|The Future of Freedom Foundation|
No, all that mattered now was that the Iraqi people had finally been given the opportunity to elect their rulers.
Lets not forget the simple truth that democracy is not freedom. Thus, the mere fact that many of the Iraqi people voted in a national election does not mean that Iraqis are now free or that theyre going to be free in the near future. In fact, given the political and religious beliefs of the Shiite group that garnered the most votes, early indications are exactly the opposite.
What? you ask. How can that be? Democracy is freedom! President Bush and our military leaders tell us so.
Unfortunately, however, it just aint so. President Bush and the Pentagon are as wrong about freedom and democracy as they were about WMDs in Iraq.
The fact is that democracy is the very worst form of government there is, except for all the rest, as Winston Churchill once pointed out. Its only real advantage, as Ludwig von Mises observed, is that it provides the citizenry with the ability to peacefully change a regime by voting it out of office. To change a totalitarian regime almost always entails violence, such as a revolution.
What ultimately matters with respect to freedom is not so much how a ruler is selected but rather the extent of the rulers powers once hes installed into office.
Lets assume, for example, that an elected ruler has omnipotent power over the citizenry. That is, there is no legislature that enacts laws and no judicial branch to interpret them. Whatever the ruler says, goes. He rules by decree. He has the power to jail anyone he wants for any reason whatsoever, to torture people, to punish critics, to shut down the press and public assemblies, to confiscate weapons, and to send the nation into war. He has unlimited power to tax. He even has the power to force people to attend religious services.
Could people in that society be considered free? President Bush would undoubtedly say, Yes, because people had the right to vote, and he was the one who won. And if people feel that their ruler has abused his powers, they are free to oust him from office in the next election. But how can living under dictatorship, albeit democratically elected, be considered genuine freedom?
Its not difficult to see how our American ancestors felt about democracy. They considered it so bad that they enacted the Bill of Rights to protect us from it.
After all, carefully read the Bill of Rights. Youll notice something interesting: It doesnt give people rights at all. Instead, it protects us from democracy.
The popular refrain, We are the government, is false too. After all, if we are the government, then why does the Bill of Rights protect those of us in the private sector from those in the government sector?
militarily installed democracy bring freedom to the Iraqi people? He says
it already has, because the Iraqi people were free to vote. There are
strong indications, however, that the new Iraqi regime intends to establish
close ties to the Islamic regime in Iran, which Bush says is evil and
unfree, and may even mirror many Iranian policies. If that happens, one
can only wonder whether he will change his tune about democracy and freedom,
especially if U.S. troops end up killing and dying both in Iraq and Iran.
Samuel Bostaph is head of the economics department at the University of Dallas and an academic advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation
Anthony Gregory is a policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation
James Bovard is author of The Bush Betrayal and serves as a policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation
Benedict LaRosa is a historian and writer and serves as a policy advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation
Bart Frazier is program director at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va., author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email.