theory - The Importance of Choice: An argument in favor of...

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The Importance of Choice: An argument in favor of nations choosing the best system for their rule. Political Theory Fall 2006
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Costello Political Theory Professor Sharon Goldman The question of whether or not the United States should be spreading democracy around the world is not an easy one. It is the opinion of the majority of Americans that, though it is flawed, our system of democracy – and for that matter, our entire way of life - is the best. This attitude is common place in our society, with many people in a post September 11 th America showing off their patriotism with t-shirts, bumper stickers and window paint reading “America: Not Perfect, Yet Second to None.” We feel that we should be, as former President Ronald Reagan said, a shining city on a hill that all other countries can look up to. While there is nothing wrong with striving to set a good example for other nations, there is something wrong with insisting that other nations follow that example. It can be argued that there have been several times in the history of the United States that our military entered into conflicts and wars in order to “make the world safe for democracy.” The belief that democracy is a great system may not be shared by all and other governments will obviously think that their way is the best. When presented with the facts of the possible flaws in a democracy, it becomes simpler to understand why some governments may not see democracy as the best choice. With these points in mind, it is important to understand that the United States should not be making it a practice to spread democracy around the world; they should be allowing and aiding other countries to run the way they see fit. 2
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Costello Throughout the course of history, many famous political thinkers have debated against democracy and pointed out the many reasons that country should not choose this system for their countries. One of the earliest examples of this would be from Aristotle. Aristotle’s Politics spends a great deal of time explaining each of the political systems he lists: royalty, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, polity and democracy. When trying to determine which of these political systems is the best he states: “There is also a doubt as to what is to be the supreme power in the state: - Is it multitude? Or the wealthy? Or the good? Or the one best man? Or a tyrant? Any of these alternatives seems to involve disagreeable consequences.” 1 This statement makes it apparent that all political systems have their ups and downs. With that in mind, democracies in different countries may have different ‘disagreeable consequences’. He also says: “It is often supposed that there is only one kind of democracy and one of oligarchy. But this is a mistake.” 2 It is incorrect for the United States to assume that, just because we run our democracy effectively, another
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theory - The Importance of Choice: An argument in favor of...

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