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Freedom and Democracy Are Different

John T. Wenders.   John T. Wenders was a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at the University of Idaho and Senior Fellow at The Commonwealth Foundation. He received an A.B. from Amherst College, M.A.s from the University of Hawaii and Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, all in economics.

The earthshaking events of the past few months in Eastern Europe have generated surprise, shock, hope, and applause throughout the world. The most important consequence of these events, however, is not the demise of authoritarian socialist governments, but the impetus given to an examination of the relationship between the private and public sectors in all nations.

Contrary to the media hoopla that equates democracy with freedom, the mere replacement of a Communist socialist government with a democratic socialist one, while an improvement, does not alone advance the cause of freedom very much.

Freedom and democracy are different. Democracy addresses how affairs in the public sector will be conducted. Democracy is greater when individuals vote on those matters assigned to the public sector. On the other hand, freedom is concerned with the relationships among people in the private sector. Freedom means individuals may choose how to interact on a voluntary basis outside the purview of the state.

In short, democracy means you get to vote in the public sector; freedom means you get to determine the terms of your interactions with others in the private sector.   Read the Rest

 

 

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