In lesson 5, you say, “We are not children.” Is this to be taken literally?

Some of the most important things that I am trying to explain in the lessons are the philosophical foundations of democracy. These are the elements that are rarely discussed, and poorly understood, but which must be in place and followed if the democratic system is to succeed.

For example, democracy says that the people are able to understand complicated issues, and to be responsible. Religions, and also authoritarian governments, say no, that we do not have this ability. Rather, we are children, or even stupid beasts. They then use this judgment as the basis for assuming that they have the right to tell us what to do.

Religions say that we have to follow their rules. They do not believe that we can understand for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, and then choose to do right. Dictatorships say that we are incapable of self-government, so they, the dictators, must lead.

Just look at the SPDC (in Burma). The junta says that the Burma Army is the only thing that can hold the country together. What they are really saying through this is that the people can never find a way to work and cooperate together, in other words, that the Burmese are incapable of democracy.

Democracy isn't easy, of course, but the SPDC is wrong. Burma can have a well-functioning government, and it can be a peaceful society, without the need for a domineering Tatmadaw (Burma Army), to keep everyone in place.