Democracy and freedom of expression



In The Wolf and the Silence of the Lamb, I said, among others:

“The core of democracy is representation. It is a system of governance where the people are represented by representatives who are elected by the people. These representatives then form a government. The government than governs the people. A state is then formed, consisting of the government and the people it governs.”

More importantly, I attempted to correct the popular notion that democracy was the cause of liberty. After alluding to Marx’ Utopian state, I opined:

“The obvious flaw in Marx’s theory of a utopian society makes democracy a very alluring alternative. If at all, it pushes to the fore the false notion that liberty is the product of democracy, when in fact democracy is just but one of the many (flawed) ways of protecting liberty. Liberty is not caused by democracy. It rather is the cause for democracy.”

And I asked some sobering questions:

“That brings us to some sobering thoughts. Can liberty be usurped by democracy? Is it possible for a democracy to destroy liberty in itself? In that event, what will happen to democracy? Can it exist without liberty?”

I would like, in this article, to expand the theoretical postulation that the  basis of democracy is liberty and freedom, in terms of the freedom of expression of the people in a democratic state.

I feel that a deep understanding of this area of the democracy theory is important, more particularly due to the current climate in Malaysia, where BERSIH is planning a rally for electoral reform on the 9th July this year while at the same time, the usual suspects of horror and doom, Perkasa, Ibrahim Ali and their ilk are planning to create disturbances.

Democracy, to my mind, starts with an expression of will by the people or a group of people. The will which was being expressed was the will to be represented in the governance and administration of the state which the people formed.

That will was expressed through the process of elections.