sort of right of eminent domain in acts, and even in ideas — that it is perfectly free, whenever it is so disposed, to forbid a man to say what he honestly believes. Whenever his notions show signs of becoming "dangerous," ie, of being heard and attended to, it exercises that prerogative. And the overwhelming majority of citizens believe in supporting it in the outrage. Including especially the Liberals, who pretend — and often quite honestly believe — that they are hot for liberty. They never really are. Deep down in their hearts they know, as good democrats, that liberty would be fatal to democracy — that a government based upon shifting and irrational opinion must keep it within bounds or run a constant risk of disaster. They themselves, as a practical matter, advocate only certain narrow kinds of liberty — liberty, that is, for the persons they happen to favor. The rights of other persons do not seem to interest them. If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons — say, bondholders of the railroads — without compensation and without even colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and hold property is not one they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it.


This is an article, turned into quote, by H.L. Mencken. He was a passionate social critic, cynic, satirist, and journalist, who earned the nicknames the “Sage of Baltimore” and “American Nietzsche”. In this particular piece he attacked the notion of liberty and democracy coexisting peacefully, explained how democracy is the enemy of liberty, and that Liberal ideology requires they hold liberty in contempt so as to guarantee and preserve democracy. In one short piece he slams democracy, the fallacy of modern ‘liberty’, Liberal(s)/ism, and why we seem to have never ending laws.

I believed it to be something that would feel quite at home here on ATS.

More Mencken quotes




posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 06:41 PM
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This is why the founding fathers did not make a democracy. If we must have government, then a representative republic is the least evil.



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 06:58 PM
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Originally posted by sonofliberty1776
This is why the founding fathers did not make a democracy. If we must have government, then a representative republic is the least evil.

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people don't even realize we aren't a democracy and have no idea what the difference is for the Representative Republic the U.S. actually is (or supposed to be
) Great point!



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by sonofliberty1776
This is why the founding fathers did not make a democracy. If we must have government, then a representative republic is the least evil.


You are right, we don't have a democracy. But our so called leaders would like us to think we do so they can claim they are doing the "will of the people" while ignoring the polls that say otherwise and the constitution as well.

A true democracy, where everybody has an equal vote and the majority always wins, is pretty much the same as mob rule. In a true democracy right and wrong no longer matter as long as the majority rules.



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 07:01 PM
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Yes the above 2 poster are correct.

We are a republic not a democracy.



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 07:25 PM
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Not only that, but the word "Democracy" isn't even mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution, or the Constitutions of any of the States.


Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. – H.L. Mencken




The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. Our founding fathers clearly understood this. – Ron Paul



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 01:01 AM
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reply to post by METACOMET
 


It's all over the Federalist Papers however which was the thinking behind the framing of the Constitution.

So it's a huge part of it.



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 01:49 AM
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Originally posted by kro32
reply to post by METACOMET
 


It's all over the Federalist Papers however which was the thinking behind the framing of the Constitution.

So it's a huge part of it.


LOL, are you being purposefully obtuse? I hope so.

Democracy is mentioned in the Federalist No's. 10 14 48 and 63
Each written by Madison.
And each time it is mentioned, it is specifically to point out how wretched it is.



Hence it is that such 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.



The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter.



Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic, -- is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it.



In a democracy, where a multitude of people exercise in person the legislative functions, and are continually exposed, by their incapacity for regular deliberation and concerted measures, to the ambitious intrigues of their executive magistrates, tyranny may well be apprehended, on some favorable emergency, to start up in the same quarter. But in a representative republic, where the executive magistracy is carefully limited; both in the extent and the duration of its power; and where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly, which is inspired, by a supposed influence over the people, with an intrepid confidence in its own strength; which is sufficiently numerous to feel all the passions which actuate a multitude, yet not so numerous as to be incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions, by means which reason prescribes; it is against the enterprising ambition of this department that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions.



For it cannot be believed, that any form of representative government could have succeeded within the narrow limits occupied by the democracies of Greece.



The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

edit on 28-8-2011 by METACOMET because: m



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 02:05 AM
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reply to post by sonofliberty1776
 


If we don't have democracy how do we elect our representatives?



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 02:07 AM
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reply to post by METACOMET
 


Not sure what your posting about. I simply said it was mentioned in the Federalist Papers and apparantly you agree with me.

The Federalist Papers is alot of the ideology that went into the creation of the Constitution.

By the way have you thought about switching to decaf?



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 02:14 AM
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reply to post by kro32
 


Hahaha fair enough. Your post led me to believe that you were of the opinion that democracy was a large part of the constitution. When, in fact, it was only mention half a dozen times in the 80+ pages of the federalist papers (and not in any of the constitutions) and only used as an example to point out its inherent tyranny. My mistake.


Originally posted by links234
reply to post by sonofliberty1776
 


If we don't have democracy how do we elect our representatives?


Through elections. How else? An election process is common in most political constructs.




Democracy is indispensable to Socialism. – V.I. Lenin
Democracy is the road to Socialism. – Karl Marx

edit on 28-8-2011 by METACOMET because: m



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 02:48 AM
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reply to post by METACOMET
 


You sound reasonably confident in your knowledge of the Constitution. We should debate sometime as it's one of my favorite subjects


Look for my posts



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 02:51 AM
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It seems that both Karl and Lenin knew that the masses could be manipulated into pushing for Socialist policies. Perhaps our Founding Fathers also knew of this power, hence the pure democracy is tempered by the representative form they adopted, that is a balance between the masses and an elected group who would ostensibly be well educated.
Too bad we have such nincompoops and Socialists elected of late. Of course the Socialists figured out they'd have to get their people elected. How did they do that? Offer goodies to the disaffected.



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 02:53 AM
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Originally posted by METACOMET

Originally posted by links234
reply to post by sonofliberty1776
 


If we don't have democracy how do we elect our representatives?


Through elections. How else? An election process is common in most political constructs.


Would you call our elections a democratic process?


Definition of DEMOCRACY:
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



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 03:02 AM
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Originally posted by ThirdEyeofHorus
It seems that both Karl and Lenin knew that the masses could be manipulated into pushing for Socialist policies.


Probably because socialist policies benefit those same masses.


Perhaps our Founding Fathers also knew of this power,


Could one argue that is the reason they considered black people only 3/5 of a person? They knew they would vote themselves out of slavery, if they were allowed to vote at all.


hence the pure democracy is tempered by the representative form they adopted, that is a balance between the masses and an elected group who would ostensibly be well educated.


Are you saying all of our representatives in congress are well educated?


Too bad we have such nincompoops and Socialists elected of late.


I guess not.


Of course the Socialists figured out they'd have to get their people elected. How did they do that? Offer goodies to the disaffected.


I'd like to see some facts or figures on how this has come into play in national politics.



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 03:03 AM
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Originally posted by links234

Originally posted by METACOMET

Originally posted by links234
reply to post by sonofliberty1776
 


If we don't have democracy how do we elect our representatives?


Through elections. How else? An election process is common in most political constructs.


Would you call our elections a democratic process?


Definition of DEMOCRACY:
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


Commentary from The Daily Paul

One of my pet peeves is how the word “Democracy” has crept to the forefront when referring to the form of government this country is suppose to represent when the actual form of government of the United States is a Constitutional Republic.



A pure Democracy is nothing more than “mob rule” with no provisions for the rights of the individual. The Founding Fathers saw this as one of the worst forms of government and in their wisdom provided a framework to secure the rights of the individual, ie., a Constitution and a Bill of Rights with separation of powers subject to Judicial Review which is the “Rule of Law” we live under.



A constitutional republic is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is checked by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government's power, makes the state constitutional.


Unlike a pure democracy, in a constitutional republic, citizens are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law.Constitutional Republics are a deliberate attempt to hold in check the threat of mobocracy thereby protecting dissenting individuals from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population.

www.dailypaul.com...



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 03:11 AM
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Originally posted by links234
Would you call our elections a democratic process?


No, I'd call elections an electoral process


I'd call a democratic process a system where 51% of people can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 03:11 AM
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reply to post by links234
 





I'd like to see some facts or figures on how this has come into play in national politics.


Let's start with DSA member Maxine Waters shall we?



Then there's Bernie Sanders, Henry Waxman, and bunches of other members of Congress who are also DSA, now dictating legislation and govt policy.

www.tysknews.com...
House Members
Hon. Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
Hon. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Hon. Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Hon. Madeleine Bordallo (GU-AL)
Hon. Robert Brady (PA-01)
Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Hon. Michael Capuano (MA-08)
Hon. André Carson (IN-07)
Hon. Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Hon. Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
Hon. William “Lacy” Clay (MO-01)
Hon. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Hon. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Hon. John Conyers (MI-14)
Hon. Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Hon. Danny Davis (IL-07)
Hon. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Hon. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Hon. Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Hon. Sam Farr (CA-17)
Hon. Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Hon. Bob Filner (CA-51)
Hon. Barney Frank (MA-04)
Hon. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Hon. Alan Grayson (FL-08)
Hon. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Hon. John Hall (NY-19)
Hon. Phil Hare (IL-17)
Hon. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Hon. Michael Honda (CA-15)
Hon. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hon. Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Hon. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Hon. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Hon. Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Hon. John Lewis (GA-05)
Hon. David Loebsack (IA-02)
Hon. Ben R. Lujan (NM-3)
Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Hon. Ed Markey (MA-07)
Hon. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Hon. James McGovern (MA-03)
Hon. George Miller (CA-07)
Hon. Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Hon. Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Hon. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC-AL)
Hon. John Olver (MA-01)
Hon. Ed Pastor (AZ-04)
Hon. Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Hon. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Hon. Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Hon. Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Hon. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Hon. Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Hon. Linda Sánchez (CA-47)
Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Hon. José Serrano (NY-16)
Hon. Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Hon. Pete Stark (CA-13)
Hon. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Hon. John Tierney (MA-06)
Hon. Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)
Hon. Maxine Waters (CA



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 03:16 AM
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reply to post by links234
 





Could one argue that is the reason they considered black people only 3/5 of a person? They knew they would vote themselves out of slavery, if they were allowed to vote at all.



Typical leftist argument suggesting that our Founding Fathers did not do the best that they could and were somehow at fault. The issue here is not that slavery was not instantly eliminated, but that the Constitution gave the legislative body the ability to eliminate it. The Constitution did not fail as you and others of siimilar short-sightedness suggest.

I'd be willing to bet that it never occurred to you that there were many caucasians sold into slavery and that in general slavery was worldwide and not just in the American colonies, but then such is the ignorant agenda of liberals.
www.revisionisthistory.org...
www.crusader.net...

edit on 28-8-2011 by ThirdEyeofHorus because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-8-2011 by ThirdEyeofHorus because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 03:21 AM
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Originally posted by ThirdEyeofHorus
reply to post by links234
 





Could one argue that is the reason they considered black people only 3/5 of a person? They knew they would vote themselves out of slavery, if they were allowed to vote at all.



Typical leftist argument suggesting that our Founding Fathers did not do the best that they could and were somehow at fault. The issue here is not that slavery was not instantly eliminated, but that the Constitution gave the legislative body the ability to eliminate it. The Constitution did not fail as you and others of siimilar short-sightedness suggest.


The Constitution did not give the people who were victims of slavery any way to vote against it, and instead gave some of their votes to their slave masters.



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