The Defense of Republics
“Every one in his way. I am a better judge of a horse-shoe than Sir John; but he has a deal better notion of state affairs than I; and I can no more do without him than he can do without me. And few are so poor but they may get a vote for a parliament-man, and so you see the poor have as much share in the government as they well know how to manage.”-Village Politics
“Along with its natural protectors and guardians, learning will be cast into the mire, and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude”-Edmund Burke
“A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them” The Dictionary defining a Republic
I have seen recently, a great deal of criticism of Republics in the form of the criticism of the ‘Elites’. The people who ‘know better than you’. The ‘bureaucrats’. I would contend that the Elites DO know better. And, in fact, this forms the fundamental basis of the Republic. If we did not believe some were, as Village Politics suggest, better fit for Government, we would have a Direct Democracy. We do not.
Burke writes upon the idea that without the natural protectors of education learning would be ruined because those who are not experts would become the teachers. Overall learning would suffer. The same, in my mind, applies to a government. Lawyers, Nutritionist and Doctors have a better handle on their fields than a ‘common man’ because they have gone to school to become educated in their particular fields.
I have no clue how to perform open-heart surgery, play a piano or design a Nuclear Bomb. Nor should I be trusted to do these task because these are, in fact, ‘Elite’ task. The same should apply to government. Some people are better fit to rule. They do know better. Would you trust someone off the street to perform surgery on you? If one is truly against the Elites than one should be perfectly fine with Joe 6 Pack performing surgery on them, after all, who is to say a Doctor is more equipped to deal with your bodily functions? Common sense dictates this is not only false, but idiotic. One also shouldn’t trust a government consisting of the ‘swinish multitude’ because they have not learned how to govern.
We see this every day in the fervor of political extremist and the masses. Those who burn Holy Books, and want people killed without trial are not those who I want to rule. And even with a Republic, a few who have this mentality sneak through. I simply do not wish for the exception to become the norm. I want the preservation of our Republic in the form of intelligence and debate, not in anger and emotion. And the people want this too.
A great example is Christine O’donnell. She lost the election for a few reasons, a large factor being her outlandish statements and lack of knowledge. When asked about the ‘Wall of Separation’ , she could not use logic, reasoning and precedent to establish it’s grounds in our foundation, stemming from the first amendment. Her other statements regarding subjects such as masturbation and co-ed education certainly didn’t aid her in anyway. If people truly wanted a ‘non-elite’, this was their candidate. She lost, and she lost because she is in fact, a fool not fit to govern. One fool in government is no destruction, many can cause a toppling of rights and efficiency. She is one fool we did not allow in.
Then again, the debate has been twisted. The use of even the words ‘Elite’ have become so misconstrued that they now stir up anger and an ‘us against them’ mentality, whoever ‘us’ and ‘them’ is. This is somewhat laughable. Those who shout this mantra at the top of their lungs also vote, which perpetuates the idea of a Republic, and therefore the idea of the ‘Elites’. If those voting thought they were better suited to govern, they would themselves run. Ironically, their attempt at running would then mark them as those who believe in distinction from the rest. They would become the ‘Elite’ because by running, they acknowledge the thought that they are ‘better’ suited for government than their fellow man. Perhaps if they truly believed in anti-eliticism, they’d be more about actually equality, but, gasp, that’d be Socialism, and GD if we allow any kind of Socialism in our country.
The truth is, some are in fact better. And people need to begin to acknowledge that it isn’t Eltism that is destroying Democracy, it is preventing its destruction from the swinish hooves of the multitude. We need to separate the idea of ‘better suited’ and ‘better’. Those in government believe they are better suited for it than those not. Is this ‘Elitist’? Perhaps, but in a Republic, is this not what we need?