Is democracy the best system of government? 5

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

In Britain, the right to vote was eventually extended to everyone except prisoners, Lords, lunatics, and children.

In his Federal Paper No. 10, James Madison distinguishes between a democracy and a republic, describing a democracy as a system of government in which every man has his say along with all the others, while a republic is governed by representatives of the citizens. In our time, a democracy is a representative system.

Can it be easily corrupted? It is in the US that the weakness of the democratic system was most dramatically and catastrophically demonstrated by the Democratic Party when it organized ballot fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The Democrats seem to believe that all votes not cast for them are invalid, and to favor a system which could be summed up as “one Democrat any number of votes”.

So now a party empowered by a minority of the people is imposing its will tyrannically on the entire nation.

Even when the will of a majority prevails, tyranny can emerge.

What checks and balances are there in the US to prevent or stop tyranny? The judicial branch of government? It refused to adjudicate the fraudulent election of 2020.

Do you think democracy is the best system of government?

Are you for universal suffrage? Should every adult have the vote, or should voters be qualified to some extent in some way? What proportion of the voters do you suppose are informed about the candidates and policies they vote for?

Can you suggest improvements to the current system, or describe an entirely different system that would better protect the liberty of the people?


Note: These questions are also being discussed on our Forum. Please join us there.

Posted under government by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 5, 2022

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Presidents, Presidents everywhere, but not a voter to be found 17

The Presidential elections results have shown that Ahmadinejad has received 2/3 of the vote, a landslide; but do the people believe it?

Chaos in Tehran

Chaos in Tehran

Posted under Arab States, News by on Saturday, June 13, 2009

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Democracy, that crazy Bush idea 21

Joshua Muravchik writes in the Wall Street Journal: 

The results of Kuwait’s elections last month — in which Islamists were rebuffed and four women were elected to parliament — will likely reinvigorate the movement for greater democracy in the region that has stalled since the hopeful “Arab spring” of 2005. It also puts pressure on the Obama administration to end its deafening silence on democracy promotion.

Although ruled by a hereditary monarch, Kuwait is the most democratic of the Arab countries. The press is relatively free, parliament has real power, and politicians are chosen in legitimate elections. However, Kuwait is a part of the Persian Gulf, where the subordination of women is traditionally most severe. Historically, Kuwait’s political process was for males only. But in 2005 parliament yielded to female activists and approved a bill giving women the right to vote and hold office.

In 2006 and 2008, several women ran for parliament, though none won. The women that captured four of the 50 seats last month weren’t aided by quotas; they won on their own merits. Their success will undoubtedly inspire a new wave of women’s activism in nearby countries.

Almost as significant as the women’s gains were the Islamist losses. The archconservative Salafist Movement’s campaign for a boycott of female candidates obviously fell flat, and the number of seats held by Sunni Islamists fell sharply.

Thus continues a string of defeats for Islamists over the last year and a half from west to east. In September 2007, Morocco’s Justice and Development Party, a moderate Islamist group, was widely forecast to be the winner. Its support proved chimerical: It came away with 14% of the seats, trailing secularists. Iraq’s provincial elections this January signaled a turn away from the sectarian religious parties that had dominated earlier pollings. This trend, capped by Kuwait’s elections, has important implications.

What sapped the vitality of the “Arab spring” was the triumph of Islamists — the Muslim Brotherhood’s strong showing in Egypt’s 2005 parliamentary election, Hamas’s victory in Gaza, and Hezbollah’s ascendance in Lebanon. In response to these election results, the Bush administration muffled its advocacy of democracy in the Middle East. Some democrats in the region even took a go-slow stance.

To put it bluntly, these outcomes renewed questions about whether the Arabs were ready for democracy. If elections produce victory for parties that are not themselves democratic in practice or philosophy, then democracy is at a dead end. But the Kuwait election, following those in Iraq and Morocco, suggests that such fears may have been overblown.

If this election is a harbinger of larger developments, its symbol is Rola Dashti, an American-educated economist who led the fight for women’s political rights in Kuwait and who lost narrowly in 2006 and 2008 before triumphing this year.

Her victory was remarkable for several reasons. Half-Lebanese by birth, Ms. Dashti speaks Arabic with a distinct Lebanese accent that stamps her as an outsider in a relatively insular country. She is also proudly secular. She wears no head covering and makes no effort to conceal the fact that she remains unmarried although she is in her forties.

This flies in the face of the custom that is the essence of women’s subordination in the culture of the Gulf. The system of “guardianship” requires that women be under the supervision of some male — father, uncle, husband, brother or even son — at all times. Ms. Dashti lives with her divorced mother in a household devoid of males. She has brothers, but they serve as campaign aides rather than as guardians.

The fact that Kuwaiti voters sent Ms. Dashti and three other women to parliament suggests that the Arab world may be ready for democracy after all. The Obama administration should take heed.

The most surprising thing to us in all this – that Muravchik thinks Obama gives a damn.    

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Islam, News, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 2, 2009

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