Democracy is Not Freedom

By Michael Shaw
October 6, 2009


Young Iranians thronged the streets of Tehran carrying signs in English proclaiming their march for “Democracy” and “Freedom”. The youth of America, the scholars, and increasingly the corporate professionals, regularly profess the same sentiments. This is troubling. The concepts of freedom and democracy conflict so regularly that Plato pronounced, “Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule.” Freedom is the ability to decide and act for one’s self. Democracy requires all people to conform their action to the rule of the majority.

The systems of “justice” at play in America today also contrast. One supports individual freedom and equality of rights (rule of law, equal justice). The other system of justice supports democracy (rule by the majority, social justice).

American principles are based upon the core element of the Declaration of Independence – equal justice. This is the system of law that applies the same law to every person and which implements the concept of a higher law – labeled under the Declaration as “Unalienable Rights”. These are the rights imbued and inherent within each of us that allow all people to lead a life of one’s own, with the liberty to act and the right to the use and enjoyment of one’s private property.

Under equal justice, government power accordingly is limited. Such is the foundation of the American Republic. Today, that Republic is in near ruin. When a Republic that is granted limited power is replaced by a democracy with virtually unlimited power, the political recognition of unalienable rights is lost and mob rule replaces individual rights.

Democracy utilizes a different system of justice called social justice. Social justice generates differing results to different groups of people depending on the law’s finding of “common good”. Because the “common good” changes from day to day, no one can ever know who will have what rights tomorrow.

In an attempt to provide “equity” to all groups, social justice creates overlapping castes, each representing a “common good” de jour and each clamoring for more power. But no principle regarding the protection of the ideal of private property exists under social justice. Private use of property may be granted “interim protection” under social justice law, but only when such a conclusion is thought to advance the common good. Yet, even when seeming protections of unalienable rights arise under social justice, they can be retracted later on when they have served their purpose because perceptions of “common good” are always subject to “change”.

Democracy is often used to calibrate or implement public perspectives. (So called “common good” is claimed when building temporary public confidence in the oligarchy’s silent program of democratization.) This occurs while the oligarchy in charge of governmental operations propels a system of social justice designed to eventually assume ultimate control over all human action. Social justice is the “equity” of the Sustainable Development political-economics that drives American policy in this the looming post-free enterprise era.

As our system of justice progresses from “equal justice for all” to one of “equity” or Social Justice, our Republic mutates into a collectivist state and the fall of America proceeds apace.

The immediate question becomes: is the fall a natural outcome in the ordinary course of events or is it planned? Is the fall related to the rise of world governance (The United Nations, The World Bank, The World Trade Organization, The European Union, The Bank of International Settlements, and regional trade pacts such as NAFTA CAFTA and FTA and more)? Is world government the natural course for human advancement or is it being directed by an oligarchy motivated by the centralization of power?

Clearly these questions get to the heart of today’s problems. With the march toward democracy, we advance socialism and collectivism. Mikhail Gorbachev said, “More socialism means more democracy, openness and collectivism in everyday life.”

As the previously silent Americans begin to rally around various hot button issues, it is important that they understand the threat of democracy. As James Madison said, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.”

While young Iranians in Tehran may misguidedly carry signs proclaiming their march for “Democracy” and “Freedom”, the youth of America, the scholars, and the corporate professionals, indeed all sectors of society need to be made aware of the danger of democracy so they too might work to pursue the continued making of a republic that defends individual liberty and protects unalienable rights.

“Democracy is Not Freedom” by Michael Shaw

Michael Shaw is President of

FURTHER MATERIAL:  Ohio Law Notes, Republic vs. Democracy – excellent writing

[This article contains links to outside sources not controlled by Freedom Advocates and therefore are subject to change.]

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