• Democracy Under Threat

    Winston Churchill once said that “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”

    We also know that democracy is a tender plant, that is constantly assailed by those – usually the rich and powerful – who find it irksome to suffer the limitations it places on them. It needs to be defended robustly if it is to continue to protect our liberties.

    A democracy that is not defended by the people it serves will quickly wither and die. Those who have found themselves in a society that is not protected by democracy – and by its soul mate, the rule of law – have quickly discovered how tough life can be under a regime without either of those safeguards.

    A democracy will continue to flourish only if the people defend it. If the will to do so weakens, the long dark night of totalitarianism beckons.

    A society in which an extremist minority conduct themselves without regard for the law or for the wellbeing of their fellow-citizens and whose explicit goal it is to “get rid of the government” must be regarded as under serious threat – and the challenge to it must be regarded as nothing less than an attempted insurrection.

    That threat must be met and averted by the combined will and determination the people as a whole. If they cannot summon up that will and determination, democracy is finished – and power will be seized by those with the loudest mouths and the most selfish and self-regarding motives.

    All of this makes even more extraordinary the fact that a number of highly placed and well-regarded New Zealanders have expressed their support for the so-called “protesters” on Parliament’s grounds.

    Such people seem to have allowed their political opposition to our elected government and desire to “get rid” of it – and their loss of confidence in their ability to vote it out of office – to take over what we might have hoped was their common sense and understanding of the value of democracy.

    Those who sup with the devil must have a long spoon. By the time these misguided revolutionaries wake up to their mistake, it will be too late. There would be few freedoms – and certainly no ability to protest – under a non-democratic regime.

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