Direct Democracy vs Representative DemocracyThe term Democracy is derived from two Greek words, demos, meaningpeople, and kratos, meaning rule.
These two words form the word democracy whichmeans rule by the people. Aristotle, and other ancient Greek politicalphilosophers, used the phrase, ‘the governors are to be the governed’, or as wehave come to know it, ‘rule and be ruled in turn’. The two major types of democracy are Representative Democracy and DirectDemocracy. Clearly the arguments for and against each form of democracy areplentiful.
However, it is my belief that theoretically, Direct Democracy is thesuperior form of political rule. Due to problems with in the direct democraticsystem, its use as a practical form of government is not even thinkable. Therefore, in order for any form of democracy to function, RepresentativeDemocracy is the superior form of political rule. Jean Jacques Rousseau is considered by many to be the ‘Grandfather’ ofdirect the democracy theory. Rousseau’s ideal society would be where thecitizens were directly involved in the creation of the laws which are to governtheir lives.Order now
He maintained that, “all citizens should meet together and decidewhat is best for the community and enact the appropriate laws. Any law whichwas not directly created by the citizens is not valid, and if those laws areimposed on people, that is equivalent to the people being enslaved. The citizens of a society must both develop and obey ‘the supremedecision of the general will’, which is the society’s determination of thecommon good. It is not even thinkable that all citizens will agree on what goodis. Rousseau recognized this and accepted a term of majority rule. Those whovoted against a policy which is found to be the best for the general, must havebeen thinking of personal gains, rather than the gains of the entire society.
The feature which distinguishes direct democracy from other forms ofgovernment is the idea of agreement and the key to agreement is discussion. Itis impossible to reach an agreement without discussion, because it is not rightto think that everybody will have the same opinion on all matters. But, it isvery possible, that through discussion an agreement could be reached by allmembers. Representation, on the other hand allows a select few to makedecisions in their own best interest, which is not necessarily the best interestof the society. However, direct democracy is not the perfect method to produce a unionof the community. For a direct democracy to work, face to face communicationbetween all members of the community is needed.
The only way this is possibleis to meet in large groups. Due to the fear of high tension, many citizens”will not participate in these large group meeting. So in order for thesefearful people to voice their opinions they must get together in smaller, lesstensions groups, where they are not as timid to say as they wish to see happen. A direct democracy can only work in a small group, so as a form of governmentfor an entire community or country, direct democracy would definitely fail.
Asthe membership increases, people become less involved. Once the membershipreaches the size of a country, the participation still exists, but is limited toas low as it can go. Thus in a country, any form of direct democracy is onlypossible in individual communities. In order for a committee small enough to operate on direct democracyprinciples to have any authority at all, it must represent a much larger group.
Membership in this larger group is chosen by election, so the people still havea say in the ruling process. Since the rulers are selected by the people, therulers should represent what the public wants. Thus, out of direct democracy, isborn a new form of government, the Representative Democracy. Representative democracy is not democracy in its purest form.
The mainargument against representative democracy is that “No one can represent me. I’mthe only one who knows what I’m thinking and no one else can represent myviews. ” We have already learned it is also impossible to represent yourself. Through representation, chosen by the people, the hope is that all people willbe adequately represented. While everyone may not get all of their viewsrepresented all the time, representative democracy should create a situationwhere most of the views are represented.
Direct democracy is not impossible in all situations, but in order forin to exist the following two characteristics must exist- The organization mustbe local, (limited in members) and the opinions of the members must be similarto each other. While these conditions are often found in a small organization,when looking at a country, these conditions are impossible to meet. In a mixed society direct democracy would lead to ineffective management,unwanted inefficiency, and political instability. While In a representativedemocracy, the representatives rely on political compromise to resolve conflicts,and develop policies that are flexible enough to meet shifting circumstances. The once dominant Greek culture has become out-of-date and along with itwent the hope for a direct democracy system of government. The direct democracytheory may have worked in the small Greek towns of 500BC, but in large modernsocieties, it simply could not work.
Which is why the representative democracywas started, which, while providing the citizen with less opportunity forparticipation, is ideally suited for rule in modern times Thus, clearly adirect democracy is the only true form of democracy. However, if democracy is tobe is used in a modern society, it can not take its purist form.Philosophy