Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gaining and Preserving Democracy

For John, BLUFThe situation in Egypt asks, how do you preserve democracy.

Over at The Instapundit is a blog post on Egypt and Democracy and the rights and responsibilities of the People.

ILYA SOMIN:  What to Do When Illiberal, Anti-Democratic Forces Take Power Through the Democratic Process.

Remember: Democracy is a means, not an end.  It’s valuable as a means of protecting those unalienable rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But those rights are unalienable — incapable of being alienated, that is, bought, sold, or given away — which means that even if you live in a democracy, you haven’t surrendered them to the majority.  A majority that wants to take away your unalienable rights isn’t a legitimate government.  I’m gratified by how many Egyptians seem to grasp that; it’s more than I expected, though perhaps not as many as it needs to be.  It’s clearly more than the Muslim Brotherhood expected, too.

In the Ilya Somin article is a reference to a Washington Post OpEd by Fareed Zakaria, in which Mr Zakaria argues that Egypt erred when it ”chose democratization before liberalization.”  What does that mean?  Is one better off with a "liberal" leaning dictator (think Michael Bloomberg) than with a bumbling democrat (think Jimmy Carter)?  The key question is, will there be another election.

The current Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, infamously said "Democracy is like a train.  We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want."  It may have been a throw-away line, but it isn't funny.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And what do we mean by "liberal"?  I think of myself as a liberal.  I think sometimes commenter Jack Mitchell is a modern-liberal.

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