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The Cure For Ills Of Democracy Is More Democracy

2850 words - 11 pages

Democracy is always named and used in the liberal discursive process. But if we refer to history, democracy of these days is not the same as democracy decades ago. Thus, it is important that democracy is understood as an evolution and not as a static concept. Similarly it is necessary to understand democracy by its principles and not by its practitioners in power.Liberal democracy can be briefly defined as a system of government in which the people rule themselves, either directly or indirectly but in either case subject to constitutional restraints on the power of the majority (Dickerson and Flanagan 239).If we analyze democracy by the principles extracted from the definition: equality of political rights, majority rule, political participation, and political freedom, we can ask ourselves if the present formal democracy represents its own principles.Dickerson and Flanagan say that equality of political rights mean that every individual has the right to vote, run for office, serve on a jury, speak on public issues and carry out other public functions. Furthermore, political rights are a matter of degree because they have been evolving during the last century. But it is not possible to know how much political equality is enough for democracy, because it seems to change every time and under different circumstances. An important example of how political rights can vary is the United States, because since 1787 until 1960 the franchise was extended to a majority of its citizens.In Canada the franchise was first extended by the provinces and these would include the participation on federal elections. But due to the Act of 1885 the qualifications to vote in provincial and federal elections were uniform. After 1898 Canadian citizens would be able to vote for provincial and federal elections under the same franchise controlled by the provinces. In 1920 the Dominion Elections Act gave the federal government control of qualifications of voting. The last advance in Canadian democracy was in 1993 when prisoners were allowed to vote.Another principle would be Majority Rule that is derived from the prior principle of political equality. Hence each vote counted equally will give a clear majority that must be respected and accepted. The decisions will reflect the majority's will.However there is certain plurality in Britain, Canada, and the US, because the candidate that has the majority of votes will be elected, even though this majority is less than 50% plus one. The reason for this is a budgetary constraint on elections; however this constraint may vary because of the differences between economies.In the same way a qualified majority that can be a smaller proportion than the majority. This way the Minorities Rights will be protected from majorities and there will be equilibrium between powers within the rule of law. This is a common practice, in formal democracies, for amendments to the constitution. In Canada, the ratification of the Senate, House of Commons,...

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