A Fear of Liberalism Runs Through Democracy

301 Words2 Pages
Democracy means ‘power voted by the people for the people’ and see’s society as a whole, more important than the individual. In contrast, liberalism core principle lies with the individual. So for liberals to adopt democracy it is also adopting collectivist views of the majority, which is a fear towards liberalism and their beliefs of the single entity of the individual. A minority of liberals - none in the modern period- reject democracy, however, no liberals accept democracy uncritically. Plato and Aristotle believed that a fear did, run though liberals as they viewed democracy as a system of rule by the masses, thus an implication of individualism; seeing society as not as single individual entities but rather a collection of individual groups, possessing opposing interest. This in turn leads to Ortega y Gassets warning of the arrival of mass democracy, which had lead to the overthrowing of civilized society and moral order. As a consequence allowing authoritarian rulers come to power, appealing to the basest instincts of the masses; ‘mobocracy’. This therefore is a fear and reservation most liberals have towards democracy. ‘Liberal democracy’ embodies a whole range of doctrines and devices that actually seek to restrain popular rule and prevent government from flexing direct will of majority. The liberal’ features are reflected in a network of internal and external checks on government. For example, guarantee of civil liberty and healthy civil society. The ‘democratic’ features are that it is a system of regular elections, universal suffrage and political equality. In contrast James Madison saw democracy as a defence against majoritarianism, with checks and balances on government, which would make government responsive to competing minorities and safeguards the propertied-few from the property-less masses. Which also leads to the unbalancing of society and
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