The first right of a citizen

Democracy is now almost universally accepted as a better form of government than any others available. Is this consensus defensible? Why might it be that democracy is so popular? Simon Moore-CS1-Politics-17th November 2005-11-10 Democracy, a government of the people, for the people, by the people. In theory this is the recipe for a fair and stable government in which the people have a fair say in the electing and running of their country’s government.

When run correctly, it is unquestionable that this is the fairest form of government in the modern world. Democratic societies aim for the development of individual creativity as well as critical thinking within the society. In Democratic societies people are given opportunities to make important choices every day, and it is this freedom to make choices that gives people living in a democratic state a sense of empowerment.

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Stability is brought to the state by the strong emphasis on rules, which are important factors in all democracies, both rules that govern societies and those that influence our own personal daily lives. It can be said that in a democracy, the first right of a citizen is to establish a law and the first duty of the same citizen is to respect that law. A great positive of the democratic ruling is that democracies don’t war with other democracies; most international incidents occur between democracies and dictatorships or terrorist regimes ala the Taliban.

Democracy is a way of living together within a community, and as well as this within a democracy it is important to be able to choose between different solutions when issues or problems arise and to be able to have the freedom to do so. When we take a view of Democracy in this light, we see a significant shift of emphasis on the meaning of the term as the traditional understanding of democracy as a form of governance and a political system, which is based on a limited role of citizens as voters.

These ideas of limited participation have been challenged by the rise of the participation of active citizens. For Democracy to thrive, there must be active citizens taking action with regards to voting, organisation and volunteer work. It could also be said that democracy is the best form of government available to us as it allows for the development of civil society, which can be defined as, “Those areas of social life organised through private or voluntary arrangements outside of the direct control of the state”.

(Green Paper, Supporting Voluntary Action, 1997). Civil Society is seen as the “other side” of the state and includes many groups such as Households, religious groups, trade unions, private companies, political parties and humanitarian organisations. (Anthony McGrew) In working within the civil society, in a way the complete control doesn’t belong to the government as there is some form of power and influence placed in the hands of these governing bodies, which run the voluntary organisations and new social movements within civil society.

It is possible for a democracy to flourish when those in power encourage an active participation from citizens in which the people have to get their say, each citizen in a democracy has a say in the electing of the government as everyone has a vote and in a way they are involved in decision-making through their chosen representatives who are able to devote the time necessary to the needs of the citizens, which leads to loyalty and support within that government.

When we compare the democracy, which we enjoy to a dictatorship, it is clear that it is far superior to the dictatorial leadership we’ve witnessed in countries such as Iraq as there is only one person in power, whose policies are tailored to suit his/her own needs, if the dictators policy is flawed or even dangerous, there is no pool of decision-makers to influence the decision making. Problems Although as mentioned above there are large and varied benefits of the democratic form of ruling for the citizen, but to say that currently the democratic ruling is perfect would be an exaggeration.

There are many problems with the democracy, namely the fact that decision-making becomes time consuming, as votes are needed before every decision is made, it is also hard for the representatives to please everyone. When citizens don’t participate and vote, this can leave a problem as special interest groups have most of the influence over representatives. Also, One of the main problems that exist currently within the state is the new form of media democracy politics, which exist in Countries such as England. We see that through this the voice of the active and participative citizen has been quieted.

Where once the role of the citizen was encouraged, and they were able to attend meetings and participate in debates and decision-making and generally were a much more valued part of the democratic scheme, We see now in the media democracy that the politicians would rather have a twenty second advertisement on the television than hold an assembly for a couple of hours to hear the thoughts of the people. This leads to a reduction in the actual face-to-face encounters made between citizens and politicians. The voice of the citizen has been reduced to a faceless statistic in polls taken for the government and media’s convenience.


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