"The central error in the neocon...fallacy is a naive belief that democracy necessarily leads to good government." (Blame Canada - for David Frum by Paul Mulshine)
This is a keen observation by Paul Mulshine. I would add ..."nor does it lead to individual liberty." The error many people make is to equate "democracy " with freedom. They are not the same thing. "Democracy" that "works" pre-supposes strict limits on the power of government. Which means, to limit the ability of the majority (no matter how large) to impose its will on the minority (no matter how small, including the world's smallest minority, the individual) through governmental coercion.
In the Revolutionary War movie The Patriot, Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson) captures the spirit of what our founders were, and were not, fighting for when he tells a town gathering;
"Why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as a king can."
John Adams said; "It is ... as necessary to defend an individual against the majority in a democracy as against the king in a monarchy."
The right to vote is not a basic or primary right. The rights of the individual, every individual, to his life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of his own welfare and happiness are the primary ones. The right to vote is derived from these fundamental rights. Representative self-government starts not with "the democratic process" but with a constitution strictly defining the limits of the power of government, which starts with an understanding and acceptance of the principle of individual liberty.
What has gone terribly wrong in our mis-named "War on Terror" is that our leadership had reversed cause and effect. Our attempt to graft "democracy" onto a middle-eastern culture that either doesn't understand or is openly hostile to the principles of individual freedom has reached the opposite result of our aims.
By equating the "right to vote" with freedom, we have unleashed voters across the region (who have no belief in the doctrine of the separation of religion and state) to gleefully install into power or strengthen
Islamic forces hostile to true freedom. In Iraq, a constitution based on Islamic Law was enacted by vote. Subsequently, a Shiite-dominated government with strong ties to the Iranians was elected leading to the possibility that we may have created a second Iran.
In other elections, the terrorist group Hezbollah made strong gains in Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza) saw the rise to power of Hamas. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood (an early precurser to the modern Islamic Totalitarian movement) is winning elections and gaining influence there.
In Pakistan, the dictator Musharaf is resisting democratic elections in part because Islamic Fundamentalist forces are likely to win substantial power there. Nowhere in the region has the "democracy" crusade given rise to a meaningful movement for freedom, as true secular liberalization forces, such as they exist, are demoralized and in retreat around the region. On the contrary, Islamic Totalitarian forces have made gains under democracy that they couldn't have dreamed of prior to 9/11, all with the blessing of our democratization strategy.
The clear lesson to be learned here is that democracy unconstrained by the moral concept of individual rights enshrined in law is just another form of tyranny.
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