Judgment, Democracy, and Liberty
27 January 2011 7 Comments
Judgment is the glue that binds democracy to individual rights. Judgment in this context is important because it presupposes the only fundamental behavior common to all human beings, and demanded of all free citizens—thought. Judgment is the use of reason and intellect, to call out cause and effect, and to derive from it a solution to any perceived problem. A lack of judgment implies many things, all of which are contrary to the basic character of democratic politics. The five statements below demonstrate a slippery slope that develops when a citizenry lacks judgment of its own actions, people, and government. These also show how a lack of judgment render a sustainable democratic society impossible.
1) To give up our right to judge is to turn out the lights of our minds and our consciences.
2) Therefore, to give up our right to judge is to alienate cause and effect, thereby rendering the perception of any problems mute.
3) To give up the right to judge opens the door for someone else with interests far contrary to ours to do it for us, namely the government.
4) To give up our right to judge is also, therefore, to give up our ability to evaluate the performance of our government and the manner in which it is provided.
And the coup de grâce is that to forfeit our right to judge the actions of others is to forfeit our democracy in the name of blind obedience.
In this sense, judgment is not simply an act, it is the consciousness of liberty itself. Consequently, this is the only sense one may rationally perceive judgment, for it is the only perception of judgment that renders a democracy practical and credible. Liberty is a conceptual construct yes, but with the power of judgment, of evaluation, of thought, liberty becomes a physical manifestation of the people who employ it. Without our ability and willingness to judge and hold accountable those charged with our livelihoods, liberty is nothing more than a concept devoid not of meaning, but of application and concrete reality.
These are the attributes I see in America today, both in its politics and its people. The American model of democracy was founded on the principle of judgment—the people’s ability to judge their government and their fellow citizens. Judgment, then, is simply holding people, corporations, even entire institutions, accountable for their decisions and the actions taken from such decisions. Judgment is the only failsafe to a democratic nation. It is simply a systematic way of reflecting on one’s self-preservation, nothing more.