May 19, 2008
Dangerous Democracy
By James Wilson
Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . . Change the political environment. Recruit more Downsizers. Share this message with others.

Quote of the Day:

"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer."
-- Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State (Source: New York Times, Oct. 28, 1973)

Subject: Dangerous Democracy

President Bush probably meant to do good by bringing democracy to Iraq, but it's hard to succeed when you're aiming at the wrong thing.

The President has always assumed that democracy is what made America good and great. He thinks it could do the same for Iraq, and many others agree. But is it true?

Iraq now has a representative democracy, but strangely, it seems to be a source of violence, not peace. 
  • The Sunni minority fears majority democratic rule by the Shia
  • Iraqi women fear that they'll be subjected to fundamentalist Islamic law, imposed by democratic means
  • And the Shia are afraid to share power with the Sunni lest it result in the return of full Sunni control
All these fears are justified, because representative democracy can be just as tyrannical as any other form of government. 

What made American democracy different was that our Founders limited the power of government, and of majority rule. These limits, and not representative democracy itself, are what made America good and great.

This point is difficult for politicians like President Bush to understand. Politicians get their power and significance from representative democracy, and therefore consider it of supreme importance. Likewise, the people gain an illusion of power and influence from their right to vote, without fully realizing the dangers of majority rule, or of the mandate for mischief that voting confers on power-hungry politicians.

But imagine where we would be without . . .

  • The separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government
  • The existence of specific constitutional provisions that allow these three branches to thwart each other
  • Explicit limits on government power, as expressed in the Bills of Rights

Without these things our government would have long ago become a democratic, representative tyranny.
America's great gift to the world was LIMITED GOVERNMENT, NOT representative democracy. Sadly, most Americans do not understand this crucial point.

No country in the history of the world has ever had such a large ethnic and religious diversity as the United States. But we all live in peace. Compare this with Iraq, which can't even manage to reconcile two major religious sects. Majority-rule democracy, unconstrained by strong limits on government power, is one of the reasons Iraq flounders.

America is peaceful, and good, and great, because it has LIMITED government, and NOT because it has majority-rule and representative democracy.

We must fight, with all our might, to preserve the principles of limited government against those people -- politicians and citizens alike -- who want to replace this precious heritage with majority preferences, majority fears, and majority hysteria.

Even if a majority of Americans should want to grant the politicians the power to spy on us without a warrant, IT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!

The power of the executive branch must continue to be watched and checked by the power of the judicial branch. Our government must remain limited, so that America remains good and great.

Congress is set to adjourn on May 22nd. The danger remains that they may act to permit warrantless spying before they adjourn. We must maintain the pressure to prevent this from happening. Please send Congress a message. You can do so here.

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Perry Willis
Communications Director, Inc.
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