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The Downside of Democracy

Throughout the history of man there have been two basic forms of public government: 1. Rule by the elite (monarchy, aristocracy, and oligarchy) and 2. Rule by the people (democracy). The three basic forms of democracy are:

  1. Direct democracy where the general public vote on every issue of law and governance,
  2. Representative democracy where representatives are elected by the public and in turn vote on every issue of law and governance, and
  3. Presidential democracy where an individual is elected by the public and in turn establishes every law and issues of governance.

The Doctrine of Democracy

At the heart of the idea of democracy is the doctrine of popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty simply means that the majority of the voting public knows what is best for everyone else. But, as the saying goes, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.” In other words, democracy is great as long as you share the same sentiment as the majority.

The Dream of Democracy

Upon exiting the United States of America Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was, “A republic, if you can keep it.” A republic simply means a form of government in which the country’s affairs are considered a public matter. Therefore, the framers of the American system of federal government were elevating the role of public participation by implementing a representative form of democracy with checks and balances.

The founding fathers of this fledgling form of federal administration knew that allowing the general public to direct the creation of the laws that would govern them was a risky business. Therefore, they provided a set of foundational principles known as the Constitution that gave a framework for public lawmaking with the hope that this new experimental process would ultimately be governed by people who were themselves governed by Biblical absolutes. In reality, the process of democracy is only played out on the surface of society while the brute forces of dirty politics form the undercurrent that ultimately make laws and provide governance.

The Deception of Democracy

Today it is very popular for various groups to vehemently express their views in an attempt to gain public acceptance and eventually be presented as the majority view. In some cases, a majority in volume constitutes a majority of opinion as the screams of the minority drown out their opposition.

We see that the expression of the “popular will” can create a cacophony of discordant voices, leaving many baffled about the true meaning of majority rule. In far too many places around the world today, the expression of the “popular will” is nothing more than the unleashing of personal passions that have little, if any, concern for the good of the whole society. It can even create and promote genocidal policies toward those without a voice in the democratic process. The sad end of unrestrained democracy is anarchy, where rival factions splinter the fabric of society in order to gain their own selfish means. Ultimately, the democratic process turns into nothing but a horrible form of tyranny that is initiated and enforced by the majority.

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A Teaching on Teaching

One professional occupation requires the skills discussed in two of my recent articles in this publication. In the May article, I described “conversation” as often being either a “dialogue or a monologue with interruptions.” The June submission identified and illustrated a method for questioning based on cross-examination from the courtroom. The teaching profession requires skill and utilization in both conversation and questioning as the practitioner develops any lesson plan or teaching strategy.

Classroom teachers have several modalities from which to design a lesson. You, O gracious reader, will quickly identify with two of the most common styles which we have all experienced during our formal educations. The first – typically called lecture – is a teacher-dominated monologue where the expert with skill and story explains to the student the why, what and how of some topic. Questions posed during the lecture often present themselves as little more than a tap on the “pause button” before the lecturer continues with his prepared notes and illustrations. Many teachers avoid this “monologue with interruptions” and embrace the principles of the Socratic Method. Named for Socrates, this method is a form of inquiry and debate investigating opposing viewpoints. It relies on questions and answers (or objections and responses) to stimulate critical thinking and to develop fundamental ideas. From a class to a coffee klatch, this application of the Socratic Method will look far more like a dialogue than a lecture. And it approaches the ambition of the dialectic method. Hmmm... dialogue and dialectic. Similar words whose basic meaning is clear from its components. “Dia-“ means two; “Logue” (or logos) means word; From “lect” we get words like lecture and lectern and lectionary. At the roots of these two words is the idea of two words, two opinions, two viewpoints or two expressions.

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In Loving Memory of Chuck Missler

Koinonia House announces the death of its Founder and retired Board Chairman, Dr. Charles W. “Chuck” Missler. He was 83 years old, and passed away peacefully at his home in Reporoa, New Zealand. He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy and his two sons, Charles “Chip” and Mark. He is survived by two daughters, Lisa Bright and Meshell Missler, and eight grandchildren. Continue Reading →

Watch the Celebration of Life Service →  Watch the Funeral Service →