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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Democracy’s Most Critical Defect

[I]f I were to send a private Predator drone to Pakistan to fire explosive missiles into villages, killing women, children, and other innocent persons, I would be seen as a monstrous mass murderer, and demands would be made that I be apprehended and “brought to justice” or killed. Yet when President Obama causes deaths in this way, no such demands are made. How did Barack Obama come by the right to kill innocent people? By democratic election to the presidency of the United States, of course. Most people actually believe, and act on the belief, that mere election to a political office can endow a person with standing to disregard the moral requirements applicable to people in general. And not only the elected official, but all those officials beneath him in the chain of command ― nobody demands that the technician who sits comfortably in the United States and directs the exact operation of the lethal drone be brought to justice; he, as the saying goes, is “only following orders.”
-- from "Democracy’s Most Critical Defect" by Robert Higgs

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