Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Responses to my earlier LTE

Wes Benedict, the Executive Director of LPTexas, sent out my earlier LTE to whoever's on the LPTX mailing list this morning. He apparently received several responses, which he was kind enough to pass on to me. The first:
I disagree with this letter to the editor by Nigel Watt. The
Libertarian Party has always been about increasing individual liberty.
A Republic does not ensure that. Only constitutionally protected
government with a Bill of Rights, whether a Republic or a Democracy,
can do so.
I'm not quite sure what his disagreement is, but OK. I never said republics were perfect, just that they were better than democracies.

With respect to Nigel Watt he makes a false distinction between Republic and Democracy.

A country is a Democracy if the Head of Government is elected, directly or indirectly by a vote of the citizens.

A country is a Republic if the Head of State is not an hereditary prince.

The United Kingdom is a Democracy BUT NOT a Republic. Tony Blair is head of Government and Queen Elizabeth is Head of State, It is a Democratic (or Constitutional) Monarchy.

The United States is a Democracy AND a Republic. President Bush is Head of Government and Head of State). It is a Democratic Republic (or Representative Democracy).

The error of describing a Representative Democracy as a Republic and using this world as if it was a synonym is sufficiently widespread that many dictionaries, especially on-line ones, also make it.

One need only consider that Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and Saddam's Iraq were also Republics to see how foolish the mistake is.

Presumably if several dictionaries say there's a difference, in many educated circles there is. We'll ignore this semantic nit-picking and go on to the last paragraph.

Germany, the USSR, and Iraq were all one-party governments. Clearly this ineffectualizes the republican form of government. What a government ostensibly is does not matter - and that's something all libertarians should be well aware of.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you argue with them about semantics, when you seem to do the same thing when people say they want to spread democracy, and are there to remind them it's republicanism.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

That's why I moved on from the semantics.

6:00 PM  

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