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Lecture 14

Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Demagogue, Unearned Income, Sarah Palin

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Peter Fragiskatos

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PoliSci1020E November 29, 2011
Lecture 14
Democracy and Authoritarianism
Democracy as a basic concept.
Why is democracy valuable?
Practicing Democracy:
o Representative Democracy
o Direct Democracy
Can the whole world be democratic?
Demo = people; Kratos = rule.
All of the citizens within a given community on matters that 1) impact their lives and 2)
the community of which they’re a part of.
Citizen = a member of a political community with guaranteed rights (freedom of
speech, freedom to vote, freedom of religion, and the freedom of ability to live under the
rule of law).
Bhikhu Parekh (1935-)
o Democracy is universally valid. It is good for everyone in the world for three
Gives people the chance to shape their lives and protect their interests.
(Even if an inequality is apparent, with democracy, at least one has the
ability to have some chance for equality in one aspect of their life.)
It helps bind people to a larger whole. It does so by opening a space that
encourages reflection and argument. Reflection and argument engaged in
between citizens, leads to the knowledge that others have concerns and
interests “It‟s not all about you!” You become aware of the plight of
others. It helps generate a feeling of community ownership. It does so by
creating an attachment to the institutions that create/sustain the
community. The effect of this is that it creates a respect for law and
justice; the law and justice that are run by the political community.
Participation becomes a desire rather than being forced. People want to
be involved!
It is valuable because power is a corruptive force (it pushes people to have
it to hold onto it; it also creates arrogance). Absolute power corrupts
absolutely. To protect us from it, “democracy makes power conditional
by subjecting its exercise to critical scrutiny…it opens a public space
where citizens critically engage with one another and arrive at a wider and
more balanced view of the subject in question.”
Democracy can be approached in two ways: Representative Democracy and Direct
Representative Democracy
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