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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 ensures freedom for every citizen

Democracy affords us four basic and inalienable rights; freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assemble, and equal representation before the law. Citizens get to enjoy expressing their opinions openly, going anywhere and doing anything they please, and making (and keeping) their own wealth.
Democracy Freedom

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

In a democracy, citizens are guaranteed four basic and inalienable rights; freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assemble, and equal representation before the law. Citizens get to enjoy expressing their opinions openly, going anywhere and doing anything they please, and making (and keeping) their own wealth. Democracy protects every person's individual freedoms. In autocracies, these rights are not guaranteed. In countries such as North Korea, people are censored on a disturbing scale. The government controls all domestic TV, radio, and newspapers, and international news reporters are limited or even barred from covering or being at certain events.[1] Democracy allows for anyone to report on the news, allowing for many different accounts and perspectives on any given event. People gathering for protests has also been a right enjoyed by the people in a democracy. Despite government intervention where quarantines have been put into place for Covid, people in America still gather to protest the blatant disregard of human rights as shown in the George Floyd case; and in a democracy, they are protected by the law. Their right to protest is still supported, and they are even given recommendations on how to protest safely during the pandemic.[2] In a democracy, one keeps what one earns. This is a freedom that people under a communist government, for example, can't say they enjoy. Because wealth is distributed evenly, and resources and businesses are owned by the government, people can't even produce their own goods; the state takes it and distributes it based on their own criteria.[3] Democracy would never allow for people to be taken advantage of in this way. If, for example, a person wants to grow their own food, then they have the freedom to do that and not have it taken away and given to someone else. Democracy advocates for, ensures, and protects personal freedoms for every citizen. For this reason, it is the best form of government on earth.

Counter arguments

People claim that democracy protects every personal freedom, but it can't always do this; and it doesn't. Covid is one such case, and democracies all over the world are stepping up and responding to the crisis by imposing lockdowns, rationing out what and how much people can buy of certain goods, and policing where people can go and what they can do outdoors. Public worship (in other words, freedom of religion) has even been temporarily banned in some countries.[4] People are outraged and cry that it is all a violation of personal freedom and undemocratic; but wouldn't it be a worse violation of human rights to allow people the freedom to spread Covid and kill one another with it? Democracy isn't a guarantee of personal freedoms and human rights. Sometimes personal freedoms have to take a back seat to the greater good to ensure our survival.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Democracy protects the inalienable rights of all citizens. [P2] Personal freedoms are afforded to citizens under a democratic government that aren't afforded anywhere else. [P3] Democracy ensures freedom for all.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Not every right is protected under a democracy. [Rejecting P2] Personal freedoms sometimes need to be restricted for everyone's safety. [Rejecting P3] Democracy promises freedom for all, but can't always deliver.

References

  1. https://cpj.org/reports/2006/05/10-most-censored-countries/
  2. https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/protesting-safely
  3. https://people.howstuffworks.com/communism.htm
  4. https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/11/sacrificing-freedom-for-safety/
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 16:05 UTC

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