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Is democracy a basic human right?

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    http://www.philosophy.ohiou.edu/PDF/...08July2005.pdf
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    No.
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    No. And though it often is trumpted as such, it is not the best political system.
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    I think like most political questions, it depends on "is anything better than it?"

    I think a liberal democracy leads to better social outcomes. But I don't think it's a human right per se.

    The only human rights IMO should be things basic to human survival and wellbeing. Democracy per se is not.
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    Human rights generally refer to survival and freedom from harm and persecution, and technically all of these could be fufilled in a authoritarian state.

    However, more economically developed states, particually Western states and especially America, where these rights are generally fufilled, are quite keen on freedom of the individual and self-determination and anything otherwise is often regarded as unjust.
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    No. And certainly our view of 'democracy' is getting torn down by our government with constant new efforts to censor things and stop free expression.
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    No, because even democracy as a concept differs from state to state. Additionally, its a political system and is thus incomparable to "rights" such as equality etc..
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    for the aforementioned reasons, no.
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    (Original post by Eightyeight)
    No. And certainly our view of 'democracy' is getting torn down by our government with constant new efforts to censor things and stop free expression.
    Who exactly is 'us'? Do even a third of the population make ANY attempt to even vote for the government once every 4 or 5 years, let alone the myriad of other responsibilities a responsible democracy should be doing?

    Plus of course you moaning is extreme hyperbole anyway.
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    (Original post by LFCdanny08)
    No, Democracy is not the best form of government. A 51% majority over rules 49% of people, so the minority gets cheated. A free society should protect the minority. The majority should not dictate rights because when they are wrong they are very dangerous. For example the majority of people wanted slavery.
    But how would you determine what is in the common interest without asking the population? Not saying your opinion is wrong, as I completely agree, just whats your alternative?
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    (Original post by jakemittle)
    No, because even democracy as a concept differs from state to state. Additionally, its a political system and is thus incomparable to "rights" such as equality etc..
    What would you say are the "universal" ideas behind democracy? Are there any universal ideas which are common to all the political systems?
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    No, but it is if you have oil.
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    (Original post by dan_stanting)
    I think like most political questions, it depends on "is anything better than it?"

    I think a liberal democracy leads to better social outcomes. But I don't think it's a human right per se.

    The only human rights IMO should be things basic to human survival and wellbeing. Democracy per se is not.
    Why do you think that the liberal democracy is the best possible political system?
    I agree with you at the moment, just exploring ideas!
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    No. I'm not a democrat.

    There is a tenuous link between good government and democracy. Democracy does not necessarily lead to the protection of human rights - nor does it mean it is a human right unto itself. And there are different types of democracy.

    What democracy does do is put the protection of yourself into your hands - most of the time. By taxing and making the rulers accountable to the people, the rulers have to respect the rights of the people lest they be voted out of office. Therefore, democracy helps to secure human rights. But this doesn't mean it's a human right in itself.

    You could argue that to choose your rulers is a human right. I would agree - but democracy does not deliver this. Every vote I have taken has been disregarded, because I am a minority living under a particular voting system that discriminates against opinions such as mine - First Past The Post.

    Democracy also tends to lead to inequality. Especially open democracy which is more exposed to lobbying from rich firms or people alone - oil, tobacco industries are probably the worst, along with agriculture.

    There is no one set of thinking behind all political systems in my opinion. Though I would find it difficult to explain most political systems without reverting to the philosophy of Rousseau and his General Will.
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    I would say people are inherently entitled to self-management; whether this equates to a human right is perhaps semantical. Who else has a natural right to manage someone? Where do they derive that right?

    People fundamentally want to express and direct themselves.
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    (Original post by dan_stanting)
    I think like most political questions, it depends on "is anything better than it?"

    I think a liberal democracy leads to better social outcomes. But I don't think it's a human right per se.

    The only human rights IMO should be things basic to human survival and wellbeing. Democracy per se is not.
    That democracy isn't a prerequisite to persons well-being is a highly controversial value judgement, one I find misplaced owing to the lack of substantiation presented.

    I would say democracy is necessary for human well-being, to repress peoples ability do direct and control themselves and in part the communities, workplaces and social institutions wherein they find themselves, acts to impoverish the potentials of human capacities, depresses self-respect, and leads to inactive persons. A cursory reading of social psychology research regarding hierarchy/autonomy in workplaces, grants the knowledge that democracy uncontroversially increases a wide range of social indicators; namely self-respect.

    It seems intuitive to me, if someone doesn't take part in the decisions which effect them, they will suffer.
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    (Original post by wilson_smith)
    That democracy isn't a prerequisite to persons well-being is a highly controversial value judgement, one I find misplaced owing to the lack of substantiation presented.

    I would say democracy is necessary for human well-being, to repress peoples ability do direct and control themselves and in part the communities, workplaces and social institutions wherein they find themselves, acts to impoverish the potentials of human capacities, depresses self-respect, and leads to inactive persons. A cursory reading of social psychology research regarding hierarchy/autonomy in workplaces, grants the knowledge that democracy uncontroversially increases a wide range of social indicators; namely self-respect.

    It seems intuitive to me, if someone doesn't take part in the decisions which effect them, they will suffer.
    I would agree that if well-being is a human right then any system that helps facilitate well-being should be a right as well. However, that does not necessarily include democracy. Going back to LFCdanny08's argument, in a purely democratic society 51% of the population could legally oppress the other 49% simply because they're in the minority, however slightly. In reality the margins are usually going to be much wider than that, but there are still plenty of large minorities around who would be vulnerable to the tyranny of the masses.

    I believe that the best form of government would be a benevolent dictatorship, where the person in charge listens to the people but doesn't necessarily act on their demands if it would be bad for the country or the well-being of some of its people. Without the threat of elections he could do what he thinks is best regardless of how popular it is. Sadly, it's all too easy for a benevolent dictator to slip and turn into a power-crazy tyrant, so it seems that a representative democracy is the next best option.
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    The 'right' to democracy entails the right to exercise coercive authority over others, which conflicts with the (widely regarded) more fundamental rights of each person to his life and property. Tyranny remains tyranny even if supported by a majority of persons.
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    No, Democracy is a flawed system where two morons can outvote an intellectual. It gives the average, braindead sheeple a voice that they so obviously don't deserve since the average person lacks the intellectual capacity to think for themselves.
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    If you mean liberal representative 'democracy', then no, it's ****. If you mean direct participatory democracy, then it ought to be.

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Updated: April 22, 2012
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