That is of course not taking into account the direct physical harm of another.

"This, then, is one note of liberty which all democrats affirm to be the principle of their state. Another is that a man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it contributes to the freedom based upon equality

  • Aristotle

If this be the case , why does it seem that there is a vehement segregation against people whom simply have different opinions. For example a "holocast denier" ( I am using this as a example because, in Europe , if you deny this event you can go to jail ) REF.


Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Another recent case was Brendan Eich stand on the opposition to gay marriage Which lead to a massive outcry and his eventual resignation from mozilla. And now Dolce and Gabbana , seem to be on the wrong side of the freedom of expression.

I am not sure if i am going too far with this, but for the sake of argument. Take a racist. Yes , hating someone because of their skin color and preconceived ideas, is silly (to put it mildly) . However if one does not act on this idea in a way that then infringes on the rights of that other person , is it wrong?

Are our "freedoms" more variables based on a general consensus for a certain period in time, or are they considered absolute ? And why is there passionate hostility towards opposite viewpoints ,especially when the viewpoints are passive in nature?

  • There is a very simple answer to this: "The Tyranny of Democracy".
    – jok2000
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 16:22
  • naw, we can do whatever-the-hell we like in a democracy. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 2:42
  • 1
    The mind transcends the bounds of any politics. Therefore we are always limitless free. The difficulty is seeing this freedom (shifting perspective). Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 9:27
  • Here in the UK we have an interesting law : If I understand it correctly, "inciting racial hatred" is illegal - you're allowed to be racist (up to you), but you're not allowed to try to get others to be. People have been investigated by the police for uttering racist comments 'just in case'. Within the bounds of your question, would that kind of thing be an infringement of freedom ? Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 9:50
  • There is a very real line where hate speech towards a person infringes on the rights of that person, as outlined in article 29 (2) of the human rights charter. When the freedom of speech starts to encroach on public order and general welfare, i do think investigation is warranted. But that's the thing, what is the determining factor of morality in a democratic society? Because if you read the human rights charter and then look at implemented democratic policy , it seems to tend toward an obfuscation of rights
    – user2683
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


You have several questions in here, but I'll address only the title question about the relationship between freedom and democracy.

The definition of "democracy" is "rule of majority". This means, that in an isolated democracy, there is absolute freedom of majority opinion (outside influences such as other countries with military power would change the totality of this statement). This structure is not tied to any moral standard (although the majority opinion may be guided by moral standards). If the majority decided that speeding should be punished by immediate death without a trial, then that's what would happen.

Democracy is not freedom of any one person (anarchy), democracy is freedom of the majority of a group of people. It should be noted that no democracy can exist in a strictly defined form for long - no current governments are strictly democracies. John Adams said, "Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." REF

  • Yeah, that makes sense. That does however bring into question the validity and authority of the human rights charter. Take the new Indiana law (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) which seems to be in conflict with article 7 of the charter. It also seems as though the response to the bill ( in terms of boycotts ) is more towards the state , then the state constituent administration. Although with reason , would it not be more reasonable to approach such a problem through the political process , which the majority have accepted, by way of legislation. Thanks for your input.
    – user2683
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 18:05
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    The American system is a republic which is a modified form of democracy. We elect politicians and they make rules. One of the many break down points is that they are elected on a small group of highly visible issues, and then they are asked to make decisions on a plethora of issues over several years largely without public oversight. This means that decisions often get made without a majority of constituents approving of them. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 18:48
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    Authority of any agreement (charters, laws, contracts) is a function of the motivations of all parties and the power of each party. In global real-life, there is no majority-rule, there is only power-rule. For example, the US constitution itself was designed to keep power and decisions away from the common person - and it was written by a small group of elites and ratified by elected officials (not the people directly). Even now, we don't vote for president, we vote for an elector who votes for president. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 19:26

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