Democracy — in Theory and Practice

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 96
  • Published : December 3, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Democracy – In theory And Practice

Table of Contents

1. The 2010 election and its implications…………………………........1

2. An Introduction To Democracy………………………..……………………..1

3. The Origin and Proliferation of Democracy….………..…..……..….1 * 3.1. Athenian Democracy
* 3.2. The Scientific Revolution, The Enlightenment and The French Revolution *
4. The Case Against Democracy…………………………….………..…………..2 * 4.1. The Conundrum of Rational Ignorance
* 4.2. Political Fans Are Not Rational
* 4.3. The Miracle of Aggregation

5. The Case For Limited Government…………………………..………..…..5

6. Conclusion……………..…………………………………………………....….6

1. Overview

The aim of this essay is to explore in depth not only the concept of democracy as verbalized in popular theory, but also the application of democracy in practice. I shall be: outlining the fundamental definition of what in theory is referred to as a true democracy, drawing several distinctions between different types of democracy, analyzing the practical and theoretical implications of the application of democracy and drawing conclusions based upon my analysis

2. An Introduction To Democracy

Colloquially, democracy is often referred to as a system of rule by the people, in which the will of the majority at all times trumps that of the minority. In theory, however, a true democracy (or, if you will, a liberal democracy) entails far more than that. In fact, there are a number of criteria that any given country has to live up to in order to be regarded as truly democratic. These are: * Freedom of Expression: the political right to express one’s views in a public arena, freely and unrestrained by the shackles of censorship. This right is considered paramount by the advocates of democracy, such as the prominent 18th century Scottish philosopher Alexander Meiklejohn. He argues, in his 1948 book Free speech and its Relation to Self-Government, that for a system of democracy to function properly, an informed eloctorate is imperative. And that for this to be possible, he argues, there must be no constraints upon the free flow of information and ideas. According to Meiklejohn, there can be no true democracy if those in power have the ability to manipulate the eloctorate by selectively withholding certain information and stifling criticism * Public, Equal and Secretive Right to Vote: also known as suffrage, this right affords every citizen the ability to vote without having to disclose for whom they voted. It also guarantees that every vote has equal leverage, which means that irrespective of your level of income, your ethnicity, your level of expertise etc., your vote matters just as much as the next guy’s * Freedom of Assembly: the individual right to come together with others and collectively promote, express or pursue common interests * The Majority Principle: the principle that the will of the majority at all times trumps that of the minority. For instance, if 51 % of the population elects to impose higher taxes on the remaining 49 %, they are granted the right to do so, because they are in the majority * Equality Before the Law: regardless of who you are or where you come from, this right ensures that you are treated equally before the law. No one is permitted to buy themselves out culpability * Human Rights For All: this means that regardless of your sex, ethnicity, religion etc., you are not to be discriminated against. Additionally, it grants every citizen the negative right not to be tortured by their government

Important to mention is that there are two major, distinctively different types of democracy; representative and direct. Direct democracy is a democratic system in which people vote for policy initiatives directly. This is often referred to as pure democracy. Most democracies in the world at...
tracking img