Farrell: Not License, Leveling, or Democracy



It can never be taught too often, nor too loud and clear to family and friend, educator and politician: license is not true liberty, leveling of income not true equality, democracy never the intent of our Forefather’s republic.

2,500 plus years ago, we read in Plato’s “Republic” of that diabolical “democratic man”, or a man inordinately fixated on his beloved self interest, who, lo and behold! is tyrannized by his own lusts, and next up tyrannizes everyone else in an unending attempt to satisfy an ever growing list of personal lusts, lusts which can never be fully satisfied. His point? A society dominated by weak and undisciplined, brutish and unprincipled individuals is ripe for tyranny in that personal slavery and tyranny over neighbor are already their habit, if not constant ambition.

You see, when self-love and self-indulgence are ranked as the greatest of rights, and toleration for every sort of extreme as the highest of virtues, trouble follows. Morality, law, stability take a hit. Turbulence, anarchy, political opportunism come in their wake.

This is Common Sense About Human Nature 101 – which explains why the Founding Father of modern communism, Karl Marx, bellowed the Communist Manifesto battle cry, “We must win the battle of democracy!”

It is also why he who is dubbed “Father of the US Constitution,” James Madison, warned of democracy:

“[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (1)

To which he added: “A republic opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.” (2)

Again, Communist Founder Marx wanted democracy; American Founder Madison did not, both for the same reasons: democracies are unstable, violent, short lived political systems whose chief aim is the overthrow of private property.

Democracies have other problems. They seek to “reduce mankind,” Madison warned, “[until they are] equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.” (3) That is, they preach and practice a false equality that, in the end, impoverishes and enslaves mankind economically, intellectually, and morally into one common miserable lot.

This is the exact opposite of the sort of equality the American Founders promoted. St. George Tucker, the author of the 1803, “View of the Constitution of the United States” explained what our founders meant by “all men are created equal”:

“By equality is to be understood, equality of civil rights and not of condition. Equality of rights necessarily produces inequality of possessions; because, by the laws of nature and of equality, every man has a right to use his faculties in an honest way, and the fruits of his labor, thus acquired, are his own. But some men have more strength than others; some more health; some more industry; and some more skill and ingenuity, than others; and according to these, and other circumstances the products of their labors must be various, and their property must become unequal. The rights of property are sacred, and must be protected; otherwise there would be no exertion of either ingenuity or industry, and consequently nothing but extreme poverty, misery, and brutal ignorance.” (4)

Yes, the American Founders firmly rejected the equal ends approach to equality because such an equality, the equality of a pure democracy, produces precisely what communism has always produced: “nothing but extreme poverty, misery, and brutal ignorance, ” even as it undermines private and civic virtue.

By contrast, the Republic our Founders gave us, embraced ‘equality before God and the law’, and ‘equality in the enjoyment of our God-given rights’, produced the most ingenious, industrious, prosperous, happy, and enlightened people in history.

The aim of our republic was something more solid, more permanent than – easy to get – majority votes, which in a fit of passion might overthrow our God-given Inalienable Rights, and the Higher Laws upon which they are founded, and the very system of government erected to forever protect these Rights. And how was that system to do it? By the use of chains. Not chains of cold steel, no. But the chains of Law. Thus Jefferson would write:

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” (5)


1. Madison, James. Federalist 10

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Tucker, St. George. View of the Constitution of the United States: With Selected Writings, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 1999, pgs. 40-41.

5. Jefferson, Thomas. November 10, 1798, as found in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Andrew A. Lipscomb and Albert Ellery Bergh, Volume 17, pgs. 379-80, 385-91.

Steve Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.