In a Wall Street Journal editorial, “Benjamin Franklin, ‘Person of Concern’,” Sept. 2, editors quote Franklin: “A republic if you can keep it.” Then they go on to point out Franklin’s insight about, “the tendency of republics to self-destruct.”
I imagine ol’ Ben is rolling over in his grave at this grave misrepresentation. Franklin never said anything of the kind. He was referring to democracies, not republics in that insight. Democracy has little to do with freedom because it allows the mob to rule over individuals. A republic, by definition, has elected representatives, constrained by limits set forth by the Constitution.
In a democracy, emotion stimulated by extreme present day events produces rules without a careful consideration for long term effects. The widespread belief that a republic and democracy are the same thing has produced most of the problems that our politicians are arguing over today. Like baby birds, we stick our open mouths out expecting a government, now run by a mob, to satisfy our every need.
In a republic as is described by the Constitution, all of this loot we expect would be out of reach except by individual initiative, which is what is the basis for successful societies.
The Journal is complicit in the loss of our republic in its misrepresentation of Franklin’s quote.