There is a heated debate on different views of democracy and its significance to the political order. Many years ago, Aristotle gave an analysis of democratic process in terms of what has formed the basis of politic science . At the foundation of his approach is the idea of a constitutional process. He argues that there should be several forms of government since there are means of organizing the offices. Aristotle recognizes three types of ideal constitution; each of of the constitution show a condition in which rulers pursue the common good. In this three constitutions each of them illustrate a condition in which leaders pursue narrow and selfish goals. In addition, they reflect how many people are opportunity to rule. Therefore, the rule by one leader is a monarchy and it is full of tyranny. However, the rule of many is a polity in its ideal form and democracy in its distorted form.
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Thucydides, Pericles believe that democracy gives an opportunity for men to advance due to merit but not due to wealth or social status (Thucydides,44). In a democratic process, the people behave behave lawfully and operate in a free environment without fear of oppression. Thucydides argue that democracy allows for equal justice in the community. This argument tends to be similar in attitude of modern nations that have adopted democracy. In this regard, he argues that any person has an opportunity of becoming a leader regardless of social status. Thucydides views on democracy tend not believe in the common man's ability to run a government. However, at the same time he felt that the common man should be given the opportunity to decide what happens in a country. Thucydides argue that man’s nature is untamed, uncontrollable and should always couched and controlled stronger being (Richmond, 20).
Similarities of Thucydides and Aristotle view on Democracy
It is evidenced from the above consideration of the definitions of the two concepts; peace and democracy, that democracy alone does notpromote peace. Thucydides and Aristotle argue that it takes into consideration the wishes of the majority while suppressing the views of minority and this genesis of violence. Peace is defined as the elimination of violence or the obvious threat of violence against persons and their property. This means that some individuals have no control over some decisions made on their behalf, a role which has instead been bestowed on the political elite. In truth, democracy is nothing more than the numerous and their manipulators bullying the less numerous. It is an elaborate and deceptive rationalization for the strong in numbers to impose their will by means of centralized state coercion. Democracy robs individuals their right to take control of their own destiny by shifting the role of politicians who would in some occasion collectively but selfishly erode individual destiny (Rosato, 11). Proponents of democracy stress the concept of self-government rights of an abstraction called the people, but ironically recoil in horror at the prospect of real persons governing their own selves. Democracy is not a sacred formula for peace, either locally or internationally, since a democratic country can impose their rule on their own minority populations. If this true then one can question, why not impose their will on other countries, states, and peoples, particularly if they are not democratic? It is very strange that aggressive democrats always forget the principle of majority rule when war comes but instead make personal decisions and still claim that it is the voice of the people. They do not seek the prior consent of the majority of the inhabitants of the nations they seek to conquer, subdue, or rule which has in many cases led to many deaths under the pretext of advocating the rights of the majority. Simply put democracy suffers from some serious problems whose outcome is a lack of peace. This leads us to the next level where the paper analyses pitfalls of democracy.
The human being has unlimited wants and therefore the principle of choice is quite important in decision making (Richmond, 24). The dream of choice is evident in the way American conduct their business and trade. Free trade, which is informed by the principle of choice creates economic dynamism by enhancing freedom, opportunity, and prosperity that benefits their citizen (Richmond, 27). In recent times, America has demonstrated the power of free trade principles. Free trade helps in breaking the cycle of poverty and goes a long way in enabling even the most impoverished countries to start creating their own economic prosperity. Nevertheless, despite all the facts to the contrary, the critics of free trade claim that employment opportunities created by globalization are often less sustaining than the livelihoods eliminated by it (Richmond, 18). This claim assumes that some kind of agrarian utopia formerly existed in less developed countries and towards this; their citizens may not reap the benefits of economic development. The Industrial Revolution has set a firm ground for free trade and increased opportunity to all economic levels globally (Richmond, 18). In addition, free trade has laid a stage for social and democratic progress of a magnitude that would have been impossible earlier. Although history stipulates that this current era of free trade and market globalization may well be facing challenges, solutions once again will depend on the power of innovation and technological development.
Democratization process has got the problems of modernization theory, which has the tendency of viewing the West’s life experience as the only accurate yardstick and pragmatic expectation. In other cases there is a tendency of democracy proponents assuming their ideologies accurate. The peace building concept has suffered from assumptions that transitions occur linearly and those political and economic individualistic arrangements, rather than ones recognizing social groups, are optimal for ensuring stability and good governance. Despite important strains emphasizing non-elite actors, the best known works of both literatures have emphasized the primacy of elite processes.
Democracy is not the panacea of peace in the world
Available empirical evidence shows that democracy promotes ethnic conflict. An examination of the dynamics of the democratic process explains why this is so. In democracies, people tend to vote along ethnic/religious lines which are one of the root causes of disharmony and violence. That being the case, it must be true that the candidates people vote against are usually identified with other ethnic groups. Since those voters opposed that candidate, it is reasonable to assume that they harbor a certain amount of sentiment against those whose votes put that candidate into office. The people may come to see any increase in the population of other ethnic groups as a big threat to their chances of taking leadership, portending as it does the election of officials they believe will harm their interests. It is no accident that people tend to vote along ethnic and religious lines. It is inherent in the nature of democracy. Aristotle argues that democratic process gives every individual a virtually insignificant single vote and gives them the power to vote for one of the candidates on the ballot, none of whom may champion the views and values of the voter. The common voter in a lifetime is unlikely to decide an election with his one vote. Since voters coherently recognize the virtual meaninglessness of their one vote, they have limited incentive to inform themselves in detail about candidates, issues, and policies so as to make a decision. It is much easier to vote for ethnic reasons. Further, it takes little additional effort to ascertain which ethnic groups a candidate serves. Thus, ethnic voting is a rational response to the problem of rational ignorance about candidates and issues. Ethnic identity provides valuable information at very low cost. Given its efficiency, it always has been and likely always will be a major factor in elections. It is even seen that people from a given ethnic and religious affiliation may vote alike, not based on the above mentioned backgrounds but due to the similarity of experiences, situations, values, and needs. Since these factors themselves are closely tied to ethnic and religious identity, the voting patterns they produce will be closely tied to and, in practice, virtually indistinguishable from, ethnicity and religion. In this case, democracy normally contains the seeds of ethnic hatred. For instance, wars of secession like in the cases of Sothern Sudan and Eritrea among others, to escape from the control of majority ethnic groups they believe are hostile to the interests. Although many of such conflicts have arisen where democracies do not exist, the principle is the same. Thus, there was violent conflict for the better part of the 20th century which is still not resolved. The natural tendency of democratic government is to grow in size, power and scope, a critical fact that seems to have escaped the notice of the democratic pacifists. Democracy in its form, the state forms the means by which most individuals induce the means to achieve their goals onto unwilling people. The desire to impose costs on others is apparently limitless. In this case, governments tend to grow over a period of time. Ethnic and community conflict is the primary instigator of intrastate war, democracy also fails to deter ideologicalcivil war ironically, democracy was supposed to avoid just such wars by allowing people to resolve their disputes through elections. Evidently, this works better in theory than in reality.
Failures of democracy in times of war
One of the best example failures of democracy in times of war is the American Civil War. Thus, a substantial motive for Lincoln’s invasion of the South was to preserve the principle of majority rule, that is, the ability of the majority to impose its will on the minority. The War Between the States depicts that true nature of democracy as a bully and oppress.
It just so happens that people usually put up with it and the bullied minority is scattered throughout the nation. In the War Between the States, however, the bullied minority was clustered together and willing to fight. Democracy, ultimately, is majority rule at gunpoint. Such a philosophy is perfectly consistent with a tendency to fight wars. Majority rule encourages minority groups that feel exploited by the majority to attempt to secede. The oppression of the majority rarely allows its subjects go in peace, and thus war breaks out. Perhaps the leading cause of war in the foreseeable future will be the struggle of peoples who constitute a minority in their countries to escape from the oppressive democratic majority rule from those animated by alien ethnic, cultural, religious, economic, or philosophical values (Richmond, 20).
Difference in views
While Thucydides argues that democracy allows for equal justice in the community, Aristotle believes that democracy does not give all people equal justice in the community. Aristotle view tends to favor democracy much more than Thucydides. This is because it is founded on the basis of the constitution. Constitution form one of the most important aspect of democracy and its sustainability. In conclusion, democracy plays a critical role in development in the modern world.
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