It is often in the name of cultural integrity, as well as social stability and national security, that democratic reforms based on human rights are resisted by authoritarian governments.
It is insinuated that some of the worst ills of Western society are the result of democracy, which is seen as the progenitor of unbridled freedom and selfish individualism.
It is claimed, usually without adequate evidence, that democratic values and human rights run counter to the national culture and therefore, to be beneficial, they need to be modified -perhaps to the extent that they are barely recognizable.
The people are said to be as yet unfit for democracy; therefore an indefinite length of time has to pass before democratic reforms can be instituted.
The first form of attack is often based on the premise, so universally accepted that it is seldom challenged or even noticed, that the United States of America is the supreme example of democratic culture.
What tends to be overlooked is that although the USA is certainly the most important representative of democratic culture, it also represents many other cultures, often intricately enmeshed.
Among these are the "I-want-it-all"consumer culture, the mega city culture, the superpower culture, the frontier culture,immigrant culture.
There is also a strong media culture, which constantly exposes the myriad problems of American society, from large issues such as street violence and drug abuse to the matrimonial difficulties of minor celebrities.
Many of the worst ills of American society, increasingly to be found in varying degrees in other developed countries, can be traced not to the democratic legacy but to the demands of modern materialism.
Gross individualism and cut-throat morality arise when political and intellectual freedoms are curbed on the one hand while on the other fierce economic competitiveness is encouraged by making material success the measure of prestige and progress.
The result is a society where cultural and human values are set aside and money value reigns supreme.
No political or social system is perfect. But could such a powerful and powerfully diverse nation as the United States have been prevented from disintegrating if it had not been sustained by democratic institutions guaranteed by a constitution based on the assumption *that man's capacity for reason and justice makes free government possible and that his capacity for passion and injustice makes it necessary.
P.S. 在書櫃一角找到了！是昂山素姬著 Freedom from Fear的 Part 2 The Struggle 第23節：Empowerment of a Culture of Peace and Development (1995, Penguin 版, P.264~265)