Despots can hide behind the word democracy, they can hide behind rigged elections, but they can't hide behind the actions they take that limit liberty. It's all about the liberty thing...not the democracy thing. If liberty is being devalued, limited, decreased or otherwise compromised then we have to scrutinize the leadership for what they are doing. Bottom line, those who limit liberty are no friends to freedom.
Political systems derive their power not from guns and prisons, but from the willingness of those who are to be ruled to expend their energies on their behalf. For state power to exist, a significant number of men and women must sanction the idea of being ruled by others, a sanction that depends, ultimately, upon the credibility of those who exercise such power. When we vote in an election, we are declaring, by our actions, our support for the process of some people ruling others by coercive means. Our motivations for such participation – even if they be openly expressed as a desire to bring state power to an end – do not mitigate the fact that our energies are being employed on behalf of the destructive principle that liberty and social order can best be fostered through the coercive machinery of the state.
What you and I have in common with each other and with everyone else on this planet is a need to mutually protect one another’s individuality. All political systems thrive on collectivism, but liberty is dependent upon a shared love and respect for the inviolability of one another.
'In his celebrated book, 'On Liberty', the English philosopher John Stuart Mill argued that silencing an opinion is "a peculiar evil." If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the "opportunity of exchanging error for truth"; and if it's wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in its "collision with error." If we know only our own side of the argument, we hardly know even that: it becomes stale, soon learned by rote, untested, a pallid and lifeless truth.'
The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)
Source: J. S. Mill: 'On Liberty' and Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
" If we live our lives as a gift it is possible to reach a blissful state of eternal happiness. It is those who live their life with a sense of entitlement that undermine peace , freedom and liberty. Know that every breath is a miracle and every moment a blessing and you will achieve your dreams."
Source: Micheal Teal - Poet , Philosopher and Shaman