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POLISCI 1020E Chapter 3 - Who should rule What is a...

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Who should rule? What is a democracy? A government of people by the people and for the people Collective self rule Ruling over a subservient class, or territory is claimed to be antithetical to the true ideals of democracy Democracy has been almost universally detested Democracy is sometimes said to be not the name of a political system but a term of praise There is no single coherent theory of democracy Majority rule Minority is not heard If the people were ruling in their own interest, it would be impossible for political oppression to exist Mill: the people are a homogenous mass with a single interest o Each person is affected the same way by each policy We have different goals, life-spans, it is quite easy to see how a majority could pass a law which has some very nasty effects on the minority Tyranny of the majority Theorists must decide whether democracy is essentially a rather crude principle of majority rule or whether we should follow the madisonian view o James madison: protection of minority views Direct democracy Electorate votes for against laws or policies rather than for candidates o Referendum Representative democracy Citizens vote to determine who will represent them at governmental level o These representatives go on and make the law Modern democracies adhere to the representative model in which elections are used to determine who will form the government, rather than to decide the particular issues of the day Majority rule vs individual rights and representative vs direct models are fundamental to the formulation of a democratic theory Hitler was only able to come to power because Germany has a system of proportional representation Plato against democracy Democracy is mob rule: the rule of the rabble, the vulgar, the unwashed, the unfit Need someone specifically trained to do the job Making political decisions in the interests of the state requires judgment and skill Philosophical training, is a necessary qualification to rule o The guardians If ruling is a skill, and a skill that can only be attained by the few, then democracy seems plainly absurd or irrational
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Problems with guardianship
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