The words democracy and republic not only differ greatly in pronunciation and spelling, they have very different meanings. Why, then, do most American citizens believe our country to be a democracy, when our United States Constitution makes it PERFECTLY CLEAR, and in PLAIN ENGLISH, what we are? The only obvious answer is because they LACK PROPER EDUCATION, making them easy prey for unscrupulous manipulators and liars.
The renowned French philosopher and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, in his classic, mid-19th century book, “Democracy in America,” warned Americans that accepting an incorrect definition of democracy would CONFUSE their understanding of it, thereby putting their true means of self-government at risk. He said:
“It is our way of using the words ‘democracy’ and ‘democratic government’ that brings about the greatest CONFUSION. Unless these words are clearly defined and their definition agreed upon, people will live in an inextricable (inescapable and perpetual) CONFUSION of ideas much to the advantage of demagogues and despots.”1
COMMENTS: In other words, leaving them at the mercy of power-hungry politicians, con men, and a complicit press. Such people like confusion because it allows them to talk out of both sides of their mouth to mask their public fraud.
Far from being a ringing endorsement of democracy, Tocqueville’s book was just the opposite. He emphasized that the concept of equality was democracy’s greatest problem, because it would lead to a tyrannical majority that ostracizes minorities, thereby destroying opposition, reducing personal liberty by enforcing conformity, weakening morality by abandoning personal responsibility, and dumbing down society by crushing independent thought.2 He said, “to combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom (i.e., liberty).”3
COMMENTS: What Tocqueville described is exactly what the Democratic Party has been doing for more than a century and is very evident in their actions today, i.e., ostracizing those who disagree with them by trying to censure and destroy opposition, reducing everything to government programs by weakening morality and making everything someone else’s fault, and silencing those who think for themselves.
The great statesman Winston Churchill summed it up perfectly. He said, rather than improving one’s life, “Socialism (today’s latest Democratic Party concept of equality) is a philosophy of failure, the creed of IGNORANCE, and the gospel of envy.” Prior to that, he stated: “The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of MISERY.”4
Journalist Chuck Lehmann said this about Churchill: “How prescient he was in stating that quote many years ago. Look around the world today, what countries are the most oppressive and consequently the most poverty stricken? Any rational person would deduce that most all of the oppressive countries embrace a form of socialism or an EXCESS AMOUNT OF STATE CONTROL.”4
Contrary to what many believe, our Declaration of Independence didn’t guarantee equality, it only described it by calling for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Meaning, we have the right to live freely and do what makes us happy. It didn’t guarantee happiness, only a right to pursue it. Achieving it was left up to each of us. Our Constitution went a step further by describing a “Republican Form of Government,” as stated in Article IV, Section 4, that gives us the greatest chance to pursue happiness without stepping on each other’s toes.
More than a century and a half after Tocqueville’s warning, it seems little has changed. Dr. John-Paul Gagnon is a political theorist and philosopher who’s an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Canberra (Australia), and also a founding editor of “Democratic Theory.” He recently discovered that even though today’s political scholars and politicians recognize that the word democracy is being described in too many ways, none of them seemed to care. In 2010, he was brave enough to launch a study in an attempt to answer a number of concerns about democracy, including, “the question of what democracy is,”5 and, “to discover definitions of democracy.”5 In other words: What is the meaning of democracy? By the summer of 2018, I believe he uncovered more than he bargained for, as evidenced in his report, titled:
“2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism.”5
Before we define ontological pluralism, we need to understand the difference between the words objective and subjective. Objective means: “dealing with facts without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.” Fact means: “something that has actual existence,” and “an actual occurrence.” The phrase “in FACT” means “in TRUTH.” Actual means: “REALITY” and “not false.” So, an OBJECTIVE perspective means making decisions based on TRUTH, FACT, and REALITY. Our legal system is based on objective reasoning.
Subjective means: “reality as PERCEIVED.” Also, “LACKING in reality or substance: Illusory,” meaning, “ILLUSION” or “something that DECEIVES or MISLEADS intellectually.” So, a SUBJECTIVE perspective means making decisions based, not on truth, fact, and reality, but on perceived illusions that mislead intellectually, meaning based on DISTORTION by PERSONAL FEELINGS, PREJUDICES, and INTERPRETATIONS, i.e., the opposite of objective.
COMMENTS: Swindlers us subjective reasoning because it allows them to talk out of both sides of their mouth, which is what con men do, depending upon their audience.
As stated, our legal system is based on objective reasoning – truth, fact, and reality. However, we know that some people, including academicians, politicians, and organizations, DENY truth, fact, and reality in their attempts to REWRITE HISTORY and to MANIPULATE OTHERS into believing it. With them, everything is relative, that way it can mean whatever they want it to mean, depending upon who they’re talking to or which fraud they’re perpetrating that day. With that said, the best definition or description for the phrase ontological pluralism comes from ICI Global who is a FULL member of the International Committee on Publication Ethics. For an answer to the question – What is Ontological Pluralism, see (https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/legitimizing-integral-theory-in-academia/68885). According to their summary:
“Ontological pluralism” means that not only are there four perspectives (ontologies), rather than the CURRENTLY ACCEPTED TWO (objective and subjective), but that all four perspectives co-arise in the contexts of individuals and groups.” A fancy way of saying everything is relative to one’s personal feelings, prejudices, and interpretations, i.e., the opposite of being objective. We know this because ICI Global explains the four perspectives as follows (I summarize each):
An Interobjective perspective means the truth is whatever the majority of people say it is (like being pronounced guilty by a big lynch mob). An Intersubjective perspective means the truth is whatever a group of people say it is (like being pronounced guilty by a smaller lynch mob). A Subjective perspective means the truth is whatever you say it is (like being the judge, jury, and executioner all by yourself). All three are SUBJECT TO DISTORTION by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations, because simply saying something doesn’t make it true. That’s academic dogma.
The word academic means: “established opinion” and “speculative.” Dogma means: “a point of view without adequate grounds.” Therefore, academic dogma would be an established opinion without adequate grounds, similar to the mindset of a lynch mob. Ontological pluralism is academic dogma because it allows for opinions, personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations instead of relying on truth, fact, and reality.
Putting it bluntly: An OBJECTIVE perspective, according to ICI Global, is the only one that determines the truth based upon “what is observable and measurable by SCIENTIFIC METHODS, regardless of whether the subjective observer sees it or not.” In other words, evidence that relies on truth, fact, and reality, the opposite of academic dogma.
COMMENTS: As you’ll see in Chapter Three, calling our nation a democracy is academic dogma, i.e. an opinion without adequate grounds.
Regarding ontological pluralism, Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary agrees with ICI Global. It defines ontology as a branch of metaphysics that deals with “abstract philosophical studies of what is outside objective experience,” meaning studies that are subjective which means “lacking in reality or substance: illusory.” Abstract also means “INSUFFICIENTLY FACTUAL,” i.e., lacking facts. Pluralism is defined as a “theory (or concept) that there are more than two kinds of ultimate reality” or MULTIPLE KINDS OF REALITY. Theory means “an UNPROVED ASSUMPTION,” i.e., “insufficiently factual” or lacking facts.
Therefore, a definition of ontological pluralism could be “insufficiently factual studies and unproved assumptions that allow for multiple kinds of reality.” Make-believe is defined as: “a pretending that what is not real is real,” or, an unproved assumption that pretends something is real. What’s the difference between make-believe and ontological pluralism? They both sound like academic dogma (“established opinion without adequate grounds”) for a reason. Since reality is defined as: “something that is neither derivative nor dependent,” it means reality exists INDEPENDENT of everything including personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations. This means that NOBODY can have their own kind or definition of reality. There is only ONE reality itself, and their opinion of it, i.e., academic dogma. Therefore, multiple kinds of reality is FANTASY or MAKE-BELIEVE.
If that’s not CONFUSING enough, bear in mind that Gagnon began his research by doing an exhaustive, Amazon-powered search of the entire Google Books database, looking for descriptions of the word democracy. His results yielded more than 260,000 different descriptors that are being used in the world today, including combinations such as quiescent democracy, green democracy, brown democracy, torpedo-boat democracy, liberal democracy, neoliberal democracy, rainbow democracy, populist democracy, international democracy, Lincolnian democracy, popular Jacksonian democracy, restrained Van Buren democracy, capitalist democracy, socialist democracy, and democracy lite, etc., before narrowing it down to his final 2,234.5
Gagnon described his methodology for choosing as follows:
“I have chosen to concentrate on (only) pre- and postpositive adjectives because my observations suggest they are the most common means for describing democracy in the English language. A prepositive adjective is where the descriptor appears directly before the word democracy, as in the following: representative democracy, liberal parliamentary democracy, and semi-barbarous Catholic democracy. A postpositive adjective is where the descriptor appears directly after the word democracy, as in the following: democracy proper, democracy lite, and democracy interrupted. There are more prepositive than postpositive adjectives.”5
This means Gagnon sifted through all 260,000-plus descriptions of democracy and settled on 2,234 descriptions based on “insufficiently factual studies and unproved assumptions that allow for multiple kinds of reality,” only after discarding more than 257,766 other descriptions that were based on “insufficiently factual studies and unproved assumptions that allow for multiple kinds of reality” that he felt were either too close to the ones he chose, or not being used enough to qualify.
COMMENTS: Gagnon’s work is completely subjective. If that doesn’t leave room for being relative and the CONFUSION that Tocqueville warned about, I don’t know what does.
In an attempt to justify eight years of research and make sense of his findings, Gagnon sought opinions from other well-known political theorists. Remember, opinion means “a view formed in the mind,” meaning make-believe, and theory means “an unproved assumption,” meaning lacking facts or also make-believe. He quoted fellow political theorist Giovanni Sartori, Dean of the Department of Political Science at the University of Florence (Italy) and Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University from 1979 to 1994. Like Gagnon, Sartori also was concerned about the lack of a definitive description (definition) for democracy.6 He concluded that the “belittlement of definitions (or descriptions)” is entrenched in American politics, and after citing Tocqueville’s warning as his impetus, gave his own explanation for why definitions are important:
“First, since definitions declare the intended meaning of words, they ensure that we do not misunderstand each other. Second, words are also, in our research, our data containers. Therefore, if our data containers are loosely defined our facts will be misgathered (gathered incorrectly). Third, to define (or describe) is first of all to assign limits, to delimit.”7
COMMENTS: Sartori was saying, in a polite way, that American politicians avoid definitions and accurate meanings for three reasons. First, if citizens really understood what politicians were saying, it would be too easy to hold them accountable. Second, to avoid being known as documented liars, it would force politicians to deal with facts. Third, and more specifically, it would force politicians to tell the truth. As you’ll see in Chapter Three, avoiding accurate definitions has allowed Democrats to intentionally blur the distinction between republic and democracy.
For an opposing viewpoint, Gagnon then quoted Gianni Vattimo, another Italian philosopher and political theorist. Vattimo, who is also a politician, did what you might expect. He defended politicians for being deliberately vague about democracy, saying:
“The world is not simply given to us as pure, uninterrupted, unmediated reality.”8
COMMENTS: Putting it another way, Vattimo is saying that democracy doesn’t lend itself to reality or being defined, meaning, it must be constantly reinterpreted depending on the whim of the day, thereby allowing politicians to continue being vague so they can talk out of both sides of their mouth and avoid being held accountable. If you’ve ever listened to a politician carefully choosing his words, intermingled with ahh‘s, umm‘s, and err’s, in an attempt to explain something and then come away thinking, “What the hell did he just say,” this is the reason.
In defense of his own research, Gagnon acknowledges that not defining democracy might be considered by many as a “disaster for democracy” and “confirmation of its UNBRIDLED RELATIVISM,” i.e., that it can mean whatever someone wants it to mean. Instead, like all liberals, he doubles down and attempts to justify all 260,000-plus descriptors by saying the exact opposite is true. He considers it to be democracy’s “strongest virtue.”5
COMMENTS: Since when is a state of total confusion the strongest virtue for anything? The answer is obvious – when the person who thinks so is trying to hide something, like the truth. As you’ll see in Chapters Two through Four, democracy proponents don’t like the truth of our republic.
Gagnon then quotes Manfred A. Bienefeld, a professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University (Canada), who said:
Multiple descriptions for democracy allow “elites (to) manipulate electoral processes to lend an aura of legitimacy to predetermined policies that protect their power.”9
COMMENTS: Another polite way of saying that avoiding definitions and accurate meanings allows unscrupulous politicians to talk out of both sides of their mouth so they can create illusions of truth to support their public fraud. Remember, illusion means: “something that deceives or misleads intellectually.” In other words, the fix is already in and their only concern is selling it to the public, the exact mindset of a swindler.
Gagnon also mentions the findings of Milja Kurki, a Professor in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University (United Kingdom), who seemed to accept her findings and move on. In 2010, Gagnon said of her:
“She explained that although scholars recognize that democracy is described in a variety of ways, they do not typically engage with its many and diverse descriptions.” Also, “that this gap in scholarship has REAL AND NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES because it means scholars either implicitly or explicitly advance certain descriptions of democracy at the expense of others.”10
COMMENTS: In effect, Kurki accurately described what Gagnon did by reducing 260,000-plus descriptors to 2,234, and what politicians do when they describe their version or their kind of democracy.
Gagnon also writes about American democracy (the demonym) versus America’s democracy (the statonym) as representing different perspectives on democracy in America. Then he makes it even more CONFUSING by talking about federal democracy and fifty separate state democracies with thousands more at the local level that include being a representative democracy, a liberal democracy, a capitalist democracy, a prospective electronic democracy, an unequal democracy, an electoral democracy, a white democracy, a violent democracy, and so on. Just in case he left anything out, he concludes with something he referred to earlier called a blended democracy.5
At this point the reader isn’t the only one who’s CONFUSED. In an attempt to satisfy everyone, Gagnon concludes with two oxymorons:
“We will need to work through this ontologically pluralist reality (i.e., 2,234 descriptions of democracy based on insufficiently factual studies and unproved assumptions that allow for multiple kinds of reality) to discover definitions of democracy that do not suppress uncertainty, contingency, and neology (new descriptions) but are, at the same time, not divorced from empirically grounded fact.”5
We’ve already learned that ontological pluralism is subjective and reality is objective, making the phrase “ontologically pluralist reality” an oxymoron, or two things that can’t happen at the same time. Furthermore, according to Merriam-Webster’s, the word definition means a description that is “definite and clear.” The word uncertainty means there’s “doubt” and “not clear.” In an attempt to be all things to all people, Professor Gagnon has described something that’s IMPOSSIBLE and CAN NEVER BE.
COMMENTS: Professor Gagnon is not alone in being CONFUSED and pursuing something that’s make-believe, or FANTASY. Remember, the definition of make-believe is: “a pretending that what is not real is real.” As you’ll see in the coming chapters, believing in something that’s impossible and can never be, as though it was real and accepted fact (i.e., make-believe and academic dogma), has permeated the Democratic Party down to its roots. In other words, a STATE OF PERPETUAL CONFUSION is INHERENT in the Democratic Party. “Unbridled relativism,” that Gagnon believes is democracy’s “greatest virtue,” leads to constant confusion. It’s no wonder that Democrats are so miserable and angry most of the time.
To make Professor Gagnon’s conundrum even more CONFUSING, if that’s possible, according to research performed by language and communication consultant Dr. Vyvyan Evans, there are estimated to be 6,000 spoken languages in the world today. He explains that languages are constantly evolving because of new words being added, and that American English is among the most difficult to learn simply because our citizens come from all over the world. He says that today, the origin of our national vocabulary is approximately 26 percent Germanic, 30 percent French, 30 percent Latin, and 14 percent from the other 5,997 spoken languages. Making American English even harder to learn, words like “dough,” “tough,” and “bough” have almost identical spellings, yet are pronounced differently and have entirely different meanings.11
Can you imagine trying to justify 2,234 different descriptions of democracy in 6,000 languages? That translates into 13,404,000 descriptors that are spelled differently and sound differently. Or trying to justify 260,000-plus different descriptions of democracy in 6,000 languages? That would be a mind-boggling 1,560,000,000-plus descriptors that are spelled differently and sound differently. Maybe this is why scholars haven’t been eager to tackle, what they consider to be, the true meaning of democracy. It could also indicate a TRUE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING about what democracy really is.
I suspect that Professor Gagnon’s total CONFUSION over the meaning of democracy is the same CONFUSION that haunted Alexis de Tocqueville. In fact, I know it is. Like the answer to Gagnon’s initial question, Tocqueville’s answer to his own warning was right in front of him the whole time. He even acknowledged as much when he wrote this in his widely acclaimed book that contained his warning:
“The vices and weaknesses of the government of democracy are seen without trouble; they are demonstrated by patent facts, whereas its salutary (beneficial) influence is exerted in an insensible (unaware) and, so to speak, occult (mystical) manner. Its faults strike one at first approach, but its (good) qualities are discovered only at length…How is it therefore that the American REPUBLICS (individual states) maintain themselves and prosper?”12
Given that respected scholars and politicians can’t agree on the meaning of democracy makes any claim that our nation is a democracy ring hollow. How could our court system ever function if we accepted 2,234 different descriptions of our government that are based on insufficiently factual studies and unproved assumptions that allow for multiple kinds of reality, never mind 260,000-plus? The obvious answer is, it couldn’t. To believe that democracy’s greatest strength is that it can be described by anyone to mean anything is not only impractical and illogical, it’s CONFUSING, UNWORKABLE, and USELESS.
Footnotes – Chapter One: Why Democracy Breeds Never-ending Confusion
1. Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America. Edited and Translated by Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2000. At (https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/D/bo3612682.html). Also Understanding Democracy –A Hip Pocket Guide. Pg. 17. By Annenbergclassrom.org. at (https://www.annenbergclassroom.org/resource/understanding-democracy-hip-pocket-guide/).
2. Ostatic Student Resources, Inc. Tocqueville and Democracy Essay. My general comments taken from the first two paragraphs of a 31 page, 7,668-word essay online. Numerous sources cited throughout the essay, including: Schleifer, 1980; Zetterbaum, 1967. Democracy in America; Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003. Democracy in America, para 3. Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority, para 4. Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003. Toccqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967. Zetterbaum, 1967, p.87/ and others. Retrieved April 3, 2020. At (https://ostatic.com/essays/tocqueville-and-democracy).
3. Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America – Volume II. Translated by Daniel Gilman (New York: Century Co., 1898). Pages 37-39, 119-121, 124-128. Retrieved April 3, 2020. At (https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/tocqueville-democracy.asp).
4. The Churchill Project. “Socialism is the philosophy of failure…” – Winston Churchill. Hillsdale College. July 30, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2021. At (“Socialism is the philosophy of failure…” – Winston Churchill – The Churchill Project – Hillsdale College).
5. Chuck Lehmann. Equal Sharing Of Misery. The Published Reporter. March 16, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020. At (https://www.publishedreporter.com/2020/03/16/equal-sharing-of-misery/).
6. Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism. June 2018. Volume 5, Issue 1. Pgs. 92-113. PDF file available at (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325504277_2234_Descriptions_of_Democracy).
7. Giovanni Sartori. Democratic Theory. 1987. Chatham, NJ. Chatham House. At (https://www.amazon.com/Democratic-Theory-Giovanni-Sartori/dp/0837165458). Quoted by Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism. June 2018. Volume 5, Issue 1. Pgs. 92-113. PDF file available at (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325504277_2234_Descriptions_of_Democracy)
8. Giovanni Sartori. Where Is Political Science Going? 2004. PS: Political Science and Politics 37 (4): Pgs. 785-787. At (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/where-is-political-science-going/7C01C5B89AADECF345A9102EA5FC0A9F). Quoted by Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism. June 2018. Volume 5, Issue 1. Pgs. 92-113. PDF file available at (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325504277_2234_Descriptions_of_Democracy). Retrieved January 17, 2020.
9. Thomas Guarino. The Return of Religion in Europe? The Postmodern Christianity of Gianni Vattimo. 2011. Logos 14 (2): Pgs. 15-36. At (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/425540/pdf). Quoted by Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism. June 2018. Volume 5, Issue 1. Pgs. 92-113. PDF file available at (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325504277_2234_Descriptions_of_Democracy).
10. Manfred A. Bienefeld. Structural Adjustment and the Prospects for Democracy in South Africa. 1995. Pg. 114. At (https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-24199-6_3). In Debating Development Discourse: Institutional and Popular Perspectives. Edited by David B. More and Gerald J. Schmitz. Pgs. 91-128. At (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9780312128869). Basingstoke: Macmillan Press Ltd. Quoted by Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism. June 2018. Volume 5, Issue 1. Pgs. 92-113. PDF file available at (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325504277_2234_Descriptions_of_Democracy).
11. Milja Kurki. Democracy and Conceptual Contestability: Reconsidering Conceptions of Democracy in Democracy Promotion. 2010. International Studies Review. Volume 12, Number 3. Pgs. 362-386. At (https://pure.aber.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/democracy-and-conceptual-contestability(ef059c93-b1ec-4ae2-9335-c8714200b76f)/export.html). Also in Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy – An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism. June 2018. Volume 5, Issue 1. Pgs. 92-113. PDF file available at (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325504277_2234_Descriptions_of_Democracy).
12. Vyvyan Evans, Ph.D. Why English Is Such a Difficult Language to Learn. February 5, 2017. At (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/language-in-the-mind/201702/why-english-is-such-difficult-language-learn).
13. Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press. 2002. Article by John Heitzenrater. December 16, 2013. At (https://www.netcrit.com/history/by-virtue-prosper-tocqueville-and-a-discussion-of-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-democracy). Retrieved January 17, 2020.