The Cornerstone of a Healthy Society


If you look at the ‘quality of life’–indices out there, which rank countries according to what degree their citizens have overall enjoyment of life and general well–being, there is something that becomes quite obvious. There is a high correlation between the extent to which there is freedom of press, democracy and judicial independence in a country and how high or low that country is positioned on those lists.

I have the impression that freedom of press, democracy and judicial independence, together are the cornerstone of a healthy society and that first constructing that cornerstone is, in by far most cases, a prerequisite for creating good quality of life and prosperity in a country.

Freedom of press ensures that all citizens can be freely informed about what goes on in their country and the world and what the views and actions of their elected officials (or those who are running for office) are. Because of freedom of press, the citizens of a country can be well–informed when they elect their leaders.

Subsequently, democracy means that, through the process of free and fair elections, the well–informed citizens can elect their representatives into office and they can hold them to account at the next elections.

And the laws that are made by those representatives can only function well if there is judicial independence. Courts shouldn’t be improperly influenced by other branches of government or by private interests. Only then people and businesses can truly exercise their rights and feel protected under the law.

Moreover, judicial independence also serves as a protector of democracy, as was evident in the months right after Donald Trump lost the U.S. presidential elections in 2020.

That is why freedom of press, democracy and judicial independence form the cornerstone of a healthy society. Just as with physical health, it’s hard to function properly and have prosperity and well–being if you’re not healthy as a society.