Democracy and Freedom

DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM

‘‘Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’’ –Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

 

I am without reservations for a free society, but democracy sometimes goes against these same principles. Why? Because cases in history told us that democracy could be the exact opposite of a free society. In these cases, democracy as a means becomes something at an end which is no more than a glorified form of mob rule. For example, if you have 52% of people who votes to remove the rights of other 48% of the population, then, even if the result may be democratic because a majority have voted for this, it goes against a free society where every citizen must be equal to the rule of law. As a form of ‘‘tyranny of the majority’’, democracy is then used in this case as a mechanism to bring a society which is less free at the end.  Of course, some countries have a constitutional mechanism or a system of checks and balances to avoid these kinds of situations, even if a situation like the one I mentioned earlier is quite possible, especially in a time of crisis. For example, it’s quite possible for a given dictator to be elected democratically, but then says that the situation is now too dangerous or fragile to hold elections in the future. This is exactly why any person who is pro-freedom must be very cautious any time there is a crisis. A crisis could well be the best opportunity to retract a number of liberties, even if we have taken those for granted.

The other problem with democracy and especially the electoral arena, comes that a given politician is elected by selling his platform. However, even with all the good intentions of the world that politicians have, an electoral platform is usually done for a few years until the next election and this without minding for the consequences in the longer term. For a good reason, politicians tend to love quick-fix policies to get elected as they will not be there to see the long-term effect of their choices.  However, decades passing by, promises after promises, we have a state which is going more and more against the same realm of liberty and responsibility due to this whole concept of ‘‘quick-fix policies’’ done to win elections. I cannot see how someone who believes in liberty for future generations could accept how politicians have used elections as a way to fill the ‘‘credit card’’ so that future generations have to pay the bill one day.

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