Is Democracy A Basic Social Good?

1505 words - 6 pages

     It is a word with no real definition, but rather a word that can be interpreted differently to each individual who uses it. This word is democracy, and it can instill a sense of liberty, freedom, and patriotism at least for many Americans. Realistically, it is a way of life which has a sense of altruism to it; it is for the overall good of a people. In many ways it can be a good and positive thing for a society, and this can be demonstrated in examples that occur in everyday living. My personal feelings and beliefs towards democracy will be viewed next to the views of the great philosopher John Dewy, and those of Native American Chief Oren Lyons.
     There are many things in life that we take for granted. It is not every day that I wake up and immediately give thanks that I live in a democratic society, but is more of a subconscious idea that we know exits in our life. I do, however, feel privileged and lucky to live in a country that stands for freedom, equal rights, and active participation by its citizens. It is so tremendous that we as citizens have the power to make decisions for ourselves and the social good. Those are the kinds of ideals of this modern democracy that our founding fathers wanted for all; basically a country for the people, by the people. Democracy is not a very complicated principle, but it is a simple thing that affects our everyday life, no matter how trivial the event. We as a democratic country try and strive for the basic social good. This means that this concept primarily looks out for the welfare and satisfaction of every individual who falls under that government. It is not out to place harsh and unwanted rules and restrictions on its people. Rather, it allows them to take part and have a say in their government, provides them with equality, and gives them a freedom to live a life with no oppressive rule. This liberty which we as Americans possess singles no one person out; it is there for the taking by all.
     While the word democracy literally describes a type of political and governmental state of mind, it is not only meant to be used by those in high ranking officials. This term applies to everyone who falls under its rule, and encourages those people to benefit and to be strengthened by its principles. John Dewey describes how it does indeed shape individuals into better people by stating, “…democracy is a personal way of individual life; that it signifies the possession and continual use of certain attitudes, forming personal character and determining desire and purpose in all the relations of life” (Dewey, 2). What better way to add to the basic social good by implementing a way of life which can allow those people affected by it to help each other, and ultimately their government. Dewey also goes to show that since democracy allows for the everyday man to have free speech with his neighbors and to educate himself with public...

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