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Direct Democracy: Pluses and Minuses - Essay Example

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Direct Democracy: Pluses and Minuses

In direct democracy, the majority determines the ultimate choice or decision (Ober 58). An example of direct democracy was the ancient democratic Athens. In democratic Athens, ordinary people sat in public assemblies and made policy decisions (Ober 58). Thucydides criticized this form of governance. He said that most Athenians believed silly things about themselves and their opponents because they listened amusing poetry and equally pleasant accounts of logographoi (Ober 58). He viewed poetry cynically because it was composure was to seek applause from uncritical audience. Thucydides then wondered how people who had wrong beliefs about their history could make appropriate decisions about the future. Following this view on people, he even predicted that they would find his account of history unpleasant because it lacked fables. Direct democracy then places a nation on the hands of many, whether educated or uneducated. It is an immense gamble for a nation. For direct democracy to be effective, all citizens should be able to participate in all civic processes. If the turnout is low, then the process is not democratic. It is almost impossible to be able to plan for a nationwide participation by all citizens in formulating laws. Some may be at work, tied, or outright uninterested. Despite the reasons, a low turnout would mean a non-democratic process. Therefore, if such governance were to exist, the passing of legislation and important national decision would be slow. Technology would be a solution, but if a law were to be voted through the use of mobile phones it would seem like a market survey. It would undermine the seriousness of the law. Sometimes national decisions have to be made in a short while. In times of disasters like floods, earthquakes and wars, decisions need to be made extremely fast to mitigate damage. In his recount of the Peloponnesian war, Thucydides observed that when Pericles was in power he accurately guessed the strength of his country. He told the citizens to wait patiently, to watch their seas, to look for no new wars and to guard their cities so that the results would be favorable. Following this principle, they were able to outlive the war by two and half years. This was until people embarked on projects whose success would be beneficial to individuals and failure a disaster to the whole nation (Thucydides 2). There is a tremendous risk in entrusting the affairs of a nation to all the people. Many do not understand the dexterity of international relations in situations of war, and their decisions may be disastrous. Direct democracy is also prone to abuse. A few people, especially the rich, can be able to employ campaigners to popularize a legislation proposal. Through the employment of powerful marketing tools like advertisement, such a proposal may find its way into legislation. This is despite the fact that it was based on personal interest, and not of the citizenries. Nevertheless, despite the significant flaws it poses, it also has advantages. Direct democracy bestows on all people, the right to decide regardless of religious beliefs, race or family background. It enables individuals to determine the destiny of their lives and collectively they choose the destiny of the whole nation. In direct democracy, people vote for policies they like, not party manifestos that may have many policies they do not like. People would vote for ideas, not political parties, and the select few that are powerful enough to vie for public offices. In ...Show more


Name: Instructor: Task: Date: Direct Democracy: Pluses and Minuses Democracy is a form of government in which all societal members have an equal right to the proposal, formulation and implementation of legislation. Democracy can be either representative or direct…
Author : paolo00
Direct Democracy: Pluses and Minuses essay example
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