The Theory of Demoracy
THE THEORY OF DEMOCRACY
Because of the present world-wide struggle between two completely opposite political ideologues these is widespread interest in the subject of government. In spite of the fact that two world wars have been fought presumably to “make the world safe for democracy” there is great uncertainty and confusion of thought as to what “democracy” really is. The Soviet rulers claimed that their government is democratic, but they can do so only by giving the term an altogether different meaning from that which is generally understood by the Western nations. Even among these nations the definition of the term has been greatly obscured because it has been term has been greatly obscured because it has been interpreted so differently in different countries. What is lacking is a common understanding of basic principles. There is no agreement as to the origin of government. There is wide difference of opinion as to whence the authority to govern is rightly derived. What is the real purpose of government, and what are its limitations? These are questions to which no one has a wholly satisfactory answer.
Yet it is notable fact that the fundamental principle of government have been Divine lt revealed by Jova at His second coming. . . . . . . .In the application of these principles to the solution of political and economic problems there will always be variety of opinion among them. It cannot be otherwise, for any attempt to formulate doctrine into a political or economic system identified with our religion, and therefore made binding upon the conscience, would be destructive of spiritual freedom. Civil affairs are on the plane of effects. In sight of the Lord they are external means which merely serve as tools for the promotion of spiritual and eternal ends. The application of universal principles on the plane must necessarily vary, therefore, according to changing spiritual states and needs. The varieties of spiritual states are innumerable, and their changes are unpredictable. For this reason there is no system of government that is of universal application or that can be regarded as permanently valid. The kind of government that is best for one nation may not be best for another. The Kind best adapted to the needs of a people at one stage of national development may not always be best adapted. Changing conditions may make radical modifications of the system not only desirable, but necessary. What is best at any given time or place can be determined only by thinking from universal principles.
So far as it revealed, monarchy, the government of hereditary kings, exist only on our earth, it arose with the decline of the Ancient Church, and its adoption is spoken of as a sign of retrogression. Yet it was Divinely sanctioned, and proved to be of great service through a period of the world’s history after patriarchal government ceased to be appropriate to the needs of the great majority of mankind. In its highest development, under a benevolent ruler who was wise and God-fearing, monarchical government was truly representative of the Lord’s kingdom. That is why it was established by Jova with the Jewish and Israelites nations, and as incorporated into the Word of the Old Testament. For the same reason the rule of princes could be retained in the heavenly societies formed those who had lived under monarchical form of government on earth. Monarchy, and especially absolute monarchy, is similar to patriarchal government in that it is paternalistic. It is adapted to sates of willing obedience from loyalty rather than from rational judgment. It is based on the acknowledgment of authority, and in the last analysis, of Divine authority. For that reason the king came to be regarded as “the anointed of Jehovah” or as one who governed by “Divine right.”
In the degree that this absolute power was later restricted by the will of the people as expressed through their chosen representatives, kingly government lost its distinctive character and approached more nearly to the form of a republic or a democracy, a constitution monarchy, on the one hand, and representative government on the other.
Representative government, which may take many forms, is relatively modern. Obviously, it is adapted to a people of advanced education and cultural development who are capable of assuming individual responsibility. Historically, it first appeared in ancient Greece, and later in Rome; but at that time it had only a very limited acceptance and a short duration. The world was not ready for it. Nevertheless, those first attempts performed an important use, implanting the seeds that would spring up as soon as the soil had been prepared. There was no opportunity for growth during the dark Ages. Only with the coming of the Renaissance, the awakening of interest in scientific enquiry, the Reformation which helped to free the mind from the bonds of traditional dogma, and the increasing urge to understand, did new political freedom become possible. It is a notable fact that the dawn of this modern era coincides with the second advent of Lord, and the Last Judgment in the spiritual world. From that point on there has been a development of public education, a spread of knowledge that has progressed with ever-increasing impetus, and with it the demand for representative government has constantly become more pressing and insistent.It produced the world-circling British Empire, the revolt of the American Colonies, and the French Revolution, the formation of other European republics, and most recently, the surge of nationalism in the near East, In India, and China. Through all this the idea of democracy has gradually developed. Yet democratic government is nowhere wholly effective. It is founded in varying degree in different parts of the world, but only to the extent that a foundation of general education has first been laid, in many countries it exists in name rather than in reality. Whence it fails, often retaining the outward form of democracy with its essence. Without some form of dictatorial power there would be chaos.
Experience clearly demonstrates, therefore, that there is no single form of government that is right in itself and of universal application. Although we find democracy as we understand it best adapted to the needs of the United States, we should not wish to impose it upon the entire world; nor should we take for granted that it is to be perpetuated without change even in our own country. We must be prepared to see it modified in accord with rapidly changing social, economic, and political conditions. Indeed, as we shall endeavor to show later, as it is at present conceived, the idea of democracy contains elements that are contrary to revealed truth, these in time must be removed.
In regard to human government on earth, this teaching* clearly indicates how the Lord governs through the instrumentality of men, or in spite of them, in such a way that the Divine law overrules, and thus the Divine government must operate mediately through the administration of human governors. This is true, not only in hell and among the evil on earth, but even in heaven, and indeed in the highest heavens. This will always be true on earth, even when the Lord’s kingdom has been established universally.
Government implies the power to direct the course of action, to fix and determine policy, and thus to administer the law within a prescribed jurisdiction. It implies that this shall be done according to the free will and the personal judgment of the governor. Except in an absolute monarchy, or in a dictatorship, this power is limited by an established constitution, by customs and tradition, and by other means; but only to the extent that it is not inhibited can one be said to govern. The governor actually rules so far as his will and his judgment prevail. Note, in this connection, the situation in Great Britain The Crown represents the fixed and established law that is acknowledged by all citizens, and that is constant regardless of which political party may, at any time, be in power; but the Prime Minister, who is called upon to interpret the application of that law to the specific needs of the day, is the real governor*. He alone can exercise judgment and direct policy. The responsibility of government rest upon him.
A human governor may be either good or evil. He may act either from patriotism and a genuine regard for the common good, or from the love of power and for the sake of self-aggrandizement. In either case he is not only free to act according to his own will and use his own judgment, but he cannot avoid doing so. Others look to him for leadership. They expect him to make vital decisions. Indeed, only so far as his will his judgment prevail can he be said to govern. The appearance is that he imposes his will upon others either with or without their consent.