When I suggest that democracy is anti-Christian, the response usually
consists of two statements.
The first statement has a strange form. It is not a moral statement
(normative) but a pragmatic or positive statement about the way things
This statement can be proved by observation as many people have died of
thirst in the desert. However I cannot see how the claim that we need
government cannot be proven by observation or experiment.
If I turn the statement into a moral statement:
it looks less certain. If I turn the moral statement into a universal
it starts to look quite shaky. We can all think of governments that are
not good. If I qualify it to the following statement:
- Some governments are good,
It loses all meaning, and begs several questions. Which governments are
good? What are the correct criteria for identifying a government that is
This leads to the second leg of the double, above:
- Democracy is the best form of government.
This is a moral statement. It does not just imply that,
It is a superlative. Democracy is better than all other forms of
government. This takes us back to the first statement. What are the
criteria for deciding the best form of government? It also begs another
question. What is the list of government types that democracy has been
The truth is that those who use the two statements above never think
about these issues. They just assume that the two statements are true. The
problem is that they assuming what you are trying to prove is not very
If the state has power of coercion, and that seems to be its primary
characteristic, then a state that takes actions that are not supported by
a broad consensus has slipped into tyranny. It will be forcing people to
do things against their will, without a moral basis for doing so.
This means that state action must be limited to things that most people
support, regardless of whether they make their decision about these things
on the basis of reason, emotion religion or just following the crowd.
Unless that state stays within the lowest common denominator that everyone
accepts, it becomes a tyrant. This is true whether the state is totally
secular or listens to religious voices.
There are very few state actions that everyone will agree on, so the
role of the state must be very limited.
The only question in Politics is this:
When is force justified?
(Lew Rockwell - The Left, the Right and the State).