Democracy is a sacred word, the credo of our age. People otherwise utterly opposed to each other-say, George W. Bush and Noam Chomskyboth claim to want "more democracy." Absurdities abound on both sides. The Bush administration supports dictators like Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov for "strategic" reasons. From the other side, John Pilger calls American attempts to destabilize the increasingly dictatorial Hugo Chavez a "war on democracy" while Chavez is assuming dictatorial powers.Perhaps the second most misused word in the English language is "freedom." Like democracy, it conveys an instant good feeling. Surely we all know what we mean by freedom, and spreading it in the world must be a good thing. But the Nazis promised Arbeit macht frei-work makes free-when the reality was not work but slavery, not freedom but death. And the invasion of Iraq promised freedom but brought robbery, chaos, and slaughter before returning the country to sectarian rule, heavily indebted to its "liberators."Spreading freedom in the world doesn't imply emptying prisons, closing schools, abolishing jobs, nor even getting everyone drunk. So what is it we want to spread? Not freedoms that destroy freedom for others-to keep slaves or to kill. Perhaps we mean something closer to rights: "freedom from want," "freedom from pain," "freedom to reproduce." But enforcing these "freedoms" requires a huge state apparatus to monitor, assess, and appropriate resources. The result is a loss of freedom all around: even the beneficiaries find their freedom replaced by dependence on the state.