Democracy is Not the Answer

You’ve heard the liberal pundits, giddy with delight as they report on the new wave of “democracy” that is sweeping Egypt. Well, they would be well advised to take a deep breath and consider a bit of reality before celebrating.

First, the Egyptian Army currently controls the country, and we will have to wait and see exactly what sort of genuine governmental changes finally occur. I’ve spent time in the Middle East, including Egypt, and I can tell you things in that area of the world are never what they seem – or what we as Westerners expect.

But the larger issue is the Left’s persistent inability to understand the difference between a “democracy” and the form of government that we have in the United States. We are not, and hopefully never will be, a pure democracy – for a number of very good reasons.

The United States is actually a Constitutional, Democratic Republic. And thank God that we are. Because it was the Constitution, not a popular vote, that provided for the means to ultimately end slavery in the United States (see “13th Amendment”). Had there been no Constitution, slavery might well have endured for another 100 years.

Because pure democracy is nothing more than mob rule. Get 51% of the population to agree with you, and you can implement even something as heinous as slavery – or Sharia law, which is not all that different, especially for women (see “19th Amendment“).

Even more disturbing is that this lack of understanding of the basic construction of the American political system even extends to members of Congress. Just last week, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer, no newcomer to politics, embarrassingly announced that we have “three branches of government – the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.” Pathetic.

Now, any grammar school student (especially if they are in a private school) will be able to tell you that the three branches are “the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial.” And as a side note, imagine if a Republican Senator had made the same idiotic statement – the uproar from the press would have been deafening.

More to the point, a pure Democracy is no guarantee of liberty, especially for those who are not part of the majority – without the Constitution, the rights of the minority would always be at risk. Many of the most tyrannically oppressive dictatorships around the world are “democracies” – they even have “democratic” elections. Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela is a “democracy.” Iran is a “democracy” – anyone want to pack up and move to either of those beacons of freedom?

What is even more ironic is that members of the American journalism establishment, most of whom have clearly Leftist leanings, are often one of the first targets in a pure democracy. Because once in power, with no Constitution (with its guarantee of freedom of the press) and no independent judicial system to provide oversight and protection, their rights, like everyone’s, are only what the ruling majority says they are.

In a pure democracy, even freedom of religion would disappear – those of the majority religion could, and inevitably do, simply declare their religion the official state religion. Does anyone believe that in an Egypt, which is predominantly Muslim, were to end up being ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, that they would have the same freedoms we in the United States have?

Now, the Egyptians can do whatever they want in their country, but for those in America who still mistakenly equate “democracy” with “freedom” I suggest they do some serious reading of history, especially our own.

John Caile