Yesterday I was perusing the Lexington Herald-Liberal when I noticed an interesting opinion letter. I liked the letter so much that I am reproducing it here:
DANGEROUS TO CONFUSE LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY
The Bush administration seems to think democracy is the answer to the world's problems. I beg to differ with that oversimplistic idea.
Our democratic republic has worked only because of the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, which makes every person and organization equal under the law. If today's lawmakers were writing the Constitution, some of those rights would be left out. Our president, it seems, would like to see the 14th Amendment excluded.
The God-fearing majority of citizens and leaders in the late 1700s were a special breed. They came from countries where certain religious sects were persecuted, and they saw this same sectarianism spreading in America.
The founders felt very strongly about freedom of thought, speech and religious choice, and several insisted that a Bill of Rights, with protections to citizens from government interference or coercion, be added to the Constitution immediately.
In Islamic countries, Muslims are taught that Islam should be the law of the land and established by government edict. To most Muslims, freedom of religious choice is not an option. So what kind of democracy will such people create?
A wise man once said that if the American people became evil, this democratic republic would become the worst form of government.
Liberty and democracy are two different things. Without an understanding of what liberty really is, how can a people form a government that secures it?
Douglas Roy is a conservative Christian Republican who tends to disagree with many of Bush's policies. His personal website is www.DougRoy.us. While I do not agree with all of his views, he was right on in this letter. I would put it this way:
The difference between democracy and anarchy is the people, not the form of government.
Our government is a Constitutional Republic, not a pure democracy. But the same principle Mr. Roy was advocating still holds true. The mindset of the people controls whether government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" will work.
David S. MacMillan III