Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"When ‘Democracy’ Becomes a Threat to Liberty”

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the website of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) on, "When ‘Democracy’ Becomes a Threat to Liberty.”

In the minds of many people individual liberty and “democracy” are intertwined as cornerstones for the preservation of a free society. And, historically, they accompanied and complemented each other in the long political campaign to end absolute monarchism and the autocratic regimes of the past. But, what happens when the appeal to “democracy” becomes a means of undermining liberty rather than preserving it?

This is seen in a recent article by Noble-Prizing winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who insists that some recent Supreme Court decisions sacrifice “democracy” for the advantage of corporate and other “minority” interests in society. These include American Express and the transaction fees it charges retailers, the end of mandatory dues to be paid to public employee unions if individuals choose to opt out, and protection of free speech from forcing some health care providers from having to present options that they disagree with for moral or religious reasons.

In each instance, Stiglitz plays the “democracy” card to argue that allowing individuals freedom of choice and liberty of association and voluntary contract is an affront to “the people’s” majoritarian will. In fact, as I attempt to show, the appeal to “democracy” in each instance is a smokescreen behind which Stiglitz wishes to justify imposing the political, economic and ideological views he thinks should be forced on unwilling members of society to advance his own conception of the “common good.”




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