By Mr. Curmudgeon:
Democracy gets a lot of praise in the Western World as the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. And that praise is expanding throughout the Muslim world. Egypt’s democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood President told the U.N. General Assembly that “Egypt respects freedom of expression,” however, “one that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. One that is not directed toward one specific religion or cult.”
Yemen President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi was more direct, “There should be limits for the freedom of expression, especially if such freedom blasphemes the beliefs of nations and defames their figures.”
With a worldwide Muslim population of some 2.1 billion people, that majority suggests America’s mere 310 million citizens should stop saying uncomfortable things concerning the “religion of peace” – majority rule and all.
What are your thoughts on democracy now? Anyone, anyone at all?
If I am grateful for the Arab Spring, it is for illustrating that democracy and freedom are mutually exclusive concepts. That is why the Founders placed 10 protective amendments within the U.S. Constitution guarding individuals against the power of the majority and their elected representatives (“Congress shall make no law …”).
Democracy is a process that includes voters, tabulators, winners and losers. Freedom, on the other hand, is a natural state of being reserved for the individual to the exclusion of the many and their unending demands for conformity. Liberty forms a fence around your individual sovereignty that includes a sign reading, “No Trespassing.” Tyrants (democratically elected or not) are the only losers in this discriminating scenario.
The great lie of the 20th century is that tyranny dies when democracy rises. Tell that to Egypt’s elected Muslim Brotherhood officials who think their democratic mandate includes intimidating Americans into sharia compliance. Democracy provides the fig leaf of legitimacy for the majority’s coercion. Consider it the “50,000 flies can’t be wrong” argument.
Recently, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offended the democratic sensibilities of nearly half the nation by expressing the view that 47% of America is in the hip pocket of President Obama because they are dependent on government handouts. Romney has it backwards. 100% of the nation’s politicians are dependent on the votes of corrupt Americans who, as Benjamin Franklin observed, “can vote themselves money.” Franklin believed this democratic evil would “end the republic” and urged, “Sell not liberty to purchase power.” He was not talking to the nation’s politicians; he was talking to you … the voter.
Democracy is a flexible tool for tyrants. The tyrannical mob can use its votes to elect politicians that steal in the sacred name of “the people,” or the tyrannical leader can use gullible mobs to legitimize violence and intimidation of the minority in the name of “the people.” Either way, the evil interests of the majority are served.
On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler addressed his nation as the new German Chancellor. His Nazi Party had won a substantial number of elected seats in the German parliament (Reichstag) and a governing coalition was formed with Hitler as its head.
“The middle classes are in despair,” said Hitler in his radio address, “Hundreds of thousands of lives are ruined. Every year the situation grows more desperate for tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands are going bankrupt, and now the ranks of the unemployed are beginning to swell … Today it may be seven or eight million. How long can this go on? I am convinced that we must act now if we are to act before it’s too late. Therefore, I’ve decided … to save the nation and the Fatherland. Just as I worked tirelessly for fourteen years to build up this movement, and made it grow from seven men to twelve million, so will I and so will we all toil and work for the resurrection of the German nation. People of Germany, give us four years and I swear that as I took office, so will I leave it. I did it not for reward. I did it for you.”
Less than two months later, the Reichstag voted 441 to 84 to suspend the German constitution (the “Enabling Act”), granting Hitler total power. By June the following year, he murdered every high-ranking Nazi Party leader that posed a political threat to his power.
Votes from the German people and their elected representatives smoothed the path for Hitler’s dictatorship and his program of conquest.
That means the European theater of the Second World War and the Jewish Holocaust were expressions of Germany’s democratic will.
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch,” said Benjamin Franklin, “Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
The weapon holding the snarling wolves of democracy at bay is the law, which protects the minority against the evil inclinations of the democratic mob. The lowly Army Private and the President of the United States swear an oath of duty. That duty is not to protect the people, their democratic institutions or the territorial integrity of the nation. Their duty is to die, if necessary, defending the Constitution against “all enemies foreign and domestic.” They conclude their oath by swearing their allegiance to the law before liberty’s progenitor – “… so help me God.”
Whether it’s Obama’s 47% or the throngs of Arab Street protestors, free individuals are within their rights to tell the freedom-squelching democratic mobs loud and proud, “Take a flying leap.”