A sense of liberty is a necessity for the realization of human dignity. There must be some level of free association and creative interaction with one’s neighbors in order for one to develop the fullness of their personal worth. The question we must turn to, however, is whether this liberty is to be granted by a governmental institution alone? If it is, then the second question is this: if this institution were universal, and its liberty were granted to all, would it produce a genial, peace-loving society free from abuse; that is, could it produce a kind of utopia on earth?We have already looked at some reservations people have had to the belief that a democratic institution could, by its nature, produce a free society. However, history shows us that these reservations were not possessed by the critics of democracy alone. Until the modern era, there was a general understanding that the democratic system did not possess within itself the ability to bring about a sustained, universal peace; it was, as with all governmental systems, a relative good, one which would have its time, and one which would end, as all systems do, in despotism...The framers of the American democratic system were being torn in many directions, and the justifications they used for it were often self-contradictory. They relied upon traditional values to demand justice, but then they want on to question the cultural basis of these values. Thomas Paine, whose views Thomas Jefferson supported, represents the dark underbelly of this so-called Enlightenment. In his Age of Reason he brought forward a critical assault on Christianity. Its morals, he believed, had to be rejected: they were incapable of being followed, or if they were followed, they only helped to advance some great evil. He examined many of the moral teachings of the Christian faith, finding reasons to question and ridicule them...The founding fathers of American democracy were, to be sure, geniuses who tried to aspire to greatness. They tried to give a flexibility to the system so that it can grow and develop, hoping this would prevent despotism. But they did not believe it can be put off indefinitely. Moreover, we now are capable of seeing the despotic activity they allowed, as for example, the institution of slavery and the gross mistreatment of Native Americans. But this is not the end of the story. We acknowledge the mistakes of the past. Does this not show the strength of the democratic spirit? Perhaps, but what guarantees do we have, even now, that we are not blind, as a nation, to other abuses, and do not allow other abhorrent behavior in the name of democracy? Does not the flow of innocent blood committed by abortionists, all in the name of freedom, show that utopia has not been reached? Posted by Henry Karlson at 2:34 PM Labels: Politics, The State, Utopia, War and Peace Vox Nova
Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.