Simple Democracy Part 1: Free Men and Women
Introduction: Our Fathers’ Sin of Omission I first started writing this as a response to what I believe is very faulty thinking when it comes to choosing leaders, particularly our inability to learn the lessons of the past well, and so are doomed to repeating past mistakes. I initially wrote, “The idea that we would never hire a driver who cannot drive, a cleaner who cannot clean, a teacher who cannot teach, or buy a painting from someone who cannot paint, or patronize a chef who cannot cook, is simple to understand. Everyone I know would agree that it’s just wise not to. Then why is it so hard to understand that we should not elect people who cannot govern? Would you let a reckless driver drive your kids to school just because he’s your brother? Would you let your friend run your business just because he’s Christian? Would you let your classmate cut your hair just because you were in the same club? Of course not! Why then, do we use faulty standards about who is good for government?” Then I realized the problem: We don’t have an objective standard, a sufficient understanding, nor a principled approach to choosing. These days, we choose things based on what “resonates” with us. But to people who don’t have an anchor, the last new wave large enough to hit us is what carries us.
- For electing officials in a democracy, the objective standards are basically the ideals of Democracy itself (liberty, equality, and fraternity) and the Constitution of that country, in my case, the constitution of the Philippines. Without an understanding of either, we will make emotional choices, or “least evil” choices, lazy choices, or worst of all, selfish choices.