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Democracy: The Philosophic Principles and Mechanisms

Part One – The basic definition

by John M. Joyce

 

It is often said today that democracy, specifically western liberal democracy, is under threat. Many people maintain that democracy cannot defend itself against those who revile it, and those who also want to get rid of it and put in its place some other system of determining leadership and government which would be more to their liking, because democracy itself is inherently flawed. Of course, this is said without anyone actually defining or stating what the flaws actually are or defining what is meant by democracy! Some maintain that democracy produces weak and ineffectual government which must always, by its nature, pander to the passing whims and fancies of the electorate. Others maintain that democracy will always lead to its own collapse as the people seek to extend democracy, over time, into every aspect of their civil lives. Neither of these statements is necessarily a condemnation of democracy – rather, each one is an indication of democracy’s strengths.  more...