The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Against Democracy

I meant to get this out for the Fourth, but fate (and beer) intervened.

Don't get me wrong, democracy is great. It beats every alternative form of government out there. Democracies don't go to war with other democracies, they are freer, better places to live.

That said, much of what makes America great is extremely undemocratic. Much of the Constitution is concerned with protecting the rights of individuals (or minority parties). On this site we often speak of the First Amendment with (deserved) reverence, but the First Amendment is an undemocratic ideal. If the majority ruled on speech, much speech would be illegal.

Civilization requires that someone be in charge. The great advantage of a democracy is that to some extent everyone is in charge, and this slows down the natural tyrannical inclinations that leaders have. However, those tendencies still exist in democracies just as they do in dictatorships. Government still grows, seemingly without end.

So this Fourth of July, stop for a minute to give thanks for separation of powers, for the Bill of Rights, and for every other protection that the Founders created in order that you should be protected from the vote of your neighbor.


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