Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Marvin Simkin, Los Angeles Times, the quote above has been falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin in Internet sources. The original quote is: Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. The rest as added by unknown source(s). The phrase/quote was used by historian, Shelby Foote in the Ken Burns 1990 Civil War documentary.
Democracy is portrayed as freedom, but liberties can only be protected and secured by constitutional law, like that which the Founders created.
The word “Democracy” is not in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. Even the Pledge of Allegiance is “to the Republic for which it stands.”
Dr. Pease, however, incorrectly attributes the phrase aforementioned to Benjamin Franklin.
O.R. Adams Jr., wrote in Why Our Founders Feared a Democracy …
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: "From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage."
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French writer and historian, who toured the United States to provide background of his two-volume book entitled Democracy in America, spent much of volume II upon the dangers of a democracy. Alexis wrote:
I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclination, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress.
They who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.– Benjamin Franklin, Philosophical Transactions LXII, 147-267, Royal Society 1772
Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.– Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, 1738
I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.-- John Adams, letter to John Taylor (15 April 1814)
The Constitutional Republic is a limited democracy prescribed by the US Constitution …
A limited democracy might indeed be the best protector of individual liberty and be better than any other form of limited government, but an unlimited democracy is probably worse than any other form of unlimited government, because its government loses the power even to do what it thinks right if any group on which its majority depends thinks otherwise. If Mrs. Thatcher said that free choice is to be exercised more in the market place than in the ballot box, she has merely uttered the truism that the first is indispensable for individual freedom, while the second is not: free choice can at least exist under a dictatorship that can limit itself but not under the government of an unlimited democracy which cannot.
Pure democracy is guided by majority of opinion, thus the rule of the mob, instead of the rule of the law. A prime example are decisions made by the justices of the US Supreme Court based upon foreign laws and public opinion within society …
The conception that government should be guided by majority opinion makes sense only if that opinion is independent of government. The ideal of democracy rests on the belief that the view which will direct government emerges from an independent and spontaneous process. It requires, therefore, the existence of a large sphere independent of majority control in which the opinions of the individuals are formed.
– Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 1944
It is when it is contended that "in a democracy right is what the majority makes it to be" that democracy degenerates into demagoguery.Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960), p. 94
The Founders of the United States and creators of the US Constitution and its amendments established a constitutional republic for the reasons mentioned in the quotes above. The two founding documents, Constitution and the Declaration of Independence purposely refrain from using the word “democracy”. Unfortunately, American politicians, educators and the media do not recognize the reasons the Founders had in not choosing a democracy – either out of ignorance (based upon established political doctrine) or just plainly promoting democracy over what the Founders established. This has occurred with both Democratic and Republican presidents and members of US Congress:
Democracy is … the only path to national success and dignity.
– George W. Bush
We must revitalize our democracy.
– William Clinton
The world must be made safe for democracy.
– Woodrow Wilson
This all means that our educational system is bankrupt in several avenues, mainly propagating what is believed or opinionated and not what is truth. Further, the progressive democratic-socialist movement discourages any discussion or presentation of truth in its established doctrine of education.
Political Science in higher education institutions must always present the study of different forms of government for analysis by the student and discussion of what works best; however, it must also show how the constitutional republic based upon the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights makes it the best form of government ever devised by humanity in the history of civilization. Maybe voters should insist upon their candidates have some sort of background in the study of political science rather than vote for lawyers and community organizers. Lawyers are trained to find loopholes that circumvent law in order to win their cases; which is not acceptable for the practices and actions of any politician in federal or state government.
Since the two traditional political parties have no intention of reforming itself and thus reforming the federal (and certain state) government in the manner of which it was created; independent candidates or a viable constitutional third party is required. Neither of which the two traditional political entities have ever allowed, with the help of the media; and thus it is up to the People to force those two traditional entities to reform or dissolve.
Political parties become nothing but political clubs with large bank accounts; if the People allow them to be so. Constitutional law is what is paramount, not the survival of a specific political entity. Thus, the rule of law works, while the rule of the democratic mob does not – and failures will continue until the People elect those who know the difference and refuse to continue policies and doctrine that continually fails.
The clear difference is presented at What Our ForeFathers Thought – Republic vs. Democracy; Rule of Law vs. Rule by Majority.
Democrats are always concerned with minorities, so they claim; yet they are constantly justifying their doctrine and policies by claiming approval by the majority – all the while grandstanding democracy as the institution of our nation's government when in fact the Founders feared it would evolve so. Democracy is subject to the whims and fads of its society; as has been demonstrated too often within decisions emanating from the US Supreme Court and lower courts.
Democracies always self-destruct when the non-productive majority realizes that it can vote itself handouts from the productive minority by electing the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury. To maintain their power, these candidates must adopt an ever-increasing tax and spend policy to satisfy the ever-increasing desires of the majority. As taxes increase, incentive to produce decreases, causing many of the once productive to drop out and join the non-productive. When there are no longer enough producers to fund the legitimate functions of government and the socialist programs, the democracy will collapse, always to be followed by a Dictatorship.
This is why starting with this important congressional election year, We the People, you and I, must insist upon voting for candidates who are constitutional – will abide by their oaths of office if elected – and know the difference between a republic, a democracy or a socialist welfare state. Importantly, know why what the Founders created is far better than any other government system existing or ever existing.