Liberty or Democracy?
Posted by timpj5 on September 13, 2008
There is a notion in today’s political landscape and in the media that democracy is the highest human ideal. The United States current foreign policy doctrine is that of spreading democracy around the world… as though democracy were somehow morally superior to other forms of rule. It has become a common “Americanism”. That to be an American you must support the idea of democracy, the form of government this country were founded on (well, technically we’re a democratic Republic… but I don’t want comments stressing the details).
The Founding Fathers, however, did not audaciously aspouse the tenants of democracy as the bedrock of society. For how can democracy be the bedrock of society. It is no more righteous a form of government as socialism, fascism or dictatorship. Government, by nature, is the means to forcibly coerce its subjects into submission in some form or fashion and the merits of any form of government are related very distinctly to the character of those directing that same government. So, in effect, the form of government isn’t as critical as those who rule it. Democracy, to the Founding Fathers, was merely the least problematic.
The Los Angeles Times (this may be the only time I ever quote the LA Times by the way) editorial in 1992 said this:
“Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote. Those rights are spelled out in the Bill of Rights and in our California Constitution. Voters and politicians alike would do well to take a look at the rights we each hold, which must never be chipped away by the whim of the majority.”
True and unfettered democracy is not the bedrock of American society and we would do well not to spread that same democratic ideal around the globe. “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” (Thomas Jefferson) Democracy determines the fate of a few by the whim of many; contrasted starkly with dictatorship, the fate of many determined by the whim of few (or one). The merit of both is held firmly with the character of those determining the fates of others. For, you see, a democracy can be just as harsh a ruler as a dictatorship and much more difficultly overthrown because the Head is the mob.
Liberty, though forgotten by some, IS the bedrock of the United States Constitution and the foundation of our society. Carefully crafted by the Founding Fathers was the document that conspired to limit the powers of the mob (ie. Government) and protect the Liberty of the individual. Liberty is the only unwavering political platform. All others shift and sway at the whims of the crowd and to the delight of the puppet masters. Just read the Democrat and Republican Party platforms from 70 – 80 years ago contrasted with those same platforms today. Liberty is the only “doctrine” worth spreading around the globe.
To the chagrin of our career politicians in Washington, however, Liberty cannot be spread around the world thru war. Liberty is a consciousness of one’s God-given rights and can only be taken, never bestowed. For any government gracious enough to bestow one with his Liberty is also powerful enough to take that Liberty away. Liberty is the highest of strictly Human ideals. Thomas Jefferson said it best, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”
If every politician stood for Liberty today, how much different would our nation, our world be?