Adams Would Be Proud

Walter Williams explains why democracy isn’t the best way to protect individual rights.

You say, “C’mon Williams, when people say they’re for democracy, they don’t mean private decisions!” You’re probably right. Indeed, if democratic procedures were applied to those private areas of our lives, we’d see it as nothing less than tyranny. That’s one important problem with democracy: It creates an aura of moral legitimacy for acts that would otherwise be considered tyranny.

That’s precisely why our Founders thought a Bill of Rights was a crucial protection. Thomas Jefferson said, “The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.” So we should ask what life decisions should and should not be made through the political process.


That’s not a new point — it’s been made a million and six times already, by people smarter and more talented than even Mr. Williams. But it still isn’t old.

And don’t you forget it.


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