What Do Liberals Believe About Democracy

3790 Words16 Pages
http://hubpages.com/hub/What-Would-the-Founding-Fathers-Think A Basic Argument For The Left Thomas Ash It would be a huge task to offer a comprehensive argument as to why people should be 'left-wing' as opposed to 'right-wing', or indeed any-other-wing. It is not a task I will attempt here. Instead, I will try to offer a simple defence of one of the basic principles underlying the left, which is often at the heart of the philosophical differences between it and conservatism (and also libertarianism). This principle is that it is perfectly acceptable for the government to take an active and substantial role in areas such as the provision of health care, the creation and maintenance of infrastructure, and some provision for the poor and…show more content…
Liberals are probably the strongest advocates of democracy. Democracy solves a problem described by an old adage: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." When power or wealth concentrates too heavily in too few hands in society, democracy is useful for dispersing much of that power back to the people. In other words, when enough voters become discontented with the status quo, they vote to change it. Of course, those already in power bitterly resent this; that is why there is such a strong anti-democratic streak in wealthy conservatives and business owners. They complain that democracy allows the poor to legally steal from the rich. (Liberals counter that unregulated capitalism allows the rich to exploit and therefore steal from the poor, and taxes simply correct for that.) But democracy also works in the other direction as well. If we lived in a society where everyone was paid equally, despite their different inputs, people would surely vote to create a system of incentives and rewards. Democracy therefore strikes the balance between the corruption of absolute power and the lack of incentives, between unrestricted meritocracy and egalitarianism. It is the primary tool of moderated…show more content…
Some go so far as to advocate direct democracy, in which the people, not their representatives, vote directly on legislation. However, an educated electorate is necessary for the success of any democracy, and there is a real question as to whether the public is educated or informed enough to vote directly on the nuts and bolts of government policies. What do liberals believe about the constitution? Liberals note that constitutions and their amendments are passed just like other laws: after extensive debate and by a vote of the people's elected representatives. The only difference is that constitutional amendments are much harder to pass than laws, because they require a two-third's majority in Congress and a three-fourth's majority of the
Open Document