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An article in today's Guardian by Martin Jacques takes a critical look at democracy and it's fallibility in a global context,

The boast about democracy is largely a product of the last half-century, following the defeat of fascism. Before that, a large slice of Europe remained mired in dictatorship, often of an extremely brutal and distasteful kind. The idea of democracy as a western virtue was blooded during the cold-war struggle against communism, though its use remained highly selective: those many dictatorships that sided with the west were happily awarded membership of the "free world"; "freedom" took precedence over democracy, regimes as inimical to democracy as apartheid South Africa, Diem's South Vietnam and Franco's Spain were welcomed into the fold. Following the collapse of communism, however, "free markets and democracy" became for the first time - at least in principle - the universal prescription for each and every country.
The west is the traditional home of democracy. The fact that western countries share various, usually unspoken characteristics, however, is often ignored. They were the first to industrialise. They colonised a majority of the world, invariably denying their colonies democracy. They were overwhelmingly ethnically homogeneous. Developing countries, for the most part, have faced the opposite circumstances: takeoff in the context of an economically dominant west; the absence, in the context of colonial rule, of indigenous democratic soil; and far greater ethnic diversity.

The west remains oblivious to the profound difficulties presented by ethnic diversity. As Amy Chua points out in World on Fire, democracy is far from a sufficient condition for benign governance in the kind of multiracial societies that are common in Africa and Asia. Democracy, the politics of the majority, allows the majority ethnic group to govern, potentially without constraint. Multi-ethnic societies, like Malaysia or Nigeria, require, for their stability, a racial consensus: democracy, resting on majorities and minorities, is deaf to this problem.

Moreover, democracy works very differently in different cultures. In Japan, the Liberal Democrats have formed every government, apart from a brief interruption, since democracy was introduced more than 50 years ago. The political arguments that count take place between unelected factions of the governing party rather than between elected parties. The Japanese model of democracy - or the Korean or Taiwanese - may have the same trappings as western democracy, but there the similarities largely end.

Hat tip to illruminations.

Democracy pseudo -democracy communism or whatever the form of government, the aim of creating a peaceful society with the utmost respect to human rights can only be served if the people of the country are free to make their choice. A oppressed society shall always be condemned to violence and suffering.
Democracy is the only form of government known to us which to a great extent reflects the will of the people. Countries like the UK and US which have had governments incorporating some ethos of democracy have moved forward with greater human rights, abolition of slavery and numerous other benefits for their citizens. Others like India are improving making lives of their citizens better. Granted no country practices TRUE DEMOCRACY, at some points in time all have violated one or the other sacred cannons of democracy and yet as we see the world around us only those countries flourish and prosper which have a vibrant democracy encompassing a great number of democratic ideals.

Those who deride democracy may do better to suggest a better alternative first
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Those who deride democracy may do better to suggest a better alternative first

I don't see why, you don't necessarily have to have a backup system of government to criticize the failures of democracy. The point of the article was to question the continued assertion that democracy is the be all and end all of all sorts of geo-political problems around the world, it simiply isn't. Consider for example a hypothetical country where fifty one percent of the poeple believe in cutting off the hands of even petty thieves, would humanity be better off if, in a purely democratic setup, the representatives of that fifty one percent created the laws?

Yes, democracy may be the best form of government we have, but it may not the be the best form of government there is.

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