“Hewing quest for Democracy and Prosperity” written by Tran Huynh Duy Thuc


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[1](+) 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.

For Vietnamese reading, click here.

* * *

Whether does a certain form of society stick on a constant attribute, such as ”the nature of capitalism is bad and exploiting of man by man”’ or ”the nature of socialism / communism is good and always for people”?


Only elements that are attributed by The Creator hold constant attributes which are literally their substances or natures. These are uncontrolled or unchanged by the human, such as chemical elements, forces of gravity and human rights. All the attributes of what can be controlled by the human are always changeable, depending on time, human’s strength and most importantly on The Creator’s law related. For example, man can make up various kinds of steel: stain and stainless; different airplanes: propeller-driven or jet; and contrary societies: tyrannous -> corrupt -> destitute -> backward or democratic -> equal -> prosperous -> civilized. The more natural principles and their knowledge that man can unravel and obey, the better steel or airplane or society he’s able to make, and the more people would buy his product convincingly. Statistically speaking, The strength of human kind depends and proportionally grows with the human race’s discernment of The Creator’s laws. It’s the legitimate and sustainable strength.

The Newton’s discovery of Universal law of gravitation had not only proclaimed the demise of Roman Catholic church’s erroneously imposed truth of ”the sun rotates around the earth” and thus its amenable inquisition, but initiated the great enlightenment for human kind of the physical world and thus the Technical Revolution. And the wealth of the world has astronomically thrived since the birth of ”The Wealth of nations”, an Adam Smith’s masterpiece that helps people discern the natural principles of economic. He termed them as ”system of natural liberty” that has been widely applied by many capitalist countries very successfully, under the today term ”free market-economy rules”. It’s why some credited Adam Smith as the founder of capitalism. But this is a wrong idea. He did not initiate a doctrine for an ism in his ”The Wealth of nations”, and the term capitalism just appeared closely a century after his work. He instead found where the economical motives are; show how they drive and how to drive them; how governments should do and not interfere to assure the motives drive faithfully and naturally (i.e by their due natures). These are all about the principles of nature in economic, or the rules of economical natures.


In fact, capitalism had not been formed by a declaration of a formatted or molded doctrine stipulating rigid rules of subjection for the followers. But it has been taken shape naturally, i.e its adherents have upheld the natures of economic and the evolutions, which followed by those natures’ principles and fallen toward the bandwagon’s inclination. Doing so step by step, it has gradually formed up many forms of society (not only a unique one) that share the same elementary laws which uphold private ownership to encourage individual motives in creation of goods or services for profit, keep the markets freely competitive in order to have the Invisible hand to self regulate economic activities, and regulate what Invisible hand doesn’t work. Though it spread throughout much of the world, building democracy and prosperity in many nations with variety of time, culture, politics, geography, its followers has made a lot flowed versions such as harsh sweatshop in Europe and shameful slavery in America by early half of 19th century, or scads of corrupt crony-capitalist governments by now.

So it came to be clear that there is no constant attribute that affixed to a certain form of society and decided by its doctrine or simply by its name. Its attribute is scarcely a pre-set or congenital feature or hallmark, but a floating result depending on the degree of its peoples’ compliance with The Creator’s laws and the activities of theirs especially of those who hold power. History has made known to man many ideologies that had inherently been born with goodwill and kindness of their initiators, but ended up deteriorative existences, causing rampant perils for millions of people. It’s on account of either their innately flawed design not being compatible with the natural rules or their adherents’ subjectivity impinging on the objective of these rules. This was the case of Marx’s doctrine and its deployment by Lenin. Hence it’s impossible to say the nature of communism or socialism is good or bad. The attributes of its different appearances are sometimes bad and good but one can say its ideal, and ideal alone, is ever good and for people. Still, ideal does not always match practice, only one finding out the right path can do.


The best socialist forms that man has ever seen are the social democracies which have been developed very successfully in North European countries. This model was founded by persons who admired Marx’s ideal for working class and his concepts of equal distribution for the mass, but scientifically revised and commented his ways of production and of dealing with class conflict. They admitted economic class disparities between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat but they claimed that this problem would be eliminated through legal reforms and economic redistribution programs. They believed that dictatorship of the proletariat would exacerbate the social relations, claiming that gradualist democratic reforms will improve the rights and benefits for working class. They argued with Lenin over ”class struggle” of Marx, in which they rejected as false of Lenin’s method wielding violence to capsize the upper classes in hope of to rise up the proletariat. They foresaw that this way would marshal to bloody exterminations and social devastations in return for a restrained scrum. They argued that class struggle just builds motives for development as Marx’s will in only where the lower classes may have decent shots at life to improve themselves increasingly to  the better lives or higher classes through a democratic process. These are the just motives in the long run, not the temporary rancorous ones. They rejected forcible revolutionary socialist and supported reformist one which developed a new concept of Social Democratic Socialism that upheld market economy principles to build the social market economy, protected redistribution of growth achievements, guaranteed equal chances and fair goes, permitted private enterprises and supported property rights, etc…

This model had been originated since early 1900s in Mensheviks faction that was denounced and outlawed in Russia by Lenin after the Nov 1917 revolution. Soviet authority imputed it as ”revisionism” and ”reaction”. This word henceforth became the most popular criminal term being exerted to penalized anyone who acted or only talked, differently than the Lenin’s Bolsheviks faction’s creeds, stifling all reacting in the its normally fair meaning. In the countries subscribing Lenin’s tenets the word of reaction makes the peoples dreaded and stir their soul, uprooting all critiques against the authorities together with new creative ideas indispensable for the country development. Peoples in the civilized countries almost never understand why reaction can be a problem, much less a crime.

Social Democracy has proliferated in North Europe since end of  World War II, this-leaning parties have taken ruling power through democratic elections. Though it did not have a flare like did in USSR, it has peacefully, stably and sustainably developed into the best and ameliorative societies on over the world. These are Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands that are also the most democratic, prosperous and civilized nations. The practically taken-shape forms of society of these states have much likeness but are not homogeneous, and do not starkly resemble the one expected by Eduard Bernstein[2](*) and other theorists of social democratic ideology. The forms, however, all share the common elementary rules: firstly and ultimately protecting human rights, watchfully upholding market economy, resolutely maintaining a substantial democracy to make sure that the political decisions are really for the mass, defying forcible revolutions or top-down impositions. These rules build up a fundamental for observance of the principles of natures of human being – the major objective of society. That’s why it has developed many admirable and sustainable achievements which are the results of peacefully evolving from peoples’ activities by this fundamental (i.e under the move of above principles), gradually reaching the sublimity expected by the ideology’s ideal. This model has therefore another official name: Evolutionary Socialism in contrast with Revolutionary Socialism that had flared in the USSR and ended up withering status quo. The rationale of its failure is its defiance against natural laws of The Creator by its conceit superseding those laws with its subjective ones.


China and Vietnam are reenacting this mistake because they can not digest the consequential results of the evolution from the move of market economy that would compulsorily require an increasingly more democratic polity in order to have a social environment supporting for above mentioned fundamental. Such a polity would also balance the social interest between different groups of interest which always exist whether legally recognized or not. The lobbying of these groups would be put under the light of day to prevent bribe and graft perverting social relations. The polity would also not deprive the press of freedom but vice versa, entrust it with full responsibility to reflect multifacets of life multilaterally and prevent and bring to light underhand businesses. It would also empower citizens to hold all person in power accountable.

Although the two countries have accepted market economy and enjoyed its merits, they are apparently not conceivable how this principle irreversibly evolve and where it moves the whole economical, social, political matters to. So they are vehemently defying this inevitable evolution, criminalizing it with the term ”peaceful evolution”. History is repeating. This term now plays the role as of ”reaction” in the USSR time, suppressing all initiatives for peacefully evolving the country to a well-being and penalizing even the well-wishers in return for rife scads of corrupt and degenerate statesmen, decadence of society, peoples of dread and self-doubt. Civilized peoples are so too difficult to apprehend why the peaceful actions are not encouraged, much less chargeable. History is repeating not only this similar period.

Looking back to the Cold war time. In early years of 1970 decade, when the first world, or the world of democratic and prosperous countries, was trying to get closer tie with China in order to pull it out of the central-planning economy, the USSR got into serious but cleverly-covered crisises of economic & society. Market economy had dominated and paid dividends in the first world, then it was being goaded for the developing countries. Less than 20 years later China has cheerfully enjoyed its achievements, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and want. Vietnam followed it later and, thank to that, avoided a seemingly unstoppable collapse. Meanwhile, USSR had stood pat, repudiating market economy that was alleged to be an intrigue of its rivals and hostility to topple it by evolving peacefully attacking from inside. The more  impetuses that the first world goaded, the more intractably did the USSR stood pat. During that time, it was being forced into a proliferation by the USA’s SDI. Thank to market economy, defense budget invested to SDI stimulated US economic growth. While USSR’s resources, without market economy, were depleted seriously and increasingly by the proliferating defense outgoings. When it recognized the problem and genesis was too late. Gorbachev had been hopelessly trying to reform the economy. It led to a political upheaval, overthrowing him and then soon later a total disintegration of the mammoth USSR and its creepy bully – KGB.


Different appearances but same principle of natures. The first world now is endeavoring to goad human rights and democracy instead of market economy as before. Globalization now substitutes for proliferation. It indispensably needs a freedom and democratic fundamental to, similarly with market-economy, automatically adjust all economical, social, political matters in a globalized environment. Without such a fundamental, a country will not be able to manually regulate all above matters to make them work well, eventually draining all national capital sources, financial and human. This is the scathing toll to pay for the infringement on The Creator’s laws – an analog of the lack of market economy in the proliferation – that is unavoidable. It’s simply because that is the evolving result by the laws.

The ultimate result will also be a collapse or disintegration of a regime if it does not soon admit its mistake, keeping repudiation of genuinely respecting and upholding human rights in order to have a substantial democracy. This seems a result of ”pitfall revolution” rather than ”peaceful evolution”. If the pitfall had been or were truly present, perhaps it could have been or could be trapped by the USSR itself or any country that applies market economy and simultaneously rejects human rights, i.e breaches the principle of objective nature. There are a lot of such countries like this, stretching from Asia to Africa, Latin America and even Europe; communist – ruling or not, including various forms of state with or without doctrine; socialist or not, monarchical or republic. Among them are some prominence: China, Libya, Vietnam, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran and even Russia.

The above scathing toll of the Creator for breaching His laws knows neither geography, ideology nor any from taken-shape by human. They are applied equally for everywhere, everyone without exception and no human strength can go against them. Man just can discover them, unravel them, thoroughly apply them to create his strength and MUST conform with the evolution by them. Defiance of such an evolution means driving on the wrong side of history. Perdition. Catastrophe may descend on not only the persons who are liable for it but also the innocent. Aftermaths of dogma.


European people had escaped from the dogma catastrophe of inquisition because of Newton’s enlightenment. Billions of peoples around the world have escaped from the catastrophe of want and famine thank to Adam Smith’s Invisible hand. These are the greatest discoveries of human kind. The greatness is that the findings of natural forces in the physical world and natural motives in the economic world. It were those natures – forces and motives that have helped peoples build up tremendous strength, leaping human kind since then.

There should be such forces and motives and principles of their natures in the world of the whole economical, social and political matters that peoples should discern to avoid the non-democratic catastrophe of similar dogma, and to fastest grow the developing countries into the world of democracy, prosperity and of course, civilization since then.

Finding those natures and principles is the endeavor of this book and would be unraveled in the later episodes of it.

For Vietnamese reading, click here.


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

[2] (*) (1850-1932), Germany politician, founder of Evolutionary Socialism and Revisionism.

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12 Responses to “Hewing quest for Democracy and Prosperity” written by Tran Huynh Duy Thuc


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