6 / CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnTYRANNY IN A GOOD CAUSE by Thomas Flemingnemocracy or Republic? might well be the title of thenD debate between liberals and conservatives on thennature of the American political system. (In the view ofnsome liberals, the easiest way to spot a conservative is thenhabit of referring to America as a republic.) Democracy, innthe strict procedural sense of one man/one vote andnmajority rule, has always been anathema to conservativesnwho recognized the threat to family, community, andndecent social order posed by such a revolutionary scheme.nThe argument of this essay is derived from Mr. Fleming’snThe Politics of Human Nature, Transaction Booksn(December 1987).nnnLike the early Federalists (and later on the Whigs), Americannconservatives have prized stability and liberty abovenequality and fraternity. With Metternich, they could agreenthat “You cannot exaggerate the goodness of the people, Inmight say of all peoples; but their ignorance is as great;ntherefore they must be led.”nIf conservatives like to trace their descent from JohnnAdams and Alexander Hamilton, they would be as justifiednin holding up Madison, Jefferson, Calhoun, and evennAndrew Jackson as their spiritual forefathers. The suspicionnof governmental power, the hostility to an entrenched elite,ncombined with a willingness to let each man go to the devilnin his own way—these “conservative” characteristics cannmore readily be found in Jefferson than in any of thenFederalists, and it is significant that the great individualistnand elitist Albert Jay Nock regarded himself as Jefferson’sndisciple.nWith the partial exception of Tom Paine—who wasnnever really an American—there weren’t any true-bluendemocrats among the Founding Fathers, and the democrat/nrepublican debate serves no useful purpose. Like most ofnour political and social quarrels, the terms of the debatenonly obscure the real subject at issue. Two topics, primarily,noccupied the framers and founders, and neither of them wasndemocracy. The first was the problem of setting up anrepublic in a territory as vast as the United States occupiedneven before the Louisiana Purchase; the second was thenmatter of adjusting the relations between the states—in anword, federalism. The influential poet and propagandistnJoel Barlow put the case succinctly in 1801. Using annarchitectural metaphor. Barlow argued that the Americannsystem was based on two essential principles, democraticnrepresentation and federalism:nThere is one maxim which ought not to benforgotten, that these two pillars of the edifice, thenrepresentative principle and the federal principle,nshould never be separated. Though one of themnalone may promise liberty and the other of themnalone may promise peace, yet we cannot benconfident that either liberty or peace will becomenextensive or permanent, unless these well assortednprinciples are united in one system, and keptninseparable in their practice.nBy itself, the representative principle quickly leads to thenmajoritarian tyranny by which urban New Yorkers andnCalifornians may legislate the morals and social codes ofn