Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's So Great About Democracy?

Excellent post at the National Catholic Register website by Pat Archibald:
With dictator after dictator facing early retirement over the last month, we have heard a lot of talk about democracy.
We are told that protesters are seeking democracy.  We should support democracy.  The people deserve democracy.  I say, so what?
What’s so great about democracy?
I think people sometimes mistake the means for the ends.  Democracy can be a means toward a larger goal, the securing of individual liberty.  But it is no guarantee of the same.  Without a culture supporting it, democracy can be just as bad as whatever it replaces.
Democracy in the hands of the Klingons probably still portends bad news for Starfleet, not to mention your average Klingon.
People often misunderstand the greatness of the American experiment.  The greatness came not from “one man, one vote.”  The greatness of the experiment lay in the concept that democracy is to be used to secure unalienable God-given rights. What good is democracy in a culture in which those concepts are alien?
Democracy is a tool, nothing more.  I conceive of it as a loaded gun, used for good or ill.  A loaded gun can put food on the table and protect your life and liberty.  A loaded gun can also oppress, coerce, and kill.  Democracy, like a loaded gun, is a tool that inherits the morality of those who wield it.
 Read the whole article here.

Our Republic stands or falls on our ability as a nation to uphold sound moral values. The "dictatorship of relativism," as Pope Benedict phrased it, attempts to dismantle moral Truth and eats away at the very foundation of our country. As Catholics (as Christians) we have an obligation to defend objective moral Truth in the public square. Democracy will only be as good or as just as those who participate in its function.


  1. "Our Republic stands or falls on our ability as a nation to uphold sound moral values." This is the key sentence here, because it contains the key word of the entire principle of our nation. The United States is a in STATES, each state upholding democratic principles as are relevant to itself...not one giant state with a big federal democracy...Remember, democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.

  2. I agree. A pure Democracy can easily devolve into “the tyranny of the majority.” There must be some protection for the minority against mob rule. To do this we must agree to some fundamental principles such as basic human rights and a code of moral behavior that guide society’s actions. We must as a nation agree that there are absolute Truths about the human condition, and that no majority of persons can ever overturn these basic Truths. Democracy alone does not ensure human dignity or justice. Democracy can be abused if we deny the Truth. The American experiment can only work if we hold fast to the concept of a Creator as the source of our rights and human dignity.

    The problem with the American Left today is its abandonment of this basic Truth, their denial of a Creator as the source of our being and our worth. Without a “God” as the source of our human rights, they have replaced Him with an ever-expanding federal government. They see the government as granter of rights and definer of human dignity. And with that power they can reshape Truth to their own liking.

    We must keep the federal government small so that such distortions of Truth can be minimized. Certainly people will get drunk on power no matter how small or large the government is...but the principle of a small federal government is the ideal established by the Founding Father and with good reason. It protects us against mob rule and ensures that power concentrated in the hands of few does as little damage as possible.

    Thanks for reading!