Why Should We Support Democracy?

Democracy is the political system in which the citizens of a state have a say in the laws and policies that govern their country, either directly through referenda or by choosing representatives to make those decisions. It may involve simple electoral equality (one person one vote) or it can be more robust, including substantive equality in the processes of deliberation and coalition building leading up to the vote. Democracy is not an “ideal” or a “perfect” system and it cannot be imposed on a country from the outside, but it is a fundamental human right to take part in the government of one’s own nation.

One of the key reasons for embracing democracy is that it is the only political system that provides people with the maximum opportunity to live under laws that they themselves choose, and to take moral responsibility for the choices and decisions about government policies that they make as voters. It is also the only system that allows for the maximum level of social equality, as all citizens have an equal chance of being elected to decision-making positions.

Another reason for supporting democracy is that it has been shown to offer the best protection of core liberal rights, such as the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. This is largely because democratic institutions are more responsive to the views and interests of their constituents than are other forms of government, such as monarchy or aristocracy.

A third reason for promoting democracy is that it has been found to promote economic growth. This is based on the argument that undemocratic regimes tend to limit markets and favor monopolies, which are detrimental to economic growth, while democracies allow for greater competition and entrepreneurship. It is for this reason that economists like Daron Acemoglu have argued in support of democracy in their book Why Nations Fail.

Moreover, there are several epistemic justifications for promoting democracy, most notably Condorcet’s jury theorem and the theory of the wisdom of crowds. The idea is that democracy is the only form of government in which a large group of people can come up with the best solutions to collective problems because they are better able to exploit the underlying cognitive diversity of the population.

There are a variety of ways that people can help to promote and defend democracy, but the most important thing is to stay informed about what is happening in their countries and the world. Then they should make their opinions known, either to their representatives in parliament or in other institutions and media, or through joining groups working on particular issues.

Finally, they should vote whenever possible. If a policy appears to be unfair, or against human rights, then they should try to influence the decision makers to change the policy. As citizens they have a duty to ensure that their views are represented, and there is no point in criticizing democracy for failing to do this.

Democracy in America

Democracy is a popular political system based on the principle that the people, through their elected representatives, have full control over the government and can decide how to use public resources. It is designed to ensure the protection of human rights, promote economic prosperity and social progress, and maintain public security. Nonetheless, it can become corrupted and deviate from its original design if a society lacks the necessary conditions for democratic stability. In such cases, corruption and abuses of power are rampant and a lack of accountability and transparency make it difficult for citizens to exercise their voting rights freely and effectively. In addition, a country’s own domestic problems like money politics, identity politics, wrangling between political parties, political polarization, social division, racial tension and wealth gap can undermine the functioning of its democracy.

In his two-volume work Democracy in America (1835–1841), Alexis de Tocqueville described the nature of American democracy and its weaknesses. His analysis was largely based on his observation of daily life in the US over an extended period of time. He compared the United States with other countries in Europe and analyzed what he saw as the unique features of American culture, politics, law and religion that facilitated a democracy that combined equality of conditions and freedom.

Tocqueville focused on three key themes in his book: self-interest rightly understood, materialism and the pervasive influence of religious faith in America. He defined SIRU as the virtue that distinguishes the American mind from base selfishness, and noted that American religion serves to check license and restrain materialism. He also emphasized the importance of honest work in a democracy and how Americans recognize a special dignity in it.

The American democracy Tocqueville observed was not perfect but was far more functional and stable than the democracy of most other countries in Europe. However, he recognized that the American democratic system could become corrupted and eroded if political parties and individuals did not uphold certain principles and values.

A major flaw in American democracy is the concentration of wealth and the growing power of big business that distorts elections, legislation and administration. This is a danger to democracy because it creates inequality of economic status, which in turn leads to inequality of political standing. As a result, democracy can no longer guarantee freedom to all citizens.

Another danger to democracy is a majoritarian tyranny, characterized by the dominance of a single ideological group and its use of force to impose its will on others. Tocqueville warned that such a type of tyranny can develop in a democracy and is more dangerous than tyranny under a monarchy or an oligarchy because it is harder to detect and resist.

Although many people around the world admire the American democracy, it is in crisis at home. The US refuses to acknowledge the many problems of its democracy and continues to export and impose its version of democracy on other countries, with disastrous results. This report collects a wide range of facts, media comments and expert opinions to present a picture of the reality of the US’s democracy at home and the harm it is causing the rest of the world. It is hoped that the US will heed these warnings and improve its own democracy before trying to export it.

The Advantages of Freedom


Freedom is a powerful concept that can be applied in many different contexts. In the simplest sense, it means the absence of necessity or coercion in choice or action. However, it can be seen in more complicated ways that are broader than just a freedom from oppression or being free to do whatever you want. It can be seen in the freedom to think and believe what you want, but also in the freedom to gather or act as a group without interference from the government. It can even be in the freedom to eat, sleep, and speak as you wish. However, it is important to remember that while freedom is a wonderful thing, there are other people who do not have this same luxury and that it is best to use your freedom wisely so as not to take advantage of others or violate their rights.

Personal advantages of freedom include the ability to choose your own life path, which can lead to increased personal satisfaction and happiness. You can also enjoy greater earning potential, which gives you the opportunity to live in a way that is best for you. This enables you to feel valued and boosts productivity, which in turn benefits society as a whole.

The most obvious advantage of freedom is the ability to work on your own terms and do what you love. You can also enjoy freedom of expression, which is essential in a democracy, where the people are the ultimate arbiter of what laws are made and how they are enforced. This ensures that the people are heard and their rights are protected.

A society that allows individuals to work on their own terms can benefit from a more productive workforce and higher GDP. This leads to a happier, healthier and more prosperous community. It can be difficult to find time for a healthy lifestyle with all the demands of everyday life, but it is important to create a balance between work and play so that you are able to live your life on your own terms and reap the rewards that come from freedom.

The most effective way to build a strong foundation for a free society is to make sure that every individual feels empowered, valued and supported by the community. It is only when everyone has this feeling of empowerment that they will feel motivated to contribute to the success of their community and be productive, which is essential for a free society. A free society is a better educated, more prosperous, more stable and has lower mortality rates than societies with less freedom.

What is the Law?


The law is a set of rules created by the state which form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. When these rules are broken, sanctions can be imposed.

It is difficult to define the law, as it can vary greatly from one country to another. In the United States, for example, the law includes laws passed by Congress and signed into effect by the President, executive orders issued by the President or other executives, regulations drafted by federal agencies, and case law decided by courts.

Some countries employ a common law legal system, which relies on decisions made in specific cases to guide future courts, rather than written statutes. This is known as the “doctrine of precedent”, or stare decisis. In contrast, the majority of nations follow a civil law system, which has a more formal and detailed body of legislative statutes that judges must adhere to in arriving at their decisions.

Laws are the basis of government, and include constitutionally prescribed law (as found in the US Constitution), state legislature-passed laws, local ordinances, and administrative agency regulation. Other laws include criminal law, which governs criminal activities such as murder and theft, family law, which covers divorce and custody of children, and civil rights law, which protects individuals from discrimination.

Individuals also have laws governing their personal affairs, including property law, which defines people’s rights and duties toward tangible objects such as houses, cars, books, and computers; contract law, which governs agreements between two or more parties; tort law, which provides compensation when an individual or their belongings are damaged or injured; and immigration law, which establishes how people may enter a country.

The study of law includes the history of laws, as well as the theory and philosophy behind them. It is also important to understand how and why laws are changed or discarded, as well as the political and social context within which they are created.

The law can be a powerful tool, used to achieve political goals, control economic activity, and promote the public good. However, it is important to keep in mind that the law is a social construct, and that different cultures have very different ideas about what constitutes acceptable behavior. A person who is a “law unto themselves” acts independently and without regard for established norms, and often leads to chaos and conflict. The police work to preserve order and ensure that the law is observed. The legal system is a vital part of any democracy.

The Link Between Democracy and Economic Growth in Indonesia

democracy in indonesia

In the two decades since Indonesia embraced democracy, it has made extraordinary progress in democratisation. Despite some serious setbacks, it remains the only country in Southeast Asia where all parliamentary and direct presidential elections have been held without violence or major irregularities.

Democracy has also contributed to the country’s economic growth. One study found that countries with strong democratic institutions tend to have higher economic growth than dictatorships. But the mechanisms behind this link remain largely unclear. Assistant professor Priya Mukherjee and colleagues examined Indonesia for the first time to understand the reasons for this connection. Their research, which involves comparing growth in more than 200 districts comparable to US counties, suggests that Indonesians benefit from a competitive political system that gives voters a voice on issues that affect them.

The competitive nature of Indonesian politics helps counter the influence of old elites and money politics. It is a system that can still resemble Game of Thrones, with horse-trading and dynastic struggles for power.

Joko Widodo’s rise to national office is testament to the power of this system. He is the first president to have come from outside the political or military elite since independence in 1945. But, even if he wins another term in April, it is unlikely that he will have the support he needs to tackle the country’s pressing problems.

As the election draws closer, the challenge to safeguarding the country’s democratic gains will fall to civic society groups. But the experience of recent mass protests shows that they are unlikely to create change unless they can translate their demands into a clear political message and an electoral alternative. Moreover, they must work with a state that has demonstrated little interest in listening to public opinion and an electoral system designed to limit their impact.

As Indonesia’s democracy matures, a new generation of politicians outside the elite is emerging. They are building networks and leveraging grassroots support to challenge the old guards that have dominated the country’s politics since the end of Suharto’s rule.

Whether these up-and-coming leaders can succeed in challenging the legacy of their elders will be crucial to Indonesia’s future. If they can build an electoral alternative and create pressure on vested interests, Indonesia may be able to avoid the sort of instability that has plagued many other democracies. But it will not be easy. A slew of factors, from corruption scandals to the proliferation of social media misinformation, pose formidable obstacles to democracy in indonesia. The stakes could not be higher. A strong and vibrant democracy is essential to Indonesia’s continued progress and to the success of its aspirations for global power and prosperity. By pursuing graduated reforms rather than a revolution, Indonesia avoided the immense bloodshed and uncertainty that would have accompanied an attempt to fully dismantle the old regime. But the price of that choice has been to leave powerful figures and institutions from the ancien régime with a seat at the table of power.

The Different Approaches to Democracy Measurement

Democracy is the form of government that allows a large number of people to participate in decision making at all levels. This form of governance has been associated with a range of political outcomes, including greater economic prosperity and social equality. It is also often seen as being one of the most important enabling conditions for human development, which is defined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a “commitment to promote and protect all human rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity of all individuals”.

Despite the many different approaches to measuring democracy, there is no single approach that captures all aspects of this complex phenomenon. The various methods are complementary and different approaches have different strengths in capturing particular characteristics of democracy. It is therefore useful to have multiple ways of assessing the state of democracy globally.

Different approaches to democracy measurement have very different trade-offs. For example, how the methods classify different political systems has a big impact on what differences they can pick up. In addition, the way each method scores democracy has a big impact on what conclusions are drawn about it. All of the measures have merit, but it is necessary to understand how each measure works in order to use them effectively.

The main approaches to democracy measurement are indices, surveys and expert-based assessments (such as evaluating constitutions and law). There is no single best measure of democracy because the concept of democracy is too complex and the measurements too different. However, the fact that there are so many different approaches is a strength: it gives us a variety of tools to understand the past spread, current state, and possible future developments of democracy in the world.

One popular justification for democracy appeals to the value of liberty. It is argued that people have a right to self-government because their lives are deeply affected by the larger social, legal and cultural environment they live in. The only way they can exercise control over this environment is through participation in democratic decision-making.

Another justification is that democracy is the best way to exploit the underlying cognitive diversity of groups of people to solve complex problems. It is argued that the democratic procedures of discussion and debate are best equipped to make use of this diversity and can thus be more likely to produce good policies than other forms of decision-making.

A final justification is that democracy increases moral qualities in citizens. It is argued that being involved in democratic decision-making forces citizens to think carefully and rationally, to consider the interests of others, and to reflect on the values of justice and the common good. This in turn makes it more difficult for them to be coerced by others or to be tricked into accepting corrupt or immoral decisions. This is referred to as “motivated reasoning”. It is also argued that democracy leads to higher levels of trust in societies. This is because citizens can better see when governments are acting in their own interest or against them.

Democracy in America

democracy in america

Those who genuinely believe in democracy as a normative ideal should be alarmed by the way it is being hijacked for political purposes. The world faces serious challenges ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown to climate change and global poverty, and the United States should be shouldering its fair share of international responsibilities and providing more public goods to the rest of the world, rather than trying to sustain its hegemony by playing bloc politics with other countries and bullying them into accepting democracy under threat.

Yet the most pressing challenge of all is that democracy itself has come under attack from forces that undermine its very existence. In the US, money politics have permeated every part of the democratic process from election to legislation. Candidates are backed by large corporations and a small group of rich individuals, who control electoral funds. The result is that elected representatives owe their allegiance to their financial backers and are more interested in serving those interests than the people they claim to represent. This has made it impossible for democracy to function effectively and a lot of voters have come to realise that the devil is in the details.

The root cause of this malaise is that the US has forgotten its democratic responsibilities in favour of an ambition to lead the world. As a result, it treats its own citizens as if they are not entitled to freedom of expression and religion and it has resorted to the use of military force and shady tactics – including the manipulation of democracy as a weapon – to advance its global agenda. The result is that it has alienated itself from most of its allies. A 2021 survey by Pew showed that most US allies see America as a shattered ‘washed-up has-been’ and that 69% of respondents in New Zealand, 65% in Australia, 57% in Sweden and 50% in Canada believed that American democracy did not work well.

Tocqueville was right to recognise the unique qualities of American democracy and how it nudges people to broaden their horizons, tutors them in pluralism, and prompts them to take greater responsibility for what they do. He also understood that democracy breaks down life’s certainties and spreads a lived sense of the mutability of power relations. For this reason, it is not just democracy that has become corrupted but, more fundamentally, the spirit of democracy itself. It is time to reclaim this shattered treasure and rediscover the democratic soul of America. This can only begin with a recognition that the world needs to move beyond its polarised and partisan ways of thinking. Only then can the United States reclaim its position as a “shining city upon a hill”. It starts by making real commitments to the democratic principles of one person one vote and separation of powers. Only then can it help the global community to address its most urgent and interconnected challenges. This article first appeared on the Huffington Post in 2022.

What Does Freedom Mean to You?


Freedom is the state of being free from restraint, whether internal or external. This concept is often associated with liberty and autonomy, and it is the basis of many debates about civil rights, social justice and the role of government. People in jail long for freedom, and people living under oppressive governments yearn for it as well. It’s also the goal of many terrorists and other extremist groups, who are willing to kill or otherwise harm others in pursuit of their ideals.

Freedom can be defined in a variety of ways, but the common themes are the ability to act without restriction and the ability to choose one’s actions. Philosophically, freedom is the capacity for action that distinguishes human beings from other animals. However, this idea of freedom is not necessarily a positive thing: it can also be a curse.

What does freedom mean to you? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments section below.

In the political arena, there are many definitions of freedom. Some think that freedom is a matter of being allowed to do whatever you want, while others believe that it is more about having the right to speak freely and express your opinions. There is also the view that freedom is about ensuring that all citizens have a fair chance to succeed in their endeavors, and that this success should not depend on a person’s race, religion, gender or class.

Most of us can agree that freedom is important, but it is not necessarily easy to achieve. It is not always possible to avoid the bad effects of freedom, such as racism, harm or discrimination, but it is our responsibility to try to minimize them wherever we can.

It is essential for the growth of a nation that it protects its citizens’ freedom to choose their own lives, careers and beliefs. However, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore other citizens’ freedoms. We should strive for a country that respects everyone’s civil liberties, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.

To be fully free, a person must be able to decide what they want to do, and then find out the best way to accomplish that. If they can’t do that, they are not free. This is called negative liberty, and it includes things like not having enough money to travel or being physically unable to do something. If a person isn’t able to travel, they have no choice but to stay home for vacation instead of going to Hawaii. Negative liberty is what prevents a person from pursuing their dreams. Positive liberty, on the other hand, is what allows them to do those things if they are willing to work for them.

The Meaning of Law


Law is a broad term for the body of rules that govern a society. They can be imposed by a central authority, such as a sovereign or a government, or they may be created and enforced by the actions of individual citizens or groups, such as a local community or a trade union. In some cases, the laws of a region or a country can be governed by a constitution that enshrines certain rights and privileges for citizens.

The precise meaning of law has long been a subject of debate, but a general understanding is that it is a set of standards that people must follow in order to live together in peace and harmony. It encompasses a variety of issues, including the right to life, freedom and privacy, as well as concepts like equality, justice and fairness. The study of law involves the analysis of how these values are interpreted and applied in particular situations, and the development and changing of laws over time.

A central issue in this context is the nature of state power and its limits, which are the source of many arguments about the legitimacy of law. Max Weber reshaped thinking on this, emphasizing the ways in which modern military, policing and bureaucratic power extends far beyond the borders of any one country, and poses special problems for accountability that writers like Locke or Montesquieu could not have imagined.

Another major question concerns the extent to which a theory of law must incorporate morality. John Austin’s utilitarian theory of law, for example, defines it as a system of commands, backed by the threat of sanctions, from a sovereign to subjects who obey because they are obliged by their own conscience and concept of natural justice. Jacques Rousseau’s natural law school, by contrast, argues that laws should reflect innate principles of right and wrong that are essentially unchanging.

Other definitions of law focus on the role that lawyers or jurists play in the process of making and interpreting laws. Roscoe Pound, for instance, argued that law is a tool for social control in which conflicting pulls of economic interests and ethical values constantly struggle to gain recognition. This view is echoed by modern legal pragmatists who put more faith in judges’ insight into new situations than they do in strained analogies with ancient precedents.

Regardless of the precise definition of law, scholars agree that it is necessary to examine how law is created and applied in a range of different situations. This might involve analyzing an individual court case, exploring a new or emerging area of the law or examining the consequences of legislative changes. Whatever the specific subject, it is important to make the writing accessible to a non-specialist readership. This requires clear explanations of technical terms, short paragraphs and the use of headings. The legal field is often characterized by technical jargon, so it is especially vital to simplify this for readers without a legal background.

Democracy in Indonesia

Amid the global rise of populist authoritarianism, Indonesia offers a case study in democracy that is surviving and even prospering. The world’s fourth-most populous nation has a diverse society that includes hundreds of ethnic and religious minorities, along with a vibrant civil society. Its democratic gains – from the successful transition to decentralized governance in 1998, to direct regional elections, to the first peaceful transfer of power under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2004 – are testaments to a system that can hold up to the test of time.

But it’s also true that the state has taken on an ever-greater role in directing citizens’ political choices and curtailing dissent. The country’s sweeping libel laws and its use of criminal defamation to silence critics, for example, are both widely perceived as a hindrance to democracy. The state has also stepped in to censor the press and block access to social media, which is being used by Indonesians to express opinions about their leaders.

The state’s monopoly on the dissemination of information and opinions has also created a culture of impunity for those who violate its rules. The police are frequently accused of colluding with the government to suppress critical voices, and prosecutors have abused laws on libel, hate speech, and insults to persecute dissidents.

Amid these challenges, Indonesia’s leaders and the people they govern must reassess the country’s democratic gains and find ways to protect the system. It would help if public officials understood that society and its criticisms of their work are not the enemy, but an essential part of the democratic landscape that the 1945 UUD guarantees.

In the short term, Indonesia’s current system is the best available option for maintaining its democratic gains and safeguarding its future. Repeated surveys indicate that voters value the higher quality of leadership that direct elections provide, even if they come with greater expense. Reverting to indirect regional elections, on the other hand, ignores this relative value and would also have significant economic costs.

In the longer term, illiberal forces may exploit Indonesia’s democratic weaknesses to undermine the rights of its people. But if the president and his party continue to build an alliance of support that spans liberals, centrists, and nationalists, they can preserve Indonesia’s democratic gains. If they don’t, the country could lose its place as a model of a successful democracy that can handle a wide range of policy issues in the midst of global challenges. That would be a tragic loss for the world’s largest Muslim-majority region. The writer is a professor of international relations at the University of Sydney and a nonresident senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. He was previously a senior research associate at the V-Dem Institute for Democracy and Development in Jakarta. He has written extensively on democracy in the region and is a co-author of Indonesia in Transition: The Politics of Change. His latest book, Democracy in Indonesia: The Road to Continuity, will be published in 2023 by Oxford University Press.