The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs
Da Ma LeHashiv- Democratic Values- Part I
By: Rav Moshe Ganz
We are not dealing with Democracy as a form of government- the rule of the people. We accept this form of government in the present absence of a superior type. Rather, we will engage the value system of Democracy. These values were established during the French Revolution "Freedom, Equality and Fraternity". As of late, these values have virtually reached idolatrous levels. It is a mitzvah to shatter them somewhat.
Why do I refer to democratic values as idolatry? By his nature, man is inclined towards the good. At times he is not ready to act in accordance with this desire; man frequently falls and stumbles. Yet, a hidden dream is present-for a good world, to be a good person. This internal desire is the hope of the world to achieving rectification (tikun).
However, what constitutes good (and bad)? This desire must receive clear guidelines! Thus, wise men have provided the formula- freedom, equality and fraternity. If they are achieved, the reasoning follows, we have greatly advanced. We must educate towards these concepts;
This formula does not necessarily facilitate grasping the exalted goal of goodness. Certain fundamental spiritual issues are not attained by the above concepts. At times they even conflict with proper relations with fellow human beings. Certainly freedom, equality and fraternity contain positive aspects. Elevating them to absolute values is what is improper. Contemporary society enthusiastically accepts the democratic values-both the positive and negative aspects.
Nowadays an enlightened individual undergoing self-introspection will not gage if his actions and direction in life are good. Rather, he examines if he conducts himself in accordance to "the values of democracy". For this reason I refer to democracy as idolatry; due to the people who accept it as an ultimate value (everything else is subservient to it). The worship of democracy includes high priests- judges, journalists and public figures. Democracy contains halachot, decrees ("seyag lesayag), and decrees to decrees. It includes sacrifices; even children are sacrificed on the democratic molech!
In the upcoming Torahletters we will examine manifestations of the idolatry of democratic values.
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