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What are the pros and cons of democracy? Show more Show less
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Democracy is the backbone of many developed countries, but is it really the ideal form of government that it's made out to be? In these trying times, and with the 2020 American presidential election just around the corner, the debate rages perhaps now more than ever: What are the pros and cons of democracy?

The pros of democracy Show more Show less

Democracy is the most humanitarian form of government, designed to promote equality and justice for all. These are the pros of democracy and why we should embrace it.
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Democracy advocates for equality

Whether it be equal access to resources such as education or medical care, or equal representation and voting rights, or equal opportunities to improve oneself and raise one's social and economic standing, democracy advocates for equality.
Democracy Equality

Context

Democracy was first imagineered in ancient Greece by the leader of Athens, Cleisthenes, as a way in which the people could rule instead of being ruled. Equality was at the heart of the philosophy of democracy, and a new form of government took shape which would forever change the world. It was seen as the fairest and most ethical way to govern a nation and its people. For many centuries, democracy has become widespread among developed nations, being both promoted peacefully and by force. But today the debate rages as to whether or not democracy is really the golden form of government that it has long been made out to be. Does democracy really work? Do the pros outweigh the cons, or is democracy an inefficient and fallible system? With the tumultuous 2020 U.S. presidential election nearing the boiling point, this question is being asked now more than ever: What are the pros and cons of democracy?

The Argument

Democracy embraces the idea that people of all races, genders, creeds, socioeconomic standing, etc. should be equal. This means equal access to resources such as health care and education, equal representation and voting rights, and equal opportunity for upwards mobility. Equal representation is a must in a democratic society. Every person has the same voting rights, and every person's vote counts the same way. That means every person has a voice, which gives them the power to elect politicians who will make positive changes in their neighborhoods, schools, and even the country as a whole. People who are otherwise oppressed can vote a person out of office who does not have their best interest at heart, and can vote for policies that will improve their quality of life and end their oppression.[1] Equal education also means equal opportunity. Under a democratic government, all students would be given access to the same quality of instruction. This ensures that every person is well-equipped to survive and thrive in an adult world by the time they graduate from school. It paves the way for upwards mobility for people who were born into poverty; they can get high-paying jobs and not have to live from paycheck to paycheck. In a democracy, no one is doomed to live their entire lives under the status they were born into.[2]

Counter arguments

Democracy might advocate that every vote is equal, the but the reality is that every vote is not equal. People's opinions are shaped by their differing environments; how educated they are, whether or not they are on the right side of the law, etc. If, for example, a person is uneducated or does not follow the news, then they would be very hard-pressed to make an objective, rational, and informed decision, because they simply do not have all the facts.[3] Should their vote count just as much as a person who has been well-educated on current issues and on how voting works? Wouldn't it just skew the outcome of an election and not be a true representation of what the population really wants? Couldn't it even allow for uneducated voters to be taken advantage of and manipulated into voting for someone who doesn't truly represent what they want? And in regards to equal education and opportunities, these simply do not exist. Schools are notoriously unequally funded, because they rely on taxpayers' money--and poor neighborhoods generate less revenue to support their schools, while rich neighborhoods have most everything they could ever need.[4] There is no opportunity for equal mobility, because the under-funded education system in poor neighborhoods fails to deliver. Kids from poor neighborhoods start out at a disadvantage to achieving their goals, to starting careers, and to moving up and out of poverty. If democracy actually worked, this gross inequality would never be allowed. And by allowing inequality to persist in the quality of education the population receives, we are guaranteeing that votes will remain unequal, and that election results will continue to be skewed and voters abused.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] In a democracy, every vote counts equally. [P2] In a democracy, everyone receives equal access to education. [P3] Democracy works because everyone is given equal opportunities.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Every vote does not count equally. [Rejecting P2] Everyone is not guaranteed the same quality of education. [Rejecting P3] Democracy doesn't work because not every citizen is given equal opportunities.

References

  1. https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/articles_papers_reports/why-democracy-is-the-best-weve-got
  2. https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/how-equal-should-opportunities-be
  3. https://listverse.com/2013/06/16/10-reasons-why-democracy-doesnt-work/
  4. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/how-unequal-school-funding-punishes-poor-kids/
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 16:05 UTC

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