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Tag: democracy

November 04, 2014

Democracy, distrust, and the Schuette dissent

Today is Election Day. As Justice Sotomayor noted in her dissent in Schuette v. BAMN, “we are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups. For that reason, our Constitution places limits on what a majority of the people may do.” That’s absolutely ...

November 06, 2012

Putting voting in proper perspective

Sunday, I saw school children dressed in red, white, and blue, lining a sidewalk, holding patriotic signs that encouraged people to vote. The overwhelming sentiment was that voting is not only an American privilege, but an essential ingredient to freedom. While voting is a privilege, it can lead to the same sorts of excesses as ...

May 25, 2012

The founders and the primacy of liberty

Prof. Samuelson has a thorough response to my post about John Adams and individual liberty. While it's true I'm not a great admirer of Adams (I'm much fonder of his son), my point was not biographical or historical, but philosophical: democracy is an instrumental good, one that is valuable only insofar as it protects the ...

May 22, 2012

Should we ask permission for our rights?

At the Liberty Law Blog, Prof. Richard Samuelson argues that John Adams' defense of religious liberty offers a model for our own day. Adams refused to write Article III of the Massachusetts Constitution—which provided for an established church—because it was inconsistent with his belief in religious freedom. Instead, Samuelson writes, "Adams pu ...

November 25, 2009

From liberty to democracy

Author: R. S. Radford Ever wonder why there is a Statue of Liberty on an island in New York Harbor, rather than a Statue of Democracy? Many people apparently think the two terms are synonymous, and those who don't often seem embarrassed by references to the supposedly antiquated (or politically tainted) notion of liberty. The ...