Hành trình vào bản chất của dân chủ và thịnh vượng


Anh Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức - Ảnh gia đình cung cấp

How should the independence of a state or nation be understood? The perception which attributes the independence means its state is ruled by a group of people who have the same race with the vast majority’s is rather widespread. This wrong embracing helps autocracies capitalized on it to maintain their hegemonies. A correct discernment of the independence, therefore, is very crucial to prevent a nation from dependency. It will too require us to think in right ways about the notion of personal strength and individuality. This theme will lead to many studies of democracy and wealth, and their principles.


There are scads of autocracies who have arbitrarily ruled their countries for some decades. Most of them are the ones who played their important roles of the national liberations from colonies. Their nominal achievement were bringing the independence to their nations. But looking into the defacto life of those who live in these countries, it is too hard not to say what a dependent are they though their colors and races are the same with the absolute rulers’.

Those despots, in fact, simply changed the colonies’ sways by theirs. There commonly finds a multitude of violations of human rights, freedom and personnel interests in the name of national security and sakes. The merits of ”national liberation” are exploited to preserve the legitimacy of these repressive regimes. In some places the popular griefs and sufferings are even worse than what they had undergone in the colony time. Bottle changed so did not liquor.


There will be no independence if there is no freedom. And there will be no national independence if there is no personal independence. This is the absolute truth. In the mid of 19th century, Fukuzawa Yukichi who has been credited as the eminent one among the founders of modern Japan made a famous maxim: ”National independence through personal independence”.

He justified that through personal independence, an individual does not have to depend on the strength of another. So it is that personal strength helps build a nation to rival all others. And it was this thought that turned Japan into a great power country within 30 years from a poor backwardness.


An individual is not able to be independent if she or he doesn’t have full freedom. And only when a person’s human rights are fully respected and protected by the rule of law can she or he gain her or his freedom utterly. Therefore a rule-of-law state intrinsically means a legitimate mandate to protect these rights and freedom for every individual, one by one. This responsibility must be enshrined as the ultimate goal of that state. Failing to abide this rule will cause encroachment of individual freedom in the name of national security, social stability, public order that, in vague ways, are usually used by many despotisms to argue for development.

The ambiguity, in fact, easily becomes the pretext to impinge on human security, derogate human rights and offend human dignity relentlessly to gain the prerogative for a narrow interest group. This will definitely end up making the dependence of people on the rulers by imposing fear over the subjects. No freedom leads to dependence no matter what color and race is of the rulers, personal dependence unavoidably causes dependency even if its nation is not under the other country’s jurisdiction.


Canada and Australia follow the constitutional monarchy system that crowns the Queen of the U.K as their head of state. But who can say that they are dependent nations? As long as their peoples like this system it just exists. On the contrary, they can vote to change the system, for instant, to the republic one without problem. They are completely free to choose their political system so their nations are truly independent.

If Barack Obama wins the presidential election in the US whether will the white see themselves as a dependent race? And will the black find their independence from that victory? One who answers yes will look very cock-eyed. A mandate is legitimate only when it is voted by a free election in which the peoples, namely, mandators are fear-free and want-free to cast their ballots. And so is the law. Jean Jacques Rousseau (+) has written in his magnum opus Social contract: ”Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void – is, in fact, not a law”.

Legitimacy of a mandate knows neither race, color, sex, etc… nor birth, accomplishment, ”for people” manifesto of a party ruling by impingement, etc… Making the people either dreaded or economically contingent on the persons in power is the way that a brute tyranny wield to bend people to its strong will. It thereat is never a legitimate mandate even though it accepts the peoples’ franchise nominally.


That’s why The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (UDOHR) proclaims and holds that a man just has freedom when he gets not only freedom from fear but also freedom from want. To this end, it has been concretized into the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to protect and promote these fundamental rights worldwide. As it was not happened on, most of the first world countries firstly respect and ultimately protect those rights in their constitutions fully and enforce them in reality. This was the way that has led these nations to the most democratic and prosperous countries on over the world.

Those rights are sacred and endowed by The Creator, not by anyone else who is a human being or anything belongs to human. Therefore upholding these rights means observance of the objective and natural principles, so called The Creator’s laws that human can discover to understand but can not create as he desires. If a human law does not conform with the correspondent Creator’s laws, it won’t work well and could collapse eventually.


An airplane will not be able to take off if it is designed by the rules that do not thoroughly obey the Universal law of gravitation, Bernoulli’s law and so on. Right after retrieving their sovereignty from the U.K, Indian upheld the political right for peoples by a multi party system. But their economic right was severely restricted so they got a hamstrung freedom that would not make a gist democracy. That’s why they had immersed in the numbing poverty until they repealed the mammoth permit raj in 1991, initiating the democracy in economic activities. Tens of millions of Indian have been lifted out of impoverishment since then, bringing about a series of other achievements of economy, politics, society, culture, technology, defense, etc … This tells why Africa is still rife with wretched nations despite of their long existence of repletion of political parties.

China and Vietnam make another version of infringement on the integrity of human rights. The two countries have recognized the economic right for their peoples but still unrelentingly dis posses their political rights, occasioning another cripple freedom. This model, though, can deliver economic progress and impressive result in combating poverty it simultaneously nurtures social grievances, and decadences and pen them up. When this deterioration comes to fester it will either lead the political body to democratize itself or end up collapse of all economy, society and politics and an upended regime. This is the inevitable evolution because it breaks the integrity of human rights that belong to The Creator’s law. Under the clout of globalization and Internet society, this evolution progresses very fast, sooner than ever seen in the cold war time that marshaled to the disintegration of East European and USSR system.


The rationale of above cases shows that human society will thrive when a man entitles to liberally pursue wealth for his own and, thank to his pursuance, for others who he needs to have recourse for his purpose. This is a basic principle of market economy that is made up by The Creator through the universal behavior of human being. And that a market economy works well and steadily only in a sufficient freedom society which is the automatic mechanism to reach the equilibrium of all economical aspects efficiently. Adam Smith called this mechanism as the ”Invisible hand” which is also a Creator’s law that he had found and unraveled to help develop economic study.

The study divides economic by two branches: positive economics and normative one. The first one studies the natural principles of economic factors and the mutual effects among them, i.e the economic objective realities while the second one studies the results of human’s economic actions and decisions as causalities upon the above natural principles. Accepting market economy means an applying these principles only, yet it is not enough. It indispensably requires an additional mechanism to assure the governmental economic decisions are for the mass, the majority. Without this, man will head his drive, for his purpose of pursuing wealth, to content the decision makers, who are in governance instead of the layman. This moral hazard can be vehemently criticized but it is not abnormal and will, despite of vitriols hurling to it, pandemically exist and undermine any society that has not a substantial enough democracy. Such a system like this is termed as the crony capitalism that can go about as far as a middle income country and stand at that trap.


The substance of democracy is simply the observance of human rights and their integrity. It is that the compliance with the natural principles because human rights are attributed by The Creator. The more completely is observance enforced the more substantial is democracy gained. This substance of democracy does not vary because of any factor that belongs to human such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, stage of development or other status. These things just exert an influence on the form of a democratic society that is inherently the causal result from the motion of them based on The Creator’s laws including human rights. The form can vary but the substance. It must be a bottom-up result and should not be a top-down imposition that contains the anti-democratic essence already.

Human’s view of social form is just able to set into existence only when it is designed upon The Creator’s laws and it must persuade the peoples to subscribe to it voluntarily. Designing a subjective form then roughly forcing the subjects to grudgingly accept it as an only conventional wisdom will produce a constantly instable society because the gap between its nominal norms and the ones in reality increasingly grows, causing broken promise tumble of faith. Now that this designed form would crumble although it never exists defacto as designed. This is as what have seen like. the Third Reich in Germany and USSR in Russia.


When a government must convince its peoples it must also motivate them. The peoples shall, by their turn, build up tremendous impulses to push what their government wants towards the better form of life. By all appearances, a social form that might literally exist in life is always a causality of the commons’ actions on the creator’s laws. The form may match what the governing persons want only if they match their will with the commons’ will and make their desirous laws compliant with the creator’s laws. Empathy of people desire and unraveling the objective natural principles are always the sine qua non in a democratic society.

Wielding state power to inflict the commons bending to a small group’s willfulness would produce fear and drain resource of human capital such as motive, creativity, faith which are the most essential values for sustainable development of a society. People may kind of give up their freedom in return for their living business as long as their government can assure a stable economy growth and distribute it relatively fairly. But this mission is impossible with a low democratic society. When it fails is the time that The Creator takes His toll for breaching His laws. The toll is a humiliatingly overthrown regime and, at times, a violently bloody revolution. Not so is with a democratic society where people can change their government peacefully.


An anti-democratic government always, as its own disposition, delivers fear to muffle the complaints of peoples who criticize its flaws. It, however, also muffles and deludes itself, blinding its eyes before the society’s reflections. Such a government can not build an unshakably viable society but an eventually moribund one. This is because dependent persons are not capable to lead their peoples to a national independence, but to a dependency. Dictators and anti-democratic governments are truly the dependent ones though they usually show up their powerfulness.

An independent man is never thoughtlessly contingent on other’s critiques while a dependent is obsessively scared with them, wishfully thinking that they would cast an ugly shadow on him. He is never self-confident enough to understand that how people thinks of him is just the consequence of his own behaviors, not of other who fulminates against him. This is literally an adjunct’s mind set that, when it appertains to ones who in the saddle, always conducts to repressions against their dissidents, saddling their peoples with fear to gloss over their feebleness. The bullies hide their cowardice by cruelties. The tyrannical Saddam Hussein exposed his dastardliness being caught when fleeing.


Saddam’s regime has been toppled for years yet an independence of Iraq hasn’t come. This is not because of the US occupation. It just happens when the Iraqi are consciously self confident to build their own personal dependence so as to make their nation an independent. This is the MUST for all nations around the world to be truly free and independent in order to have democracy and prosperity. There are less than 1/7 worldwide population living in such countries like this while more than a half still struggling with poverty and want. The movement of national liberation after World War II had thrived and achieved more than half a century ago yet it has not brought freedom and independence to many countries in order to be democratic and prosperous. But mostly brought about totalitarianisms; demagogies; deprivations or curtailments of human rights and freedom, frightened and dependent peoples; poverties and even famines.

Questing the world’s history of democracy and prosperity stretching from the ancient Roman time to now, and hewing these categories to distill their essential substances so as to unravel their relevant natural principles. And applying these principles to find the fastest and sustainable paths to freedom, dependence, democracy and prosperity for nations is the ambition of this book – Hewing Quest for Democracy and Prosperity.

The book is about to understand the rationale and genesis of above categories, in the relations with the substance of a rule-of-law state and its various forms, as well as the role of a civil society inside it to assure the peoples playing by the rules to make it works. And how to encourage individual freedom while countervail it with the collective and universal values instead of to defeat the individualism.

The book believes that such above paths will help maintain peace and prevent war for the world.


(+) Eminent Genevan philosopher, writer and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution (1789).

© Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức

© Đàn Chim Việt


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5 Phản hồi cho “Hành trình vào bản chất của dân chủ và thịnh vượng”

  1. student says:

    Qua bài viết này, con thấy vô cùng phục chú Thức. Quan điểm của chú chẵng sai tí nào cả.
    ĐCS luôn là thế ,” chống chỉ có chết”. Bọn họ muốn gieo câu này vào các nhà yêu nước. Nếu ai yếu tim thì im ru luôn thôi. ĐCS đúng là hiện thân của lủ quỷ.Vừa ăn cướp vừa la làng. Mong chú Thức ở trong ấy luôn giữ được cái đầu tỉnh. Con tin rằng một ngày không xa chú sex được tự do.và mong rằng cái ngày ĐCS trả giá cho những hành động của chúng tạo nên đến gần hơn. Thân!

  2. dayton says:

    Một bài viết rất hay, rất có giá trị cho tất cả trí thức, người dân Việt hiện nay. Rất mong có thêm nhiều bài như vậy nữa. Và mong rằng thanh niên nước ta ngày nay nên để thì giờ nghiền ngẫm những bài viết như thế cho một Việt nam tương lai tươi sáng !
    Cầu mong sao cho anh Thức sớm được trả tự do.
    Cám ơn Bác Trần văn Huynh đã dành thời giờ quý báu dịch và phổ biến bản văn trên.


  3. nguyenha says:

    Nhìn dáng vóc anh Trần-huỳnh-Duy-Thức trước vành-móng -ngựa Tòa-Án CS mà lòng thắt quặn!! Một “dáng vóc” uy-vủ bất năng khuất! Dất nước có 4000 năm văn hiến,bây giờ dể những “tinh-khí”dân-tộc
    mai một hết sao?? Một khi “những vì sao Bắc dẩu”không còn nữa trên bầu trời Việt,thì thử hỏi Dất-nước VN
    sẽ còn lại gì??chẳng lẻ còn lại những-dại-gia,những chân-dài,người mẩu,những cảnh ăn chơi sa-dọa !!Môt
    bóng dêm bao phủ:bóng dêm của ngu-dốt,của lọc-lừa,của tàn-bạo…thế thì còn gì nữa dể mà nói!!
    Dành rằng,”dất nước có suy,có thịnh.Song hào-kiệt thời nào cũng có”,song câu nói dó chỉ dúng ở một Dất-
    nước có “lòng-nhân”! người lãnh-dạo có “tâm dức”.Anh- hùng- hào- kiệt dưới chế-dộ CS,nếu không có
    tiếng nói ở ngòai,không khéo chỉ là vật tế-thần.Cầu mong những bậc thức giả,dồng bào Hải-ngọai,các bạn
    trẻ có vị trí trong chính quyền các nước,hãy lên tiếng nói dể bảo vệ những-dứa-con-yêu của Dân-Tộc,mà
    trường hợp Trần-huỳnh-Duy-Thức là một diển hình>?

  4. Nguyên Giao says:

    Mỗi quốc gia hơn nhau nhờ chỉ có một số rất hiếm cá nhân xuất chúng: Nam Phi có Mandela, Tiệp Khắc có Havel, Miến Điện có Aung San Suu Kyi; VN cũng có những nhân tài nhìn xa thấy rộng như Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, hay Cù Huy Hà Vũ thì đều bị bắt bỏ tù, khác nào như một người tự chặt cái đầu; Làm sao còn có thể ngóc lên bắt kịp các nước láng giềng đang tiến triển thành rồng, thành cọp?

  5. Anh Trần Duy Thức có tư tưởng rất thâm thuý về tự do, độc lập và dân chủ, anh chỉ biểu lộ quan điểm mới để đưa dân tộc thoát khỏi cảnh nghèo đới lạc hậu, mong nước nhà tiến bộ. Nhưng tiếc thay, một anh tài sinh ra trong một đất nước mà bọn tự nhận là đầy tớ của dân trá hình, đày ải người dân. VC không có trình độ hiểu những tư tưởng thâm thuý của anh nên chúng mang hận thù thiếu ý thức vai trò lãnh đạo, nên can tâm đày đọa người con tuấn anh của dân tộc, giết chết một anh tài của dân tộc.

    Tuy nhiên còn nước còn tác, gia đình cố gắng đánh động dư luận thế giới về vụ đàn áp và bỏ tù vô chứng cớ về bài viết của anh. Làm mọi cách để anh ra khỏi nhà tù VC, tốt nhất thoát khỏi thiên đường VC để anh tự do phát triển tài năng của mình. Anh Thức có một ưu điểm đáng chú ý, ngoài ý thức chính trị về một xã hội công dân, anh còn có đầu óc kinh doanh. Nếu anh được ra nước ngoài, anh làm nhiều việc rất hữu ích cho cộng đồng dân tộc.

    VC kết án anh 16 năm tù giam, bản án quá nặng nề đối với những bài nhận định tiến bộ của anh về hiện tình xã hội VN, VC là đám ngu, chúng chỉ biết cầm súng bắn vào đầu những chiến sĩ văn hóa và chúng đâu thấy hòa quang huyền diệu của anh Thức về tư tưởng và hành động của anh trong vấn đề nêu cao ý thức và trách nhiệm của người dân trong sự quyết tâm là làm sao cho con người sống trong ý thức an lạc, xử lý đúng trong cuộc sống để cùng nhau bước lên trên con đường tiến bộ.

    Những người Việt nào còn thương dân tộc, nếu có khả năng, cố gắng vận động dư luận thế giới, thông qua những tổ chức nhân quyền, để những tổ chức này trực tiếp can thiệp về trường hợp VC giam cầm anh một cách vô lý. Tổ tiên ta thường nói: dẫu xây chín bật phù đồ, không bằng làm phúc cứu cho một người. Nếu chúng ta cứu sống anh Thức, thật là một phước đức vô lượng. Cầu nguyện Phật, Chúa phù trợ cho anh tai qua nạn khỏi, đủ can đảm và trầm tỉnh để đối đầu với hoàn cảnh khó khăn trong nhà tù khốn khổ VC. Chúng ta mong tương lai đẹp sẽ đến với anh Thức, đó là ước mong chung của toàn thể dân tộc.

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