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Is liberal democracy the best model of democracy?

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Is liberal democracy the best model of democracy?

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  • December 11, 2004
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In this essay there are a number of topics that I will consider and elaborate on. First of all I believe that it is useful to briefly state that democratic governments are preferable to non-democratic governments. After this I will outline what liberal democracy is and what it is supposed to achieve. Following this will be whether or not direct democracy is an alternative. After this will be criticisms levied on liberal democracy and why, starting with Karl Marx' critique and then an Anarchist's. Finally I will conclude whether liberal democracy is the best model of democracy and if not, which one is.

Although many famous political thinkers have disagreed on the concept of democracy itself, most will be consistent that any democratic system of government is better than a non-democratic system of government. I do not intend to put forward this argument because it is not required, but it is nevertheless good to state. Robert A Dahl in his book 'on democracy' gave a number of plausible reasons for this case.

Today liberal democracy can be found in almost all advanced capitalist societies and now extends, in one form or another, into parts of the former communist world and the developing world. An important question to ask in the light of this, is what is liberal democracy?

Liberal democracy is a form of representative and indirect democracy that operates through elections that in theory should allow all individuals within a sovereign nation state the right to choose who is to rule on their behalf. Liberal democracy came into existence with the emergence of the liberal state as well as law and order.

Its basis was upon the principle of limited government with checks and balances to ensure that individuals were protected from the state, such as an independent judiciary or a written constitution. Fundamental to liberal democracies is respect for freedom, rights (especially property rights), and civil liberties.

The 'democracy' part of liberalism is the...