But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
~ John Adams
A constitutional republic is a state [or nation] 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 tempered 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. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican.
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 diminish the threat of mobocracy thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who govern within limits of overarching constitutional law rather than the popular vote having legislative power itself. John Adams defined a constitutional republic thus "No good government but what is republican ... the very definition of a republic is 'an empire of laws, and not of men.'" Also, the power of government officials is checked by allowing no single individual to hold executive, legislative and judicial powers. Instead these powers are separated into distinct branches that serve as a check and balance on each other. A constitutional republic is designed so that "no person or group [can] rise to absolute power."
America is not, and has never been, a Democracy. We are a Consitutional Republic, with laws regarding the limitations of governmental power, and the duties of the several branches of governeent. Our Constitution, in fact, does not limit the Rights or Power of the people, but does limit the Rights and Power of the Federal government. I know that it's easier to say, "Democracy' than it is to say, "Constitutional Republic", but that is what we are. And all the prattling of the Politicians does not change that one whit. The word democracy derives from the ancient Greek demokratia (δημοκρατία), formed from the roots demos (δημος), "people, "the mob, the many" and kratos (κρατος) "rule". Mob rule. I know some will say that Town Halls and Congresses are all evidence of Democracy in action. Well, they're wrong. As the saying goes, "In a Democracy three wolves vote to eat the one sheep. The sheep loses." Democracy is majority rule, in everything. The Town Hall can decide on a course of action which adversely affects Farmer Smith. In this country, under the principles of a Constitutional Republic, the decided action cannot take place unless it is within the Law. It matters not a whit what the majority decides. In a Democracy Farmer Smith gets screwed.
We are sliding into a Democracy, and we seem not to notice. We elect politicians to represent us who are more concerned with garnering more votes and retaining power than they are in doing what is in the best interest of all their constituants. When the polls seem to say that the 'people; want public money spent on a Trolley Museum, then the politician writes a bill for that prupose and if passed by the legislative body, then the money is taken from the Public Treasury to go to the Trolley Museum. In our real world, this is called Conspiracy to commit Fruad, Robbery, Assault, and so on. For the monies of the Public Treasury are not a 'Rainy Day' fund to be used for whatever the politicians wish. The moines in our Treasury are to be used for Constitutionally accepted purposes only. Anything else is theft.
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Federal government, without asking, took our money and poured it into the ravaged city. A wonderful Humanitarian act, paid for by someone other than those tossing out the funds. A private company was Johnny-on-the-spot with relief supplies, volunteers flooded into the area to help, and American citizens, not to mention generous foreigners, sent money and goods to help. The Federal government had no Constitutional right to send so much as a penny to rebuild New Orleans.
Yes, I know, Congress has passed laws for just such natural disasters. But that makes it neither right nor legal. Our money is not to be spent on such things as natural disasters, failing companies, medical payments, nor even "free" education, which these days is neither free nor education. Read your Constitution! See what the Legal Foundation of the Federal Government says the Feds can spend money on. You won't find Health Care mentioned, though sickness was a constant worry in the 13 American States, as it can be today. Private health organizations can do as well as any governmental health organization, and more efficiently, too. When Chrysler was failing and the governemnt extended a loan to keep it afloat, many jobs were saved, Chrysler remained a viable company - for a time - and Lee Iacocca became famous. But the Feds had no Constitutional Right to hand over the taxpayers' money to Chrysler, no matter the 'good intention' of keeping that failing comapny afloat. And when did 'public' education begin to truly fail and become a scheme to indoctrinate our children? When the government in Washington, D.C. took over. Children not learning? Send money! Teachers not happy? Send money! Our Constitution says nothing about filling the pockets of Eductional Bureaucrats with public money. But we allow our government to do so.
Every time a government official - elected, appointed, hired - opines on sending our money to some pet project, and we quietly acquiesce (heavens, it's a good deed!), we are letting the Feds take a little bit more of our power and our Rights, and handing us a piece of candy in return. That doesn't make sense.
It's our Constitution, not the Government's. We are not limited in our Rights, the government is. We should be calling the shots, but we have allowed the power to be eased out of our poor, beknighted hands, while the bureaucrats gather more power in their own hands.
Want Universal Health Care? Try it in Canada or Great Britain. You won't vote for it here! Wnat to 'share the wealth' of the rich? Go experience the vibrant economies of Cuba and Venezuela. You may decide it doesn't work. Want to get guns off the streets by making gun ownership illegal? Go ask the victims of Nazism or Communism who saw all their means of self-defense eliminated before the Terror truly began.
Democracy? No! Hell No! We own the Constitution of the United States of America. If we hold to it, demand our politicians hold to it - no 'found rights, no penumbras, no nonsense - accept no do-gooder nonsense designed to make someone else feel good while making us pay for their largesse, we can remain a free and independent people.
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.
~ John Adams
PS: The only candidate I have read of, or heard, who hews closely to Constitutional principles is Fred Thompson. Whatever faults he may have, being merely human, he acts on the Constitution, not on the whims of the Mob. Think about that.
On a similar note, Praesidium Respublicae posted "Republic or Democracy?" Thanks, AOW!