Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Democracy or Capitalism?

Freedoms Principals
Chapter 1. On Freedom
By freedom I mean a political condition in which an individual is:

• free to speak his mind,
• join and profess any religion,
• create or join any association,
• buy or sell whatever products,
• own property as an exclusive right,
• determine who governs him.


• Such freedom must be consistent with a like freedom of others.
• Be guaranteed by a fundamental body of laws he had a part in creating.
All democracies have an electoral system through which people choose their representatives and leaders, and thus give their consent to be governed and to have those representatives communicate their interests. The manner in which democracies conduct their elections varies from one to another, but all share this:

• regular elections for high office,
• a secret ballot,
• a franchise that includes nearly the whole adult population,
• open, competitive elections
Real competition in the elections is a key requirement. Many communist nations exhibited all the electoral characteristics mentioned in their periodic election of legislators handpicked by the Communist Party, who then simply rubber-stamped what the Party wanted. “Competitive” means that those running for office reflect different political beliefs and positions on the issues. If they do not, as in the communist nations, then the government is not democratic.

Besides its electoral characteristics, one kind of democracy has characteristics crucial to freedom, such as the freedom of religion and speech, and the freedom to organize political groups or parties, even if they represent a small radical minority, that then nominate their members to run for high office. In addition, these democracies provide an open, transparent government such that one knows how their representatives voted and debated.

One of the most important of the individual rights helping to guranteeing freedom is to a fair trial and rule by law. Above the state there must be a law that structures the government, elaborates the reciprocal rights and duties of the government and the people, and which all governing officials and their policies must obey. This is a constitution, either created as a single document like that of the United States, or a set of documents, statutes, and traditions, such as that of Great Britain.

If a democracy recognizes these rights and the individual freedoms listed, we call it a liberal democracy. If it does not, if it has only the electoral characteristics but suppresses freedom of speech, possesses leaders that put themselves above the law and representatives that make and vote on policies in secret, then we can call it a procedural, or better, an electoral democracy.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home