Wed, Jun

Democracy is Born From Tyranny -Plato


THE VIEW FROM HERE - The Founding Fathers knew that two forms of government pose a deadly threat to individual inalienable rights: (1) Monarchy and (2) Democracy, although few Americans realize it, the Declaration of Independence left the form of government unspecified. 

To paraphrase the Declaration, when the government does not protect inalienable rights, people may “institute a new government,” which is “most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”  One must resort to the Federalist Papers (NOT to the Federalist Society) to find out how to fashion a government which protects inalienable rights.  About one hundred years later in 1887, Lord Acton in an off-handed statement set forth what the Founding Fathers knew but failed to reduce to a meme: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” 

Because the passion of the majority cares naught about the desires or the needs on the minority, democracy can devolve into a tyranny.  When people clamor for democracy, they are not seeking the triad of inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, they are demanding power. 

Despite Benjamin Franklin’s saying that the Constitutional Convention had created a republic, if we could keep it, almost no American knows that the USA is a Federal Democratic Republic.  The form of government is a Republic, and the leaders are chosen with some input by the citizens, e.g. the democratic element.  The term, majority rule, is misleading.  Whether we like it or not, the majority rule maxim does not control who becomes President. (Modification of the Electoral College is another discussion). In the beginning, US Senators were not chosen by voters, and to this day Supreme Court justices and federal judges are not elected.  The lack of voting was intentional due to a proper fear of the tyranny of the majority.   (See Larry David, “Even stupid people get to vote? )  

A Republic Balances Power Against Power

Contrary to a democracy where the vote is all powerful, a Republic’s genius limits power as power leads to corruption and then tyranny.  Voting is a limitation on power, but there are others.  Voting is too slow when a tyrant or a fool attempts to seize power.  When that overreaching person is the President, impeachment by the House and conviction and removal by the Senate better protects the society than waiting for the next election.  A President, who has been allowed to run amuck for a full four years, may not want to relinquish power after an election and instead will decide to incite a resurrection to remain in power.  

The Founding Fathers, however, failed to fully appreciate the power lust of elected representatives who would place their personal careers ahead of the common welfare and sabotage an impeachment.  If Al Bundy had thrown the city championship in 1966, no one would have called him a hero, but when Nancy Pelosi twice throws an impeachment of Trump whose tenure is best described as obscene, she’s lauded.  Pelosi promotes a democracy where her coalition minority voters will take control of the federal government and pass whatever program it desires.  Key to her objective was to hamstring the GOP with the Enfante Terrible Trump.  Thus, in 2019 and again in January 2021, she sabotaged Trump’s Senate trial by preventing the gathering and presentation of evidence.  Americans watched the debacle in 2019 and in 2021 without seeing.  They were unaware what happened to the Constitutional provision for the Republic to impeach, convict and remove a psychologically and morally impaired chief executive.  Pelosi realized that if Trump were convicted during the first Senate trial in January 2020, the stock of the GOP would dramatically increase as the GOP would have placed country ahead of party.  That outcome would directly threaten her leadership role as Speaker of the House.  December 5, 2019, CityWatch, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman’s Roadmap to Nancy Pelosi’s Subversion of Impeachment, and  April 16, 2020, CityWatch, The Real Reason Nancy Pelosi Does Not Want to ‘Nixonize’ Trump   Had we deposed the wannabe tyrant, the worldwide cause of freedom as an inalienable human right would have been advanced.  Instead, the world saw that in America, ideals were mere words, but power mongers-called the shots.

Angelenos Also Lust for a Tyrant 

Angelenos have lived under a feudal government for decades with no inclination to depose the oligarchs who control them. Los Angeles is divided into 15 fiefdoms each of which is ruled by its Lord or Lady, called councilmember. The lynchpin of this feudal order is the rule that whatever motion a councilmember put on the city council agenda for his/her district may receive only a Yes vote by each other councilmember. As a result, every project receives unanimous approval. 

Angelenos have passively watched the deterioration which this feudal system has brought Los Angeles with the worsening traffic congestion, absurdly high housing costs, a decrepit water system, substandard fire protection, escalating debt for mass transit as ridership plummets (even before the pandemic), and most visibly, the Homeless Crisis.  Each candidate for mayor proposes a tyranny as the solution for L.A. owes. 

Declaration of State of Emergency is Step One for Tyrant

If you want to see how Putin would advertise to become Los Angeles’ mayor, just watch any Rick Caruso TV ad.  He promises to declare a state of emergency and then become dictator. He will hire 1,500 more cops to arrest the homeless who do not accept one of his emergency beds.  He will end zoning restrictions so that developers may construct whatever they desire wherever they desire, except in residential areas, where the projects cannot have “unlimited height.”  A ten-story project in the R-1 area between Franklin Ave and Los Feliz Boulevard has a limited height.  Thus, it will be OK.  It is cheaper for a developer to buy a couple single family homes on Harvard north of Franklin Avenue rather to purchase a rent-controlled apartment as the developers have been doing for the last twenty years.  When Caruso proposes By Right construct, he means no one may complain about any project which he approves. 

In lieu of the developer-controlled feudalism of the present Los Angeles, Caruso wants all power in his hands. Virtually no Angeleno objects.  Why hasn’t Channel 11's Elex Michaelson pointed out Caruso’s Putinesque approach to governance? Why has Karen Bass also promised a state of emergency?   

“The fault, dear Voters, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar, Act 1, scene 2, 135–141) Angelenos want a strongman to take control and solve the problems even if it means electing someone who proposes to turn our feudal oligarchy into an absolute monarchy.  One thing politicos know about voters: when they clamor for a tyranny, seize all the power. What could go wrong with that?


(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected])