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posted on 05 August 2015

Republic: Democracy vs. Autocracy

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I believe I have the most accurate diagnosis for America (Diagnosis for America (Version 3)) as well as the best solution (Solution for America (Version 3)). To best appreciate them, you must have a comprehensive understanding of America as well as the world, for which an essential issue is republic: democracy (e.g. America) vs. autocracy (e.g. China).

1. Basic definitions

Let's clearly define three basic terms: democracy, autocracy, and republic.

1.1 Democracy

According to Wikipedia - democracy,

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows citizens to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of all citizens executes its will. One form of democracy is direct democracy, in which all citizens have direct and active participation in the decision making of the government. In most modern democracies, the whole body of all citizens remain the sovereign power but political power is exercised indirectly through elected representatives; this is called representative democracy. The concept of representative democracy arose largely from ideas and institutions that developed during the European Middle Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, and the American and French Revolutions.[4]

Here is my simple but succinct definition: one person, one vote.

1.2 Autocracy

According to Wikipedia - autocracy

An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person, who acts like a king (or queen). But he is no king because his position is not to be inherited by his children. Therefore, an autocracy is a dictatorship, but not a monarchy. A prominent example is China. China is an autocracy - The Chinese President has an earned kingship for 10 years at most, but his position is not to be inherited by his children. Instead, another able person will be chosen to succeed him before the end of his second five-year term.

If this definition looks eerily familiar to you, you are right - I contributed most of the text above to Wikipedia! For more, read: Chinese Presidency: An Earned Kingship for 10 Years!

1.3 Republic

According to Wikipedia - republic,

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter" (Latin: res publica), not the private concern or property of the rulers, and where offices of states are subsequently directly or indirectly elected or appointed rather than inherited. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch.[1][2].

In modern republics such as the United States, Russia, and India, the executive is legitimized both by a constitution and by popular suffrage. Montesquieu included both democracies, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies or oligarchies, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government.[4]

Here is my simple definition: today, if you are not a monarchy, you are a republic, with or without democracy.

Today, the term "republic" means different things to different people. Three examples:

  1. China calls itself "The People's Republic of China", with autocracy instead of democracy.
  2. America was built as, and remains, a republic, with democracy.
  3. North Korea calls itself "Democratic People's Republic of Korea", which in reality is neither democratic nor republic. It is a de facto monarchy, with a son succeeding the father as the king.

2. A little bit of human history

For at least the three thousand years prior to 1775, monarchy was undoubtedly the most successful form of government. Two ancient alternatives, a republic in ancient Rome and a democracy in ancient Greece, were tried some 2,000 years ago, without success.

In 1775, we, as the downtrodden, again started trying republic as an alternative form of government to monarchy, with two major revolutions:

  1. The American Revolution (1775-1783).
  2. The French Revolution (1789-1799).

Furthermore, in order to build good and lasting republics, not only did we invent a new thing called "communism", we reused democracy, as if it were a new thing.

The results so far have been mixed. Two examples:

  1. All republics under communism, such as the USSR and China (1949-1976), have failed!
  2. Most republics under democracy in the West, represented by America, appear to have succeeded until recently ...

What happened recently? China has become as a formidable challenger to the West, with a new form of government called "state capitalism", with autocracy instead of democracy!

3. A little bit of American history

America was built as a republic (vs. monarchy). The debates between the Founding Fathers were merely about the form of the republic. Three examples:

  1. Alexander Hamilton: an oligarchic republic.
  2. John Adams: a balanced republic that addresses both the few and the many.
  3. Thomas Jefferson: a representative republic, which has been loosely called a democracy .

Jefferson won the debate! As a result, America was built as a representative republic, although the representation, or the right to vote and to serve, was initially limited to some white males only ... Specifically, "We the People", so begins the U.S. Constitution.

But who are "the People" in the Constitution? To the founding fathers, "the People" included only certain rich white men as follows:

  • Women were not allowed to vote, nor were the minorities.
  • Only the rich were able to serve. For example, Members of Congress were virtually unpaid until 1855 (Salaries of members of the United States Congress). Yes, first you had to make it (i.e. being financially independent), then you served with honor for a few years, and finally you returned home after doing your duty to your country. No, serving was never meant to be a way of life - not even to make a living, let alone a career!

For many reasons, especially as a young republic full of contradictions (e.g. human equality vs. slavery), America has been loosely called a democracy since its early days.

4. A changing world!

Today, America remains a republic. The difference between 200 years ago and today is democracy. Democracy, by the simple but succinct definition of one person, one vote, did not exist in America until 1965 (Voting Rights Act of 1965).

Overall, America, as a unique experiment, has been hugely successful. However, everything is relative. While America has been enjoying its success, China has also become a hugely successful republic recently, with autocracy instead of democracy!

So it's time for the world to clearly separate these two terms: republic and democracy, thanks to autocracy in general and China in specific!

5. The People's Republic of China

To be precise, China (1949-1976) was more feudalistic than republic (or even communistic), with Mao Zedong being the de facto last emperor.

China changed dramatically after Mao's death in 1976. Today, the most appropriate description of China is "state capitalism", with autocracy instead of democracy!

China is obviously a republic for one simple reason: None of the Chinese Presidents over the past five decades at least has been linked to previous Presidents by blood (or even marriage)!

For more, read: Chinese Presidency: An Earned Kingship for 10 Years.

6. America

Democracy, as we practice it today, is destroying America more successfully than any other forces. Specifically, America is being destroyed by both the left and the right as follows:

  1. The left: Democratic Socialism! Or more plainly, it's communism!
  2. The right: Democratic Imperialism! Or more plainly, it's fascism!

Here is an international perspective, to which I agree:

7. America vs. China

There are many ways to compare America with China. The image below is a highlight. It can actually explain the world very well, from the Middle East to Ukraine. For more, read: Democracy Prevailed over Communism, Really?

Specifically, let's focus on one issue: A fish rots from the head!

Here is a key difference between China and America: China's head is right, but America's is not! At doubt? Look at this quote:

In contrast, what is the head of America has been doing? We have had more than 40 Presidents, but most recent ones have damaged America more than any other forces, combined! For more, read: American Presidency: Why is One-Term a Must (Version 3)?

8. Closing

Republic, generally speaking, is a better form of government than monarchy. But what is the best form of a republic? Between democracy (e.g. America) and autocracy (e.g. China), my bet is on the latter! Why? Because autocracy supports capitalism, while democracy destroys it! For more, read: Towards an Ideal Form of Government.

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