The term democracy comes from the Greek language and means “rule by the people”. Over time, it has developed to sub categorize into different types of democracy such as direct, representative and religious. It therefore would be obvious to assume that different political views shape the way in which democracy is devised in practice. Liberal democracy shadows closely to representative. It expresses the need for free and fair elections, individual rights and economic freedom and finally a constitution. It has more recently however been debated the extent to which these rights are a contradiction to the beliefs.

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It is suggested that liberals are wary of democracy due to some hindering factors that reject traditional liberal views. One factor is that liberal democracy implies the ideologies in majoritarianism. This view entails that the ‘tyranny of the majority’ has a significant influence over political decisions. Majority groups dominate and therefore allow individual sovereignty and minority rights to be subsided, this under representation of the less dominate groups could class on an infringement of their freedom, contradicting the views of liberal academics.

This also stems concerned that democratic rule would imply equality over freedom. Ochlocracy rule would sacrifice an individual freedom to obey laws which may in some cases not even represent their own views. This would also result in another wariness being created, in the sense of how these laws would be enforced. A democratic government would have to generate increasing state intervention and control that result in a number of economic freedoms being limited.

This could include the decisions made by those in rule to impose taxation or banking restrictions and further restrict the individuals’ freedom. However the extent of these factors can be limited due to the strong compatibility liberalism has with democracy. It is obvious to see that the balance liberals now staunch advocates democracy. Although there is chance that democracy may produce dangerously powerful demagogues like Hitler and that even the ‘people’ power tends to corrupt.

It is safely argued in return that power should be based upon legitimate authority and consent is

Page 2 LIberal Democracy is a contradiction in terms Essay

necessary to become legitimate. Therefore if freedoms of the individuals can be strengthened in the sense of human rights laws then a government should be allowed to impose restrictions and laws whilst still up holiding a liberal attitude. Not only may human rights be improved significantly yet simultaneously civil liberties by creating a molded constitution. To prevent the threat of dictatorships it could also be said that democracy could enhance pluralism.

Pluralism is the diffusion of power between competing groups. The separation of powers in the constitution will not only prevent the domination of a single group but encourage collaboration. The difference in opinion may allow conflicting issues to be meditated and reconciled. The power of free and fair elections to determine who is governing may help educate those who have the right to vote. Education helps to self-develop the individual and create a harmonious society that appreciates the differences in opinion by creating a social stability.

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