Monday, March 22, 2004

Democracy vs. "Democracy"

I rarely find National Review palatable reading, but this Victor Davis Hanson column touches on a point I've also elaborated upon many times in the past: the need to distinguish between democracy as a merely formal matter of holding votes every so often, and democracy as a total package that includes freedom of speech, association and religion, stable laws, an independent judiciary, and security of persons and property, with voting being arguably the least important item in the package. Iran, Venezuela, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt may be "democratic" in the purely formal sense, but they certainly aren't anything of the sort under any interpretation of the word that is really worth having.