Throughout history the single greatest problem with democracy has always been personal responsibility and morality.   Without personal responsibility and morality the masses will eventually realize the power they hold to benefit themselves at the cost of others.   Democracy, especially representative democracy, slips easily into cleptocracy.  It sits on a precipice with a slippery slope on one side.  Tyranny of the majority is a term associated with democracy in the past, with just cause.  Another great once said that democracy lasts only until the masses realize they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury; is this not true?  

                The United States experiment with democracy has lasted as long as it has because it was built around a culture, civilization and religion that supported individual rights, individual property, individual responsibility and individual morality.  This cultural norm set standards not codified in the law but adhered to by the masses and the elites alike.  The independence and self reliance allowed for government of the people and by the people to run relatively uncorrupted by privet interests. What happens if the majority of constituents loses the fundamental principles and instead develops an entitlement mindset?  When the many feel that the responsibility that their parents and grandparents welcomed as part of freedom is now the realm of government then we see the growth of government and codification and a decrease in personal morality and responsibility.   Democracy was not meant to function in such a world of excess and blame.  Democracy requires self government to function properly and cannot long survive when the people refuse to bind themselves to a moral code and solid work ethic.  

                Business, politics, religion these are things which cannot be viewed in a bubble.  Economics is not simply the study of how people make business transactions but in essence how they live their lives.  You cannot subscribe to beliefs of freedom and simultaneously acquiesce your risks and responsibility away to another.  You cannot enslave yourself for the comfort of living without responsibility and then not work and serve that master without freedom.  Physics will not be mocked and every action will have its reaction.   If you can separate your life and rationalize your behavior then you will never have to accept any responsibility.  If each aspect of life is its own sphere then there can be no black and white, no absolutes.  When man is free to do as he wishes without constraint; when morality is not binding and there is no higher standard then there is not code of laws and no enforcement agency that can maintain the rights of all.  Man naturally infringes on the rights of others unless he reveres their rights as essential for his own.  Respect for the rights of all as intertwined with your own is the glue of democracy that allows it to solidify and maintain itself as a viable government.  When men become complacent and no longer respect the value of their own rights and are willing to give them away for comfort or safety and when men fail to realize that their rights are only as sure as the rights of the weakest citizen in their society then they have lost the necessary knowledge and understand for democracy and it will not long survive.  Democracy is a delicate phenomenon and cannot endure the loss of structure which comes from an understanding of the fundamental principles and premises which allow it to operate.  To erode individual responsibility and morality is to undercut the very pillars on which our way of life stands.  To separate morality and religion; to separate our higher laws from our secular lives is to destroy a foundation of responsibility and control which cannot be synthesized and cannot be duplicated.  A free society cannot stand when its citizens do not understand the duties of free men.
 





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    Ludwig von Mises: 'Used to the conditions of a capitalistic environment, the average American takes it for granted that every year business makes something new and better accessible to him. Looking backward upon the years of his own life, he realizes that many implements that were totally unknown in the days of his youth and many others which at that time could be enjoyed only by a small minority are now standard equipment of almost every household. He is fully confident that this trend will prevail also in the future. He simply calls it the American way of life and does not give serious thought to the question of what made this continuous improvement in the supply of material goods possible.' - Economic Freedom and Interventionism
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