Creed of Freedom
by G. Edward Griffin 2008 January 24
Recently I was delighted to receive a highly complementary email from a young man who had just discovered Freedom Force and was rapidly devouring our essays posted to the Internet. While reading The Chasm, which explains the difference between a republic and a democracy, he came to the example of pure democracy in action. It is a lynch mob. There is only one dissenting voter, and he is at the end of the rope! This led to the following comment.
I have a question, about the Creed of Freedom. I'm wondering about the example of the hanging mob where the only one objection is coming from the guy at the end of the rope. How does individualism deal with the criminal without denying their rights vs the way a democracy deals with a criminal?
Thanks for being a light
This was my reply.
Individualists believe that the legitimate power of government includes the protection of life, liberty, and property. They have no problem with legalized coercion when restricted to these areas. However, there are basically three types of legalized coercion: an oligarchy (rule by an elite minority), a democracy (majority rule), and a republic (LIMITED majority rule).
In a republic, the primary purpose of limitations is to protect the life, liberty, and property of individuals and minorities against the passion, greed, and ignorance of the majority. Traditionally, these limitations are written into what is called a constitution (similar to the bylaws of a corporation), and it is agreed that everyone must follow them, including agents of government itself.
As long as citizens have respect for the wisdom and necessity of those limitations and as long as they keep a watchful eye on their own government to insure obedience, republics are the embodiment of individualism and produce the best social order humanly possible.
The government of the United States was a republic up until about 1900. After that, the old generation passed away and was replaced by a new wave that had no understanding of the need for limitations on government. Instead of distrusting government officials, they began to look up to them as gods and saviors. They embraced the principle of democracy, and it has been a downhill road to serfdom ever since.