George F. Will: Egypt is learning that democracy doesn't guarantee freedom

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  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2013 9:35 p.m.

    "Lincoln understood that unless majority rule is circumscribed by the superior claims of natural rights, majority rule is merely the doctrine of "might makes right" adapted to the age of mass participation in politics."


    Remember when the interrogators of Clarence Thomas asked him about his views on "natural rights"? The point of the interrogators was to determine if he thought our individual rights are, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, unalienably endowed by our Creator. Or, as many of the interrogators believed, merely the temporary and expediently malleable "rights" endowed by whomever happened to be interpreting an "evolving" Constitution (as oxymoronic as that seems).

    Like the founders, I hold to the belief that the government derives its rights to govern FROM the governed. And that the "governed" is comprised of **individuals** whose rights are, indeed, intrinsic and unalienable. And, that regardless of whatever form of government happens to be in place at any given time, the ultimate power is **always** with the people. The real trick is to make that power work well. We've done pretty good for almost 250 years, but it will always be a battle against tyranny.

    Down with Obamacare!!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 12, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    What George said in the article is true. I can give you a list of Dictators and Tyrants that were Democratically elected as long as your arm. Google it.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2013 7:17 p.m.

    Insecure people like to shoot the messenger, Fox News, and ignore the message. If you want strange and looney political commentary, try Lawrence O'Donnel, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and the MSNBC comedy team.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 11, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    Democracy, when conducted under the protection of a Constitution, is not mob rule. The Constitution defines what is allowed to happen and what is not allowed to happen. Here in America, if 99% of the people wanted to prohibit religious worship, their voice would have absolutely no impact because religion is a guaranteed freedom protected by the Constitution.

    There are many times when Constitutions are ignored. The State of California allows its State Constitution to be modified as a ballot item. It requires a simple majority of voters to make that change. The people of California voted. The vote required a change in their State's Constitution. The losers went running to a federal court (which had no business interfering in the business of the State's Constitution) and had the will of the majority reversed. Laws were in place. Laws were followed. Poor losers rejected the rule of law.

    Egypt needs to do its homework. It can't rely on Hilary Clinton for direction nor can it rely on Barack Obama. Egypt is a sovereign state. It is independent of Washington and the wishes of Washington.

    They need a Constitution written by the people.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 11, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Democracy is little more than mob rule. A republic, with defined rights for individuals and courts to protect them, is what they should seek.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    2 bits
    While nobody has overtly stated that "political compromise is, literally, apostasy" in this comment thread (at least, not yet), there have been plenty of times where the NOTION (idea, concept; I said in my original post that it was a "notion", as opposed to a verbatim statement) of political compromise as apostasy has been strongly implied in other comment threads here.

    I will look for an example to cite; but honestly, I'm not going to spend a lot of time searching, as my time is more valuable to me than that.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    SG in SLC.
    Who said, "political compromise is, literally, apostasy"?

    I haven't seen anybody here say it.
    I haven't heard anybody say it (except you).
    Makes a great strawman argument though IF you can frame your opponent as saying something stupid (even though nobody said it).

    Let's stick to what people have ACTUALLY said, not what you THINK they would say... would that be OK?

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    ThereYouGoAgain picked up on the significance of this quote from the article:

    "Theologized politics, wherein compromise is apostasy, points toward George Orwell's vision of totalitarianism — 'a boot stamping on a human face — forever.'"

    This seems to be an apt description of the political condition in a certain Intermountain West state, where a super-majority of the politicians (and likely a super-majority of the voters) equate a certain political party's ideology with a certain (regionally) predominant theology.

    I don't have a problem with either that party (some of my best friends are . . . well, you get the point), or that theology (I am a member in good standing). I do, however, have a problem with the notion that political compromise is, literally, apostasy – and unnecessary when one is in the super-majority; which leads to another significant quote from the article:

    "The idea that the strong have a right to unfettered rule if their strength is numerical is just the barbarism of 'might makes right' prettified by initial adherence to democratic forms."

    Again, descriptive of the political condition in a certain Intermountain West state . . .

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    He's right. Democracy doesn't guarantee Freedom. It only guarantees you will have a choice. But MANY democratic societies have chosen unwisely. Hitler was democratically elected. Many people with democracy have chosen to not be free.

    Egypt's first attempt is a good example.

    Afghanistan is another example.

    Yesterday I was watching a video of Obama supporters signing a petition they were told was a petition to repeal the US Bill Of Rights. That's an example of people with democratic rights voting to give them away. These people were being tricked... but if it were real... they would have voted to do away with our Bill of Rights! Just because the person doing the petition said Obama wanted it!

    We should not be smug in our American tradition of freedom and democracy. Our freedom could be gone with one vote IF we are not vigilant in protecting our rights and our freedom.

    Some people would vote your rights away for political expediency (2nd amendment is inconvenient, parts of the 1st amendment "old fashioned" and hard to manage, etc, how many people are trying to slowly do away with our rights every day)? It happens!

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 11, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    "....Egypt's military despotism may be less dangerous than Morsi's because it lacks what Morsi's had, a democratic coloration, however superficial and evanescent."

    That bleak assessment doesn't offer much hope for the future. I never expect optimism from George Will but when he talks like he thinks Egyptian return to rule by the Pharaohs might be something to consider, it might be time for him to retire.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 11, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Those who trivialize the prohibitions found in the Consitution are, in effect, demanding that govenrmnet disregard that contract.

    The Federal government is forbidden to make any law pertaining to an establishment of religion. Has that stopped the federal government from meddling in religion? Hardly! An army was sent to Utah territory to enforce federal government beliefs about religion on the Mormon settlers. The FBI destroyed the Branch Dividian church when that church would not accept the federal government's breach of the 1st Amendment. Even the church headed by Jeffs has had its assets seized by the government in an attempt to force it to change its doctrine and covenants. No matter what we may believe personally about any of those establishments of religion, the one sure fact is that the federal government must stay out of their affairs.

    Is it any wonder that Egypt, which has no prohibition against government making laws for or against religion, would be unable to function as a democracy?

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    July 11, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    Freedom is an ideology,
    Monarchies and Democracies are nothing more than types of Governments.

    The people living in the Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and England have more freedom than,
    the people living in the Democracies of Iran, North Korea, and Cuba.

    Democracy no more guarantees Freedom,
    Monarchies guarantee Totalitarianism.

    BTW --
    Totalitarian Dictators like Adolph Hitler and Mussolini were Democratically elected.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 11, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    "...Theologized politics, wherein compromise is apostasy, points toward George Orwell's vision of totalitarianism — "a boot stamping on a human face — forever...".

    The alliance between Evangelicals, Republicans, and Republican Authorized FOX News represents a boot stamping on a human face forever?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 11, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Lessons learned. For Egypt, democracy doesn't guarantee freedom. For the United States, the spread of democracy abroad doesn't guarantee governments in America's own image.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 11, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    For he who seeks diligently shall find and the mystery's of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the holy spirit, as well in these times as the times of old. There for the coarse of the Lord is one continuance round.