Is Democracy Enough?
This is the question I asked last year when commentators argued that democracy would transform societies into civilized, peaceful, and prosperous nations. I questioned the fundamental nature of this notion and called it a “parliamentary dialectic” to draw parallels to Marx’s reversal of cause and effect.
That democracy isn’t enough to secure a just society is discussed in Aristotle’s Politics. He warned of what Tocqueville called tyranny of the majority. Aristotle argued for the rule of law, checks and balances, and the need to cultivate professional political leadership. Aristotle used the word “democracy” to denote the “rule of many” in its most pernicious form. Our founding fathers were also critics of “democracy” which they understood to be unlimited majority rule. They advanced the notion of a republic that includes a parliamentary electoral system limited by a constitution.
This is why it was disheartening to read some conservatives talking about democracy in simplistic terms over the past few years. One conservative writer even applauded the prospect of an Islamic democracy in spite of (or perhaps because of) its theocratic potential. There were a few who warned that democracy would have the opposite effect in the Islamic world as I also noted last year.
Commentators were shocked by
That is why it is interesting to finally read in The Weekly Standard that a “disturbing trend emerges: the rise of illiberal democracy in the
“It is only after the rise of liberal institutions such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion that Middle Eastern elections can provide the vibrant alternatives that we expect truly democratic systems to provide. … [A] democratic culture cannot be built overnight. [It] must be measured by the level of liberalism it engenders. ”That's good as far as it goes. But isn't there a problem that they aren't addressing?