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Philosophy Politics Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Are Republics Inherently Good? – Religion and Poltics

In a relatively recent article, I wrote about Socialism. At least one person who read that article, took me to be saying—as far as I am able to tell—“Socialism is never a good thing.” My actual intent was to say that, “Government is Socialist by nature. All government activities should be limited to more or less needed things. Government should exercise its power at the lowest possible level.”

Part of the point of this set of statements, is to indicate that to some degree, Socialism cannot be avoided unless you support anarchy, which—as I see it—never works, but that is a topic for another article.

That means that Republican, Totalitarian, Monarchical, Oligarchical and pretty much all other forms of true government share one thing in common. To some degree or other, they are all Socialist. The question being the degree.

That being said then, it should be obvious that, unless I am willing to argue for anarchy (of which I count true Communism to be a part), I cannot argue for the total obliteration of Socialism.

Based on this concept, I would argue that technically Socialism is not a form of government at all. Rather, it is a necessity of implementation for any form of government that expects to exert any control.

I wanted to put that out there as a precursor to the discussion of one of the forms of government that embraces Socialism—Republicanism.

By Republicanism, I mean essentially, “A government that works based primarily on a set of laws as opposed to one that works on an entirely democratic basis.” The difference being that in Republics, laws come first. In “true democracy,” the “will of the majority” trumps the law. In fact, if true democracy could be established or accomplished, there would essentially be little or no need for laws at all (virtually everything would be “up for a vote”—a referendum, as it were).

The thing to keep in mind though, is that every republic must have some “base tenets” upon which subsequent laws stand—even if that means looking at the earlier laws—a thing typically referred to as “considering precedent.”

That’s an important realization!

Put simply, it’s possible to create a republic on the most ridiculous base tenets, as well as the very best of ideas and ideals.

Don’t believe me? Consider this, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (known to most as North Korea), the Republic of Cuba (most call it just plain “Cuba”), the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China (yep, what you probably just call, “China”), the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (so here, Vietnam is called a “socialist republic”), and so very many other countries, consider the concept of republicanism to be so important that most ensconce it in their “official name.”

Still not convinced? It’s hard to find a single country in the world that does not count itself republican in nature, name aside.

Many reading this article, likely consider one such country’s “style of republic,” to be superior to all others—whether that of their home country, of that of another.

Equally, many reading, will consider the republics of many other countries, to be wanting or seriously lacking.

The reason for this should not only be obvious, but expected.

As earlier stated, it is possible for a republic to be based on a great number of either very strong or solid ideas, or not so strong or even weak ones.

The conclusion is obvious, if so many entities can count themselves republican, and can do so reasonably—and to be fair some can, and others cannot—even though republicanism is a single thing in form, its implementation can vary wildly from place to place.

That being said, the question that strikes me as significant, is not so much whether republics are a “good form of government,” as whether a a particular republic was founded on solid principles and ideas.

To be fair, the foundational ideals for a given government regardless its form only matter if people continue to follow those ideals. This is one of the problems the United States faces as I write this. As a nation, the U.S. has strayed far from the concepts and ideals upon which it was founded. But I digress, the intent of this article was to discuss the merit of the republic as a form of government.

The only reason the success of failure of the republic of the United States is of consequence, is that it—like any other government—can be “corrupted.”

Having said that though, the first and important realization must be that, just because a country is born out of the concept of, or chooses at some point after it comes into existence to take on, the concept of republicanism, does not mean it will either be successful, or that the resulting government will be a good one.

One of the things stressed by the Founders of the United States was that an “uninformed electorate” would very likely result in a questionable government.

The unfortunate reality is, most of the U.S. electorate is uninformed—and this has only gotten worse over the course of time. Be fully aware that I am not saying this is a problem that the United States alone faces. As time goes on, more and more people everywhere seem to know less and less about the foundation of their respective countries. Perhaps some are better than others, but this seems to be a pretty “common thread” in society at large and the world over.

It used to be an accepted and expected thing, that government and its workings—both for the country in which the teaching was occurring, and for other governments—would be taught in school, and at comparatively “low levels” (so starting in elementary education and generally carried through to at least something akin to high school). This required that teachers have a solid understanding of such things—a thing that seems to be presently largely lacking even among those who are supposed to be doing such teaching.

Yet again, I have “stumbled off” my intended course. The point is, if you’ve come to the conclusion that “republics solve all ills” where government is concerned, I urge you to obtain a better understanding. The base tenets of the republic matter every bit as much as the “governmental form.”

Okay, another post more or less complete. As usual, may your time be good and thanks for reading.

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