We don’t live in a Democracy. We live in a Democratic Republic.
What’s the difference?
I love to eat. But I don’t cook well. I don’t know the ingredients, the timing, the temperature..Everything I make tastes the same; like cardboard soup. So I made a decision. Let someone else cook. I can either pay them, trade services, or praise their efforts to such a degree that they cook for the honor of it. I can use that time to create a home and a kitchen and provide the raw essentials that make our food healthy and delicious.
That’s a Democratic republic. We elect people to represent our interests. And if they are honorable souls, all is well. If they betray our values, we remove them.
In Plato’s Republic, a select few would be chosen to lead. They would represent the republic’s chosen class, doing the people’s work with decency and respect.
Or they would die. So Plato wasn’t perfect.
A democracy is mob rule; where the majority wins the day regardless of their intent. It’s a recipe for disaster, because the majority often use their numbers to subjugate the minority and force their values on them. To that point, in my lifetime, blacks and whites were not allowed to share public services or in some states, weren’t even allowed to marry. The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “Sometimes it’s my job to tell the majority to take a hike.” And he was right.
Our Republic is not in danger, and never will be, as long as the majority remembers its duty to represent the whole, not just the numbers and the power it bestows.
The recipe that is our Republic is a delicate balance of substance and style. Of freedom and rules. Of hope and honesty. Of anger and restraint. Plato’s Republic is now our Republic.