What should we expect of government? If we expect a progressive improvement in government, then we expect what never was and, logically, never will be. Seneca wrote, “Democracy is more cruel than wars or tyrants.” I am dumbfounded when I watch agencies or elected officials willingly submit to the pressure of special-interest groups. In fact, as one observes the collusion of politicians, appointed judges and agency appointees with special-interest attorneys and organizers, the hope of protecting the rights of honest people seems almost lost.

James Madison, one of the framers of our Constitution, wrote, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

I recently came across an excerpt from the 1928 U.S. Army training manual. It gave the following definition of a democracy: “A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of 'direct' expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic — negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.” As politically unacceptable as that definition of “democracy” is today, it is historically spot-on.

Is it anti-federal government to demand representation in government? Is it not the highest form of patriotism to stand up against the tide of mob rule that threatens our republic? Yet the special-interest groups label all who oppose them as “anti-government.”

Groups like the Wilderness Society with their “BLM Action Center” boast about being able to leverage the inefficiencies of the Bureau of Land Management by writing policy, taking inventories and even training BLM employees in how to carry out the agenda, not of the administration, but of the Wilderness Society.

The Wilderness Society and the Pew Trust join arms with Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Great Old Broads from Colorado, the Grand Canyon Trust, the Conservation Lands Foundation and a host of others to overwhelm the counties. They form “friends” groups, they bus in protestors, they accuse — anything to achieve their desired ends. Massive robo-petitions and form letters from these special interests lead to the implementation of bad policy based on false metaphor. Even worse, these groups lobby the Department of Justice to prosecute innocent people. And even worse than that, the Department of Justice does it! This is the very definition of mob rule.

We are at a place in history where the law is used, not to protect property, but to take it. As this condition worsens, the responsibility to stand up increases. The disease will run its course and will inevitably lead not to the death of our republic, but to an implosion and demise of the disease itself. How blessed we are to live in such a time as this!

So the call is clear. Whether the new administration will heed the invitation to restore the republic is yet to be seen, but I and thousands of individual Americans with the power to observe are hopeful that it will.

Phil Lyman is San Juan County commissioner.