February 2, 2013

ILYA SOMIN: What to Do When Illiberal, Anti-Democratic Forces Take Power Through the Democratic Process.

Remember: Democracy is a means, not an end. It’s valuable as a means of protecting those unalienable rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But those rights are unalienable — incapable of being alienated, that is, bought, sold, or given away — which means that even if you live in a democracy, you haven’t surrendered them to the majority. A majority that wants to take away your unalienable rights isn’t a legitimate government. I’m gratified by how many Egyptians seem to grasp that; it’s more than I expected, though perhaps not as many as it needs to be. It’s clearly more than the Muslim Brotherhood expected, too.