Democracy is not a will of the rulers

 Democracy is in crisis all over the world, it is being discussed again and again. Freedom House's annual report for 2021 says that democracy has been on a downward spiral for 15 years, with the negative trend becoming the strongest last year. 



In 2020, democratic systems have deteriorated in 63 countries, with improvement in only 26. The countries that have deteriorated are home to two-thirds of the world's population.


The rulers of the declining democracies do not consider themselves undemocratic, but claim to be the defenders of democracy and say that since there is no universal definition of democracy and no single form of democratic governance, what they call democracy is a new form of democracy.

The fact that there is no universal definition of democracy does not mean that there is no such thing as a basic principle of democracy. 

Democracy does not consider any particular form of government to be ideal — this does not mean that certain elements of democratic governance are not essential. 

Democracy is an ideology and a system of governance. There is no opportunity to look at the two aspects separately.


The search for the essential elements and principles of democracy began in the time of Aristotle in ancient Greece. 

However, from the sixteenth century onwards, these issues became important in the discussion of the rights of the state and citizens. 

The contributions of Baron de Montesquieu, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are particularly significant. 

Their discussions began with an opposition to the authoritarian state, with an emphasis on individual freedom.

Hobbes (1588-1679) had a tendency towards authoritarianism, focusing primarily on the question of individuality. But Hobbes insisted on a social contract among the people. 

"Sovereign power will protect the people in exchange for giving up some rights," he said. Not only did John Locke (1632-1704) question Hobbes on the definition of social contract; 

Rather he has taken the idea further. His argument was that the social contract must be between the state and the governed. Locke did not explicitly rule out the need for a monarchy. 

But he emphasized the need to focus on government, and said that it was even more important now that the government and its representatives had failed to uphold the "rule of law". 

It has become a major prerequisite for the relationship between government and the ruled in any democratic system. He also mentioned the need to separate the legislature and the executive.

Montesquieu (1689-1755) speaks of three types of government: republican government, which can take the form of either democracy or aristocracy; 

Monarchy and dictatorship. But the important thing is that he is talking about the sovereignty of the people, the people are sovereign.

 It is from this fundamental idea that the right to vote and the conduct of voting became essential in the structure of a democratic government.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) in his widely circulated book Social Contract (1762) emphasizes that people will accept social contracts. 

They have to give up some rights. But it is not to any king, but to the whole society, to the people. The people will then exercise their ‘common will’ to make laws in the interest of ‘public welfare’. 

According to Rousseau, all political power should be in the hands of the people, which will bring out the common will of the people. "The people will make the rules, which they will abide by, and that is sovereign power."

The government will implement this general wish, as almost all the theorists mentioned so far have said. The question is how can we be sure that the government will not cross the line. 

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and James Mill (1773-1836) have discussed this in detail. According to them, the responsibility of the ruler to the governed is an important issue. 

Bentham writes that democracy ensures that the executives appointed by the partners of democracy for their own protection do not fall prey to oppression or plunder. 

That is the goal of democracy and its response. That is, democracy needs to be protected from authoritarian rule. Democracy needs to be protected, even from those who have been appointed to carry out the ‘common will’. 

The result is a summary of what both Bentham and Mill emphasize, in the words of eminent political scientist David Held: Voting, secret ballots, mutual rivalries of potential political leaders (representatives), segregation of elections, power and freedom of the press, speech and public relations can only serve the interests of society in general.. '

John Stuart Mill (1808-1873) mentioned two issues — democracy and independence. Mill argued that freedom or liberty is vital to our lives. 

Without freedom the people will be silenced and they will lose the ability to explore, discover and fully develop new ideas as a people. 

He said that the best protection of freedom is possible only with the help of active people living in a democratic system. 

The first of the three types of freedom that Mill speaks of is freedom of thought and emotion, which means freedom of expression.

 According to Mill, one of the most important tasks of governance is to have a constitutional system of control, where the consent of the people rests with the representatives of the people. 

In other words, the system of control over those who will be in power should be within the constitution.

A summary of the work of eminent political theorists shows that democracy has four basic ideals people's sovereignty, representation, accountability, and freedom of expression.

Sovereignty means that the people will establish the government and the government will be subject to the will of the people. 

This idea not only denies authoritarian power or the rule of aristocracy; Rather, it points to the rule of law. In other words, everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, this is the main basis of democracy.

 Sovereignty is an integral part. So it cannot be taken away from the people in the name of any divine power, development, national security or political ideology.

Representation is the way the governed agrees with the government. For example, the Constitution of the United States declares the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness as essential rights, and ‘the government is constituted to ensure these rights, which will derive its just power from the consent of the governed.’ 

In the words of the English poet John Milton, ‘the power of kings and officials is that which has been handed over to them for the common good only, on the basis of the confidence of the people. 

And this power is basically with the people. This power cannot be taken away from the people without violating their natural birthright. '

Accountability is a concept that develops on the one hand based on checks and balances; On the other hand, it ensures the role of citizens in the day-to-day operations of the government. 

Liability should not be considered as a vertical method only. Responsibility for a sustainable and effective democracy is vertical, horizontal and social. Vertical responsibility is the electoral system. 

Again the horizontal responsibility of the government is created through some relatively independent powerful institutions that act like a net. 

These are a number of constitutionally recognized organizations, such as anti-corruption and human rights organizations. Social responsibility is a system of accountability to citizens' organizations.

At the center of freedom of expression is freedom of speech and freedom of the press, freedom of association and assembly. 

This is one of the elements of human rights. Benjamin Cardozo, a judge in the United States Supreme Court, described it as a "priority" of rights in a case of 1937.

 According to him, there is a 'hierarchy' of constitutional rights and freedom of speech will always be there. According to him, freedom of expression is the key, an essential prerequisite for almost all other forms of freedom.

Post a Comment

1 Comments

  1. I'd recommend making your paragraphs a little longer. Most of your paragraphs are 2 sentences long. Many are just one sentence. This needs better organization.

    ReplyDelete