Of the people I talk to who care to think about such subjects, most assume that the constraints of constitutionally limited government act in opposition to democracy. And at the most superficial level, I suppose that's true. In a constitutional government, the state has limited powers - regardless of whether it is supported by a democratic majority. But I think it's an oversimplification to assume that limited government acts in opposition to democracy. From my perspective, strictly limiting what government can do is what makes democracy sustainable. I was reminded of this yesterday listening to radio interviews with various leaders of the 'Arab Spring' uprisings. Many of them spoke of the difficulties of transitioning to democratic rule. A recurring theme was that, while it was supported enthusiastically by the majority, democracy was viewed much less favorably by minorities. And that makes sense. Anyone whose values and way of life aren't represented by the majority has little to gain from democratic rule. It basically means they'll always be dependent on the good will (and voluntary restraint) of the majority. Setting strict limits on what government is allowed to do (ie limits on what the majority can force on the minority via government) makes democracy a less frightening prospect for anyone concerned about what happens when they're not in the majority. It gives us some assurance that, even if people you don't like are elected, there's only so much 'damage' they can do. I think this issue is at the heart of much of the current political dysfunction in the US. As we remove and reinterpret constitutional limits on state power, controlling that power becomes a vital goal for anyone worried that their preferred way of life may be in jeopardy. Each side sees the other's victory as a major threat. Liberals fear that letting conservatives take the reigns will usher in greater police state intrusion, laws promoting right wing religious values, and fuel a militant foreign policy. Conservatives worry that liberals will take away their guns, tax them into oblivion and socialize everything under the sun. Regardless of whether these fears are legitimate or not, constitutionally limited government is our single best protection against potential abuse. The more we dismiss it, the worse things are going to get.