Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. Here at CFFAD, we are grateful today, as every day, for “the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” (W. Churchill).
- We are thankful for not living in a state of chaos where only those with guns, money, and connections can have any hope of food security and physical safety.
- We are grateful for not living in a territory ruled by competing war lords or drug lords where public services are few and violence is a constant threat to just about everyone.
- We are thankful for not living under an absolute monarch, a strong-man dictator, or a military junta where only a few elites get the good things in life, where no-one dares to challenge a leader’s bad ideas, and resistance is met with beatings, jailing, and executions.
- We are grateful not to be living under a theocracy where faith outside of what is approved brings shunning, job firing, jailing, and executions.
- We are grateful not to be living in a one-party state – often a disguise for a one ethnicity state – where free-thinking is punished, where only party leaders have power, where only party members control business and government, and resistance is met with harsh repression up to and including death.
We are grateful for living in a republic based on representative democracy. We are grateful for the freedom and mutual respect that democracy requires, and the infrequent use of political violence relative to all the other forms of government. We are grateful for the more stable, peaceful environments found in democracies that reduces the risk to innovative investments. We appreciate the pressure that voters put on their government to provide more public goods such as education, preventative health care, safe drinking water, and roads. The result of more successful business innovation, more education, and more public goods is that most mature democracies are wealthier on average than most non-democracies. In addition, accountability to citizens generates a constant pressure for improvement – and there is always room for that. That’s something to be grateful for today – and something to strengthen and defend every day.
Photo credit: Creative Commons