What is Democracy? Why Democracy?
Q56. Describe the arguments against democracy.
What are the arguments against democracy?
State the arguments against democracy?
Give arguments against democracy.
Ans. The major arguments against democracy are:
1. Leaders keep changing in a democracy. This leads to instability.
2. Democracy is all about political competition and power play. There is no scope for morality.
3. So many people have to be consulted in a democracy that it leads to delays.
4. Elected leaders do not know the best interest of the people. It leads to bad decisions.
5. Democracy leads to corruption for it is based on electoral competition.
6. Ordinary people don’t know what is good for them; they should not decide anything.
Q57. What are the broader aspects of democracy?
Ans. Broader meaning of democracy
1. In democracy, all the people do not rule. A majority is allowed to take decisions on behalf of all the people. Even the majority does not rule directly. The majority of people rule through their elected representatives.
2. A democratic decision involves consultation with and consent of all those who are affected by that decision. Those who are not powerful have the same say in taking the decision as those who are powerful. This can apply to a government or a family or any other organisation. Thus democracy is also a principle that can be applied to any sphere of life.
3. Sometimes the word democracy is not used to describe any existing government but to set up an ideal standard that all democracies must aim to become.
Q58. Compare the features of democratic and non-democratic government.
Distinguish between the democratic government and non-democratic government.
Write the features of democratic and non-democratic government.
1. In a democratic government the final decision making power rest with those elected by the people.
1. Government makes decision for the people.
2. A democratic government is based on a free and fair election.
2. There are no free and fair elections.
3. In a democracy, each adult citizen has one vote and each vote has one value.
3. There is denial of equal right to vote. Example: In Saudi Arabia women do not have the right to vote.
4. A democratic government rules within limits set by constitutional law and citizens’ rights.
4. A non-democratic government does whatever it likes.
Q59. What steps were taken by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe to remain in power?
Ans. Steps taken were:
1. Over the years his government has changed the constitution several times to increase the powers of the President and make him less accountable.
2. Opposition party workers are harassed and their meeting disrupted.
3. Public protests and demonstrations against the government are declared illegal.
4. There is a law that limits the right to criticise the President.
5. Television and radio are controlled by the government and give only the ruling party’s version.
6. There are independent newspapers but the government harasses those journalists who go against it.
7. The government has ignored some court judgments that went against it and has pressurised judges.
Q60. ZANU-PF wins the elections every 5 years in Zimbabwe. Are the leaders of ZANU-PF close to the value of democracy? Explain.
Ans. Zimbabwe attained independence from White minority rule in 1980. Since then the country has been ruled by ZANU-PF, the party that led the freedom struggle. Its leader, Robert Mugabe, has been ruling the country since independence.
Leaders of ZANU-PF were not close to the value of democracy in the following ways:
1. Elections have been held regularly and always won by ZANU-PF. President Mugabe is popular but also uses unfair practices in elections.
2. Over the years his government has changed the constitution several times to increase the powers of the President and make him less accountable.
3. Opposition party workers are harassed and their meeting disrupted. Public protests and demonstrations against the government are declared illegal.
4. There is a law that limits the right to criticise the President. Television and radio are controlled by the government and give only the ruling party’s version.
Q61. Consider the following facts about a country and decide if you would call it a democracy. Give reasons to support your decision.
(a) All the citizens of the country have right to vote. Elections are held regularly.
(b) The country took loan from international agencies. One of the conditions for giving loan was that the government would reduce its expenses on education and health.
(c) People speak more than seven languages but education is available only in one language, the language spoken by 52 percent people of that country.
(d) Several organisations have given a call for peaceful demonstrations and nation wide strikes in the country to oppose these policies. Government has arrested these leaders.
(e) The government owns the radio and television in the country. All the newspapers have to get permission from the government to publish any news about government’s policies and protests.
Ans. (a) This is a democracy because regular elections and universal adult franchise are two important features of democracy.
(b) This is undemocratic because government cannot perform any functions which go against the welfare of the country and its people.
(c) This is undemocratic. The national language can be a single language because such a concept will bring about national integrity but in democracy education should be available in other languages also.
(d) This is undemocratic. Democracy provides people the right to strike or demonstrations in peaceful manner.
(e) This is undemocratic. Democracy provides people the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Q62. Write a response to the following arguments against democracy:
(a) Army is the most disciplined and corruption-free organisation in the country. Therefore army should rule the country.
(b) Rule of the majority means the rule of ignorant people. What we need is the rule of the wise, even if they are in small numbers.
(c)If we want religious leaders to guide us in spiritual matters, why not invite them to guide us in politics as well. The country should be ruled by religious leaders.
Ans. (a) Army is the most disciplined and corruption-free organisation in the country, however, it cannot be justified that they should rule the country because:
1. They are not elected by the people.
2. There is no guarantee that the army cannot turn into a dictator at any point of their rule, making the life of the people difficult. Example: people of Chile suffered under the rule of General Augusto Pinochet.
(b) Such a thing would be against the principle of the Universal Adult Franchise, wherein all citizens who are 18 years and above irrespective of their religion, caste, sex, socio-economic background etc. are free to vote. Therefore ignoring some sections of the society would be unfair.
(c) The country should not be ruled by religious leaders because:
1. Politics and religion are two different fields.
2. In a multi-religious country bringing religion into politics can cause serious conflict among the people.
3. Besides, many religious leaders even do not have any experience in administration.