Democracy, Freedom and Independence

The words democracy, independence and freedom are frequently used carelessly without a clear understanding of the fundamental conceptual difference between them. They are in fact orthogonal even though they are sometimes correlated. Independence and freedom are used interchangeably, and democracy is automatically assumed to imply independence and freedom. That’s confused and wrong.

You do have states that are independent, and in which the citizens enjoy economic, civic and democratic political freedoms. But that’s not the only choice: you could have states in which citizens have economic freedom but are not independent; you could have independent states in which citizens have democratic political freedom but little economic freedom; you could also have states in which citizens lack political freedom but have economic and civic freedom; and so on. Continue reading “Democracy, Freedom and Independence”