Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learn Liberty: Pavel Yakolev- What Are The Limits of Liberal Democracy?

Source:Learn Liberty- Pavel Yakolev, talking about freedom and democracy. Which aren't the same things.
"People often associate freedom with electoral democracy. According to Prof. Pavel Yakovlev, the freedom to vote is an inherently limited tool for fostering a free society. Although majority vote can serve as a useful tool for expressing the will of the people, it can be taken too far.

Imagine a world governed entirely by majority votes—including your personal decisions! Would you be happy if a majority vote determined who you could date? What you could eat? Now consider the world you currently live in, where you make decisions and purchases in the context of a marketplace. In a market, you can choose goods, services, and activities that diverge from majority trends. Moreover, markets also provide a greater number of choices.

Free markets and limited government depend upon and facilitate individualized and decentralized choices; they create the conditions necessary for a truly free and democratic society.

Watch more videos at:Learn Liberty."

From Learn Liberty

What’s the best way to guarantee individual liberty for the people so they can be free to live their own lives as they see fit short of hurting anyone else with their liberty and not be harassed by government?

One, you need a constitution that guarantees individual liberty. And limits what government can do.

Two, you need rule of law to limit what government can do. But also how people interact with each other. But it’s not just a constitution that you need but constitutional rights that are in that constitution.

Like freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, or not practice religion.

Right to vote but through a multi-party system.

Decentralization of government, a Federal Government, but state, or provincial governments as well as local governments. That all have enough power under the Federal Constitution to govern themselves and handle their own affairs. As well as again to limit what the Federal Government can do. You don’t have to have a weak Federal Government either. That they have to be able to defend the country and to a certain extent look after its people’s welfare. But it needs to be limited so it doesn’t become too powerful.

You need a republic not a monarchy, or theocracy, but a republic. Where civilians are running the government. Again to limit the power of government and you also need checks and balances, separation of branches. Executive, legislative and judicial.

I just laid out a lot what the United States Government looks like. Some people say especially Conservatives and Libertarians that the best way to insure individual liberty is with a republic. But I counter that argument by say that there are also authoritarian republics. Like the People’s Republic of China, the Communist Republic of Cuba, or Baathist Republic of Syria, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a republic and still are.

The difference being that under the Hussein Regime, Iraq was an authoritarian Baathist Republic. Today they are basically a democratic republic and a federal republic, but with some flaws. There good republics like America and bad republics like Syria. A republic basically lays out what type of powers the federal or central government have. In a liberal democracy like America, those powers are very limited, but in an authoritarian republic not to pick on Syria, but their government’s powers are basically unlimited.

Which is one reason why we see such an intense democratic opposition in Syria right now. The Syrian people are good-by in large, but their government is bad. My argument as a Liberal Democrat for what’s the best way to insure individual freedom is with a republic, but in the form of a liberal democracy. A liberal democratic republic with a liberal amount of individual rights and freedom. Not a liberal amount of government, which is very different. Which is what we have in the United States, with a Federal Constitution, separation of powers and checks and balances. With the individual liberty to live our own lives and be successful economically. 

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