Liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms. Discuss

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  • Created on: 02-05-16 10:57
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  • Liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms. Discuss
    • Is a political regime that combines a liberal preference for limited government w/ a democratic preference for majority rule
      • Regular free and fair elections (universal adult suffrage), contraints on govt (through constitutionalism, consent and rule of law), and an vigorous civil society
    • Yes
      • Promotes individualism (primacy of indv over any group, society or state)
        • Promotes rationalism, knowledge comes from reason/logic, not tradition or custom
          • Both suggest indv can govern themselves and democracy is not necessary
      • D suggests collectivism, indv work best in cooperative social groups
        • Majoritarianism, and potential for 'tyranny of the majority', rule of the 51% which can result in minority oppression
      • D puts equality over freedom and suggests increasing state intervention
        • Threat to property rights and the natural equilibrium of the free market
      • Also, working class is majority, and as knowledge is not spread equally through society, Mill argued that they will vote for parties with lower pleasures in mind
    • No
      • Need for state to protect rational but self-serving indv from each other
        • Nightwatchmen state, 'necessary evil'
          • Jefferson 'that govt is best which governs the least'
      • Modern liberals like economic govt intervention to enhance positive freedom
      • Possible to ensure the govt is restricted through constitutionalism, separation of powers, bicameralism etc
      • In order to have power govt should have legitimate authority, through consent, agreement of the people
      • Belief in rationalism, democracy is educative process allows indv to make rational choices and develop intellect
        • D also promotes tolerant and stable society, as it can allow peaceful discussion through debate rather than violence
      • D helps indv promote civil liberties, people can act as limiting force on govt
        • Through creation of libdem a social contract is formed
          • Authority from below, govt should act in interest of indv, if dont, break the contract and indv have right to overthrow the govt


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