Democracy is government by the people or at least a majority rule. Plato: "The forgiving spirit of democracy.. These and other kindred characteristics are proper to democracy, which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike." For Aristotle, as to Plato, the word democracy has a calamitous association with oppression by a rough and ignorant mob, eager to pull everything down to its own level. "For tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only; oligarchy has in view the interest of the wealthy; democracy, of the needy; none of them the common good of all." Sparta opposed the Athenian democracy - The aristocratic party at Athens naturally bitterly opposed to all these democratic innovations. The Spartans also viewed with disquiet and jealousy this rapid growth of the Athenian democracy..

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. The democrats think that, as they are equal, they ought to be equal in all things' while the oligarchs, under the idea that they are unequal, claim too much, which is more inequality. The basis of a democratic state is liberty, which, according to the common opinion of men, can be enjoyed only in such a state. In a democracy the poor have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme. This then, is one sign of liberty which all democrats affirm to be a principle of their state.

Understand that the Democratic party in America today is not in fact Democratic. They have many of the democratic ideals but in many ways they have become just as much of an Oligarchy as the Republicans and have been for many years. Today it is very difficult to see the difference between Republicans and Democrats, neither of which are a true democracy.

Thoreau: "Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? It is not possible to take a step further toward recognizing and organizing the rights of man? there will never be a really free and enlightened state, until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both," says Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court justice from 1916-1939. Democracy should be a state which at last can afford to be just to all men and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor. In many ways the central problem of democracy is the question of the proper relationship between the principle of majority rule on the one hand and the principle of the protection of individual and minority rights on the other - the majority rule democrats and the individual rights democrats.

Einstein: "My political ideal is that of democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized."

The sage of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson was the serene philosopher of democracy but Andrew Jackson was its militant champion, rude, brawling and irresistible. Americans were once heavily committed to democratic ideals and justly so. Individual freedom and individual rights are an intregal part of the American culture. Any proposed reform that ignores this crucial ideological element could not gain support from many of its citizens. Unfortunately in America, democracy became identified with capitalism and degenerated into oligarchy. It all boils down to this, that a more perfect democracy needs a more enlightened and vigilant people. A "democratic society," to put it another way, has been capable of singular exercises in authoritarianism. Democracy prevails in a bad way when a majority of the people are wrong. Democracy may not be perfect, but we must wait until the monarchy of God in the kingdom millenial reign to see any better.

There are two traditions of freedom: freedom defined as majority rule and that the essence of freedom is the protection of individual rights against the community. While the aspiration for democracy is broad, no particular form is finished or perfect. The demands of the Solidarity Movement in Poland was that workers be involved in the hiring and firing of supervisors. Such a demand would be utterly alien to most Americans, and yet people in Solidarity saw it as a logical democratic aspiration. If the doctrine of majority rule has traditionally gone by the name of democracy, the doctrines advocating limits as the objectives and the methods of all governments, including democracies, have gone by the names, respectively, of liberalism and of constitutionalism. In order to achieve true democracy, the freedoms limited in modern societies to the political order would have to be transposed to men's concrete, economic existence. Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich - that is the democracy of capitalistic society. This is the democracy that is inevitably narrow, that stealthily pushes aside the poor, and is therefore hypocritical, and false. The kingdom will usher an economic democracy for the poor, the people, not the moneybags.

Some elements in the democratic tradition of today are to be found in the election of Bishops in the earliest Christian churches. With the increase of democracy throughout history, it was inevitable that the parties of working class occupy an even larger sector of political life. Nineteenth century liberalism and democracy could clash in two ways: liberalism could undermine the democratic control of society or democracy could become tyrannical and a transition to totalitarian collectivism.

Pure democracy is and always have been, a romantic fiction. Social scientists acknowledge that all societies, even democratic societies, are governed by elites. For all its imperfections, a democratic choice, when it is allowed expression, best reflects people's needs and desires. Democratic capitalistic countries have evolved into more equitable societies than non-democratic capitalistic countries but a social democracy is best. Human progress takes place best under democracy. Inventive genius prospers in a free society, where it is permitted to meet the challenge of solving problems for human betterment.
[09, 40, 75, 94, 132, 139, 143, 150, 156, 161, 165, 178, 191, 264, 267, 157, 156, 350, 382]

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