CHAPTER 11 11/05/2013
2009, Iran, Ahmedinejad was declared President once again, but Iranians took to the streets in protest,
demanding a recount (assumed electoral fraud), however, Ahmedinejad ended up being reelected.
Iran puts precedence of political power on religious leaders over representative democracy
Honduras, challenged own democracy when soldiers exiled President Manuel Zelaya in 2009; held a
coup d’etat and Honduras’ constitutionally designated successor was immediately given place ▯Zelaya
returned but never restored to power; Honduras chose Pofirio Lobo of the Nationalist Party
2009, PRC of China sentenced Liu Xaiobo to eleven years of prison to “inciting subversion of state
Sentenced to draft a petition (called Charter 08) intended to bring his country freedom of speech, free
& fair elections, and respect for the rule of law
Sentenced b/c he wanted to move PRC towards democracy, although he struggled for fundamental human
Canada has democratic deficit; citizens have little control over the workings of government ▯voting
turnout falls, trust declines in both politicians and politics, people increasingly believe democracy has
nothing to do with them
We must acknowledge that challenges do exist and that is our democratic responsibility as citizens to face
up to them.
Democracy is rule of, by, and for the people.
All adults citizens must have equal & effective voice in decisions of their political community
Democracy was second in history; only lasted 300 years ▯people favoured rulers
Democracy returned to the world after the French + American revolutions
Why is democracy rare?
1. Focusses on capability, asserts that only few are fit to have a say n governing. Ordinary people
should not have a say in the state. However, if nobility had not produced so many disasters in the past,
this point would be more legitimate.
2. If ordinary people govern, they will abuse the power and establish a tyranny of the majority that
will persecute the wealthy and other minorities they find offensive and debase cultural and social
Produces a leveling effect that destroys finest achievements of human endeavor
However, arguments support democracy:
Stops monopolies and one person from having excess power Made education universal and provide environments where arts have flourished
3. Democracy is impractical; all right when times are good but when tough decisions have to be made
rapidly a dictatorship is usually the answer.
Achieving consensus is a waste of time
Encourages those to hold out until they get what they want
Disguises the realities of power by letting the weak participate even when strong will win.
Inconvenient if you are running a government; democracy makes jobs harder ▯demands citizens to
participate, govt has to listen to more people (lobbyist, supporters); democracy makes govt transparent (so
people know what’s going on) and accountable (people can judge performance); also voters can put
politicians out of office by voting
Elections help hold politicians accountable to people and serve interests of the pop as a whole
Citizens can vote corrupt, ineffective, or unresponsive politicians and political parties out of office
Liberal democracy; combines liberalism (high level of individual freedom) with a democratic system
of electoral representatives
Built from idea that not everyone can participate (especially in a large community)
Govt should observe rule of law & rights of people protected ▯if under a higher set of laws =
Liberal democracy should be pluralist, with many competitors for power
Implies civil society
Citizens are free to discuss, criticize, choose, and act freely.
Democracy and the World Today
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, brought forward a measure of
how free citizens around the world are:
Free, partly free, not free
Describes extent to which freedoms are protected by state and its enforcement of constitutional rights
Free countries tend to be democratic; India, France, Chile, South Africa, South Korea
Not free don't have democracies (Afghanistan, Belarus, China, Libya)
Partly free (Nicaragua, Singapore); classification of democratic or undemocratic are unclear Electoral Democracies: countries in which representatives to the national legislature are chosen in
competitive multiparty and multicandidate elections, all adult citzens have the right to vote in
reasonably free and fair elections
Parties appeal to voters via election campaigns
Opposition can take power over leading parties
Citizens have right to choose how to run govt
Liberal Democratic Government
Churchill declared democracy as one of the worst governments imaginable; but it is better than other
governments; offers more services to more people
Must have centers of power independent of government
Business, unions, educational institutions, interest groups, social movements, media, civil society
Only few of these powers actually aspire to govern, but all compete to exert influence on government
Open competition for power and government actions freely contested in polyarchy (many rule) ▯ not
identical to democracy but is a prerequisite for democracy; if power rests within state, whoever
controls the state, governor controls everything.
People cannot rule if one person in power.
Rule of Law
Building a govt of laws and not men has been a central objective of liberal democrats
Believe that a community governed according to laws are known by all (equal) and applied to everyone
(equity) ▯offers best opportunity
Rule of law places limits on government as it is too is subject to law. Thus the rule of law is the
keystone of a system to protect the people of the community against arbitrary and abusive use of
Although rule of law is not by itself capable of assuring democratic government after lost government
society may be undemocratic
There is no universal prescription for what is needed to secure the rule of law having an independent
judiciary is essential. The court system is free from political pressure judges make their decisions
without regard for the government might want
John Adam states that a government of law and not of man means that government should be based
first there is one law and it is known or at least knowable to all
second, law applies equally to all third even the government that makes the law has to obey the law.
Democratic government needs the rule of law for two reasons. One is that, without it, the ideal of
equality among citizens is undetermined with out rule of law, some people will effectively get more
rights than others.
If government is above the law and the rights of liberties that people enjoy our always liable to be
abused and freedoms curtailed
Citizens can vote for to change those responsible for governing. Those chosen by citizens can ask for our
support. Politicians are accountable to us and need approval. We allow them to keep governing or we can
Vertical accountability, ways in which government institutions report to public (their bosses) to seek
common good. Citizens restraining government (vertical)
Horizontal accountability, government restraining itself, check performance of other govt institutions to
ensure that they work in public interest.
An example is USA where the government’s has a system of checks and balances b/w its legislative
Government have to have effective use of their funds. Funds come from people's taxes.
USA has the Government accountability office and Canada has the auditor general.
Independent agencies are involved in undertaking horizontal accountability but unless there is strong
vertical accountability from elections, news media or, the civic action, horizontal accountability will be
Some things in government must be kept secret. Issues relating to national security's are a good example.
Democracies need to have a great deal of access to information so that they can effectively make
decisions. Government needs strategies get good and useful information out in time. Governments have
to admit their mistakes and are held accountable to citizens so they must be open with them
The ability to take part in governing
Empowering ordinary people to participate effectively in politics distinguishes democratic governments
from nondemocratic governments
The question is how much participation is good. Political action is necessary to secure basic rights of the
citizens serious aboriginal people have more rights because of their historic exploitation.
Political institutions of the country like the courts or legislature must incorporate participation,
accountability pluralism and respect for rule of law and order A good government allows citizens to participate. Brazil has a participatory budget making democracy,
where citizens draft the budget. Moedrn democracies do not allow most citizens to participate in most
affairs. Modern states are much bigger and like democracies are more effective.
Represented democracies are more effective.
Structure of Liberal Democratic Government
Three main parts of a liberal democratic government:
Parliamentary system presidential systems and semi presidential systems.
In parliamentary systems there’s a close interrelationship between the political executive and legislative
body. Executive is made of elected members that are appointed to Senate
Presidential systems, have executives (president) and Legislature (Congress,) derived their authority from
being elected directly from the people and have fixed terms of office.
Semipresidential systems elected president shares power with prime minister and cabinet. PM and
cabinet msut have support of legislature to stay in the house, but presidents does not
Statement of agreed to act democratically. Must follow derivatives of its citizens to give up elections. The
state may have a legitimate use of force within territory to ensure security cores and maybe used.
Democracy is a contract between people and their government based on shared trust and values.
More nondemocratic governments have potential presidential and semipresidential systems rather than
NonDemocratic (Authoritarian) Political Systems
People were not citizens but subjects. They had no voice in government and were ruled by a leader.
Aristotle ▯ there was Monarch (ruled by one) and aristocracy (by many). But these govts were for the
people not by or of the people.
Democratic governments encourage political pluralism; nondemocratic governments conscientiously limit
range of acceptable ideas and people who participate
Some systems are very restrictive, e.g. totalitarian; others are less but have control over over public life
(not acceptable in a democracy)
Democratic systems are under rule of law authoritarian governments have more freedom to ignore law or
change it to meet their immediate needs. Accountability suffers under authoritarian governments ▯they
have a greater capacity to fraud results and ignore citizen complaints. Authoritarian systems restrict
citizens participation to get things done
Nondemocratic governments prefer mass progovernment demonstrations selections where voters appear
to support government and development groups such as labor unions women's organizations and
environmental orgs. Nondemocratic groups do not allow citizen political voice, benefits only from
Types of NonDemocratic Political Systems We tend to label nondemocratic states under a single label: authoritarian political systems; however,
unlike totalitarian states they do not control all facets of public life in a country.
There are six different forms of authoritarian political systems some may not this today but all have been
found in history.
All dictatorships share concentrate a high level of concentration of political power; ordinary citizens have
little power instructing the governors