MembersThe Dangers of a Value-Based Democracy

No one denies the need for upstanding leadership, but moral arguments are being hijacked to threaten true democracy

| Topics: Benjamin Netanyahu, Democracy
Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Some say that the shift from a law-based democracy to a value-based democracy originated in the 1920s, specifically during the trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. To recap, the two were sentenced to death and eventually executed by electric chair after being convicted of murdering two people during an armed robbery that took place in April 1920. What should have been a criminal case, however, quickly became a political issue after the two claimed their only “crime” was their adherence to an anarchist worldview.

The Sacco-Vanzetti trial became a battleground of morality between conservatives and liberals, and attracted widespread international attention and intervention. It was alleged that the trial had been rigged by heartless conservatives in support of the US Attorney General’s campaign against the Communists. That resulted in the propagation of the theory that conservative ideology was inherently cruel and bad, which consequently meant that liberals and socialists represented the “good guys.” That, in turn, implied that the political Right by definition is morally inferior to the Left. And that, in turn, suggested that certain liberal values and rights...

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