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← Human Rights Watch – You are Disgusting!

Rational Ape's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Rational Ape

Comment 5 by Steve Zara :

Being generally ignorant of political history and political theory, I would be fascinated to know if there are established principles of human rights that could apply to a situation where the majority vote for an oppressive religious or dictatorial government? What happens when democracy conflicts with human rights? How do we define who is right, and who has rights in such a situation?

Then as far as I am concerned, Democracy loses.

It is evil to vote away peoples rights for any reason, and it doesn't matter if it's declared to be the result of democratic vote. Government exists to protect rights, not trample them because they aren't popular. That's why one puts restrictions on government into constitutions, and that's just as important a consideration in a democracy as it is in a dictatorship. The only advantage the democracy has in this regard is that, unlike the typical thugocratic dictatorial "republic," it might actually have such safeguards written into its constitution and it might actually abide by them. (Clearly any democracy with such limitations isn't a pure democracy any more.)

The new government of Egypt will violate rights en masse and will be illegitimate, for all its democratic trappings. And it will have plenty of company.

Holding "democracy" as the ideal of what a government should be is a gigantic mistake.

Mon, 23 Jan 2012 10:05:49 UTC | #910871