Is Democracy the best form of government?

After the Cold War, there are people that says we have reach the end of history, because eventually every nation on earth is going to became democratic with a free market system. Which it seems United States certainly thinks so, we go all around the world to promote democracy, and we often criticize other nations that are not democratic. I know many people will say that US supported many none democratic nations in the present and past, but let’s overlook that.

Let’s examine the argument that democratic government is the best form of government.

Personally I would disagree.

  1. Democracy is held to the pinnicle of human civilization. it is simply the aggregate of individual opinions. thus the possibility of the existence of an objective truth is denied because only “opinions” count. That is why in a democratic nation, you can actually have legalized slavery, and Jim Crow laws. Right now of course, we see them as wrong, but at the time, it was very popular opinion from the public, and it was accepted.

  2. When you vote in democratic elections, you are not voting for what is best for the nation, you are voting for a guy whom you think is best for the nation. And he often end up doing crazy things that mess up everything for you.

  3. Democratic government often does what is popular to get vote, rather than doing what is good for the nation, but which will require doing unpopular action in the present to get good results in the future, this will often make the people un-electable, and force them to be politically correct.

  4. Democratic government can be easily hi jacked by special interested. In this day of age, where it require a billion dollar to get elected as president, or millions to get elected as House congressman or 10s millions of dollars to get elected to Senate, one must need a lot money, it seems a big chunk money come from corporation and unproportionally rich peoples.

When the candidates get elected, they will often do what is the absolutely minimum for the people, but have no problem taking care the ones that help them to get elected.

  1. For a democratic system to work, people must be informed and educated. However it seem to me, more and more people are dumb down by the society and media, their major daily concern is making money, and if they do follow politics, it seems they rarely stray afar Left vs Right party divide, most people never stray afar from the slogan of the party line, few people can do independent critical thinking. If this is the thought process for majority of the people in a democratic nation, what does it say for the people that they elected? Or the people that say things to get elected?

And again, people often say that democraic offical must follow the mandate of the people tehat elected them, but often in a dumb down society, they can still get what they want, for example, they want to invade Iraq, they make the media repeat the same claim over and over again until people believs it, then the governnemnt would get the approval for invasion.

  1. Democratic nations often can have very hard time to reform itself, every nation needs to reform once in a while in order stay off stagnation to benefit the majority of it is population. However every reform will hurt the entrenched interest that is receive benefit from status quo. And in a democracy, the ones benefit from the status quo often have vast concentration of wealth, they can use this money to influence government policy to stay the same. Or support candidates that will champion their causes, or use negative ads to attack the people that want to reform.

  2. Democratic nations sometimes have hard time to implemented long term policies, as each party get elected, defeated, reelected etc… they will often abandon the policy of the previous administration, sometimes the abandonment is for good, sometime it is not, but it is rarely debated. Often done base on party line.

  3. Too much conflect of interests in democratic nations, this actually sum up pretty much everyone of my previous points, the politician want to get elected, the corporation wants to make money, the people wants job and economic growth. Everyone interest wants what they want regardless of if the action ultimately benefits or harms the nation or not. So what often end up is policy determined by the opinion/interest of each group rather than policy that is right or wrong by the merit of itself, and in the end, there will also be people that suffers because of it.

  4. There are actually MORE fail democratic nations in the world than successful ones, for example, India, Philippine, Indonesia, almost all the African nation, are on paper, indeed democratic. But often these are the nations that provides the least amount of services and benefits to it is own people.
    Now with that being said, I can recognize some of the benefits of democratic nations.

  5. Less localized corruption, what I mean by that is that, in theory, everyone in the country is equal, no one is above others, that means the it is taboo government official to openly corrupt and flaunt their wealth. This does not mean they are not corrupted, however the fact that they have to make a appearance that they must be clean, this is self cuts down on a lot of corruption.

  6. More accountable for the people, after all they are getting elected by the people, even if they actually sometimes use their power to benefit the ones that donates the money to get them elected, in the end, they still have to do something to the people that actually elects them, and again, they can’t do whatever they want because if a scandals breaks out, they will lose power.

  7. Democratic nation make lousy military empires and land expansion. Ok maybe this is good and bad. Democratic nations can often start a war, but it is hard for them to end it, if the war takes a long time, especially if the war involves occupations of another nations. But sometimes, this is one of those things that maybe what is needed for the interest of the nation.

Even if all of the downsides on your list is true, whic of the systems of government that have been tried from time to time are better than democracy?

This is for another debate, I only want to debate the traditional wisdom that democracy is the best form of government.

“Best” is only meaningful as a comparison.

Democracy, of course, is the WORST form of government. Except for all the others tried. :p. The thing is, in all your examples other forms of government have done similar things, so they aren’t really convincing. The trouble is any form of government created by humans is going to have humans running it and thus going to have human flaws.

Um…how can you debate what is Or isn’t best without a comparison???

So you seriously think that before democratic government, all other government in history fails compare to it?

Ancient China had the highest GDP in vast majority of the time in the past 3000 years of history.

They were a centralize government, with free market system. Why can’t that work just as well?

Also do you really think that the success of US is due to democracy or free market? Or does it have to do with our position after WW2, which vast majority of other nation on earth lies in war ruins? But we are the only one that have all of our industry intact and ready to export.

It is widely believed that the best form of government is the “benevolent tyrant.” If you are lucky enough to be ruled by a wise, tolerant, kind, generous, dedicated, and inspired leader, who truly wants and knows what is best for everyone…that’s a pretty good life.

The killer is: how do you get such a person? What is the selection process? What keeps a stinker from using the exact same process to get in power? Historically, the ratio of stinkers to noble and wise rulers is unimpressive. Really good Roman Emperors were great to have: they led the empire to good times, economic strength, military triumph, and domestic peace. Then the next guy came along… Name of Commodus…

Democracy, for all its faults, is still the leading contender. The specific detail of divided government is also a very highly recommended feature. Don’t put all the authority in one basket; make sure that tyranny has obstacles.

It doesn’t always work. But nothing always works.

No you weren’t. And some of your other democratic beliefs in the OP are based on US politics: two party, one president, big money, etc.

Hard to give an I depth answer on a phone but as far as ancient China I’d ask what the comparable standard of living was in adjusted currency. My guess is that even the nobles didn’t live as good as our poorest citizens in any terms you wish to give. Justus poorest of course were much worse off in terms of even basic survival. Which specific government did you want to compare btw? Ancient China isn’t really to specific.

As for the US being were it is today due to WWII that’s true enough, though you can see the trend was that way long before the was. We were already an industrial superpower from before WWI. However if it was solely because of WWII then why didn’t the Soviet Union also thrive and prosper in the same ways? They were in a similar position post war after all.

Despotism is better because it can change direction more quickly. It’s as simple as that.

Democracy is an idea that people find appealing, but it’s where bad-but-popular ideas go to gain unassailable power until they destroy the world.

Yes it is true, very hard to find such a person, but I was thinking a committee of elites that gains power not due to popular election, but rather base on past performance of governing… let say, a small state or province. And those people would rotate every few years to select the next best capable, and if that person would to became crazy like Nero, the committee would have power for force him to stay out etc…

Also, after reading Ender’s game, here is a crazy idea, test all children from very young on their genetics, IQ etc… and get the best and brightest of them to some kinda of school and teach them about philosophy, history, politics, basally teach them how to rule a nation. When they grow up, they can be given power to govern smaller ares such as a city, a state etc… and eventually base on their performance one or few of them will be given the power to govern that nation, but there will be strict rule of them to not have any concentration of wealth, or their children cannot be in the same position. Just a crazy idea.

Cool. Should be no trouble giving historical examples of this in action. And how well it worked out over time and through multiple despotic regimes in succession.

It’s your assertion. Can you give historic examples of how this worked that demonstrate they were superior to democracy?

Well if you want to compare Ancient Han official (100BC) to the average Iphone using Joe in California today, of course there is no comparison.

Also if you want to argue that people in Luxembourg have higher GDP per capa, that means Luxembourg is more successful than USA as a nation, of course that will be false.

Overall, most of the Chinese dynasty were extremely well off compare to the rest of the world.

As for Soviet Union, it was one of the most devastated nation on earth after the war, it takes a lot to get back from that. Also, I don’t dispute the power of capitalism, I was doubting democracy, and Soviet Union was very much a command economy after the war, which makes them far less efficient in economic production.

The best example to look is maybe modern China, centralized government, free market. They are turning out pretty well so far.

You do know I wrote that there are actually FAR MORE failing democratic nation on earth right now than successful ones right?

Out of top 10 Failed States Index, 9 of them have a democratic system. And yes, if you want, I can provide you many successful none democratic nations in history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Failed_States_Index

Not the question I asked you nor what I asked you to provide examples of. Saying that democracies failed really is meaningless if you are doing a comparison, since every form of government has a litter of failed examples. You are claiming that democracy isn’t the best but you’ve given no specific examples that demonstrate they are quantifiable better.

For others’ edification, the top ten:

I’d have to look back at this later, but the primary issue most of those countries face is that the government doesn’t have meaningful control over its own territory; that any government is better than none is pretty well accepted (though not universally so). I’m also not at all sure how you get 9 democracies out of that list.

There is almost no comparison in which China is favored over the US. It is nonsense to think that China’s political system is better than democracy.

Go ahead, click on each nation, and to go the government section, tell me most of they are not democratically elected.