German Chancellor Merkel has just given us a lesson in why American democracy grounded in the power of the people truly guarantees freedom.
Backround. There is an ancient notion with the fancy name of “lese majesty”: that it is a crime to even merely talk about your rulers in a way that they might find insulting.
And this notion is still maintained even in what we have come to believe is a free and democratic Germany. And, to make it even more horrible; it applies not just to the rulers over German “citizens”, but to any tinpot foreign ruler who feels himself insulted by a mere “citizen” in Germany!
And so we have a modern horror show of Turkish “dictator” Erdogan being able to have a German “citizen” (a comic named Boehmermann) criminally prosecuted in Germany, because the Turkish “dictator” feels himself insulted ! (There is also the sweetest of ironies, that this criminal prosecution is permitted by a former victim of the communist terror state of East Germany !)
But the incident is a gift to us. It allows us to recognize and learn that not all democracy is the same; that not all freedom is the same. And the lesson to be learned (and re-learned in every generation) is the unique genius of the type of freedom held by the American people and its necessity for there to true democracy.
It’s so simple, really. All power in America resides in the People. It is the American People who have all rights and liberties. It is the American People who give any power to the state; to the country. And, any government which has power only from the people may be truly democratic.
And, in Europe, as elsewhere in the world, it is the State – which gives all rights and liberties to the people. Yes, ass-backwards!
It is that “simple” difference which makes all the difference. It sets us apart; it makes us free. It was the genius not just of the founding fathers, but of the revolutionary “citizens – to – be”.
The American People give power to the state; the State does not give rights to the people !