Tyranny, Democracy, or Neither?

Political satire is one of the wonderful aspects of a society that believes in freedom of expression.  I am a big fan of this type of humor in general, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on their respective shows in particular.  As much as I enjoy his show, however, Stewart occasionally departs from satire and attempts to teach his impressionable audience lessons in how the American political system works.  Take this particularly egregious clip, for example:

I would argue that hypocritical commentators like Sean Hannity should spend less time worrying about President Obama becoming a tyrant and more time repenting for their own roles in elevating the former president to a similar level.

Nonetheless, that does not change the fact that this country is not ruled by a majority dominating the minority; it is not a democracy and no level of support gives any president the right to violate the Constitution as he pleases. Stewart, as well as many other democracy-loving Americans, should take the time to read the following quote from Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, who said

Of the three forms of sovereignty, democracy, in the truest sense of the word, is necessarily a despotism, because  it establishes an executive power through which all the citizens may make decisions about (and indeed against) the single individual without his consent, so that decisions are made by all the people and yet not by all the people; and this means that the general will is in contradiction with itself, and thus also with freedom.

Read more on Kant’s view of democracy here.

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