Is Democracy Mob Rule?

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Yes, you read the title correctly, Is democracy mob rule? Why the comparison, you ask? Here, I will share a story from my former boss.  Whenever someone mentioned the US is a democracy, she would insist that we are a republic.

What’s the difference?

In a democracy, equality among all members is augmented with the majority rules. In a republic, the government derives its just powers from the consent of the people. The difference is that in a republic the government is constrained by its Constitution.

The Constitution serves as overarching principles that set boundaries on the formal institutional power, hence prevent overreach. Without such constraints, a democracy is reduced to mob rules. Simply, the majority can strip the rights from the minority through votes.

Sounded familiar? The fight for control of the Congress in the recent US Midterm elections illustrated this democratic value. Thankfully, the US Constitution guards not only the individual freedoms but also the republic principle with provisions such as supermajority (as in two-third of the Senate votes on impeachment).

For these reasons and more, my boss was right. We are a republic.

What do you think about our republic?


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