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The Evolution of Democracy

According to Freedom House (freedomhouse.org), democracy in America is declining. In fact, it seems that democracy is losing ground worldwide. In an article published on the web entitled: Freedom in the World 2018: Democracy in Crisis, they report:
“Democracy is in crisis. The values it embodies—particularly the right to choose leaders in free and fair elections, freedom of the press, and the rule of law—are under assault and in retreat globally… Today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened. For the 12th consecutive year, according to Freedom in the World, countries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains.”

But isn’t that a natural evolution for democracy? When all things are considered, perhaps democracy is its own worst enemy.  The concepts of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and individual civil liberties are wonderful privileges and they work well as long as the majority of the population is of the same or similar mind.  But as the population grows and becomes more diverse, the majority becomes more fragmented and less definable. Laws are changed to accommodate a small fraction of the population. Freedom of speech allows minority and special interest groups to openly challenge the status quo. The right of the people to choose leaders in free and fair elections puts those whose principles are in conflict with traditional values in positions of responsibility, threatening to bring change to the long-established national ideology. As minority factions and special interest groups demand equality; as migrants flood the nation bringing with them their country’s customs and ideologies; as America more and more becomes a nation of diversity in every area of life, unity disappears, commonalities diminish, ideologies become mingled and order becomes chaos. In an attempt to satisfy the freedoms of all and offend none, national customs are altered, monuments are torn down, the justice system is rendered ineffective and even the nations pledge, anthem and flag find themselves in peril.

Is this an indication that a democracy is not a good system?  Not at all.  In fact, it is the best for exercising individual freedom. However, what we may discover is that too much individual freedom is not a good thing.  It has been said that too much of anything produces a negative effect: too much love can become obsession, too much success can breed arrogance, and too much power can become abusive. Too much diversity can lead to chaos and perhaps too much freedom can lead to a loss of liberty.

As a new generation comes of age how will our democracy change? Will this new generation recognize the chaos: the lack of unity, the disappearance of national loyalty and the dysfunction of government and attempt to restore the democracy of old? Or will they move toward socialism and the promise of entitlements: free healthcare, free education and a guaranteed income and take America down the path of economic ruin?  The future is anybody’s guess but one thing is for certain: given the state of our nation today, democracy as we know it is facing a dismal future.

 

 

 

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