DEMOCRACY AND LIBERTY

Democracy and Liberty 5

DEMOCRACYAND LIBERTY

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Outline

  1. Defines Democracy

  2. Defines liberty

  3. Outlines the relationships between liberty and democracy

2).Freedom of speech and expression

  1. Outlines how the freedom of speech is maintained in democratic states.

  2. Compares the protection of freedom of freedom of speech and contravention of the same in non-democratic states

3).Freedom of religion and conscience

  1. Outlines how the freedom of religion and conscience is maintained in democratic states.

  2. Compares the protection of freedom of freedom of speech and contravention of the same in non-democratic states

4).Citizenryrights and responsibilities

  1. Outline the various rights and responsibilities of the citizens in democratic states.

5).Humanrights and political goals

  1. Demonstrates the role of the system of checks and balances in maintaining civil freedoms

6).Conclusion

7).Reference

Abstract

Democracyis the foundation upon which most of the modern governments arebased. Starting from voting, democracy allows the citizens to beinvolved in making critical decisions affecting them, which iscritical to establishing a platform for protecting civil liberty. Asoutlined in the Declaration of Independence, democracy accords allcitizens some inalienable rights and freedoms. These are the freedomof speech, religion and conscience and the right to be treated equalby the law. Democracy is the only formation of a government thatguarantees the protection of the inalienable rights and freedoms,including their upshots, which is equivalent to conserving civilliberties. Democracies treat the people as citizens with rights andresponsibilities, unlike in non-democratic governments, where thepeople are treated as subjects. Above all, democracy allows theformation of three separate arms of government with separate powers,aimed checking and balancing use and misuse of power. Innon-democratic states, all rights are alienable, the and there is noclear separation of powers between the arms of government, leading totyranny. As such, democracy is the only sure way of ensuring andprotecting civil liberties.

Democracyis thefoundationofthemajorityof governmentsinthe modernworldbutits conceptsare stilllargelymisunderstood,with eventotalitarianregimesandmilitarydictatorshipsclaimingto be democraticandhavingthesupportof themajority.Democracydefinesa formof governmentwherebypoweris vested on thepeople,whoare the citizens of the country. Theseexercisethe powerdirectlyorthrough their representatives,who must be elected in a free and fair elections(Breyer 2005, p. 45).Democracyis well defined by Abraham’sLincoln’s phrasethat it is a governmentof thepeople,forthepeopleby thepeople. It isfoundedon thefreeexpressionof people’swill andis closelylinkedto theprotectionof basichumanrights,provisionof thefundamentalcivicfreedomsandtheapplicationof theruleof thelaw(Elefante 2008, p.45).In particular,democracyensuresthatthecitizenshavea say in critical decisionsthat affecttheir lives,through the principleinclusiveandfairrules.Conversely, liberty seeksto promotecivicfreedom,equalityandjustice.Democracyinvolvesa setof ideasandprinciplesof freedomandasetof practicesmoldedthroughout history.Hence,democracyis theinstitutionalization of freedomforitincorporatesthetime-tested fundamentals of freedomof rights,constitutionalgovernment hence,there would be nolibertywithout democracy(Elefante 2008, p.132).

Accordingto Elefante (2008, p.68), libertyis buta conditionan individual`sinwarddecisioninordertogetreadyto remainfree.Itis a thresholdthat liesbetween theinwardness of themindandtheoutwardappearanceof relationshipswith thepeople.Itis a thresholdthat removesordisruptsthepatternsin which themindoperatesaccordingto theestablishmentsof traditions.Assuch,there would be nolibertywithout theinnerchoicein favorof thesame.In lightof thesefacts,democracytranslatesthe‘innerchoice”,which is muchof an opinionintoa reasonreferredto as liberty.Assuch,libertywould not existin theabsenceof democracy.Asindicated by Thomas Jefferson all men are created equal, thus givenparticular inalienablethat should neverbe destroyedevenin theeventof theformationof a societyby the creator.Among theseincludethefreedomof speech,freedomof worshipandtherightto be treatedequallyby thelaw.Eventhoughdemocraticgovernmentsfollowtheruleof themajoritywhilerecognizingtheviewof theminority,theyare obligatedto upholdthesefundamentalfreedomsand rights(Williams 2008, p. 56). Theserightsandfreedomexistindependentlyof thegovernmentandcannot besubjectedto themomentarywhimof theelectoralmajorityorlegislatedaway.Thedetailedenactmentof lawspertinentto thebasicrightsandfreedomsmay varywith thesociety,butitis democracythat is chargedwith ensuringthatthesefreedomsandrightsarenot infringed,through thecreationof appropriatelegal,constitutionalandsocialstructures(U.S. Department of State`s Bureau of International InformationPrograms 2015, p. 1).

ThenFreedomof Speechand Expression

Asadvocatedby democracy,thefreedomof speechis thelifeblood of othertypesof freedomsthat constitute civil liberty.Theseincludejusticeto all,rightto debate,worshipandprotestamong othercivillibertiesthat depend on theunrestrictedflowof speechandinformation.Asnotedby Breyer (2005, p. 45), democracyis communication,itcreatesan environmentwhereallpeoplecan converseabout their problemsandchallenges,therebyforgea commondestiny.Citizensof democraticsocietiesenjoythisrarefreedomof speechthat is significantly absentin authoritariansocieties.Thisallowsthecitizenslivewith thebeliefthattheywill eventuallydefeatfalsehoodandopenpathsto progressthrough openexchangeof opinions,truthsandideas.Freedomof speechallowspressfreedom,which is an importanttoolto promotelibertysince as Patterson (2004, p. 16) putit,thepressoffersa freeandreliableversionsof truth,allowingthecitizensto liein thelight,which is a crucialmanifestationof liberty.Incontrasttheauthoritarianregimesdictate,judgeandcontrolthecontent of verbalorwrittenspeechtherebyhurtingthelibertyof its citizens,since as (U.S. Department of State`s Bureau of InternationalInformation Programs (2015, p.1), putit,allpeopleare harmedandstrippedof their libertyto accesstruthin theeventthatthestaterepressesthefreedomof speech.Denyingorcontrollingfreedomof speechon thebasisthatsuchspeechis erroneousormaliciousdeprivesthecitizenstherightto exchangetheerrorwith thetruth,therebydenyingthelibertyof accessingtruth(U.S. Department of State`s Bureau of International InformationPrograms 2015, p. 1).

Additionally,democraciesprotecttheupshotof thefreedomof speech,suchas therightto assembleanddemandthatthegovernmentlistensandaddressesgrievancesattributedto thetruthbroughtby thefreedomofspeech.Denyingtherightto assembleanddemandgovernmentresponseto grievances,which is commonin authoritarianregimesis an infringementof freedomof speech,which translatesto devaluedliberty(Williams 2008, p. 66). Forthisreason,freedomof speechis relatedtotherightto hold peaceful demonstrations todemandchangein governance, rights which are only allowable in democraticsocieties.Thoughdemocraticgovernmentscan legally regulatethepoliticalralliesandmarchesto maintainpeace,theycannot preventdissident groupsfrom makingtheir voicesheardorsuppressprotests.On thecontrary,otherformsof governmentshavebeenknownto suppressprotests,which infringecivilliberties(Breyer 2005, p. 68).

FreedomorReligion and Conscience

Freedomof religionandconscienceis themajorlifeblood of democracy.Thisfreedomprotectsallcitizensfrom beingforcedto professanyreligionorotherbeliefsthat are against their desires.Democracyprotectscitizensfrom anyformof punishmentorpenaltyforchoosinganyreligionorfaithover another,ordecidesto be a pagan.Asdefinedby theAmerican Declaration of Independence, religiousfaithandbeliefsare profoundlypersonalmatter.Pertinentto thefreedomof religionandfaith,a democraticgovernmentcannot compelthecitizensto recognizeandofficialfaithorchurch,norforcethechildrento attenda particularreligiousschool,attendorparticipatein religiousactivitieswhichare against personalwill.Thoughsomedemocraticgovernmentsestablishchurchesandreligionsthat are accordedstatesupport,theystillprotectindividualfreedomsof worship,especiallyforcitizenswhosebeliefsdifferfrom theofficiallysanctionedreligion.Thoughnot common,someof thenon-democratic regimesare knownforinfringingthefreedomof worship,by failingto protectthefewindividualsthat donot ascribe to thestatecreatedreligions.Thisisan infringementof civilliberties(Patterson 2004, p. 23).

CitizenryRightsandResponsibilities

Democraciesareestablishedunder theprinciplethatgovernmentexistssolelyto servethepeople.In otherwords,thepeopleare thecitizensandnot thesubjectsof thegovernment.There is a symbiotic relationshipbetween thegovernmentandthecitizens,wherethecitizenspledgeloyaltyto thestate,in exchangeforprotectionof their rights.On theotherhand,otherformsof governmentstakethepeopleas their subjectsratherthan citizens,which is an infringementof civilliberties.In non-democratic governments,thestateandthesocietyare two separate entities,with thestatedemandingloyaltyandservicefrom its subjects.Thenon-democratic statehas noobligationto its citizensanddoesnot requireconsentfrom its subjectfortheir action.Assuch,thenon-democratic statesofteninfringeon civilliberties(Patterson 2004, p. 39).

Democracygivesthecitizenstheopportunityto exercisetheir rightsandresponsibilitiesvotingto determinetheir representatives.Otherthan givingthecitizenschancesto electthebest,votinghelpsin holdingtheelectedrepresentativesresponsiblefortheir actions.By contrast,thenon-democratic theactof votingis coercive and does not represent the will of the people.Additionally, citizensin a democraticsocietyareallowed to joinorganizationsthat are independentof thegovernmentandparticipatefreelyin thepubliclifeof thesociety.Democracyallowscitizensto enjoyandaccepttheresponsibilitiesthat are pertinentto participatingpubliclife,among them educatingthemselves on criticalissuesandrespectingoppositional viewsandopinions.In contrast,there are fewprivatevoluntarygroups,with theexistingbeingan extensionof thearmsof thegovernment.These only help to entrenchsubmissiveness andobedienceamong thecitizens,which is a directcontraventionof liberty(Ferris, 2011, p. 117).

Militaryserviceis anotherfactorthat evidences theobservanceof libertyindemocraticsocietiesandtheircontraventionin non-democratic societies.Thoughthetwo both thedemocraticandnon-democratic societiesmay requiremilitaryserviceto promotepeaceby promotinglawandorder,theobligationis imposedunilaterally ina non-democraticsociety.Often,themilitaryserviceis oppressiveandusedto advancethetyrannyof theruling class.Conversely, indemocraticsocieties,theperiodof militaryserviceis undertakenin accordance to constitutionally set rules and procedures. Thoughmilitaryservicemay be unwelcome,theyservethegreatergoodfortheobligationthatthesocietyhas freelyundertaken(Elefante 2008, p.135). Moreover,thecitizensof a democraticsocietyhavethepowerto actcollectively andchangetheobligationof a militaryservicesuchas eliminatingthemandatorymilitaryserviceandestablishingan allvolunteerarmy. In democracies, citizens can changetheperiodof a militaryserviceor reservemilitaryserviceas an essentialpartof citizenship by changing the Constitution (Williams2008, p. 60).

Indemocraticsocieties,citizens are accorded specific rightsandresponsibilitiesby virtue of their citizenship.They havetherightsto enjoytheir inalienablerightsand have theresponsibilityof protectingto protectandenhancingtheseinalienablerights.Thoughsomerightsin democraticsocietiesare inalienable,theycomewith specificlimitationsthat are democraticandbased on thegovernment.Hence,thecitizenshavea bulwarkagainst powerabuseby thepoliticalmajorityorby thegovernmentof theday.However,rightsandfreedomsdonot unctionin isolationtheyare not privateprocessionsof thecitizensbutare allowedinsofar as recognizedby thecitizensof thecitizens.Asputby Elefante (2008, p.132), thecitizensin thedemocraticsocietyare theultimatecustodianof therightsandfreedomsof thesociety.In thisview,thegovernment,which is electedby thecitizensis accountableto theelectorates,andis theprotectorandenhancer of civicfreedomsandresponsibilities.Thisisdifferentamongthenon-democratic governments,which are knownto contravenecivillibertiesanddenyingtheresponsibilitiesof thecitizens(Williams 2008, p. 75). Among thecivicresponsibilitiesallowedin democraticsocietiesincludeparticipatingindemocraticprocessandensuringthatthegovernmentis functioning.Citizensin thesesocietiesare atminimumallowedto educatethesocietyabout thecrucialissuesthat confrontthesocietyandvoteintelligentlyforthecandidatesrunningforhighoffices,to ensuregoodgovernance. On thecontrary,leadersin non-democratic societiesare not necessarilythebestperformersandoftenoppressingthesubjects(Patterson 2004, p. 23).

HumanRightsandPoliticalRoles

Sincetheprinciplesandtheprotectionof thebasichumanrightsarewidelyacceptedin democraticsocieties,theyare incorporatedin thesupremeconstitutionof thatsociety.Further,theyare embodiedin internationalinstitutionssuchas theUnited Nations as wellas internationalagreementssuchas theHelsinki finalAct (Elefante 2008, p.138). Additionally,majorityof thedemocraticstateshavedistinguished,henceexpandedthelistof thebasichumanrights.Tofundamentalrightof equaltreatmentbylawandthefreedomof speechandworship,majorityof democraticsocietieshaveaddedtherightto employment,education,adequatestandardsof livingandowncultureandnationality(Patterson 2004, p. 26).

Amongthemostimportantcontributionsof democracyinprotectionof civillibertiesincludethedevelopmentof asystemof checksandbalancesthat ensuresthatpoliticalpoweris decentralized anddispersed.Thecheckandbalancesystemisfoundedon thebeliefthatthegovernmentis onits bestwhenthere is a systemto curbthecontraventionof civilliberties.An effective checks and balance system isdefinedby federalism andtheseparationof powers(Patterson 2004, p. 23). Federalism involvesthedivisionof thegovernmentinto federal,state,andlocalgovernmentsto promotethedirectgovernmentserviceto thepeople.Conversely,separationof powersleadsto thecreationof thethree armsof government,thejudiciary,legislatureandtheexecutive,that haveseparate powersandare mandated to checkthemisuseof powersof eitherof thearms.Thispreventstheaccumulationof powersin samehands,which may justlybedefinedas tyranny.Unfortunately,there is noclearseparationof powerbetween thearmsof governmentin non-democratic societies,with theexecutiveholdingmostof thepowers,leadingto tyrannyandcontraventionof civilliberties(U.S.Department of State`s Bureau of International Information Programs2015, p. 1).

Asnotedfrom above,there would be nolibertyifthere wasnodemocracy.Itisdemocracythat translatesindividuals’inwarddecisionsto remainfreeintoan actionable opinion.Libertyis butan opinion,whiledemocracyis thethresholdthat operatesaccordingto establishedtraditionsto enhanceliberty.Democraciesarefoundedon theprincipleof participative decisionmakingby membersof thesociety,which ensuresthatthemostappropriatedecisionsare reached.Mostimportantly, democracyprovidesandprotectsinalienablerightsandfreedomsuchas thefreedomof religionandconscience,speechandexpressionandtherightto be treatedequallyby thelaw.However,thesecan be withheldas definedout inthe constitution,unlike in non-democratic societies,wheretheserightsarewithheldat theconvenienceof theleader.Additionally, democraciesviewthepeopleas citizensthat requiregovernmentserviceswhereasthenon-democracy viewsthepeopleas subjectswhohaveto servethegovernment.Mostimportantly democraciesprovideforchecksandbalances,with thethree armshavingdistinctivepowersandtheroleof checkinggovernmentoperationsto ensureprotectionof thecitizens.On theotherhand,there is noclearseparationof powersin non-democratic societiestheexecutivecontrolotherarmsleadingto tyrannyandcontraventionof civilliberties.Assuch,there would be nolibertywithout democracy.

ReferenceList

Breyer,S. G., 2005. Activeliberty: Interpreting our democratic Constitution.New York: Knopf.

Elefante,F., 2008. Faithin democracy.Milan: IPOC.

Ferris,T.,2011. Thescience of liberty: Democracy, reason, and the laws of nature.New York: Harper Perennial.

Patterson,T. E., 2004. TheAmerican Democracy.McGraw-Hill Humanities Social.

U.S.Department of State`s Bureau of International Information Programs,2015. DemocraticGovernment. Retrievedfrom http://www.ait.org.tw/infousa/zhtw/docs/whatsdem/whatdm7.htm

Williams,E. 2008. Democracyand Liberty. New York: Longmans, Green