WWW Opinion Times

Monday, January 10, 2005

How Reliable "Democracy"?

This is a wise quote. Republics are the best guarantors of liberty.

"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

--Fisher Ames
I talked in a previous article about John Locke's argument as to the origin of government authority. Here's what I said there:
Thus Locke starts by laying rights into individuals in their natural state who consequently adjust their individual liberty into "Conjugal Society" through marriage. Then, as dictated by necessity, man and woman cede some of their authority in the family to Civil Society through representatives appointed by them who make laws and administer justice on their behalf.
Government is designed to mitigate harm done to members of a community through just laws which do not abrogate individual rights. Government is sustained by individuals who give it authority to adjudicate disputes. It was never intended to grant the "freedom" to do what one wishes at the expense of others.

The Founders of this country wanted to be delivered from the state taking rights away from the individual. The individual was called upon to exercise self-government thus reducing as far as possible the need for the state to interfere with individual rights to protect the body politick.

We now find ourselves in a situation where the state seeks to give individuals the right to do harm to the community by sanctioning licentious behavior (through abortion and a redifinition of marriage for example). This is why Ames' quote is so profound in my opinion.

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