Lecture 2- Modern Democracy
Wong 9/16/2013 8:05:00 AM
What does democracy mean?
Apartheid in Africa was one of the most brutal regimes
White south Africans were separated from the black south Africans
This regime was run on the politics of racial segregation
Politically, socially, economically south Africa was divided along
There was a lot of racism among white and black South Africans.
More resources available for white south African versus black
Apartheid system comes to an end in 1994. It was only 20 years
Democracy is many ways is still very new. People fight with their
own lives for democracy. Millions giver up their own lives
This is a political system that we can’t take for granted
Democracy has tremendous appeal
Over the course of 35 years democracies increased from 46 to 114
Global peace can be obtained by promoting democracy
What were once traditional societies are now suddenly post colonial
Consequences of modernization economically and socially =
What makes democracy so appealing?
The people is what’s most important (Aristotle)
Robert Dahl on Polyarchy- rights are impersonal and democracy
provides us with them
Sam Huntington- government, elections
Democracies virtues are in these 3 principles: the people, rights,
and the right to vote
Democracy as its core is a participatory practice; we may elect our
representatives and our government. We are participating in a
The business of government in a democracy is no longer the
business of kings, queens, churches, etc. It is participatory at its
core. Liberty: freedoms; of speech, association, press- these freedoms
are rights. You have the right under this principle of liberty to
deliberate, to argue, to debate and form your own views. All
citizens are equal; race, religion, ethnicity. We get these rights
through the right to vote.
Equality: a principle of modern liberalism. It’s about the individual.
Rule of Law: a political system, which is governed with the rule of
law. A democracy at its core has to be grounded in a constitution
and constitutional rules. It is not the rule of one person.
Pluralism: liberty + equality + rule of law=pluralism. Multiple
ideologies. Democracy is basically compromise amongst pluralism
Institutionalized uncertainty: the core of democracy is elections.
Elections gives you the ability to vote a government out or in. the
democracy in that sense is all about winners and losers. What
makes democracy virtuous is that losers are never out. You can
lose, but you can compete again. Your party is not banned or
anything (jail, etc). NDP for instance loses a lot, but is always in the
competition. Democracy is institutionalized because it’s the same
process over and over again (repetitive).
Democracy has its core principles (highlights)
Democracy has many virtues making it appealing, but it is also very
fragile. We should not take it for granted. There are breakdowns.
1974-2010 there was 53 breakdowns in democracy. Key:
democracy is fragile. It is fought for and can be taken away.
Democracy is not just simply a final product; Fukiyama guy said
there are other alternatives to democracy.
Democracy as a Process:
Democracies are dynamic, fluent, and fragile
It is a continual dynamic process. Still new in Canada and America
Hugh Guthrie, MP, 1920- he says the right to vote is a conferred
right in every case. Everyone regardless of race should acquire the
right to vote as a citizen
Not long ago women, gays, and stuff gained the right to vote Democracy is a long-term evolutionary process. E.g. women fought
for the right to vote; so did first nations people
Democracy doesn’t just appear.
Democracy is a process; 3 dynamics:
o Building the foundation
o Choosing democracy
o Making democracy work
Building Democracies Foundation
Modernization theory- democracies foundations are built upon this
theory. Theories about how people economically and socially
transform themselves. Essentially it argues that the very beginning
process of modernization requires economic progress (economic
transformation) with economic transformation comes economic
development. For instance as you move from a subsistence farmer