It takes a nation to protect the nation
The Standard Definition of Democratic Elections
"Democratic elections are not merely symbolic. They are competitive, periodic, inclusive, definitive elections in which the chief decision-makers in a government are selected by citizens who enjoy broad freedom to criticize government, to publish their criticism and to present alternatives." - Jeane Kirkpatrick, scholar and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Democratic elections are competitive.
Opposition parties and candidates must enjoy the freedom of speech, assembly, and movement necessary to voice their criticisms of the government openly and to bring alternative policies and candidates to the voters. Simply permitting the opposition access to the ballot is not enough. Elections in which the opposition is barred from the airwaves, has its rallies harassed or its newspapers censored, are not democratic. The party in power may enjoy the advantages of incumbency, but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair.
Democratic elections are periodic.
Democracies do not elect presidents or prime ministers-for-life. Elected officials are accountable to the people, and they must return to the voters at prescribed intervals to seek their mandate to continue in office. This means that officials in a democracy must accept the risk of being voted out of office. The one exception is judges who, to insulate them against popular pressure and help ensure their impartiality, may be appointed for life and removed only for serious improprieties.
Democratic elections are inclusive.
The definition of citizen and voter must be large enough to include a large proportion of the adult population. A government chosen by a small, exclusive group is not a democracy--no matter how democratic its internal workings may appear. One of the great dramas of democracy throughout history has been the struggle of excluded groups--whether racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, or women--to win full citizenship, and with it the right to vote and hold office.
Democratic elections are definitive.
They determine the leadership of the government. Subject to the laws and constitution of the country, popularly elected representatives hold the reins of power. They are not simply figureheads or symbolic leaders.
Defects in the Definition
Please note that the four freedoms given in the box on the right aren't the only defects, there are many others. However, those four defects are the ones that constitute the greatest current threat.
Other defects are:
The 4 Freedoms and Islam
This issue has been recognised by the ECHR in its Annual Report of 2003 by the following statement on Islam:
... the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”. According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.
Note that this judgement was reached without even appealing to the evidence of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights as Islamic violation of the fundamental precepts of Democracy and Freedom. The 4 Freedoms as defined on this website are the subset of the key freedoms of secular democracy which are antithetical to 3 of the 4 submissions of Islam.
Previous generations of ours have fought for these freedoms against Nazi or Japanese fascism, and against Marxist Totalitarianism. We recognize that currently, the main threat to those freedoms comes from some of the core teachings of Islam - which teaches and promotes values that are contrary to our 4 freedoms.
Islam intends to unite all Muslims around a common belief, and use the concept of jihad to further its aims. That belief divides the world into good Muslims and inferior Kafir (i.e. non-Muslims) with subordinate human rights. Consequently, in order to survive, non-Muslims throughout the world must unite to defend those basic human rights as expressed in the 4 Freedoms.
The means that we use to achieve this goal is the law. The law applies to people's actions and words, written and spoken. Its should not discriminate on the basis of race or gender or personal belief system. However it should discriminate on the basis of ideology if that ideology itself discriminates and seeks to destroy those latter protections in law, in the same way that a Nazi ideology is illegal. (The confusion with Islam arises because it is a political ideology, covered with a layer of religion).
The application of the law should be restored to being equal, which necessitates correction in two ways.
Further Explanation of the Qualification of Freedoms 1 and 2
We are concerned with the founding principles of our democratic system, because those are the ones currently under attack. Please note that these systems are constructed in layers, in just the same way as the bootstrapping method of starting a computer operating system (for further explanation see example 5 in SRS: Self Referencing Systems). The first layer starts with definitions of basic freedoms.
First of all, why did people start making these definitions in the first place? Well, it was so they could create stable, long lasting institutions and governments, which would preserve as much of the rights of individual people as possible. So there's no point in constructing a really great system, if it allows itself to be destroyed and replaced by its antithesis shortly afterwards.
The flaw is that we have defined a secular democracy in such a way as to allow it to be destroyed from within, because in trying to make it as 'free' as possible, we have allowed the freedom to operate of forces that cunningly want to destroy it. So why did we bother with the definitions in the first place?
The correction (as with the other instances of SRS), is to start to take account of some of the properties of the parameter in the definition of the function, to limit or correct the behavior of that function itself.
So we need to say:
(a) Any speech is allowed, except that advocating the extinction of these 2 freedoms
(b) Any party is allowed (to canvas for election), except those advocating the extinction of these 2 freedoms.
Now I need to clarify one point. We have not here described the entire system, we have merely constructed a non-contradictory (in the sense of non-self-destructive) base system. From this non-contradictory base, we can then construct a wide variety of complete systems. For example, we can have a democracy where there are no laws of libel or defamation, or we can have a democracy which is so strict on defamation that any humor which might offend anyone is banned. There is a spectrum of choice, and society can decide whereabouts on that spectrum it wishes to position itself. But the point is, wherever you are on that spectrum, you need the base of (a) and (b) or it can still self-destruct.
Car Engine - Speed Limiter
The situation is analogous to a rev limiter on a car engine. You have a rev limiter to stop the engine from destroying itself, by being given too much fuel when it is not under sufficient load to slow it down. You need to have that concept in operation no matter what other things you have in the car, or it just doesn't make sense to make the car.
You can, in addition to the rev limiter, have cruise control to allow the user to control the speed even further, and even a cruise control which applies itself automatically according to speed limits transmitted from the roadside - but those are optional refinements. If you don't have that 'automatic road speed limit enforcer', you may break the speed limit and get fined, but the car will not destroy itself from within by over-revving. You have a choice about the severity of application of limits on car speed in society, but you don't have a choice (sensibly) about allowing the car to destroy itself from within. To do that defeats the whole point of having a car.
There is no point in making an engine that can destroy itself, but you could want an engine that can break the speed limit. If your wife is dying from a serious medical problem, you may want to break the speed limit to get her to the hospital on time, and take the consequences of breaking the law instead of the consequences of her death. But there is no way it can make sense for the engine to destroy itself. The whole purpose of the engine is to provide propulsion (via torque). If it destroys its essential function, then there's no point in having it. If you seize up the car engine whilst racing with your dying wife to the hospital, you have clearly failed.
In just the same way, there's no point in having a democracy, whose essential function (or raison d'etre) is to safely provide freedom, if it is constructed in such a way that it will cease to do that.
Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
To borrow a phrase from mathematics, these are the necessary and sufficient conditions for defining a non-suicidal system, i.e. its just those 2 conditions and no more at this stage. Then you have the option of adding more conditions later if you want, but you have that choice later, of which extra conditions you add.
But for these 2 freedom conditions, you have no choice. The purpose of these 2 freedom pre-conditions, is to stop the function from defeating its own purpose, by being applied to itself. So, to recap:
A democracy obviously needs other components like the three arms of legislature-judiciary-executive and a military force to repel outside attack, etc, but whatever further layers are created, it still needs to be built upon the base framework of (a) and (b) above.
I'm going to respond to a point I received from outside 4F.
Here we come to a problem of perception. I wonder, would you take that point of view as a Christian in Pakistan, where section 295C discriminates against you and allow others to attack you and your family and take your goods with impunity?
Would you take this point of view in the UK where three of my friends have been threatened with firearms and have received an Osman warning which is a police message that there is a credible threat to their life? Or I may read of some other people like me knifed by a 20 strong Muslim gang while walking down the street, because they feel that area is now Islamic land and non-Muslims don't belong there.
I feel that what we are talking about here is a luxury that belongs in the 1960s, we are not in that world any more, and there are only two or three decades left in which to save the situation in Europe. Have you any idea how effective the police are at watching out for people ready to act on their beliefs? MI5 is currently tracking over 2000 radical and dangerous identified groups in the UK. They just don't have enough staff. The situation you are envisioning of a polite and reasoned discussion in the debating chamber or lecture hall, which benefits all, is a luxury we do not have over here. Our backs are against the wall.
As it happens, I also wrote yesterday on the Voltaire principle of "defending your right to free speech tho I disagree", at the end of this article:
Things have moved on, and the old luxuries and safeties are no more. We have to adapt and we have to toughen our approach, or we are finished.
Clarification of the Role of the 4 Freedoms in Matters of Immigration
There is some confusion about the how the definitions of the 4 Freedoms affect a state's position on immigration. This is particularly apparent in the thread around this point, but it has occurred elsewhere as well. Therefore, I will try to clarify how the operation of the 4 Freedoms would adjudicate on this issue, and hopefully find that they deliver an acceptable result :-)
Actually, I never really understood why people have such a fetish about the immigration issue until now - I didn't realise that they perceived anti-immigrationism as a form of racist discrimination. It is not.
The Value of Discrimination
First of all, a small digression to elucidate the meaning of "discrimination". To discriminate, in its most basic sense, means to tell apart, to notice possibly tiny differences, and hence see that two different objects are not the same, and that they can there fore be placed into an ordering. The word 'ordering' is also key. In normal thinking it means we can say that A is 'better' than B, but that is allowing a value judgement to creep in. Is black skin better than white skin? It depends on the colour of the dresses you wish to display at a fashion shoot, or the risk of skin cancer from exposure to the sun. So, without knowing the reference frame, you should not get involved in considerations of good and bad etc.
Then this ability to discriminate used to be seen as a virtue. They would say: "He is a man of discrimination", meaning he has good taste, and the ability to tell things well made from things cheaply made, etc. It is obviously important to have this ability. In fact, without the ability to discriminate, we would all still be living in caves. Can you discriminate between a flint-headed axe and a stone-headed axe? Certainly! Can you discriminate between the uses of a spear and those of an axe? Yes again! Then we start the 500,000 year march to civilisation. So we need to discriminate, that is, tell apart, but we do not want to engage in value judgements as part of that act of discrimination (that can come later if desired).
What Should be Discriminated
Then the question is, what discriminations are relevant to the state? If you reply 'none', then we are not allowed to discriminate between the axe murderer and the charity worker. The state has to discriminate between the actions of its citizens, and treat them differently, incarcerating one and protecting the other.
If you reply 'any', then you will allow the state to treat people differently because of their skin colour, eye colour, religion, etc., giving the blue eyed Muslims all the best jobs, for example. So clearly, that isn't right either.
The minimum level of discrimination for a state to preserve itself, is to tell apart those that wish to destroy that state from those that wish to keep it. That is why the first two freedoms each have a caveat about the type of actions they allow to operate within a 4F society, i.e. "Any speech allowed - except that advocating the end of free speech" and "Any party allowed - except one advocating the end of democracy." So that is the base level of discrimination that is allowed in a 4F society.
Actually, its not just allowed, its mandated, so the 4th freedom is to stop anything calling itself a religion from escaping those two caveats, so it says: "Religion has no exemption in public or political matters". Note the use of the words 'public' and 'political' here. In private matters, 'religion' can say whatever it likes, but as soon as it crosses into the public sphere, it falls under legal purview. This has not totally solved the problem, because now we have the difficulty of distinguishing between the public and the private sphere, but that is, at least, an easier problem to tackle.
Having distinguished between those that wish to destroy our society and those that wish to keep it (the first two freedoms) and between public acts under legal purview and private acts (the 4th freedom), we have now established and protected our 3rd freedom: "All citizens are equally protected by secular law."
This simple statement itself conceals a litany of complexities, far more than I can even begin to cover at this time. But to cut things short, the secular law will at this point begin to discriminate between the behaviour of its citizens on matters of public interest, and punish or reward them accordingly. So, if you commit a criminal act you are punished, and if you go to work you receive a salary. That gives rise to the vast body of the Criminal Law which I can't go into, but suffice it to say that the intention is that the state should not discriminate on arbitrary, personal or private characteristics of a citizen.
It is in that sense that we shall take the meaning of "the state does not arbitrarily discriminate" in the following analysis.
The Three Geographical Areas of Application
There are 3 questions to address.
(1) The first question we have already answered: The state does not arbitrarily discriminate between its (own) citizens.
(2) On the 2nd question, how does a 4F state treat people in a foreign country after conquering them, well, I hadn't thought of this possibility until now, but the 4F principles do not say anything about this either. So, if we were fighting a very bitter war with Germany for example, the 4F principles would allow us to treat Germans who are not UK citizens, differently to UK citizens. If we then conquered Nazi Germany and integrated it into the British state, the 4F principles would then apply, and we would have to treat German citizens exactly like UK ones.
This is a principle that goes right back to the Roman state, and was one of the factors that enabled it to succeed. Interestingly, Islam takes a half-way house on this issue, and it also enabled it to succeed. When Islam has conquered a country, you are able to gain equal rights by becoming a Muslim.
(3) On the 3rd question, how does a 4F state treat people who arrive at its borders, there is no adjudication as they are not citizens of that state. It could let every immigrant in (that signs up to its principles), or let in none at all. So as a member of 4F, you can take up either position, or anywhere in between.
Could it let in all Hindus and exclude all Buddhists? That is debatable but academic, because if it did, then once those new Hindu citizens were inside the country, and, say, married some of the Buddhists at the border, then any attempt to stop the Buddhists coming in would be a discrimination against the resident Hindu's rights.
But could it let in all Socialists but exclude all Muslims and Maoists? Yes, because here we are talking about political ideologies, and the latter ideologies are in direct contradiction with the 4F principles and seek to destroy the 4F state. However, if a way could be found to 'tame' the treasonous and seditious aspects of the latter two ideologies, and get their members to commit to a revocation of all the principles which contradict the 4 Freedoms, then it would be arbitrarily discriminatory to exclude them.
I hope that has clarified the position somewhat, so, in summary, as a 4F member, you can be pro-immigration, anti-immigration, or anywhere in-between.
Your immigration policy, whatever it is, should discriminate between those arriving, according to their political risk to the state, i.e. it should exclude those that wish to destroy it. (How precisely that is defined is debatable at this point).
As regards non-political aspects of the immigrants, the 4F principles would allow you to discriminate between skilled and unskilled, criminal and law abiding, young and old, just like Canada and Australia do, since these are matters of public interest to the state. However it is not advisable to discriminate between black and white, male and female, etc, as, although that is strictly permissible according to the 4 freedoms, it will only lead to further problems and contradictions internally, later on.
Some people suggest that even more restrictions are need at this the lowest level, Layer1, like for example, a prohibition on Holocaust denial:
As it happens I agree on the idea of outlawing Holocaust Denial in the total build of the final system that I prefer, but it does not belong in the base system that everyone needs to use.
The extra restriction wanted (against Holocaust Denial) should not be in layer 1, which is our base definition, but it could be in Layer2 or Layer3. I accept that someone else could want a democracy that allows Holocaust Denial, and it will still function as a democracy and not destroy itself. But that's a discussion for another time and place, it does not belong at the base level. The 2 conditions on the 2 freedoms I've described are non-negotiable. To put it another way, you may see the prohibition of Holocaust Denial as a moral imperative, (but a Muslim may disagree). However, you should both see the first two freedom qualifications as a logical imperative.