- Bryan Maloney
- Rockport, TX
- United States
Laboratory Coordinator, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
A proposed taxonomy of "Republic".
From time to time, various people complain that the USA is not, and is not meant to be a "democracy". Instead it is to be a "republic". The problem is that there seems to be no consensus on what this means. What is a "democracy"? What is a "republic". I propose the following.
A "democracy" is a country in which "the people", defined in such a way as to include at least a majority of adult citizens of that country, participate in legislation, executive activity, and judicial appointment, either directly or through representatives that they have elected from among candidates. If indirect, the people are free to elect or reject any or all candidates for representative without any fear of sanction on the part of the state or state-like entity and that no single organization shall control who will or will not be a candidate, or in the case of a direct democracy, all legislation and policy decisions shall be fully open and equally available to all members of the people. Thus, "single-party" states cannot be democracies, since this fundamental level of choice is denied.
Regarding "republic", I propose the following definitions: A "protocol republic" is any state that is not ruled by a hereditary monarch--"dignitas" is not private property. A "constitutional republic" is a state in which the powers of government are constitutionally limited both in theory and practice--authority is not private property. A constitution need not be "written" to be in force.
Thus, the USA would be an indirect democratic protocol and constitutional republic. The UK would be a protocol monarchy, indirect democratic constitutional republic.
China would be a non-democratic protocol republic. In China, authority is the private property of the state, without de facto limit, but "dignitas" of the head of state is not inherited like property.