Critique of Modern Democracy
Democracy is a form of government that constitution guarantees basic personal and political rights, fair elections, and independent courts of law. In today’s world, most people and most countries consider democracy to be the only valid and viable system of government (Brainerd, 2013).
Plato description concerning democracy indicates that it is a rule that is supposed to be used to create freedom for the majority group of poor citizens. He describes the liberty in democracy as being excessive where restrain is resented as intolerable and thus disregard of all laws in the long run. According to Plato the problem with democracy is that it lacks moral excellence and good education. He goes on to describe democratic citizens as people who are gullible to people who use rhetoric as their weapon and as people who lack good education and insight to make informed choices for themselves. He adds that democracy is capable of to falling under the influence of bad leaders (Brainerd, 2013).
Aristotle puts more emphasis on constitutions and definitions. According to his explanations on democracy, a constitution is the law that every member of the society should adhere to when conducting their daily operations. He described citizens as the significant components of the city, which is characterized by quantity and quality. Democracy is, therefore, viewed as a factor that sets people free from dictatorial leadership (Brainerd, 2013).
In contrast with Plato and Aristotle, who had considered state power as a means to a higher end conceived in moral terms, the power of the state is the end of the state. He confined his attention to the acquisition, retention and retention and expansion of power. According to Lakoff (2015), there is a vital difference between the ruler and the citizens. He goes on to explain that morality is essential for the people but not necessary for the ruler this is because the ruler is the creator of both the law and morality, he has the task of preserving the state by all means (Lakoff, 2015).
Thomas Hobbes elaborated Machiavelli’s theories about a powerful state. He advocated for absolutism, which means an all-powerful supreme state. He argued that political authority in any state should be concentrated in the hands of a single sovereign body this can be a king, an assembly or even a council. Hobbes was concerned with peace, security, social order and discipline. He states that a democratic state that gives liberty but does not provide security is replaced by a totalitarian state (Lakoff, 2015).
John Locke declared that consent of the people forms the basis of the government. He emphasized that government is supposed to be run in accordance to the consent of the people and that people are the source of political power. Locke places more importance on the individual he was a key participant in the development of liberalism placing emphasis on natural rights. In addition, he used the social contract theory to prove that the powers of the government are supposed to be limited by the rights of the people (Lakoff, 2015).
Augustine did not write a book on political philosophy, did he attempt to either address or draw out the institutional implications of his answers or elaborate a philosophical theory like Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes respectively. However, Augustine’s body of work has proven to be of great value to theologians and philosophers concerned with the relations between church and state, implications of religious and moral pluralism for political society, and nature and purposes of government (Lakoff, 2015).
Rousseau’s political philosophy involved the concepts of justice and popular sovereignty. In his work on inequality, he discusses two forms of inequalities: natural for example difference in the qualities of mind and body and social inequalities such as privileges. He states that the social inequalities are the root of all evil. Social inequalities corrupt the good nature of man and this can only be redeemed by creating conditions necessary for free expression of man’s desire. Popular sovereignty is connected with the theory of the general will, which entails being a member of a certain civil society that lifts an individual’s level. Karl Marx, on the other hand, is known for his approach on communism where class distinctions based on property disappears and thus a classless society is formed and thus no need of state (Lakoff, 2015).
From the above information gathered from various philosophers, each of their insights show that they have played a part in the development of modern democracy in various ways. For example, Rousseau’s concepts of justice and popular sovereignty are the main pillars of modern democracy (Lakoff,2015).
Brainerd, R. (2013). Classical political philosophy and modern democracy. University honors theses. Paper 22. Retrieved from: http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1016&context=honorstheses.
Lakoff, S. (2015). Inequality as a danger to democracy: Reflections on Piketty’s warning. Political Science Quarterly, (3), 425.