Liberal Democracy Essay

1431 words - 6 pages

Liberal democracy


To begin with Francis Fukuyama's, provocative thesis, that after the fall of communism in Europe and the withering of the grand ideological contests, history too has ended. In his "end of history" theory, he maintained that the western liberal democracy had become the `final form of human government'. The fact is that though not all theorists have this kind of a faith in liberal democracy, and believe that it's not the only feasible form of democracy, they are in a minority. The theoretical circles and the popular discourse have been dominated by "liberal democracy."

John Stuart mill's essay "on liberalism and considerations of representative government" is often considered as the first systematic explication and defense of liberal democracy. A prodemocrat he welcomed the progress in equality, yet identified with toqueville's warning about the tyranny of the majority. In particular he agreed with the claims that majority mass culture stifles free and informed thought and that an omnipotent majority mat oppress a minority. Mill's essay in large may be read as a sustained effort to confront this problem by the straightforward method of combining democracy and liberalism.

With the emergence of large democratic nations, he believed there was a need for the people to `limit their power over themselves', and seeks to identify the principles according to which people should set limitations. He thus prescribed against government paternalism and overt tyranny, and favored what is called "pluralist mandate", where the citizens as far as possible are able to pursue what they see as their own goods and in their own ways.

Major tenets or principles of J S Mill

He listed few important liberties to protect such as freedom of conscience, thought and feeling, holding and expressing opinion, pursuing one's life plans.
Since these civil liberties typically and directly affect those who enjoy them, people should be exempt for the interference by other, especially the state, even democratic state.
He thought there should be certain areas in citizens' lives, which are free of state regulation and legal limits. Thus, he favored the preservation of the distinction between the public and the private realm and rule of law.
Regarding democracy, he encouraged direct citizen participation for its functions of engendering confidence in the people about their ability to govern themselves, developing intellectual talents, and communal and moral values.

However, since direct participation was not possible in large societies, Mill thought the `ideal type of a perfect government would be a representative government'.

There are varieties of liberal-democratic theory that is to say that there are differences over the application of the liberal democratic principles, and not the principle themselves. For ex- there can be differences over how best to preserve civil...

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