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OfflineAncalagon
AgnosticLibertarian

Registered: 07/30/02
Posts: 1,364
Last seen: 7 years, 9 months
Democracy Is Not Freedom
    #3747610 - 02/07/05 10:32 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Democracy Is Not Freedom
by Rep. Ron Paul, MD

    ??man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.?
    ~Ronald Reagan

We?ve all heard the words democracy and freedom used countless times, especially in the context of our invasion of Iraq. They are used interchangeably in modern political discourse, yet their true meanings are very different.

George Orwell wrote about ?meaningless words? that are endlessly repeated in the political arena. Words like ?freedom,? ?democracy,? and ?justice,? Orwell explained, have been abused so long that their original meanings have been eviscerated. In Orwell?s view, political words were ?Often used in a consciously dishonest way.? Without precise meanings behind words, politicians and elites can obscure reality and condition people to reflexively associate certain words with positive or negative perceptions. In other words, unpleasant facts can be hidden behind purposely meaningless language. As a result, Americans have been conditioned to accept the word ?democracy? as a synonym for freedom, and thus to believe that democracy is unquestionably good.

The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. Our founding fathers clearly understood this, as evidenced not only by our republican constitutional system, but also by their writings in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere. James Madison cautioned that under a democratic government, ?There is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.? John Adams argued that democracies merely grant revocable rights to citizens depending on the whims of the masses, while a republic exists to secure and protect pre-existing rights. Yet how many Americans know that the word ?democracy? is found neither in the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence, our very founding documents?

A truly democratic election in Iraq, without U.S. interference and U.S. puppet candidates, almost certainly would result in the creation of a Shiite theocracy. Shiite majority rule in Iraq might well mean the complete political, economic, and social subjugation of the minority Kurd and Sunni Arab populations. Such an outcome would be democratic, but would it be free? Would the Kurds and Sunnis consider themselves free? The administration talks about democracy in Iraq, but is it prepared to accept a democratically-elected Iraqi government no matter what its attitude toward the U.S. occupation? Hardly. For all our talk about freedom and democracy, the truth is we have no idea whether Iraqis will be free in the future. They?re certainly not free while a foreign army occupies their country. The real test is not whether Iraq adopts a democratic, pro-western government, but rather whether ordinary Iraqis can lead their personal, religious, social, and business lives without interference from government.

Simply put, freedom is the absence of government coercion. Our Founding Fathers understood this, and created the least coercive government in the history of the world. The Constitution established a very limited, decentralized government to provide national defense and little else. States, not the federal government, were charged with protecting individuals against criminal force and fraud. For the first time, a government was created solely to protect the rights, liberties, and property of its citizens. Any government coercion beyond that necessary to secure those rights was forbidden, both through the Bill of Rights and the doctrine of strictly enumerated powers. This reflected the founders? belief that democratic government could be as tyrannical as any King.

Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn?t be called taxes, they?d be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.

The political left equates freedom with liberation from material wants, always via a large and benevolent government that exists to create equality on earth. To modern liberals, men are free only when the laws of economics and scarcity are suspended, the landlord is rebuffed, the doctor presents no bill, and groceries are given away. But philosopher Ayn Rand (and many others before her) demolished this argument by explaining how such ?freedom? for some is possible only when government takes freedoms away from others. In other words, government claims on the lives and property of those who are expected to provide housing, medical care, food, etc. for others are coercive ? and thus incompatible with freedom. ?Liberalism,? which once stood for civil, political, and economic liberties, has become a synonym for omnipotent coercive government.

The political right equates freedom with national greatness brought about through military strength. Like the left, modern conservatives favor an all-powerful central state ? but for militarism, corporatism, and faith-based welfarism. Unlike the Taft-Goldwater conservatives of yesteryear, today?s Republicans are eager to expand government spending, increase the federal police apparatus, and intervene militarily around the world. The last tenuous links between conservatives and support for smaller government have been severed. ?Conservatism,? which once meant respect for tradition and distrust of active government, has transformed into big-government utopian grandiosity.

Orwell certainly was right about the use of meaningless words in politics. If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians use to deceive us. We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule. We must resist any use of the word ?freedom? to describe state action. We must reject the current meaningless designations of ?liberals? and ?conservatives,? in favor of an accurate term for both: statists.

Every politician on earth claims to support freedom. The problem is so few of them understand the simple meaning of the word.


--------------------
?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Ancalagon]
    #3747718 - 02/07/05 10:47 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Ron Paul seems like a cool guy.


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Offlineguri
Master of theimprobablitydrive

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 576
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Last seen: 8 years, 5 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #3747805 - 02/07/05 10:58 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

h ttp://www.house.gov/paul/ <-----( i broke the link seeing its a govt website)

go there and a video of him talking about foreign policy and how it could all be a big mistake. pretty interesting.


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"If you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, then go home and burn all your records, all your tapes, and all your CDs because every one of those artists who have made brilliant music and enhanced your lives? The Beatles were so fucking high, they let Ringo sing a few songs." --Bill Hicks


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: guri]
    #3749367 - 02/08/05 03:22 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I agree that government has in fact limited the freedoms and grown a bit too powerful...

But realize, that true democracy ultimately winds up in chaos. And most forms of democracies are just dressed up Republics (The U.S. for example).

Recite the pledge of Allegiance... most stated Democracies that are in existance are anything but.

As for the Author:  :thumbup:


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisibleSilversoul
Rhizome
Male User Gallery

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 23,576
Loc: The Barricades
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: guri]
    #3749382 - 02/08/05 03:25 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Great article, and great video too. :thumbup:


--------------------


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OfflineJesusChrist
Son Of God
Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 1,459
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Silversoul]
    #3749870 - 02/08/05 06:10 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

He should be President.


--------------------
Tastes just like chicken


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InvisibleSilversoul
Rhizome
Male User Gallery

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 23,576
Loc: The Barricades
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: JesusChrist]
    #3749903 - 02/08/05 06:24 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Indeed.


--------------------


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Offlinecb9fl
Senior ChildMolestationExpert
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Loc: florida
Last seen: 7 years, 3 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Silversoul]
    #3750766 - 02/08/05 01:45 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

The administration talks about democracy in Iraq, but is it prepared to accept a democratically-elected Iraqi government no matter what its attitude toward the U.S. occupation? Hardly.




Quote:

The real test is not whether Iraq adopts a democratic, pro-western government, but rather whether ordinary Iraqis can lead their personal, religious, social, and business lives without interference from government.




^^ Nice.

He seems to be a Libertarian.


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: cb9fl]
    #3752438 - 02/08/05 09:04 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

http://www.strike-the-root.com/3/crider/crider1.html

"Beyond the nearly perfect distribution (the fewer the eligibility requirements for voting the better) of blame, the democracy strand of the government virus is the most dangerous because of its illusion of power. Paradoxically, although democracy offers the most deindividuation and therefore the least actual self-government, it appears to grant the individual more power than any other variation of the virus. In a sense, the individual does have more power; by voting, he exerts control over all the other citizens. The voter focuses on this and forgets the unpleasant truth that the other citizens are exerting their power over him just the same. Not a simple virus, democracy is a Trojan horse. Deindividuation enters the potential host population disguised as liberty."


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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OfflineCatalysis
EtherealEngineer

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 1,742
Last seen: 8 years, 5 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Ancalagon]
    #3752651 - 02/08/05 09:58 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

IMO, this guy is just a pseudo-intellectual pointing out the obvious in an overly wordy way.

How many times have you heard some dipshit say "guess what? america isnt really a democracy" thinking that everyone will think he is some kind of political prodigy. lol Give me a break.

"Freedom" when used in the context of america doesn't mean total freedom and everyone knows this. It is more along the lines of liberties granted by the government to the people. To insinuate that we all are being fooled to think that we have total freedom is just an insult to our intelligence.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Catalysis]
    #3752669 - 02/08/05 10:02 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

some people actually think it is a democracy.....


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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OfflineCatalysis
EtherealEngineer

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 1,742
Last seen: 8 years, 5 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Psychoactive1984]
    #3752676 - 02/08/05 10:04 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Sorry, i added that last part before i saw your post.

Anyways, I have a hard time believing that people think they are free to do anything they want when we obviously have laws and they can't do anything thewy want. lol  Like i said, its just pointing out the obvious.

If anything, Orwell was the one manipulating people to think that the general population is somehow being fooled.  Think about that.. :tongue:


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OfflineCatalysis
EtherealEngineer

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 1,742
Last seen: 8 years, 5 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Catalysis]
    #3752710 - 02/08/05 10:12 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I mean, look at all your posts. You all agree, so where are the people who disagree? Where are the people being fooled? Where are those who are "buying into it" and think we are totally free?

Like I said, this is just an exercise in "creative writing" at best and an attempt to gain popularity by instilling a irrational fear and paranoia at worst.


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OfflineProsgeopax
Jaded, yethopeful?

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 1,258
Loc: Appearing at a mall near ...
Last seen: 10 years, 11 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Catalysis]
    #3752718 - 02/08/05 10:15 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Catalysis said:
Like i said, its just pointing out the obvious.



It appears that most are unlike the child in "The Emperor's New Clothes" and continue to lie to themselves. Self deception is a grand human pastime. Were it suddenly not so, we would see governments and religions the world over crumble. Lacking productive skill sets, the confidence men and charlatans who run such enterprises would turn to begging on the streets (and if justice were served, they would all starve).


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Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Catalysis]
    #3752719 - 02/08/05 10:15 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Think you meant the general population is comprised of fools...  :tongue:


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Catalysis]
    #3752726 - 02/08/05 10:17 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Catalysis said:
I mean, look at all your posts.  You all agree, so where are the people who disagree?  Where are the people being fooled?  Where are those who are "buying into it" and think we are totally free?

Like I said, this is just an exercise in "creative writing" at best and an attempt to gain popularity by instilling a irrational fear and paranoia at worst.




Watching Fox News  :laugh:


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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OfflineCatalysis
EtherealEngineer

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 1,742
Last seen: 8 years, 5 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #3753286 - 02/08/05 11:42 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Prosgeopax said:
Quote:

Catalysis said:
Like i said, its just pointing out the obvious.



It appears that most are unlike the child in "The Emperor's New Clothes" and continue to lie to themselves. Self deception is a grand human pastime. Were it suddenly not so, we would see governments and religions the world over crumble. Lacking productive skill sets, the confidence men and charlatans who run such enterprises would turn to begging on the streets (and if justice were served, they would all starve).




No, I think you have it wrong. People like to have a government. People like restrictions against things like murder and robbery and they want an orginization that enforces those restrictions. Sure you can argue that it should be more free or more restrictive but no one who knows what is good for them wants total freedom.

Shit, there are plenty of lawless and chaotic places that you can go live if you would like total freedom. That is a very real option but no one ever chooses it. What you all want is total freedom with the luxuries, safety, and guarantees of a government. You just can't have it both ways and most people know that. Maybe you guys are the ones who are being led around by those like Mr. Paul and Orwell who think that they can use clever semantics and the peoples' hopes of utopia to gain profit and popularity.


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Offlinecb9fl
Senior ChildMolestationExpert
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Loc: florida
Last seen: 7 years, 3 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: Catalysis]
    #3753378 - 02/08/05 11:53 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

What you all want is total freedom with the luxuries, safety, and guarantees of a government.

What I want is the government to protect my natural rights while staying out of my personal life.


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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OfflineJesusChrist
Son Of God
Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 1,459
Last seen: 4 years, 2 months
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: cb9fl]
    #3753754 - 02/09/05 01:00 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Interesting points Cat.

I don't think that Ron Paul is a pseudo-intellectual. And I was for the war in Iraq. I still am because you have to finish what you started. I also don't think I am a lemming because I admire Mr. Paul.

I like Ron Paul. He is a true small government conservative in the way that I picture a small government conservative should be.

I don't buy every tangent though. Iraq will never be "free", just as you have pointed out that nobody will ever be "free". We will always have laws that bind our actions.

I also happen to believe in Winston Churchill when he said that "democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." Democracy is no panecea, but it is a hell of a lot better than the other options. Though I openly admit the shortcomings, I am a big fan of democracy and self determination by voting.

Iraq has been a secular society for quite some time. You can't believe every poll you read, especially Iraqi polls. I have read that the majority of Sunnis and Shites alike are not religious fanaticals. The Kurds are also mostly Sunni I believe. I think that democracy is going to work over there. I pray for it.

The problem with Iran is that they have a "Supreme Council" that sits above their elected officials and dictates policy. They can approve or disapprove candidates and they even throw them in jail if they pass "bad laws". They don't have true democracy, and if they did they would have fared better over the past three decades.

Look at our own system and the repression of black people through Jim Crow laws. It took until 1964 to correct a lot of injustice. Then we went too far and now minority interests are over represented. No system is perfect and our flaws are glaring and open for all to see.

Democracy provides an appartus for peacefull change and revolution through the ballot box. The greatest thing for the Iraq people is not voting in their own politicians in my opinion. I believe the greatest part of democracy is voting people out. Nothing like showing somebody the door. It used to take a bloody and violent revolution to do that, now you just have to vote. We can have a bloodless coup every four years if we want it.

Ron Paul is anti Iraq war. I was for the war but I respect him. The thing that sucks is that we just can't afford it regardless if it is just or unjust, right or wrong. America has put itself in a position where defensive measures are going to be constrained by the budget, and that is disturbing.

If China takes Taiwan tomorrow, we have no means of even posturing that we can defend them. We are overextended and deeply in debt. If India wants to make a historical claim to havoc ridden Sri Lanka, we could only watch on CNN. We used to have the power to intimidate people into peace, and our armed forces projected peace through strength. Now that that is vanishing, new and previously unforseeable obstacles have an increased chance of happening.

My comments are wandering all over the place, and I need another beer.


--------------------
Tastes just like chicken


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Democracy Is Not Freedom [Re: cb9fl]
    #3753971 - 02/09/05 01:40 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

cb9fl said:
What you all want is total freedom with the luxuries, safety, and guarantees of a government.

What I want is the government to protect my natural rights while staying out of my personal life.



:thumbup:


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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