We often ponder over our own opinions about what democracy is and how it functions. Democracy, a political ideology which may consider the system as a broad spectrum or which may absorb only a few factors and elements of the state, a terminology with absolutely vague and ambiguous meaning. Clearly, the global politics is dominated by this ideology and the advocates of democracy have been voicing from a long time . The mantra of democracy advocated by many governments all around the world is one of the most deceptive one (Bucha, Democracy in Pakistan).
While almost everybody is ignorant enough to fall in trap of believing that democracy is the “rule of the people”, some are vigilant enough to oppose it. The thesis of this paper proposes that “Democracy, while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy” (John Adams, as mentioned in the prompt), because it does not act in the way it promises and its pitfalls lead to absolute resentment in the society. Democracy can be of two types, direct and elected. However as direct democracy hardly prevails in the modern world, elected democracy is going to be the center of debate.
Elected democracy means when a majority of people through voting elect a person to represent and voice their opinions. This democracy can form in a shape of a government or even an office or a local council. As democracy can be used in various disciplines it is difficult to center a debate on all of them. Hence, discussion followed will be in consideration to the democracy adopted in countries in the form of governments. Democracy is a recent system of government and was not that popular in ancient times.
But many in the West are of the faith that democracy is the best rule because it advocates equality. As far as equality is concerned, every man is equal in the eyes of the state but he or she may not be equal intellectually. The problem sets in when there is inequality of class and education. Even an uneducated citizen has the right to vote, so no matter what a person knows about the representative he is voting for, having no idea about politics or how it works, he votes. His decision is either influenced by fellow peers or done purely for the sake of voting.
This is how democracy eventually comes to an end and even literate people stop voting once a capable person is not elected to rule. As there is no way to test the capability of a candidate, many rely on their instincts. Not only this but in many countries elections are either rigged or people are bribed. So if the right person is not in power then equality to vote is of no use. Whereas on the contrary aristocracy known as the “rule of the best”, where a few elite educated citizens rule, ensures that the country is in right hands and will usually last longer than democracy.
There are less chances of the power to be misused. Therefore, the aristocrats who are equipped with knowledge and wisdom are likely to make decisions which are in the interest of the people even if they are not elected by the people themselves, bringing fortune to the country . This shows that democracies will hardly last because the deserving will not be in position and the incapable will tend to serve their own interests. Democracy leads to ‘tyranny of the majority’ as also mentioned by Fareed Zakaria in his book Future of Freedom (Debate: Democracy – Debatepedia).
Democracy allows the representative with power to go against morality with the power it derives from the people. This is best seen in our own country where elected representatives disregarded time and again the orders of the Supreme Court to write letters to the Swiss Government to reopen corruption cases levied against President Asif Ali Zardari. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani disobeyed Supreme Court shamelessly based on the power of his supporters until he was given a symbolic punishment of about 30 seconds, charged for contempt of court.
This meant that as of that moment, he became unfit to remain Prime Minter and had to leave office. Yet, he remained in office for almost two months based on the power of his support. Even when he was finally, officially removed from power and his status as a convicted Prime Minister ousted from power for his lack of respect for the Supreme Court confirmed, his supporters gave him the strength to speak ill of the Supreme Court. Thus democracy gives way to corruption and tyranny because of the majority that backs the democracy. It makes the environment unsafe for minorities and allows public disregard for the law.
Around 2002 and its following years it was seen in India that in Hindu majority states such as Gujrat, Muslims were persecuted and hunted down by none other than the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government with the shoulder of the hard-line Hindu organizations(McGivering, BBC News). The strength of the party in that constituency gives it the power to commit atrocities against the minority which shows the plight of democracy. However, there may be democracies that have passed the test of time, weathered through the years, have stood strong and were not even messy. India is one of them and has been there for decades.
But it’s ironic how even a long lasting democracy can be so faulty in its foundation. The truth lies in the fact that India has been a target of political resentment by its people and many in India are still deprived of basics of life. Although there everybody has the equal right to vote but not everyone has the equal right to shelter or food. This happens whenever the population of a country is large and a common man gets to vote once in 5 years like in Britain (Debate: Democracy – Debatepedia). Meanwhile they have no say in issues regarding whatsoever and they can’t fight for their own compulsory rights.
In addition, the elected party is not able to concentrate its motives and moves on what people demand since the population who has elected them is large and hence, diverse. Indeed, democracy can only work on a small scale level and as most of the countries are highly populated, democracy is poorly efficacious as a system. The actual factor which might be reckoned involves a question whether democracy is really for the people? This question has an immense critical response and the answer for the real goals of democracy has never been achieved.
The great democracies like Britain and India still outbalance the term “for the people”. From the global issue such as Afghanistan, democracy and its elements did nothing but infiltrate agony. After the decline of Taliban, democracy in Afghanistan brought economic, social and political complications. The massive monetary aid by western democracies have brought Afghanistan on the list of the top most corrupt countries; there is no accountability for the aid under the system of democracy and resultantly it questions the statement “Democracy for the people”.
Political institutions in Afghanistan clearly cannot identify its responsibilities since they are merely busy in advancing their own supremacy and wealth. Democracy is a system which can be easily misused as it equips certain party or person with immense power and no regular checks. Therefore it may not be for the people but for the rulers. There is no reason why the mass won’t try to overturn a government when it’s not working for their best interests, resulting in failure of the democratic system in a country.
Hence, democracy will fail or exhaust because of its pitfalls. It can’t be said that it will not survive anywhere but the chances of its failure is more than its survival. It’s due to the fact that democracy can work in perfect circumstances. It will fail if mass is not educated, if the country is densely populated, if the people are corrupt, the elected leader is not sincere to its people, if citizens have no say in decisions of vital issues or when the elected person discriminates amongst people.
The essence of democracy will be lost and people who have the freedom to rise up will strike violence and undoubtedly, it will be a matter of political emergency. As seen in the past, uprisings always lead to something worse which results into worst leaders: a tyrant or maybe a dictator. It can be concluded that although the government of aristocrats, monarchs or technocrats is not the government of people but these three will last longer than democracy because these governments are more evenly planned and executed and are less demanding.