Democracy: Evolution of the Political Thought

Introduction

First of all, for this essay it is necessary to define the term Democracy. Democracy basically is a procedure related to decision making, which is inclusive of all members of the society. The term carries different meaning in various cultures, but basically in the West democracy is repeatedly related with the supposition that pronouncements replicate the self-interest of the personage and that cooperatively the quest of self-interest has a say in the welfare of the larger society. On the other hand, in other cultures, self-governing decision-making may be restricted to decisions what helps to safeguard the commons or about who has established the understanding and level of self-sacrifice to make decisions for the complete society; democratic decision-making about which practices maintain the commons may be destabilized by authoritarian powers that are inclusive of widespread recommendations that are too frequently understood in the language of advancement and setting free from traditions.

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Basically it is a term that is referred to the power that the people of a nation having. It is said that the term “is usually used to describe a political system where the legitimacy of exercising power stems from the consent of the people. Accordingly, a democratic polity is often identified by the existence of constitutional government, where the power of the leaders is checked and restrained; representative institutions based on free elections, which provide a procedural framework for the delegation of power by the people; competitive parties, in which the ruling majority respects and guarantees the rights of minorities; and civil liberties, such as freedoms of speech, press, association, and religion” (Spero and Hart, 1999).

Answer

Democracy is a term used to describe a number of related forms of government. The name of the term has been derived from the ancient Greek word meaning “rule by the people”. The most basic characteristic of democracy as understood by one and all today that it is practiced by having spirited elections. These elections usually require having freedom of speech, freedom of the press and media as well as a certain level of having the rule of law. But, the first and foremost characteristic or principle of having a democratic state is majority rule, which is usually adhered to by a number of states. Even though majority has power in a democratic state, minorities also enjoy a number of benefits as well as rights that can not be overlooked by any government. Rights of minorities are always taken care of in a democratic state, even though some label democracy as autocracy of the majority.

Majorities, in a democratic state have certain authorities over others. As is said, “Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual. Minorities — whether as a result of ethnic background, religious belief, geographic location, income level, or simply as the losers in elections or political debate — enjoy guaranteed basic human rights that no government, and no majority, elected or not, should remove.” (Majority Rule, Minority Rights, 2007). This clearly proves that in a democratic state the majority has power over the minorities, but this in no way means that the rights of the minorities would not be taken into consideration. In democracy, as the majority has more authority, it is the duty of the minorities to the trust the actions made by the government and that the government will look after their rights and self-identity. After the accomplishment of this task minorities can contribute to, and have a say in their country’s democratic institutions.

Democracy is a political system by means of which the preponderance of the inhabitants rules. It is different from a number of other types of dictatorship by the extent of the ruling class. Basically, it is supposed that democracy is way by which we can achieve independence, tranquility, and prosperity. Democracy basically is rule by the majority. The limits that are put on the practice of the majority are none. Laws can be passed by the majority based on impulse. But the rights of minorities are protected at all times and perhaps amongst the basic human rights that any democratic government has to safeguard are freedom of speech and expression; freedom of religion and belief; outstanding process and equivalent protection under the law; and liberty to organize, speak out, disagree, and contribute fully in the public life of their society. Democracy is supported by the decisions that are made by the majority group. It is the most significant instrument for ruling peaceful resolutions to conflicts. As is said, “mechanisms are necessary to prevent 51% of people from controlling 100% of the decisions in a democracy simply by having majority rule that allows them to win every vote without having ever to take into account the needs of the 49%. When those needs are intolerably and unreasonably ignored and thwarted, there is a tyranny of the majority. So there are a great many safeguards (though not enough) built into the Constitution that can be seen as essentially trying to prevent that from happening, and that can be seen as attempts to ensure accommodation of minority positions and needs” (Garlikov, 2000).

Democracies realize that the protection of the rights of minorities is necessary to defend cultural individuality, social practices, individual sense of right and wrong, and religious activities and this is perhaps one of their primary tasks. The majority needs to accept various ethnic and cultural groups even though they might seem alien to them and this perhaps is the most challenging task faced by the majority and just about any democratic government. But, it is an accepted fact in a democratic state that multiplicity can be a colossal asset. They treat these differences in individuality, background, and values as a challenge that can reinforce and supplement them, not as a hazard. There is no perfect answer to how minority-group dissimilarity in views and values are determined — only the definite knowledge that only all the way through the democratic process of broadmindedness, wonder, and motivation to cooperate can free societies reach harmony that clinch the twin pillars of majority rule and minority rights.

Democracy is a word that is well-known to everyone, but sometimes it remains a concept that is not very well-understood and misrepresented in a time when totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships in a similar way have attempted to assert popular hold up by pinning democratic labels upon themselves. Basically, according to the dictionary democracy “is government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Defining Democracy, 2000).

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People often use the words freedom and democracy interchangeably, but the two are not the same. Even though there are much similarities between the two and democracy is indeed based on a number of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also comprises of a set of practices and events that have been caste through a long, often meandering history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. Democracy is more than a set of legitimate rules and actions that establish how a government functions (Democracy, 2007).

All democracies are systems in which citizens liberally make opinionated decisions by following the rule of the majority. But rule by the majority is not essentially autonomous: for instance, no one would call a system reasonable or fair that tolerated 51 percent of the inhabitants to tyrannize the left over 49 percent just because of the fact that they formed the majority. In case of a democratic society, majority rule must be attached with undertakings of individual human rights that, in sequence, hand out to defend the rights of minorities—may it be racial, religious, or political, or merely the losers in the debate over a piece of contentious legislation. The rights of minorities are not in any way dependant upon the helpfulness of the preponderance and cannot in any case be gotten rid of by majority vote. The rights of minorities are safeguarded because autonomous laws and institutions care for the rights of all citizens.

It is said that, “Diane Ravitch, scholar, author, and a former assistant U.S. secretary of education, wrote in a paper for an educational seminar in Poland: “When a representative democracy operates in accordance with a constitution that limits the powers of the government and guarantees fundamental rights to all citizens, this form of government is a constitutional democracy. In such a society, the majority rules, and the rights of minorities are protected by law and through the institutionalization of law” (Defining Democracy, 2000).

These are the factors that help describe the elementary rudiments of all contemporary democracies, no matter how wide-ranging in history, culture, and financial system. Regardless of their mammoth differences as nations and societies, the indispensable elements of constitutional government–majority rule coupled with individual and minority rights, and the rule of law is being put in to practices in a number of countries such as Canada and Costa Rica, France and Botswana, Japan and India. All are in favor of safeguarding the rights of the minorities, but the basic notion on which the nations were found was that the majority will rule (Cline, 2005).

Conclusion

In the light of the above discussion we can hereby culminate that democracy is basically an ideas that makes a country to make available an environment that coalesces equivalent advantage and prospect in areas such as politics, society and community as well as the economical factor for the common man. There are a number of advantages of having a democratic nation. The basic characteristic of a democratic state is that it provides power to the majority, but at the same time it also presents equality and freedom as well as the safe guard of the rights of the minorities. Voting is used in order to make a number of decisions and the equality and freedom of the minorities is kept under consideration.

Bibliography

Cline, A. (2005). Ending the Filibuster: Democracy vs. Majority Rule. Web.

Defining Democracy. (2000).

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Democracy. (2007). Web.

Garlikov, R. The Need for Formal and Informal Mechanisms to Prevent “Tyranny of the Majority” in Any Democratic Government. Web.

Majority Rule, Minority Rights. (2007). U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International. Pp.1.

Spero, J and Hart, J. (1999). The Politics of International Economic Relations. Indiana University. 1999. Pp.1.

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