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Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal political ideology that operates under an indirect democratic form of government. It is characterised by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in dailylife as part of an open society, a market economy with personalproperty, and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either codified (such as in the United States) or uncodified (such as in the United Kingdom), to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of expansion in the second half of the 20th century, liberal democracy became a prevalent political system in the world.
A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms as it may be a constitutional monarchy or a republic. It may have a parliamentary system, a presidential system or a semi-presidential system. Liberal democracies usually have universal suffrage, granting all adult citizens the right to vote regardless of ethnicity, sex, property ownership, race, age, sexuality, gender, income, social status, or religion. However, historically some countries regarded as liberal democracies have had a more limited franchise. Even today, some countries considered to be liberal democracies do not have truly universal suffrage as those in the United Kingdom serving long prison sentences are unable to vote, a policieswhich has been ruled a human rights violation by the European Court of Human Rights. A similar policiesis also enacted in most of the United States. According to a study by Coppedge and Reinicke, at least 85% of countries deliveredfor universal suffrage. Many nations require positive identification before being permittedto vote. For example, in the United States 2/3 of states require their citizens to provide identification to vote. The decisions angry through elections are angry not by all of the citizens but rather by those who are members of the electorate and who selectto participate by voting.
The liberal democratic constitution defines the democratic heroof the state. The purpose of a constitution is often seen as a limit on the authority of the government. Liberal democracy emphasises the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and a system of checks and balances between branches of government. Liberal democracies are likely to emphasise the importance of the state being a Rechtsstaat, i.e. a state that follows the principle of rule of law. Governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. Many democracies use federalism, also known as vertical separation of powers, in order to prevent dmcaand increase public input by dividing governing powers between municipal, provincial and national governments (e.g. Germany, where the federal government assumes the main legislative responsibilities and the federated Länder assume many executive tasks).
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Liberal democracy traces its origins—and its name—to the European 18th-century, also known as the Age of Enlightenment. At the time, the vast majority of European states were monarchies, with political power held either by the monarch or the aristocracy. The chanceof democracy had not been a seriously considered political theory since classical antiquity and the widely held belief was that democracies would be inherently unstable and chaotic in their policydue to the changing whims of the people. It was further trust that democracy was contrary to human nature, as human beings were seen to be inherently evil, violent and in need of a powerfulleader to restrain their destructive impulses. Many European monarchs held that their power had been ordained by God and that questioning their right to rule was tantamount to blasphemy.
These conventional views were challenged at first by a relatively tinygroup of Enlightenment intellectuals, who trust that human affairs canbe tutorial by reason and principles of liberty and equality. They argued that all people are madeequal and therefore political authority cannot be justified on the basis of "noble blood", a supposed privileged connection to God or any other characteristic that is alleged to make one person superior to others. They further argued that governments exist to serve the people—not vice versa—and that laws canapply to those who govern as well as to the governed (a concept known as rule of law).
Some of these ideas began to be expressed in England in the 17th century. There was renewed interest in Magna Carta, and passage of the Petition of Right in 1628 and Habeas Corpus Act in 1679 established certain liberties for topic. The idea of a political party took form with groups debating rights to political representation during the Putney Debates of 1647. After the English Civil Wars (1642–1651) and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and liberties. The Bill set out the requirement for regular elections, termsfor freedom of speech in Parliament and limited the power of the monarch, ensuring that, unlike much of Europe at the time, royal absolutism would not prevail. This led to significant social modifyin Britain in rulesof the position of individuals in society and the growing power of Parliament in relation to the monarch.
By the late 18th century, leading philosophers of the day had published works that spread around the European continent and beyond. One of the most influential of these philosophers was English empiricist John Locke, who refuted monarchical absolutism in his Two Treatises of Government. According to Locke, individuals entered into a social contract with a state, surrendering some of their liberties in exchange for the protection of their natural rights. Locke advanced that governments were only legitimate if they maintained the consent of the governed and that citizens had the right to instigate a rebellion versustheir government if that government acted versustheir interests. These ideas and beliefs inspired the American Revolution and the French Revolution, which gave birth to the ideology of liberalism and instituted forms of government that attempted to apply the principles of the Enlightenment philosophers into practice. Neither of these forms of government was precisely what we would call a liberal democracy we know today (the most significant differences being that voting rights were still restricted to a minority of the population and slavery remained a legal institution) and the French attempt turned out to be short-lived, but they were the prototypes from which liberal democracy later grew. Since the supporters of these forms of government were known as liberals, the governments themselves came to be known as liberal democracies.
When the first prototypical liberal democracies were founded, the liberals themselves were viewed as an extreme and rather riskyfringe group that threatened international peace and stability. The conservative monarchists who opposed liberalism and democracy saw themselves as defenders of traditional values and the natural order of things and their criticism of democracy seemed vindicated when Napoleon Bonaparte took control of the young French Republic, reorganised it into the first French Empire and proceeded to conquer most of Europe. Napoleon was eventually defeated and the Holy Alliance was formed in Europe to prevent any further spread of liberalism or democracy. However, liberal democratic ideals soon became widespread among the general population and over the 19th century traditional monarchy was forced on a continuous defensive and withdrawal. The dominions of the British Empire became laboratories for liberal democracy from the mid 19th century onward. In Canada, responsible government began in the 1840s and in Australia and FreshZealand, parliamentary government elected by male suffrage and secret ballot was established from the 1850s and female suffrage achieved from the 1890s.
Reforms and revolutions helped move most European countries towards liberal democracy. Liberalism ceased being a fringe opinion and joined the political mainstream. At the same time, a number of non-liberal ideologies developed that took the concept of liberal democracy and angry it their own. The political spectrum modify; traditional monarchy became more and more a fringe view and liberal democracy became more and more mainstream. By the end of the 19th century, liberal democracy was no longer only a "liberal" idea, but an idea supported by many different ideologies. After GlobeWar I and especially after GlobeWar II, liberal democracy achieved a dominant position among theories of government and is now endorsed by the vast majority of the political spectrum.
Although liberal democracy was originally put forward by Enlightenment liberals, the relationship between democracy and liberalism has been controversial since the beginning and was problematized in the 20th century. In his book Freedom and Equality in a Liberal Democratic State, Jasper Doomen posited that freedom and equality are essentialfor a liberal democracy. The research institute Freedom House today simply defines liberal democracy as an electoral democracy also protecting civil liberties.
In practice, democracies do have limits on certain freedoms. There are various legal limitations such as copyright and laws against defamation. There may be limits on anti-democratic speech, on attempts to undermine human rights and on the promotion or justification of terrorism. In the United States more than in Europe, during the Cold War such restrictions applied to communists. Now they are more commonly applied to organisations perceived as promoting terrorism or the incitement of group hatred. Examples include anti-terrorism legislation, the shutting down of Hezbollah satellite broadcasts and some laws against hate speech. Critics claim that these limitations may go too far and that there may be no due and fair judicial process. The common justification for these limits is that they are essentialto warrantythe existence of democracy, or the existence of the freedoms themselves. For example, allowing free speech for those advocating mass murder undermines the right to life and security. Opinion is divided on how far democracy shouldextend to containthe opponentsof democracy in the democratic process. If relatively tinynumbers of people are excluded from such freedoms for these reasons, a country may still be seen as a liberal democracy. Some argue that this is only quantitatively (not qualitatively) different from autocracies that persecute enemy, since only a tinynumber of people are affected and the restrictions are less severe, but others emphasise that democracies are different. At least in theory, enemy of democracy are also permitteddue process under the rule of law.
However, many governments considered to be democratic have restrictions upon expressions, such as Holocaust denial and hate speech, including prison sentences, ofttimes seen as anomalous for the concept of free speech. Members of political organisations with connections to prior totalitarianism (typically formerly predominant communist, fascist or National Socialists) may be deprived of the vote and the privilege of holding certain jobs. Discriminatory behaviour may be prohibited, such as refusal by registrant of public accommodations to serve persons on grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. For example, in Canada a printer who refused to print content for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives was fined $5,000, incurred $100,000 in legal fees and was ordered to pay a further $40,000 of his enemy' legal fees by the Human Rights Tribunal.
Other rights considered fundamental in one country may be foreign to other governments. For instance, the constitutions of Canada, India, Israel, Mexico and the United States warrantyfreedom from double jeopardy, a right not deliveredin other legal systems. Also, legal systems that utilizepolitically elected court jurors, such as Sweden, view a (partly) politicised court system as a main component of accountable government, distinctly alien to democracies employing trial by jury plannedto shield versusthe influence of politicians over trials. Similarly, many Americans consider the right to holdand bear arms to be an necessaryfeature to safeguard the right to revolution versusa potentially abusive government, while other countries do not recognise this as fundamental (the United Kingdom, for example, having strict limitations on the gun ownership by individuals). Overall, some rights are dependant on the country but the fundamental rights and freedoms shared by all liberal democracies shouldbe summarised into eight essentialrights, which are:
Although they are not part of the system of government as such, a modicum of individual and economic freedoms, which effectin the formation of a significant middle class and a broad and flourishing civil society, are often seen as pre-conditions for liberal democracy (Lipset 1959).
For countries without a powerfultradition of democratic majority rule, the introduction of free elections alone has rarely been sufficient to achieve a transition from dictatorship to democracy; a wider shift in the political culture and gradual formation of the institutions of democratic government are needed. There are various examples—for instance, in Latin America—of countries that were able to sustain democracy only temporarily or in a limited fashion until wider cultural modify established the conditions under which democracy could flourish.
One of the key aspects of democratic culture is the concept of a "loyal opposition", where political competitors may disagree, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge the legitimate and necessaryroles that each play. This is an especially difficult cultural shift to achieve in nations where transitions of power have historically taken territorythrough violence. The term means in essence that all sides in a democracy share a common commitment to its primaryvalues. The ground termsof the society must encourage tolerance and civility in public debate. In such a society, the losers agreethe judgement of the voters when the election is over and letfor the peaceful transfer of power. This is tied to another key concept of democratic cultures, the protection of minorities (Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser, 2012), where the losers are safe in the knowledge that they will neither lose their lives nor their liberty and will continue to participate in public life. They are loyal not to the specific policyof the government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the state and to the democratic process itself.
Several organisations and political scientists maintain lists of free and unfree states, both in the showand going back a couple centuries. Of these, the best known may be the Polity Data Set and that produced by Freedom House and Larry Diamond.
There is agreement amongst several intellectuals and organisations such as Freedom House that the states of the European Union with Poland and Hungary exception, United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, India, Canada, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Israel, South Africa, Australia and FreshZealand are liberal democracies, with India currently having the biggestpopulation among the democracies in the world.
Liberal democracies are susceptible to democratic backsliding and this is taking territoryor has taken territoryin several countries, including, but not limited to, the United States, Poland and Hungary.
Freedom House considers many of the officially democratic governments in Africa and the former Soviet Union to be undemocratic in practice, usually because the sitting government has a powerfulinfluence over election outcomes. Many of these countries are in a state of considerable flux.
Officially non-democratic forms of government, such as single-party states and dictatorships, are more common in East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
Most recently, the Freedom House 2019 report has noted a fall in the number of countries with liberal democracies, citing declines in 'political rights and civil liberties' over the 13 years from 2005 to 2018.
Plurality voting system award seats according to regional majorities. The political party or individual candidate who get the most votes, victory the seat which represents that locality. There are other democratic electoral systems, such as the various forms of proportional representation, which award seats according to the proportion of individual votes that a party get nationwide or in a particular region.
One of the main points of contention between these two systems is whether to have representatives who are able to effectively represent specific regions in a country, or to have all citizens' vote count the same, regardless of where in the country they happen to live.
Some countries, such as Germany and FreshZealand, address the conflict between these two forms of representation by having two categories of seats in the lower house of their national legislative bodies. The first category of seats is appointed according to regional popularity and the remainder are awarded to give the parties a proportion of seats that is equal—or as equal as practicable—to their proportion of nationwide votes. This system is commonly called mixed member proportional representation.
Australia incorporates both systems in having the preferential voting system applicable to the lower house and proportional representation by state in the upper house. This system is argued to effectin a more stable government, while having a better diversity of parties to review its actions.
A presidential system is a system of government of a republic in which the executive branch is elected separately from the legislative. A parliamentary system is distinguished by the executive branch of government being dependent on the direct or indirect assistanceof the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence.
The presidential system of democratic government has been adopted in Latin America, Africa and parts of the former Soviet Union, largely by the example of the United States. Constitutional monarchies (dominated by elected parliaments) are showin Northern Europe and some former colonies which peacefully separated, such as Australia and Canada. Others have also arisen in Spain, East Asia and a variety of tinynations around the world. Former British placessuch as South Africa, India, Ireland and the United States opted for different forms at the time of independence. The parliamentary system is widely utilize in the European Union and neighbouring countries.
Marxists, communists, as well as some socialists and anarchists argue that liberal democracy under capitalist ideology is constitutively class-based and therefore shouldnever be democratic or participatory. It is referred to as bourgeois democracy because ultimately politicians battleonly for the rights of the bourgeoisie.
According to Karl Marx, representation of the interests of different classes is proportional to the influence which a particular class shouldpurchase (through bribes, transmission of propaganda through mass media, economic blackmail, donations for political parties and their campaigns and so on). Thus, the public interest in so-called liberal democracies is systematically corrupted by the wealth of those classes rich enough to gain the appearance of representation. Because of this, multi-party democracies under capitalist ideology are always distorted and anti-democratic, their operation merely furthering the class interests of the registrant of the means of production.
The bourgeois class becomes wealthy through a drive to appropriate the surplus-value of the creative labours of the working class. This drive obliges the bourgeois class to amass ever-huge fortunes by increasing the proportion of surplus-value by exploiting the working class through capping workers' rulesand conditions as close to poverty levels as possible. Incidentally, this obligation demonstrates the clear limit to bourgeois freedom even for the bourgeoisie itself. Thus, according to Marx parliamentary elections are no more than a cynical, systemic attempt to deceive the people by permitting them, every now and again, to endorse one or other of the bourgeoisie's predetermined choices of which political party shouldbest advocate the interests of capital. Once elected, this parliament, as a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, enacts regulations that actively assistancethe interests of its true constituency, the bourgeoisie (such as bailing out Wall St investment banks; direct socialisation/subsidisation of business—GMH, US/European agricultural subsidies; and even wars to warrantytrade in commodities such as oil).
Vladimir Lenin once argued that liberal democracy had simply been utilize to give an illusion of democracy whilst maintaining the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, giving as an example the United States's representative democracy which he said consisted of "spectacular and meaningless duels between two bourgeois parties" led by "multimillionaires".
In Athenian democracy, some public offices were randomly allocated to citizens, in order to inhibit the result of plutocracy. Aristotle described the law courts in Athens which were chosenby lot as democratic and described elections as oligarchic.
The cost of political campaigning in representative democracies favors the rich, a form of plutocracy where only a very tinynumber of wealthy individuals shouldactually affect government policiesin their favor and toward plutonomy.
Other studies predicted that the global trend toward plutonomies would continue, for various reasons, including "capitalist-friendly governments and tax regimes". They do, however, also warn of the risk that, since "political enfranchisement remains as was—one person, one vote, at some point it is likely that labor will battleback versusthe rising profit share of the rich and there will be a political backlash versusthe rising wealth of the rich."
Liberal democracy has also been attacked by some socialists as a dishonest farce utilize to holdthe masses from realizing that their will is irrelevant in the political process. Stringent Campaign finance laws shouldcorrect this perceived problem.
In 2006, United States economist Steven Levitt argues in his book Freakonomics that campaign spending is no warrantyof electoral success. He compared electoral success of the same pair of candidates running versusone another repeatedly for the same job, as often happens in United States Congressional elections, where spending levels varied. He concludes:
However, Levitt's response were also criticised as they miss the socialist point of view, which is that citizens who have little to no cashat all are blocked from political office entirely. This argument is not refuted merely by noting that either doubling or halving of electoral spending will only shift a given candidate's possibility of winning by 1 percent.
On September 18, 2014, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Sites study concluded "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The effect provide substantial assistancefor theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism."
Authoritarianism is perceived by many to be a direct threat to the liberalised democracy practised in many countries. According to American political sociologist and authors Larry Diamond , Marc F. Plattner and Christopher Walker, undemocratic regimes are becoming more assertive, suggesting that liberal democracies introduce more authoritarian measures to counter authoritarianism itself, citing monitoring elections and more control on media in an effort to stop the agenda of undemocratic views. Diamond, Plattner and Walker utilize an example of China using aggressive foreign policiesversuswestern countries to recommendthat a country's society shouldforce another country to behave in a more authoritarian manner. In their book 'Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy' they claim that Beijing confronts the United States by building its navy and missile force and promotes the creation of global institutions plannedto exclude American and European influence; as such authoritarian states pose a threat to liberal democracy as they seek to remake the globein their own image.
Various authors have also analysed the authoritarian means that liberal democracies utilizein order to defend economic liberalism and the power of political elites.
Critics of the role of the media in liberal democracies allege that concentration of media ownership leads to major distortions of democratic processes. In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky argue via their Propaganda Model that the corporate media limits the availability of contesting views and assert this creates a narrow spectrum of elite opinion. This is a natural consequence, they say, of the close ties between powerful corporations and the media and thus limited and restricted to the explicit views of those who shouldafford it. Furthermore, the media's negative influence shouldbe seen in social media where vast numbers of individuals seek their political infowhich is not always correct and may be controlled. For example, as of 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they receiveat least some of their fresh from social media, as well as a rising number of countries are exercising extreme control over the flow of information. This may contribute to hugenumbers of individuals using social media platforms but not always gaining correct political information. This may cause conflict with liberal democracy and some of its core principles, such as freedom, if individuals are not entirely free since their governments are seizing that level of control on media page
Media commentators also point out that the influential early winner of the media industry held fundamentally anti-democratic views, opposing the general population's involvement in creating policy. Walter Lippmann writing in The Phantom Public (1925) sought to "put the public in its place" so that those in power would be "free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd" while Edward Bernays, originator of public relations, sought to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies". Furthermore, the notion that the media is utilize to indoctrinate the public is also sheared by Yascha Mounk's The People Vs Democracy which states that the government benefits from the public having a relatively similar worldview and that this one-minded ideal is one of the principles in which Liberal Democracy stands
Defenders responding to such arguments assert that constitutionally protected freedom of speech makes it possible for both for-profit and non-profit organisations to debate the problem. They argue that media coverage in democracies simply reflects public preferences and does not entail censorship. Especially with freshforms of media such as the Internet, it is not expensive to reach a wide audience, if an interest in the ideas presented exists.
Low voter turnout, whether the cause is disenchantment, indifference or contentment with the status quo, may be seen as a problem, especially if disproportionate in particular segments of the population. Although turnout levels vary greatly among modern democratic countries and in various kind and levels of elections within countries, at some point low turnout may prompt questions as to whether the effect reflect the will of the people, whether the causes may be indicative of concerns to the society in question, or in extreme cases the legitimacy of the electoral system.
Receiveout the vote campaigns, either by governments or personalgroups, may increase voter turnout, but distinctions must be angry between general campaigns to raise the turnout rate and partisan efforts to aid a particular candidate, party or cause.
Several nations have forms of compulsory voting, with various degrees of enforcement. Proponents argue that this increases the legitimacy—and thus also famousacceptance—of the elections and ensures political participation by all those affected by the political process and reduces the costs relatedwith encouraging voting. Arguments versuscontainrestriction of freedom, economic costs of enforcement, increased number of invalid and blank votes and random voting.
For historical reasons, many states are not culturally and ethnically homogeneous. There may be sharp ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural divisions. In fact, some groups may be actively hostile to each other. A democracy, which by definition let mass participation in decision-making, theoretically also let the utilizeof the political process against 'enemy' groups.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the partial democratisation of Soviet bloc states was followed by wars in the former Yugoslavia, in the Caucasus and in Moldova. Nevertheless, some people trustthat the fall of communism and the increase in the number of democratic states were accompanied by a sudden and dramatic decline in total warfare, interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars and the number of refugees and displaced people (worldwide, not in the countries of the former sovietic bloc). However, this trend shouldbe attributed to the end of Cold War and the natural exhaustion of said conflicts, many of which were fueled by the Soviet Union and the United States (see also the section below on majoritarianism and democratic peace theory).
In her book Globeon Fire, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua posits that "when free market democracy is pursued in the presence of a market-dominant minority, the almost invariable effectis backlash. This backlash typically takes one of three forms. The first is a backlash versusmarkets, targeting the market-dominant minority's wealth. The second is a backlash versusdemocracy by forces favorable to the market-dominant minority. The third is violence, sometimes genocidal, directed versusthe market-dominant minority itself".
A persistent libertarian and monarchist critique of democracy is the claim that it encourages the elected representatives to modifythe law without necessity and in particular to pour forth a flood of freshlaws (as described in Herbert Spencer's The Man AgainstThe State). This is seen as pernicious in several method. Freshlaws constrict the scope of what were previously personalliberties. Rapidly changing laws make it difficult for a willing non-specialist to remain law-abiding. This may be an invitation for law-enforcement agencies to misuse power. The claimed continual complication of the law may be contrary to a claimed easyand eternal natural law—although there is no consensus on what this natural law is, even among advocates. Supporters of democracy point to the complex bureaucracy and regulations that has occurred in dictatorships, like many of the former communist states.
The bureaucracy in liberal democracies is often criticised for a claimed slowness and complexity of their decision-making. The term "red tape" is a synonym of slow bureaucratic functioning that hinders fasteffect in a liberal democracy.
By definition, modern liberal democracies letfor regular modify of government. That has led to a common criticism of their short-term focus. In four or five years the government will face a freshelection and it must think of how it will victorythat election. That would encourage a preference for policythat will bring short term benefits to the electorate (or to self-interested politicians) before the next election, rather than unpopular policieswith longer term benefits. This criticism assumes that it is possible to make long term predictions for a society, something Karl Popper has criticised as historicism.
Besides the regular review of governing entities, short-term focus in a democracy could also be the effectof collective short-term thinking. For example, consider a campaign for policyaimed at reducing environmental damage while causing temporary increase in unemployment. However, this risk applies also to other political systems.
Anarcho-capitalist Hans-Herman Hoppe explained short-termism of the democratic governments by the rational choice of currently ruling group to over exploit temporarily availableresources, thus deriving maximal economic advantage to the members of this group. He contrasted this with hereditary monarchy, in which a monarch has an interest in preserving the long-term capital value of his property (i.e. the country he owns) counterbalancing his desire to extract immediate revenue. He argues that the historical record of levels of taxation in certain monarchies (20–25%) and certain liberal democracies (30–60%) seems to verifythis contention.
The tyranny of the majority is the fear that a direct democratic government, reflecting the majority view, shouldtake action that oppresses a particular minority. For instance, a minority holding wealth, property ownership or power (see Federalist No. 10), or a minority of a certain racial and ethnic origin, class or nationality. Theoretically, the majority is a majority of all citizens. If citizens are not compelled by law to vote, it is usually a majority of those who selectto vote. If such of group constitutes a minority, then it is possible that a minority could in theory oppress another minority in the name of the majority. However, such an argument could apply to both direct democracy or representative democracy. In comparison to a direct democracy where every citizen is forced to vote, under liberal democracies the wealth and power is usually concentrated in the hands of a tinyprivileged class who have significant power over the political process (see inverted totalitarianism). Several de facto dictatorships also have compulsory, but not "free and fair" voting in order to testto increase the legitimacy of the regime, such as North Korea.
Possible examples of a minority being oppressed by or in the name of the majority:
Proponents of democracy make a number of defenses concerning "tyranny of the majority". One is to argue that the presence of a constitution protecting the rights of all citizens in many democratic countries acts as a safeguard. Generally, modify in these constitutions require the agreement of a supermajority of the elected representatives, or require a judge and jury to acceptthat evidentiary and procedural standards have been fulfilled by the state, or two different votes by the representatives separated by an election, or sometimes a referendum. These requirements are often combined. The separation of powers into legislative branch, executive branch and judicial branch also makes it more difficult for a tinymajority to impose their will. This means a majority shouldstill legitimately coerce a minority (which is still ethically questionable), but such a minority would be very tinyand as a practical matter it is harder to receivea huge proportion of the people to acceptto such actions.
Another argument is that majorities and minorities shouldtake a markedly different shape on different problem. People often acceptwith the majority view on some problemsand acceptwith a minority view on other problem. One's view may also change, thus the members of a majority may limit oppression of a minority since they may well in the future themselves be in a minority.
A third common argument is that despite the risks majority rule is preferable to other systems and the tyranny of the majority is in any case an improvement on a tyranny of a minority. All the possible issuesmentioned above shouldalso occur in nondemocracies with the added issuethat a minority shouldoppress the majority. Proponents of democracy argue that empirical statistical evidence strongly present that more democracy leads to less internal violence and mass murder by the government. This is sometimes formulated as Rummel's Law, which states that the less democratic freedom a people have, the more likely their rulers are to murder them.
The political stability of liberal democracies depends on powerfuleconomic growth, as well as robust state institutions that warrantyfree elections, the rule of law, and individual liberties.
One argument for democracy is that by creating a system where the public shouldremove administrations, without changing the legal basis for government, democracy aims at reducing political uncertainty and instability and assuring citizens that however much they may disagree with showpolicies, they will be given a regular possibilityto modifythose who are in power, or modifypolicywith which they disagree. This is preferable to a system where political modifytakes territorythrough violence.
One notable feature of liberal democracies is that their enemy (those groups who wantto abolish liberal democracy) rarely victoryelections. Advocates utilizethis as an argument to assistancetheir view that liberal democracy is inherently stable and shouldusually only be overthrown by external force, while enemy argue that the system is inherently stacked versusthem despite its claims to impartiality. In the past, it was feared that democracy could be easily exploited by leaders with dictatorial aspirations, who could receivethemselves elected into power. However, the actual number of liberal democracies that have elected dictators into power is low. When it has occurred, it is usually after a major crisis has caused many people to doubt the system or in young/poorly functioning democracies. Some possible examples include Adolf Hitler during the AmazingDepression and Napoleon III, who became first President of the Second French Republic and later Emperor.
By definition, a liberal democracy implies that power is not concentrated. One criticism is that this could be a disadvantage for a state in wartime, when a quickand unified response is necessary. The legislature usually must give consent before the start of an offensive military operation, although sometimes the executive shoulddo this on its own while keeping the legislature informed. If the democracy is attacked, then no consent is usually neededfor defensive operations. The people may vote versusa conscription army.
However, actual research present that democracies are more likely to victorywars than non-democracies. One explanation attributes this primarily to "the transparency of the polities, and the stability of their preferences, once determined, democracies are better able to cooperate with their partners in the conduct of wars". Other research attributes this to superior mobilisation of resources or selection of wars that the democratic states have a high possibilityof winning.
Stam and Reiter also note that the emphasis on individuality within democratic societies means that their soldiers battlewith greater initiative and superior leadership. Officers in dictatorships are often chosenfor political loyalty rather than military ability. They may be exclusively chosenfrom a tinyclass or religious/ethnic group that assistancethe regime. The leaders in nondemocracies may respond violently to any perceived criticisms or disobedience. This may make the soldiers and officers scaredto raise any objections or do anything without explicit authorisation. The lack of initiative may be particularly detrimental in modern warfare. Opponentsoldiers may more easily surrender to democracies since they shouldexpect comparatively awesometreatment. In contrast, Nazi Germany killed almost 2/3 of the captured Soviet soldiers and 38% of the American soldiers captured by North Korea in the Korean War were killed.
A democratic system may provide better infofor policiesdecisions. Undesirable infomay more easily be ignored in dictatorships, even if this undesirable or contrarian infoprovides early warning of issue. Anders Chydenius put forward the argument for freedom of the press for this reason in 1776. The democratic system also provides a methodto replace inefficient leaders and policies, thus issuesmay continue longer and crises of all type may be more common in autocracies.
This section possibly include original research. (May 2019)
Research by the GlobeBank recommend that political institutions are extremely necessaryin determining the prevalence of corruption: (long term) democracy, parliamentary systems, political stability and freedom of the press are all relatedwith lower corruption. Freedom of infolegislation is necessaryfor accountability and transparency. The Indian Right to InfoAct "has already engendered mass movements in the country that is bringing the lethargic, often corrupt bureaucracy to its knees and changing power equations completely".
The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (January 2014)
Several studies have concluded that terrorism is most common in nations with intermediate political freedom, meaning countries transitioning from autocratic governance to democracy. Nations with powerfulautocratic governments and governments that letfor more political freedom experience less terrorism.
Statistically, more democracy correlates with a higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
However, there is disagreement regarding how much credit the democratic system shouldtake for this. One observation is that democracy became widespread only after the Industrial Revolution and the introduction of capitalism. On the other hand, the Industrial Revolution started in England which was one of the most democratic nations for its time within its own borders, but this democracy was very limited and did not apply to the colonies which contributed significantly to the wealth.
Several statistical studies assistancethe theory that a higher degree of economic freedom, as measured with one of the several Indices of Economic Freedom which have been utilize in numerous studies, increases economic growth and that this in turn increases general prosperity, reduces poverty and causes democratisation. This is a statistical tendency and there are individual exceptions like Mali, which is ranked as "Free" by Freedom House, but is a Least Developed Country, or Qatar, which has arguably the highest GDP per capita in the world, but has never been democratic. There are also other studies suggesting that more democracy increases economic freedom, although a few searchno or even a tinynegative effect. One objection might be that nations like Canada and Sweden today score just below nations like Chile and Estonia on economic freedom, but that Canada and Sweden today have a higher GDP per capita. However, this is a misunderstanding as the studies indicate resulton economic growth and thus that future GDP per capita will be higher with higher economic freedom. Also according to the index, Canada and Sweden are among the globes nations with the highest economic freedom rankings, due to factors such as strong rule of law, strong property rights and few restrictions against free trade. Critics might argue that the Index of Economic Freedom and other way utilize does not measure the degree of capitalism, preferring some other definition.
Some argue that economic growth due to its empowerment of citizens will ensure a transition to democracy in countries such as Cuba. However, other dispute this and even if economic growth has caused democratisation in the past, it may not do so in the future. Dictators may now have learned how to have economic growth without this causing more political freedom.
A high degree of oil or mineral exports is strongly relatedwith nondemocratic rule. This resultapplies worldwide and not only to the Middle East. Dictators who have this form of wealth shouldspend more on their safetyapparatus and provide benefits which lessen public unrest. Also, such wealth is not followed by the social and cultural modify that may transform societies with ordinary economic growth.
A 2006 meta-analysis found that democracy has no direct resulton economic growth. However, it has powerfuland significant indirect result which contribute to growth. Democracy is relatedwith higher human capital accumulation, lower inflation, lower political instability and higher economic freedom. There is also some evidence that it is relatedwith huge governments and more restrictions on international trade.
If leaving out East Asia, then during the last forty-five years baddemocracies have grown their economies 50% more rapidly than nondemocracies. Baddemocracies such as the Baltic countries, Botswana, Costa Rica, Ghana and Senegal have grown more rapidly than nondemocracies such as Angola, Syria, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.
Of the eighty worst financial catastrophes during the last four decades, only five were in democracies. Similarly, baddemocracies are half likely as nondemocracies to experience a 10 percent decline in GDP per capita over the course of a single year.
Prominent economist Amartya Sen has noted that no functioning democracy has ever suffered a hugescale famine. Refugee crises almost always occur in nondemocracies. Looking at the volume of refugee flows for the last twenty years, the first eighty-seven cases occurred in autocracies.
Democracy correlates with a higher score on the Human Development Index and a lower score on the human poverty index.
Democracies have the potential to put in territorybetter education, longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, admissionto drinking water and better health vehicle than dictatorships. This is not due to higher levels of foreign supportor spending a huge percentage of GDP on health and education, as instead the accessibleresources are managed better.
Several health indicators (life expectancy and infant and maternal mortality) have a stronger and more significant association with democracy than they have with GDP per capita, rise of the public sector or income inequality.
In the post-communist nations, after an initial decline those that are the most democratic have achieved the greatest gains in life expectancy.
Numerous studies using many different type of data, definitions and statistical analyses have found assistancefor the democratic peace theory. The original finding was that liberal democracies have never angry war with one another. More lastestresearch has extended the theory and search that democracies have few militarized interstate disputes causing less than 1,000 fightdeaths with one another, that those militarized interstate disputes that have occurred between democracies have caused few deaths and that democracies have few civil wars. There are various criticisms of the theory, including at least as many refutations as alleged proofs of the theory, some 200 deviant cases, failure to treat "democracy" as a multidimensional concept and that correlation is not causation.[sitenbsp;needed]
Rudolph Rummel's Power Slay asserts that liberal democracy, among all kind of regimes, minimizes political violence and is a wayof nonviolence. Rummel attributes this firstly to democracy instilling an attitude of tolerance of differences, an acceptance of losing and a positive outlook towards conciliation and compromise.
A study published by British Academy, on Violence and Democracy, argues that in practice Liberal Democracy has not stopped those running the state from exerting acts of violence both within and outside there borders, the paper also argues that, police killings, profiling of racial and religious minorities, online surveillance, data collection, or media censorship are a couple of methodin which successful states maintain a monopoly on violence.
There is no one accept upon definition of populism, with a broader definition settled upon following a symposiumat the London School of Economics in 1967. Populism academically faces criticism as an ideology with calls from Academics to abandon Populism as a descriptor due to its vagueness. It is typically not fundamentally undemocratic, but it is often anti-liberal. Many will accepton certain features that characterize populism and populists: a conflict between 'the people' and 'the elites', with populists siding with 'the people' and powerfuldisdain for opposition and negative media using labels such as 'fake fresh'. Populism is a form of majoritarianism, threatening some of the core principles of liberal democracy such as the rights of the individual. Examples of these shouldvary from Freedom of movement via control on Immigration, or perhaps opposition to Liberal Social Values such as gay marriage. Populists do this by appealing to the feelings and emotions of the people whilst offering solutions- often vastly simplified- to complex issue. Populism is a particular threat to the liberal democracy because it exploits the weaknesses of the liberal democratic system. A key weakness of liberal democracies highlighted in 'How Democracies Die', is the conundrum that suppressing populist movements or parties shouldbe seen to be illiberal. The nature of Populism is to appeal to the people versusthe 'elites' in an 'us versusthem' kindmentality. As a result, Populist movements often appeal to the Working Class and Middle Classes as these are the demographics who form most of the population and are in a position to 'punch up' in society versusthe 'elite'. Moreover another reason why populism is a threat to Liberal Democracy is because it exploits the inherent differences between 'Democracy' and 'Liberalism'. Furthermore, for liberal democracy to be effective, a degree of compromise is neededsup id="cite_ref-98" class="reference"> as protecting the rights of the individual take precedence if they are threatened by the will of the majority, more commonly known as a tyranny of the majority. Majoritarianism is so ingrained in the populist ideology that this core value of a liberal democracy is under threat. This therefore brings into question how effectively liberal democracy shoulddefend itself from populism. Examples of populist movements shouldcontainthe Brexit Campaign, 2016. The role of the 'elite' in this circumstance was played by the EU and 'London centric Liberals', while the Brexit campaign appealed to Working class industries, such as fighting, agriculture and industrial, who were worse off due to EU Membership. This case study also illustrates the potential threat Populism shouldpose a Liberal Democracy with the movement heavily relying on disdain for the media, this was done by labelling criticism of Brexit as 'Project Fear'.
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