Not all countries must adopt to modern day democracy
Debate Rounds (3)
Can someone give m a reason to believe in democracy as the best political system?
It sounds like Pro is an agreement with Winston Churchill when he said,
"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."
But another quote of Churchill's is better known:
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
The second quote is better known for the better wisdom conveyed. I won't defend democracy as the paragon of governments, only as the most free and sustainable solution to the difficult problem of governing large bodies of people.
Pro argues that the majority of the population is not smart enough to vote in a reliable leader.
Voting is far more subjective than objective. Intelligence is hard to quantify and doesn't often come into play. Most voters pick a handful of issues to make a priority and vote for the candidate most likely to represent those interests. The electorate of 1968 was possibly the best educated generation of voters in American history and nevertheless the majority voted according to their positions on Civil Rights and the Vietnam War, electing a notoriously unreliable Richard Nixon. Chances are even Pro is not really thinking about intelligence so much as he is thinking about people who agree with him. People who agree with Pro are the people Pro mostly considers smart, I suspect.
Furthermore, I would argue that reliability is not an essential quality for leadership: Jimmy Carter was a model of stability, but ineffectual as a leader. Lyndon Johnson was a volatile bully, who nevertheless accomplished a great deal in five years. Both George Bush's were remarkably predictable leaders, while Bill Clinton would often surprise the pundits, and scandalize the masses. Nevertheless, history remembers Clinton as the more effective executive.
So neither intelligent citizens nor reliable leaders are essential to good government.
Even if reliability were to be considered essential, what other form of government is more likely to produce dependable leadership? Do autocracies and aristocracies have a better track record for dependability? For every Augustus, there is at least one Caligula For every Queen Victoria, you get three bad Richards.
Some advantages of Democracy are:
IMPROVED GUARANTEES of LIBERTY- in order to ensure a relatively fair vote, every Democracy is constitutionally bound to certain guarantees of free speech, free assembly, freedom of the press. Without these basics, Democracy collapses.
TERM LIMITS- even very good leaders tend towards greater corruption and dissolution over time. Term limits ensure that the impact of any leader or party is finite and subject to renewal on a regular basis.
PEACEFUL TRANSITIONS- since a fair election is enforced by majority opinion, popular revolutions and military coups occur less often in Democracies.
MANDATES- elected leaders owe a debt of gratitude to the majority for which repayment comes in fulfillment of campaign promises. The relationship of the leader to the people is more strictly defined as service to the electorate.
CITIZENSHIP- participatory Democracy encourages a sense of social responsibility and contribution to the community, which is expressed in public improvements far beyond government's capacity.
REDUCED CORRUPTION- corruption is always a problem, but checks and balances, opposing parties, and a more free press serve as watchdogs against corruption in Democracies.
ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS- stable government transitions, reduced corruption, and greater social responsibility allow for greater confidence in the free market, improving trade and job creation.
Thanks to Pro for the opportunity to speak in favor of Democracy. I look forward to his argument.
Now to clarify, i do believe that some nations are fit to adopt modern day democracy hence my title being that not all countries must adopt to modern day democracy but i still firmly believe that the majority are not. To also clarify by what i mean by intelligence. In my opinion intelligence is represented through logical thinking and understanding
i'll use examples to prove my point, Firstly the US as it is synonymous with modern day democracy nowadays
Although the US has a lot to brag about hen it comes to technological achievement it still leaves more to be desired, you've stated that "The electorate of 1968 was possibly the best educated generation of voters in American history and nevertheless the majority voted according to their positions on Civil Rights and the Vietnam War, electing a notoriously unreliable Richard Nixon". I believe that this particular instance helps prove my point, just because someone is deemed educated by an institution doesn't necessarily mean they're smart to elect a reliable leader, when it comes to the US its obvious that the media decides who the president should be and not the people. If the people truly made the effort to educate themselves politically or to use their mind logically , Ron Paul would've received much more attention. Unfortunately people are just not politically aware to form know what's best for them.
Look at Toronto, Canada. Rob Ford is a walking joke yet he was elected in.
Another example can be seen in Egypt, their revolution was lauded as a "great step for democracy" and what happened? They elected a Muslim brotherhood leader who was not fit to be president but due to the lack of intelligence, especially in the rural areas and also susceptibility to vote buying. they voted in the wrong guy . Same can be seen in Thailand, South Africa , Nigeria, Malaysia and the list goes on.
Furthermore, the points you bring up are valid but some mentioned can be easily countered.
NO GUARANTEES of LIBERTY- the recent NSA leaks indicates a clear infringement on peoples liberty.The ousted president of Egypt tried to infringe on peoples liberty democratically as did Hitler.
As for freedom of speech? The crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street highlights that freedom of speech isn't truly free.
TERM LIMITS- while i do agree that corruption tends to arise over time, term limits tend to weaken leaders. Sometimes a leader needs more time to implement the changes or to fix a country but if the nation is impatient they'll vote him/her out and halt their project, which would just restart the whole process. Or the other way around, the mass must wait till the term is over but what if the damage done by the leader in that time was too severe.
PEACEFUL TRANSITIONS- I partly agree with you on this aspect. I say partly because i don't necessarily see military coups as a negative. Once again look at Egypt, in Egypt's case i believe a coup was necessary in order to ensure that democracy would not be damaged by Morsi's rather authoritative constitution.
MANDATES- unfortunately many democratically elected leaders tend to break their promises. It seems rather idealistic to believe they would stick to their promises. Or, in the case of Obama are incapable of moving forth with their promises due to the limitation that occurs with constitutions.
CITIZENSHIP- I completely agree with you on that aspect
REDUCED CORRUPTION- this may hold true in certain countries but democracies tend to have just as much corruption. The Bush/Al Gore elections is a prime example. The elections held in US backed countries around the world tend to involve a lot of corruption. Same goes with the Russian elections. The fact that there are opposing parties and free press means they just have to conceal it better.
ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS- The economy isn't doing so well, particularly in Europe and the US, those regions are democratic. History proves that dictatorships have better records of improving the economy.
I truly value your opinion and would like to see what you have to say next
I admit I'm still a little hazy on Pro's thesis here, although his post in the comments section has concretized his position somewhat.
Pro argues that the majority of nations do not benefit by adopting democratic governments. So far, Pro has not defined a measurement by which we may know which countries Pro deems fit for freedom and which are better suited for autocracy. Pro speaks of the quality of intelligence, but I hope his argument is not that some nationalities are more intelligent than others and therefore more fit for Democracy. I will provide Pro the benefit of the doubt and refrain from assuming this is Pro's intended demarcation, since it should be obvious that intelligence can't be quantified according to geography or nationality. Pro spoke of reliable leadership in his first round, but I have already argued that reliability is not an essential quality of good leadership. Since Pro did not refute the point, I'll assume that is not Pro's final goal. By what standard, Pro, is Democracy the best solution? By what standard does Pro recommend against Democracy?
Another important oversight by Pro is the form of government Pro recommends in Democracy's place. If a country is not suited for Democracy, what form of government should be instituted? As I stated in round 1, Democracy is not perfect nor is it a panacea for all the challenges of government, but Democracy is generally superior to all other known forms of government for the advantages laid out in round 1. In the comments section, Pro discerns some advantages to dictatorships: "Dictatorships breed development though efficient and straightforward decision making, longer lasting and biggest economic miracles have occurred under dictatorships." Is Pro arguing, then, the majority of nations would prosper under dictatorships? To me, this is an astonishing statement. Plato may have theorized that a Philosopher King was the best form of government, but even he admitted that a good king was damn hard to come by. Hitler, Stalin, and Khomeini all viewed themselves as adherents to Plato's vision of benevolent dictatorship. History has proved otherwise.
So, until Pro offers some other form of government, let's look at some of the examples we've discussed with Democracy vs. Dictatorship in mind.
As I said in round 1, the electorate of 1968 voted on two issues: Vietnam and Civil Rights. Although Nixon had been hawkish about intervening in Southeast Asia before 1968, he understood that the war was unpopular and promised "peace with honor." NIxon switched to bombing to support troop withdrawals, ended the draft, and most importantly initiated relations with China, breaking the Communist alliance with Russia. Although Nixon was generally suspicious of the Civil Right's movement and indulged the racist vote in the South to win, Nixon supported the Voter's Right Act reasoning that as more blacks registered with the Democratic Party, racist whites would move from the Democratic ticket to the Republican. During his administration, Nixon implemented the first and largest Affirmative Action programs and school integrations. In fact, it may be fairly stated that all of Nixon's finest accomplishments were antithetical to Nixon's own and the Republican Party's historic federalist beliefs: establishing the EPA, expanding the National Parks system, the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. The electorate voted on two issues and got exactly what they wanted from Nixon. Doesn't seem so dumb to me. The only reason Nixon enacted so much legislation as president that he opposed as Senator was because of the power of Democracy. If Nixon were a dictator who did not need to be re-elected, little of his best work would have been accomplished.
However much one might value Ron Paul's small government message, there is little doubt that his voice is of a type that can only be heard in a Democracy. What dictatorship has ever tolerated a vocal, popular minority politician who advocates for the formation of militia as a check on national power? In any dictatorship, Ron Paul would have never spoken or he would have been removed.
If Ford was a dictator, or a mayor supported by a dictatorial power, how would Toronto's prosperity be improved? Would the people ever have been advised of Ford's scandalous behaviour? Probably not. In a dictatorship, would the people have any recourse or remedy to investigate Ford or check his power? By definition, no, they would not.
642 × 421 - vice.com
Muhammad Morsi abandoned Democracy when he immunized himself from any restraint by the judicial or legislative branches, effectively becoming a dictator on Nov 22, 2012. In spite of the free and popular vote for Morsi in the summer of 2012, Egyptians instantly recognized the betrayal of Democracy, renounced Morsi, and brought him down. Egypt hasn't even had a chance to get a proper constitution written, but they seem to have a pretty good understanding of the sacrifices citizens must make to preserve Democracy. How is Egypt an argument in favor of dictatorships?
SOUTH AFRICA, NIGERIA, MALAYSIA, THAILAND
I won't pretend to know every issue under consideration in these emerging Democracies. All four have seen significant struggles and significant increases in Democracy over the past 20 years. Nigeria, Malaysia, and Thailand have all seen improvements in quality of life proportional to Democratic increase. South Africa's quality of life has plateaued since the end of Apartheid, but this is a remarkable accomplishment considering that 90% of the population, 45 million people, have been brought into the economy. All four countries have had their share of totalitarian and dictatorial regimes, I see no evidence that those dictatorships were an improvement on democracy.
IMPROVED GUARENTEES of LIBERTY- Your argument is that a dictatorship is less like to spy on its people or crack down a protesters? Obviously, dictatorships must spy and oppress opposition in order to maintain their hold on power. The difference is that we are less likely to hear about it and people under a dictatorship have no remedy against power. At least in a Democracy, a free press reports on the NSA and OWS and the people's disapproval is heard. NSA spying was generally approved of by the U.S. electorate until this summer. Those number are now about 55% against. If those numbers hold, improved oversight is likely before the mid-term elections. In general, voters were split on various OWS crackdowns so politicians have felt little need to respond. In New York, 51% of voters disapproved of Bloomberg's handling of OWS and his personal approval numbers held steady. Interestingly, the mayoral candidate who was most critical of Bloomberg's handling is the now the Democratic nominee and heavily favored to win. Democracy may not provide a perfect response, but in a dictatorship we would never have heard the name Edward Snowden and OWS would all be in jail or dead.
TERM LIMITS- If electorates like a leader's policy, they can always vote for a candidate who will continue the policy. Both George Bush's are properly understood as extensions of Reagan's policies. Hillary Clinton's policies are presumed to be an extension of Bill Clinton's policy. If a leader's policies are unpopular, there are always remedies in a Democracy. In my state of Colorado, two legislators won a popular election last fall only to be kicked out in a special election last week. It might be a little inefficient, but at least Democracy is flexible.
MANDATES- elected politicians sometimes break their promises. Dictators have no need to make promises. Why is that better?
I'm running out of room so I'll take on CORRUPTION and the ECONOMY in the next round. What is the standard for determining which countries do not merit democracy? What form of government does Pro endorse in the absence of Democracy? How and why is that form an improvement on Democracy?
evasion forfeited this round.
Pro FF'd so I'll keep it short.
REDUCED CORRUPTION- Pro simply argued that democracies also have corruption. Pro failed to show that autocracies have a better track record on corruption than democracies.
ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS- Pro argued that the economic growth of Western Democracies has slowed somewhat since the crisis of 2008. How is this an argument in favor of autocracy? In general, is there any denying that democracies have a better track record for ecomomic growth. Even Asia's economic boost of the last 20 years has had more to do with imrovements in democratic trends than the master plan of some dictator.
Continue all other arguments from above. VOTE CON!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.
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