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Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy 1277

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the only-two-of-three-wives-agree dept.
0ryan0 writes "Utah lawmakers passed a bill today to force public school teachers to teach that the USA is a republic, not a democracy, because a 'Democracy' would have 'Democrat' in it." The good news must be that all issues of unemployment, finance and social service must be resolved in Utah for their legislature to spend time on this. It must be a utopia!
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Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy

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  • Technically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:37AM (#35429282)

    Technically they're right. We are not a democracy, we are a republic. Their reasons for doing this may be wrong, but I agree with the overall outcome.

    P.S. Registered Democrat speaking here.

  • More Accurate? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sjpadbury (169729) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:39AM (#35429312) Homepage

    We're going to ignore the fact that this is more accurate, as a democracy is where everyone makes every decision, which is impractical on any large scale, while a republic is where we elect people to make decisions for us.

  • Democracy is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:42AM (#35429348)
    ... 3 wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.

    There is nothing inherently good about a democracy, nor anything inherently bad about even a dictatorship. The moral judgment comes from the actual actions of the members of government in either system. The US is absolutely a constitutional republic with representative democracy - an attempt to avoid the common problems of both mob rule and dictatorships.
  • by queen of everything (695105) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:43AM (#35429382) Homepage
    We are a representative republic which means that we elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf. A true democracy would have the populous vote on every decision the government makes which is far beyond manageable. I don't think Utah is doing this because of the word "democrat" or the word "republican" but instead to teach our children a better understanding of how our government is truly configured. Take the partisanship out of it and it's an accurate and important detail.
  • by fifedrum (611338) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:45AM (#35429422) Journal
    Hate much?

    there's no evidence he was illiterate, and there's no evidence from the story that the recommendations are because the word democrat is offensive. The article makes no mention of the reason behind it, other than perhaps ACCURACY.
  • The issue at hand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dogknat (1546787) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:45AM (#35429424)
    Any time somone in the world feels slighted even when its made up. That person in is by human nature determined to lash out and do whatever is necessary to destroy the validity of the argument at hand. The fact of the matter is the United States is a republic all of our founding documents say so. God sakes can you imagine what a pain being a true democracy would be imagine if everyone had to vote on every law.... we would have the shortest set of law books on the planet because no one would agree on anything except no taxes and free government services.
  • Re:More Accurate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:49AM (#35429510)

    It's not more accurate. We're a representative democracy otherwise known as a democratic republic. A republic does not suggest that you're voting on representation. It's equally valid to have a system like they did in Rome where the oldest citizens are automatically representing the people. Consequently, the term representative democracy is the term to use or democratic republic.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:50AM (#35429536) Journal
    But maybe we could consider going out on a limb here and teaching the kiddies about systems of government rather than telling them to memorize the correct label(Which, unless you are cynical enough to say "Plutocratic empire with democratic republican ceremonial elements", is "Republic).

    Hey Kids! Athens was a "Democracy". Rome, pre empire, was a "Republic"; both looked absolutely fuck-all like our government. How can this be? Let's talk about the differences between a "Republic" and a "Democracy" and what sorts of variations are possible within the broad heading of each... We may have to skip cramming names and dates for a week; but I think you'll learn something...

    And hey, while we are at it, let's remember to mention that(depending on which historians you talk to), there have been at least five reasonably distinct periods during which different political parties, with different names(in some cases quite confusing, since they are the same as today's; but mean different things) vied for control... Raise your hands everyone who knows that the Democrats used to be the southern conservative party, and the Republicans the northern liberals? And that there was a "Democractic-Republican" party, (arguably the one whose name actually corresponded most closely with our governmental form), that hasn't existed in almost 200 years?
  • by RailGunner (554645) * on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:51AM (#35429544) Journal
    Wow, the WHARGARBL is strong in this thread....

    Never mind the actual fact that the form of Government here in the United States is a Representative Republic.

    Heaven forbid teachers we required to teach things that are factually correct...

    I mean, what next? Are we going to force teachers to teach that 2+2=4? What of little Johnny's self esteem? Shouldn't we validate his feelings that 2 + 2 = Cookie?

    This is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot.
  • Re:Technically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wilgibson (933961) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:52AM (#35429574)
    The U.S.A. is a Federal Republic.
  • As a geek (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:55AM (#35429634) Journal

    I am pleased they are going to actually educate children using correct language. Words HAVE MEANINGS or at least they should.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:57AM (#35429652)
    Are they also going to teach about those other great republics .. the People's Republic of China (PRC), Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the German Democratic Republic (DDR), and the Islamic Republic?

    Or are they only going to teach kids that USA==republic, and forget the inconvenient republics?

  • Re:Democracy is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:00AM (#35429700) Journal

    There is nothing inherently good about a democracy, nor anything inherently bad about even a dictatorship. The moral judgment comes from the actual actions of the members of government in either system.

    Nonsense. Even a benevolent dictatorship violates the right of the people to self-determination. That's exactly like saying slavery isn't inherently bad as long as the overseer is merciful.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:01AM (#35429726)

    No, you're all wrong. We have a corporate run government with the illusion of an elected republic.I mean really? When was the last time the Government followed the people's wishes? Really.

    Follow the money.It goes from our pockets to .... let's see .... hmmm.. maybe Wall Street?

  • Re:More Accurate? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:05AM (#35429806) Journal
    Yes and it needs to stop. They don't even know what they're saying. Effectively the pledge of allegiance is an oath to blindly serve and follow your government; if they tell you to slaughter innocents it's okay, because you've sworn to that anyway and besides, american lives are way more important than foreign scum.
  • Re:Technically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:07AM (#35429822)

    The Economist had an article, 10+ years ago, about countries' names. They wrote, "People's Republics . . . usually aren't."

  • by jfruhlinger (470035) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:07AM (#35429834) Homepage

    I always find this argument hilarious because people act as if "democracy" and "republic" are terms that have one extremely precise meaning each, and are mutually exclusive.

    Etymologically, "republic" comes from the Latin phrase "res publica", which means "common thing" or "common substance". It was meant to contrast the Roman state, which was the possession of the entire Roman citizen body, with foreign kingdoms that were (in the view of the Romans) "owned" by a single despot. The English phrase "commonwealth" is a more or less literal translation. (The Romans continued to use this name for their state well after the oligarchic system we call the "Roman republic" was replaced by the one-man rule we call the "Roman empire," by the way.)

    Etymologically, "democracy" comes from a Greek phrase that means "people power", or, perhaps more accurately, "citizen body power" ("demos" referring to the body of people with citizen rights, not the population as a whole). It was used as a term of abuse even back in the days of ancient Athens, when the state went back and forth between various systems of government, some of which involves large-scale participation of the citizen body in day-to-day decisions, others not so much.

    The two words have been used to describe an incredible variety of political systems over the past 2000 years or so. The modern use of the word "republic" probably emerged in the late 18th/early 19th century, when it came to specifically denote states that weren't monarchies (as this was a live question in that era). The modern use of the word "democracy" is similarly broad, denoting a system of government where the citizens have a significant say in how the country is run. Since there are virtually no instances of states run by direct democracy, the term is understood as being wholly compatible with representative government, in which citizens elect officials to run the state on their behalf.

    You can have states that are democracies but not republics (e.g., the UK and Sweden), that are republics and not democracies (e.g., Syria, Belarus), that are both (e.g., the U.S., France), or that are neither (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Brunei).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:14AM (#35429938)

    Right on. Because it's absolutely impossible to form a government that has aspects of both!

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:20AM (#35430054)
    And based on estimated illiteracy rates among bastard carpenters in the region at the time, yeah, he was probably illiterate.
    Similarly, he also probably wasn't white like the bulk of his icons make him appear to be. You know, those "graven images" that lead people astray that was mentioned in some book somewhere...
  • Re:Technically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smurf (7981) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:21AM (#35430062)

    Technically they're right. We are not a democracy, we are a republic. Their reasons for doing this may be wrong, but I agree with the overall outcome.

    I know that they brainwashed you in school to believe that, but I would rather believe the New Oxford American Dictionary (emphasis mine):

    democracy |dimäkrs|
    noun ( pl. -cies)
    a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives (...)

    Or Merriam-Webster [merriam-webster.com]:

    democracy noun \di-mä-kr-s\
    plural democracies
    Definition of DEMOCRACY
    1
    a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
    b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections (...)

    Or other popular but authoritative sources of information on the definition of words [reference.com]:

    democracy
    [dih-mok-ruh-see] Show IPA
    –noun, plural -cies.
    1.
    government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. (...)

    (Sorry for cross-posting this, but this nonsense has to stop).

  • Re:Democracy is... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:35AM (#35430328)
    Would you care to explain what you mean by your self-determined "right to self-determination"? In doing so, please explain how it restricts an individual from pursuing his own interests, the way a slavemaster prevents a slave from leaving his labor to pursue his own interests.
  • by jbezorg (1263978) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:37AM (#35430376)

    Never said it couldn't be but the keyword "Accuracy".

    More accurately, the correct term for the United States Government is "Federation". Each State ( emphasis on "State" ) is a constitutional republic.

    Honestly, if you are going to teach our system of Government to our children don't do a half-ass job and get the wrong on the fundamental level of the Nation's actual political structure and gloss it over with the political structure on the state level.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stormthirst (66538) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:42AM (#35430458)

    America can't be a socialist state - you don't help the needy at all! Otherwise you'd have a universal/socialised health care system - something every other civilised nation in the world has.

  • by Wild_dog! (98536) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:46AM (#35430526)

    In the purist definition we are now a social democracy. Both republicans and democrats are socialists being that they support and vote to to continue social security and medicare and we have a redistributive tax policy and have had for as long as most people currently alive have been voting. So the hypocrisy of the socialism label is astounding.

    Most Americans are socialist too. I don't see any mad rush to give back social security checks or turn down medicare for a free market solution.

  • by Theatetus (521747) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:52AM (#35430650) Journal
    There is nothing about being a Republic that prevents a country from also being a Democracy. I'm sick of that false distinction. A Republic is a state whose head of state is not a monarch. A Democracy is a state whose government's authority derives from the people. A state can be one, both, or neither.
  • Re:Technically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cuncator (906265) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @10:59AM (#35430772)
    You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes- Oh, sorry, there I go, bringing class into it again.
    (ob. Monty Python for the day)
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @11:04AM (#35430850)

    > Heaven forbid teachers we required to teach things that are factually correct...

    Even better would be if they would actually teach some of the fundamentals of our form of government. Teach what a Republic is and what a Democracy is and the important differences between them. Teach the difference between the Rule of Law as enshrined in our Constitution entails and what the Rule of Men we now have is and why that is important to them.

    Hell, these days if the kids graduate knowing we have three branches of government and can actually name them correctly they are ahead of the average voter.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @11:14AM (#35431028)

    Yup, just like how the "Democrats" ram legislation that goes against the will of the people? They're hardly democratic.

    Going against the will of the Republicans you mean? ... Silly rabbit.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @11:21AM (#35431146)

    Republic is to Democracy what Latin is to Greek. (Not exactly I admit, but it's pretty close.)

    Usage of the words democracy and republic has certainly changed over the centuries. The US doesn't (at least officially) give more votes to rich people than to poor (a central feature of the roman republic) and it doesn't elect plebeian tribunes either. They are definitely not a republic in a strictly Roman sense. They are however a country whose founders were classically educated and drew on Roman traditions and terminology when drafting the constitution.

    Today - anywhere in the world outside the US - the US would be described as a representative democracy. The same applies to any established dictionaries in use in the US.

    What's the point of obscuring modern use and going back to terminology last used hundreds of years ago? I think it's a political motivation, suggesting that the Republican party is the natural ruling party of the country.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @11:33AM (#35431370) Homepage Journal
    there is no difference in between them. these morons, and i say morons, not to mormons but to the right wing ignorant circles in usa, utter this word as if it is contrary to centralization. "but this country is a republic !!"

    iiiis iiit ? so, france is also a republic. and there are no state rights or states there.

    switzerland is also a republic, and the decentralization there is MUCH bigger than the one in usa.

    these ignorants seem to think that 'republic'/'democracy' etc have anything to do with centralization/federalization/decentralization.

    they do not. you can have fascism, yet it can be decentralized (like in feudal times), you can have a democracy/republic, yet it can be more centralized than anything else.

    its all about who does the decision making. elected representatives of people, or else.

    its appalling that even here there are fools that have the same misconception - hey, doing a google search and reading a wikipedia article with endless references to political science documents is not that hard ? why not take action now, and dont make out yourself come out as an ignorant bimbo.
  • by Zeio (325157) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @11:44AM (#35431532)

    Its a CONSTITUTIONAL representative Republic, with a bicameral house, an executive and a judicial branch.

    Two wolves and a sheep voting for dinner is democracy.

    Sharia is democracy.

    Also, the Senate was purposely designed to be obstructionist and to give small states as much power as large states.

    Improperly educated people of today, largely devoid of critical thinking skills and the ability to abstract concepts (e.g. banning smoking is a gateway to ALL statutory behavior modification, seems like its serving the greater good but its a gateway to a radical totalitarian authoritarian police state controlled by oligarchical collectivists), gladly subscribed to things that were clearly outlined in book like:

    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
    The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
    Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
    Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
    Animal Farm - George Orwell
    1984 - George Orwell.

    Given IPADs and Kindles, its shocking people aren't reading more of this material.
       

  • Re:Democracy is... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shrike82 (1471633) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @12:02PM (#35431788)

    Nonsense. Even a benevolent dictatorship violates the right of the people to self-determination.

    Nonsense. I live in a country with a democratically elected government, and we've had three different parties involved in leading the country over the last decade and beyond. Nothing changes. That's not self-determination through democracy, that's giving people the illusion of being able to detemrine their destiny through democracy. I'm sure in many dictatorships the people on the street have just as much ability to decide their own fate as I do - they can change careers, can get married, can have kids, can buy a new car or choose to use public transport, and so on.

    Democracy vs. Dictatorship is not as black and white as you're making out.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @12:14PM (#35431984)

    > Oh, and the grandparent didn't RTFA:

    What does that matter? They can write whatever they want and the schools will merrily continue doing the same incompetent job they are doing now. And until we end tenure in the K12 system nothing is going to change.

    Seriously, since this article has already devolved into 90% offtopic religion and mormon bashing anyway...... Define the word Tenture and then can somebody (anybody?) explain what the hell it has to do with a K-12 teacher? How did the practice ever get established? But with teachers pretty much given lifetime employment there is zero chance of improving the government schools. And with guys like Bill Ayers running the education departments at the influential institutions designing the curriculum tachers are taught the notion of socialism in the schools isn't a worry about the future, it is now. And the all have tenure.

  • by dmbasso (1052166) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @12:34PM (#35432316)

    Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
    1984 - George Orwell.

    I only read the later book, but now I'm going to read the former one.

  • by BrianRoach (614397) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @12:41PM (#35432404)

    I was suprised to find that you are right about TFA.

    Then. . .

    But on Monday, Senate floor sponsor Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, said in some states children are being indoctrinated in socialism via some curriculum.

    “This is happening at least in some places in our country, so I believe this is all the more important in this state, so that we can protect our children from such curriculum,” Madsen said.

    Ah, yes. That's the stuff.

    And in some states children are indoctrinated in some crazy shit involving magic underwear and Jesus hanging out with Native Americans. ::shrug::

    (I have Karma to burn. Which is rather apropos given the topic)

  • by gtall (79522) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @01:22PM (#35433022)

    Spoken like a true post-modern mush head. Most Congress Critters are fine upstanding citizens. The problem isn't so much them, the problem is us. The first candidate that comes along and says he/she will raise taxes and cut benefits to fix the deficits will get voted down because Americans still think they can get something for nothing.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adamdoyle (1665063) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @04:14PM (#35435424)

    The article never says anything about "because democracy would have democrat in it." I'm guessing the story submitter made that up.

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