Email Ken Stallings   How a Democracy Survives, Why it Can Fail

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How a democracy survives is by realizing that there are core liberties which cannot be abridged regardless of how large a percentage of its citizens believe they should be. Why a democracy can fail is by forgetting this essential truth!

Benjamin Franklin had a talent for espousing elemental truths in stark simplicity. On this caveat he simply said, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on dinner. Liberty is the lamb contesting the vote!"

As I read this article in the News & Observer today, it brought home to me these two essential truths.


There have always been extreme groups. But what concerns me greatly today is the erosion of respect for the notion that people can only coexist when their inalienable rights are respected. It seems to me there is a disturbing trend toward social engineering among progressive liberals who believe they can amend all aspects of society no matter how personal. This includes such warped concepts as politically correct speech, food policing, income redistribution, and nationalized health care. These progressives are on a quest to achieve a social utopia but all they are really doing is ushering in an era of social violence and mayhem!

So, when I see so many Democrats violate essential liberties in the Constitution and then arrogantly assert they "don't worry" about that, I can only surmise they have no respect for the law they swore a moral oath to support. How can anyone trust someone who would violate a moral oath? The Constitution was designed to assert limits on government power, and just as vital, to delineate inalienable rights of citizens. Today government, especially at the federal and municipal levels, appears bent upon social engineering outside the duties and limitations of the Constitution upon said governments.

People want to be left free to make their own choices, and to enjoy the protection of society to keep safe and whole the property they have worked hard to earn. Another famous American with a penchant for summing up complex concepts with homespun wisdom was Abraham Lincoln who, on the concept of protecting private property, said, "Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."

The only way a democracy can endure is by recognizing limits on government power and influence, and endeavor to respect the rights of citizens to self-determination. Through this self-determination, citizens may earn property. But, what concerns me is the increasing desire among some citizens to covet the property and success of others vice work hard to earn their own happiness. I do not covet another man's wealth or success. Instead, I rejoice that such a man had the freedom to strive for such achievement, because I genuinely wish to retain that right for myself and my children. If you deem your home inadequate, then work harder to earn a better one! Do not instead seek to confiscate through taxation or imminent domain another man's property so that you can use it for your own personal aims.

There is simply no goal noble enough to be obtained by un-Constitutional means. Because by seeking such a path, you destroy systems vastly more important. And once those systems are harmed, all things become a violent confluence of domestic terrorism and civil war. This is because eventually human patience and endurance is exceeded, and starting with small numbers, citizens seek to overthrow by violent means those un-Constitutional agents whom they conclude cannot be undone by votes and courts.

I fear we are on the cusp of a rise of civil violence, some would term it pure vigilantism. If even one percent of a nation of 300 million people deem they shall no longer tolerate the usurpation of their core values and rights, and believe violence is the only means to stop the abridgment, then the recipe for destruction of the nation is begun!

This nation has already fought a civil war over slavery and states' rights to retain slavery. I fear we are coming perilously close to a civil war fought entirely over ideology, with no geographical borders to define the war. I do not know if the nation can survive such a civil war. But I do know the best way to avoid such a tragedy is simply to respect each persons' right to self-determination, with all the natural concepts of personal accountability for that personal decision-making.

Returning to the sage words of Abraham Lincoln, in his recognition of this essential fact, he said, "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties." Lincoln was wise to say this. It is not important for me that all men conform to actions I think wise. It is rather vital for me that all men be afforded the freedom to choose their own path. I have the confidence that over time, and with patience, people will make wise choices whereby society achieves the harmonious advancements wise people desire. Harmoniously achieved advancements are lasting, as they do not come through coercion, but rather through natural advancement based upon self-determination, hard work, and personal desires.

But to force it through narrow-minded social engineering through coercion and erosion of liberty is a path to utter destruction. I fear we are embarking upon such a path today because of a combination of two forces. We have people who see government as their tool to gain property confiscated from others who first earned it plus also to achieve social objectives along their narrow vision. Second, we have people who see freedom as a barrier to achieving their vision for social utopia.

This is precisely why it is so vital that the US Supreme Court undo this un-Constitutional fiat by the Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Barrack Obama. Health care is not a right. However, it is firmly a right that no citizen may be coerced to purchase a service or good. If universal health care cannot be obtained without forcing citizens to purchase health insurance, then it means one thing -- that universal health care is not a goal a democracy should embark upon! Rather, government should work to lower health care costs and promote increased competition among private institutions that would offer health insurance polices to citizens who may choose freely to purchase them!

But more important than all that, if government continues to ignore the Constitution, then we sow the seeds of our national destruction. Nothing is worth that, and certainly not nationalized health care!


-- Ken Stallings

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