Is democracy compatible with elitism?
Introduction: To analyse the compatibility of democracy with elitism it is first important to define both the terms democracy and elitism. Democracy is in its simplest form is the rule for the people by politicians etc, and elitism is most simply known as ‘a class that rules and a class that is ruled’. This therefore opens up the question, do those in higher positions effectively rule those lower down, democracy within elitism, and the effects if elitism was not around. ‘a minority which monopolises the effective exercise of power’. P69, schwarzmantel.
The importance of elites in high governmental positions- there has to be centralisation in a government, because according to… the majority are disorganised etc, and therefore wouldn’t be able to handle governmental policies. Also been said that the elites have more to lose if everything was to fail, and therefore their best interests are with the people. ‘the mass, who lack both the will and the capacity for political leadership’. P72 “The incompetence of the masses is almost universal throughout the domains of political life, and this constitutes the most solid foundation of the power of the leaders” p82 schwarz
Democracy and competition within- keeping in line with democratic values as well as working alongside elitism. Democracy equals equality, people can still work their way up.. Pareto- Paragraph three:
Sole interest of those in charge defies the meaning of democracy- Aristotle and mob rule- only vote in leaders, don’t have a right over the policies involved- although the meaning of democracy is often contested, it is widely accepted that freedom and equality have a place in democracy. How can this be said with elitists in charge. Paragraph four:
Benefit themselves- elitists, not actually in it for the interests of the people- isn’t this a fundamental value of democracy?- ‘some see the power and privileges of the ruling class and conclude that the rulers exploit and manipulate the ruled for personal benefit’ p126, ‘they live-and live well- from the efforts of others’. P126
Ideologies- career politicians and assorted political interlopers impose themselves on voters Mosca and Michels- democracies can never be more than intra-elite competitions entailing the systematic manipulation of voter’s choices and interests. Weber- there can be a demagogic plutocracy in which an alliance of fox-like politicans and profit-seeking capitalists (“speculators”) rules through deception, demagogy, and the bribing of diverse interests. It was widely believed that finding ways to restrict elite auntonomy and prevent arbitrary elite action is essential if democracy is to have meaning. Schumpeter’s theory- “arriving at political decisions in which individuals (political leaders and elites) acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote”. Democracy in other words, combines governance by leaders and elites with time-limited mandates to govern issued by the demos- assumed that leaders and elites are competitive but also restrained. “The voters must understand that once they have elected an individual, political action is his business and not theirs” p2- “Leaders and elites are constrained indirectly and periodically by their competitions for electoral mandates and, one must add, their need to anticipate and influence voter’s future choices” QUOTES FROM THE DEMOCRATIC ELITISM THING ABOVE
ELITES AND SOCIETY, BOTTOMORE
“groups of people who either exercised directly, or were in a position to influence very strongly, the exercise of, political power” “the majority may, through its representatives, have a certain control over government policy”. “the elite is not simply raised high above the rest of societ; it is intimately connected with society through a sub-elite”. Mosca- “ruling interaction between the ruling minority and the majority, instead of a simple dominance by...
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