my hero -- Dr. Ron Paul -- has contributed Sowing Liberty, an excellent 4-page article on homeschooling, emphasizing the need for home-schooling families to stay committed to teaching principles of liberty.
He opens with a quick reminder that we are losing privacy rights hand-over-fist, tossing away liberty in the pursuit of security, while gaining neither. Even so, Dr. Paul has some cause for hope, claiming that
[f]ortunately, there is always a remnant who longs for truly limited government, maintaining a belief in the rule of law combined with a deep conviction that free people and a government bound by a Constitution are the most advantageous form of government. They recognize this idea as the only practical way for prosperity to be spread to the maximum number of people, while promoting peace and security. Their thoughts are dominated by a different and more powerful word: freedom (p6).
Dr. Paul then cautions us to be quite clear and quite specific about what we mean by freedom. "If we hope to remain free," he exhorts, "we must cut through the fog of rhetoric and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians often use to deceive us." Concrete meanings, mutually agreed upon, are immensely powerful, and, in an era of meaningless fluff, immensely attractive. Dr. Paul continues, "We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy [. . .]" Let's hear that part again. "We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule"(p.6).
Hmmmm. Republic? Democracy? If I recall this properly, a republic is ruled by law (the Constitution in our case) and the political leaders are elected by the people whom they represent: a representative government bound to uphold the Constitution. A Democracy is majority-rule. The wishes of the majority should prevail. In a democracy, there is no higher law than the will of the people, as communicated by the politicians they elect and/or as communicated by majority vote.
So, for example, if the will of the people is to toss out all the civil liberties guaranteed unto them in the Constitution, a democracy would let them toss as many as they wish and a republic would be bound to uphold the Constitution. Oh but I digress. Shall we return to Dr. Paul's article?
After reminding us of the rather startling difference between a Republic and a Democracy, Dr. Paul in his typical blunt fashion -- which I so appreciate -- explains that, "Those who hold political power would lose their status in a society with truly limited government. It simply would not matter much who occupied various political posts, since their ability to tax, spend, and regulate would be severely curtailed. This is why champions of political power promote an activist government that involves itself in every area of our lives, from cradle to grave. They gain popular support by promising voters that the government will take care of everyone, while the media shower them with praise for their bold vision" (p.8). No wonder the media and the mainstream politicians have been muffling his candidacy.
I've heard it said that Democrats stand for rights and Republicans stand for responsibilities, but I think the distinction that Dr. Paul's article has reminded me of matters a great deal more. Democrats work towards the (perceived) good of the people whilst answering to no law higher than majority rule. Republicans work (or should be working) towards the upholding of the Constitution which would mean limiting government powers, not expanding them. Dr. Paul explains that "[a]s defined by the Constitution, the proper role for government in America is to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system to prosecute acts of force and fraud, and that’s all. In other words, the State’s role in our society is as referee, rather than an active participant" (p.7).
You can read the whole article, Sowing Liberty at the Homeschooling Today website.