Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tyranny of the Majority

It is not quite true to say, as do most Europeans, that democracy can never be imposed at the point of a gun. The US did so in Japan and west Germany. But it required patience, commitment and resources that were not apparent in Iraq. It also demanded recognition that modern democracy - better described as liberal democracy - has two distinct strands.

The Bush administration's error was to think that elections were enough. The president talks still of popular sovereignty and individual liberty as if they are interchangeable. They can be; they can also be inimical. Voting represents only one side of the democratic bargain. Without the rule of law - the "liberal" bit in liberal democracy - you have majoritarian tyranny. That was something the French discovered after 1789.

FT.com / Home UK / UK - After the neocons: people will still vote for democracy.


Many Middle Eastern democracies have come to the same discovery. When you lack rule of law that protects civil liberties and the democratic process, then democracy is doomed.

1 comment:

GreY said...

I am not an political expert , but Media is to blame for the ruin of Iraq . At some point the Arabic Media and some of the Democrat leaning media just blew the situation out of proportion and created the mess that Iraq is in . It would have been the same in case of Japan and W Germany had it been in this age and time .. This war was not meant to be .. [not From Kuwait's point of view ] but i think in the long run patience and sacrifies will prevail. * keep my fingers crossed*