What Does Democracy Mean to You?


Democracy is a powerful idea that has inspired some of the most eloquent expressions of human courage and intellect – from Pericles in ancient Athens to Vaclav Havel in modern Czech Republic, Thomas Jefferson in the US in 1776 and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union in 1989. It is a concept that has also been misunderstood and mistreated by totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships that have feigned democratic credentials to attract support.

Democracy has different meanings for people depending on their personal perspectives and experiences. This is why it is so important to keep asking people what democracy means to them – how it is perceived and practiced in their societies. The definition of democracy has evolved over time and in different ways across countries. The underlying principle is that people have the right to govern themselves in a way that fulfils their aspirations for freedom, opportunity and social justice.

In a democracy, there is direct participation by all citizens in decision making at all levels of government through elections. This can be through directly electing representatives to make laws on their behalf, or by giving their views about policy issues to a representative body and having those represented. There is the right to free assembly, association, movement and religious belief. People have the right to privacy and their property is protected. Opposing ideas are tolerated and listened to in Parliament and society, and it is possible to stand for election as a candidate. Laws are fair and clearly written and protect people’s rights.

It is also possible for citizens to have a say about how their government is run in many other ways besides voting. They can join lobby groups, protest and campaign groups to change policies or hold governments accountable. They can take part in civil society organisations, such as environmental or women’s groups. They can talk to their elected representatives, or they can make their opinions known through the media. It is crucial for democracy to have as many channels as possible for people to participate.

However, if only a small percentage of adults vote every 4 or 5 years and do nothing else in between, then it is hard to argue that the association is really democratic. It may be a democracy, but it is not a democracy in the same sense as a republic or a monarchy.

In the survey that I conducted, I used the questions on what is important for democracy the ESS developed already and added some additional ones that were derived from the 3-fold distinction between the concepts of freedom, equality and control, and also some economic elements. I also included a question in which people could rank how important they think each of the different dimensions is for democracy. The result is shown in the table below.

Democracy in America – Is Democracy Still Working in America?

democracy in america

Democracy is a word that has a wide range of connotations. For some it is a thing that has been established yet now finds itself threatened, for others it is seen as an ideal that can be compromised by the empowered few. In the United States, where constituencies across the political spectrum believe that their voices have gone unheard, democracy has become a term wielded in so many directions that it is difficult to grasp.

Amid the gunshots and farce on Capitol Hill, the question has arisen whether democracy is working in America at all. A recent online Wall Street Journal article notes that the public is increasingly disenchanted with democracy. In fact, a recent poll found that only 16% think that democracy works well or extremely well, and that 48% think it isn’t functioning at all.

This is a troubling development. The US framers designed a political system to defend democracy and freedom at the time of its founding, and they envisioned that a democratic government was the best means for governing a complex country with a diverse population. Yet, democracy has departed from its original design and is adrift in troubled waters.

In the US, money politics, identity politics, wrangling between political parties, political polarization and racial tensions are all undermining democracy. The US has also adopted a “vetocracy” where politicians are more preoccupied with securing their partisan interests than in advancing the nation’s common good. This has resulted in diminished government efficacy, trampled laws and regulations, stifled economic development and social division.

The US has also used democracy as a cover for meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and seeking regime change to install pro-US governments. These actions have been at odds with the core values and tenets of democracy and have led to chaos, conflict and war.

De la democratie en Amérique (of Democracy in America) is a classic French work by Alexis de Tocqueville that examines the nature of democracy in the United States. It is a two-volume book that was originally published in 1835 and 1840, and it became widely read as people debated liberalism and equality in the 19th century.

The book is a study of the way the American society functions with its institutions, and how it has developed from an aristocratic system to a democracy. Tocqueville writes that the fundamental elements of a democratic society include a constitutional guarantee of citizens’ expression, associational and property rights, the existence of a multi-party system, regular order in legislative decision making, avenues for citizens to limit corruption, and a free press.

It is clear that the world needs to conduct some soul-searching about democracy, and this should include the United States itself. If the US is going to serve as a model for other nations, it must ensure that its own democracy is not in peril. To do so, it must restore the balance between voice and equality in the Constitution, eliminate its legacy of racism, and make democracy more transparent and accessible to all Americans.

The Importance of Freedom


The word freedom is commonly associated with liberty and autonomy in the sense of being able to do whatever one wishes without being restrained by other people. In the context of politics, freedom is often used to differentiate democratic countries from dictatorships. It is also a common topic of debate, with people divided over whether all races, religions, genders, and social classes should have equal freedom or if some groups are more deserving than others.

The definition of freedom has changed over time and the meaning differs widely depending on the context in which it is used. It can be a metaphysical and moral concept, as well as an economic and political concept. Regardless of its exact definition, freedom is considered to be an important value that all humans should have the opportunity to attain, as it provides the means by which we can reach our full potential.

According to the dictionary, freedom is a condition that allows a person to act as they choose, without being bound by compulsion or control. However, there are always constraints on a person’s ability to act freely, and how much freedom someone actually has depends on the nature of these constraints. Constraints may require a person to discipline their actions in certain ways, such as when a law against vandalism is enforced.

A more abstract concept of freedom is one that is not dependent on any specific circumstances, but instead relates to a person’s mental or emotional state. This can be described as being completely untied to any specific thing or situation, or having complete psychological and physical independence.

In the context of human rights, freedom is generally viewed as the ability to live as one wants, with respect for the rights of others. This can include freedom of religion, speech, movement, and conscience. It also includes the right to have property, work, education, and medical care. In the case of human rights, the idea of freedom is closely tied to the concept of dignity.

To achieve this, it is vital to create a culture that supports the values of freedom and equality. This can be done by encouraging a culture of respect for the uniqueness and dignity of every person, and by promoting the equality of opportunity for all.

It is also important to teach children the importance of freedom and how it can be maintained, as well as the need for everyone to take responsibility for maintaining the values that support freedom. The key is to promote a culture of respect, not tolerance, for all views and beliefs, and to provide the tools for children to express their own opinions. This way, they will learn how to be active citizens and help build a democracy that is free from prejudice.

What Is Law?


Law is the set of rules created by a society that governs its members’ activities and behavior. Its purposes include ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, providing for orderly social change, and punishing wrongdoers. Law also serves to preserve individual rights and freedoms and to ensure that government, police, and other public officials obey the rules.

While the law is largely set by judges and the legislature, it is also heavily influenced by popular opinion. The term “law” is generally used to refer to legal decisions, but it also can refer to a general principle or set of principles embodied in a constitution or statute. Laws and rules can apply to a wide range of topics, from crimes and civil rights to property and contracts.

The laws of a nation can be divided into three broad categories: statutory, case law, and custom. Statutory law is a collection of formal laws passed by legislatures. Case law is a collection of court decisions that is binding on courts with the power to review them. Custom, on the other hand, is a set of norms that develop through the collective consciousness of a society and that are superior to legislation.

In the United States, a large proportion of the law is based on case law. The rest of the law is derived from the federal and state constitutions and statutes. A few areas, such as aviation and railroads, have extensive federal law that preempts almost all state law. But many areas, including insurance and family law, have a mixture of state and federal law.

Some philosophers have offered a number of theories about the nature of law. Hans Kelsen, for example, offers a theory of law that sees it as a ‘normative science’ that defines certain rules to abide by. Other philosophers have suggested that the law is not a set of specific rules to be followed, but is rather something that is organic and emerges from people’s consciences.

Law is an important part of any society. It enables people to interact peacefully, settle disputes, and promote progress. It is one of the most fundamental parts of a democracy and a key element in a functioning, prosperous economy. Law also helps to maintain individual rights, and it provides a framework for governing the actions of governments, public officials, and the military. A society without a strong, stable, and well-respected law would quickly descend into chaos. Some societies, however, have trouble maintaining lawful order, and their laws may oppress minorities or limit social changes. Law is also the subject of many academic and professional fields, including law schools, jurisprudence, and legal research. Law is a broad and diverse field, and it is important to study the many different perspectives that are available.

Challenges to Democracy in Indonesia

Since the reforms that brought an end to Suharto’s regime in 1998, Indonesia has largely been a beacon of democracy. Today, the country is a constitutional republic characterized by democratic elections, the devolution of power to local governments, and limits on presidential powers. Yet, challenges to inclusive and accountable politics persist at the different levels of this complex democracy. WFD has worked in Indonesia since 2016, focusing on supporting policies that ensure that human rights are embedded in the policymaking and implementation process.

In the first decade of the post-Suharto era, democratic gains were consolidated by the rise of the president, Joko Widodo, a former furniture salesman and mayor who won national fame as an anticorruption crusader in his home province of West Java. As he moved up the political ranks, he pledged to defend direct regional elections from attempts to revert to indirect polls—which are the norm in long-standing democracies such as Australia and India.

But direct elections have their own costs, including a narrow bandwidth of candidate quality that forces parties to auction nominations and to resort to vote-buying tactics in order to reach voters. Nevertheless, Indonesian voters have shown their willingness to identify and punish non-performing leaders by voting them out of office.

Indonesia has also seen a rise of new political actors, some of them aligned with the ruling party and others not. Those new actors can challenge the status quo and offer alternative visions of the country’s future. Yet, they still face considerable resistance from entrenched interests and the powerful influence of traditional Islamist political institutions.

The success of the post-Suharto period has not led to a consolidated democracy in the form of a functioning separation of powers (trias politica), a free press, and respect for personal freedoms. The latter is particularly a problem because the state can use its police and military forces to harass, intimidate or even arrest individuals who express their views on social media or in public forums.

One of the biggest challenges is how Indonesian public officials perceive society’s criticisms of their performance and conduct. Rather than seeing these as an opportunity to improve their performance, they often perceive criticisms as a threat and resort to legal action on the basis of defamation and hate speech.

With the upcoming 2024 presidential election, Indonesia’s democracy will be tested by an increasingly polarized and deeply regressive political landscape. Jokowi’s main rival, Prabowo Subianto, is a former general with a stained human rights record who aspires to a populist authoritarian model reminiscent of the Duterte or Bolsonaro era in Brazil and the Philippines. His campaign has already raised concerns about the possible use of security forces to suppress democratic opposition and to stifle political dissent. If he were to win, he would be allowed to run past his term limit and might be tempted to consolidate his power by removing the checks and balances that currently exist in Indonesia’s electoral system. Unless this is remedied, Indonesia’s democracy will remain fragile.

What is Democracy?

Democracy is any form of government where people have a direct or indirect role in making decisions about policy and law. Traditionally, this has meant voting in free and fair elections, but it can also mean giving input into decisions or running for office. Democracy can have a host of different features, but at its core it is based on the idea that all humans are born equal and are entitled to be listened to.

Democracy has spread to many more countries than in the past and many are now liberal democracies. This is a good thing, as democratic countries appear to be better governed and able to sustain their own growth over the long term than autocracies, and they tend to promote more peaceful conduct between themselves and with other nations.

But democracy is not a fixed idea and it needs all of us to make it work. The more voices that are heard, the more robust and inclusive the discussions will be. That could be by voting, protesting, or even by simply talking about the issues with others.

In the modern world, most democracies are liberal democracies that combine the principle of equality with limited government and a market economy. They are often described as representative democracies because citizens elect representatives to represent their views and interests. But they can also be characterized as constitutional democracies, participatory democracies or civic-based democracy.

Some argue that democracy can be improved by increasing the number of people who participate in the decision making process and by giving them more real power. They say that this will help ensure that the decisions are made more fairly and will lead to more stable societies. This is known as democratisation theory.

Other theorists take a more philosophical approach and argue that there are intrinsic values in democracy, independent of any results. They claim that democracy encourages people to think more carefully and rationally about their choices because they have to justify them to other citizens, and it makes it difficult for people to claim ignorance or bias.

There are many debates about the exact meaning of democracy and how it can be best implemented. One criticism is that a democratic system will tend to reward short-term thinking by politicians, as they have to worry about winning the next election and so may prefer policies that benefit them immediately. This is called democratic heuristics.

A further argument is that a liberal democracy will always have some inequalities, whether because of differences between people or the limits on what can be achieved with the available resources. For example, some have argued that there is no such thing as a perfectly egalitarian society. However, other arguments point to the fact that there is no evidence that a well-functioning democracy has any negative social effects and that it can be very efficient at producing economic wealth. Some studies suggest that there are ways of limiting inequality within a democracy without sacrificing efficiency.

Is Democracy Lost Its Shine?

In an era where the COVID-19 pandemic is roiling, political polarization is growing, and economic inequality has reached a record level, it might be tempting to wonder whether democracy has lost its luster. According to a 2021 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, many of the US’s closest international allies view America as a “shattered, washed-up has-been.” Indeed, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare than a reality for many Americans and the world at large.

The American democracy that Tocqueville observed in 1831 was undergoing a profound transformation. Jacksonian ideology of “manifest destiny” was physically expanding the country from sea to shining sea, suffrage was being expanded to include most white men, and industrialization was transforming the nation from an agrarian to a capitalist society. In his book, Democracy in America (Democracy in the United States), Tocqueville sought to understand the nature of democracy in this new, fast-growing, democratic society.

Tocqueville was struck by the fundamentally different relationship between citizens and their government that existed in America compared to Europe, where a monarch or aristocrat could rule over the people with impunity. In America, the citizen’s rights and duties were regarded as superior to the government’s, and the concept of a democracy based on people over power was revolutionary in his eyes.

Today, the American system of democracy is still evolving, but the core principles have been distorted by the realities of capitalism and modernity. The US has sunk into a culture of money politics, elite rule and a political polarization that is corroding the foundations of our social fabric.

As the nation becomes increasingly polarized, there is no longer common ground between the two major parties. A veto point mentality has become the norm, and political antagonism between the most liberal Democrat and most conservative Republican continues to grow, leaving little room for compromise or productive dialogue.

Media monopolies have also limited people’s access to diversified information, distracting them from the real issues at hand and muting their voices in the decision-making process. Moreover, American foreign policy has tended to model itself after its own system of democracy and export this flawed transplant abroad, plunging countries into turmoil and wars in the name of democracy.

To understand the true nature of democracy in america and to expose its deficiencies and abuses, it is important to return to the original source of this revolutionary idea. HeinOnline offers an interactive edition of Tocqueville’s work that includes scholarly annotations by Alan Keely, retired Associate Director for Collection Services at Wake Forest University Law Library. This digital version of Democracy in America provides unprecedented access to history and the works that informed Tocqueville’s understanding of his subject. It is our hope that this edition will inspire new scholarship and thought about the future of democracy in the US, and around the globe.

What Is Freedom?

Freedom is the state of being free from the constraints of a particular situation or a person’s environment. It also refers to the power of an individual to direct his or her thoughts and efforts toward a desired end. Freedom can be experienced at a personal level through the desire for an object and a clear understanding of how to achieve it, as well as at a social level through the existence of a system that provides an avenue for pursuing one’s goals without interference from others.

In the digital world, freedom is achieved by controlling access to websites and apps that cause distractions and enabling users to enter deep focus for longer periods of time. Using an intuitive interface, users can create their own block lists of websites and apps that they find distracting, or select from pre-made categories such as social media, gaming and shopping websites. They can then schedule recurring blocks for specific times of day or even set up ‘Locked’ mode that blocks all internet and app access for a defined period of time without the option to override or reactivate.

Creating an online account with Freedom is very simple. After visiting the official website, there are a few questions about what devices you will be using it on and how long you want to set your focus session for. From there, the interface is very user friendly and you can begin your first session right away!

The main feature of Freedom is its ability to block certain websites, allowing you to get work done in an isolated digital workspace. The block list can be customized so that the only websites you have access to are those that are necessary for your job (Linkedin, Facebook etc). It is easy to use and requires little training to understand how it works.

Aside from limiting distractions, the other major advantage of Freedom is its ability to increase productivity. Many people are able to get more work done when they do not have the temptation of browsing social media or checking emails on their phone. This is particularly useful for freelancers or students who need to stay focused in order to complete assignments.

In terms of the larger social context, freedom is crucial for a healthy society. The benefits of freedom extend to all members of the community by allowing them more choices, rights and power. This leads to a more prosperous economy, a higher quality of life and a lower mortality rate.

As the world becomes increasingly connected and reliant on technology, it is important to remember that we must protect our digital and physical freedoms. The first step is understanding what these are and how to fight for them when they are threatened. Once we have this knowledge, we can then begin the process of reclaiming our freedoms and ensuring that all citizens have the opportunity to thrive in an independent and free world. The most effective way to do this is through education.

How to Write a Legal Article

Law is the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members. Oxford Reference provides authoritative, accessible definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic coverage across this vast discipline, from criminal and administrative law to taxation and social security laws. It also examines major debates in legal theory and explores how law is created and enforced in different countries around the world.

The term ‘law’ is also used to refer to the principles of conduct that govern particular activities such as sports, business or religion. These rules are often established by a religious authority and bind those who participate in the activity.

For instance, the principles of fair play in sports are a legal rule that are meant to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of winning the game. Similarly, the rules that regulate certain types of businesses are considered laws because they are intended to protect the rights of people and businesses. These laws are based on a system of principles, such as honesty, integrity and good faith.

A legal article can be written on a variety of topics, including the legal implications of certain issues, possible reforms or current developments in the field. It can also discuss the importance of a specific aspect of the legal system, such as its protection of human rights or its role in promoting economic growth. In addition, it can be an opportunity for a writer to voice his/her opinions on a controversial issue and spark discussion among readers.

As a legal scholar, you can also write about a particular court case or lawsuit that has been filed against the government or an individual. This can help to bring public awareness about important legal issues and also highlight the role of the judiciary in a democracy.

Another important area to consider when writing a legal article is the impact that certain laws and policies have on society. The legal industry is a crucial part of any economy, and it can have significant impacts on the way people live and work. By exploring the effects of laws and policies on society, you can help to promote changes in the system that will benefit all parties involved.

Regardless of the country or region in which you live, the law is an essential aspect of any democratic nation-state. It prevents the abuse of political power, ensures that all citizens have access to equal legal rights, and supports stable economies by upholding property rights and facilitating trade and investment. It also serves as the foundation for all other development goals, from poverty reduction to addressing climate change. Without the rule of law, corruption will increase, and access to economic opportunities will be limited to those who are best able to game the system. This will leave the most vulnerable in society unable to afford basic services such as health and education, and will prevent democracy from developing its full potential.

Democracy in Indonesia

Since the fall of General Suharto in 1998, a series of reforms have transformed the world’s third largest democracy—and its largest Muslim democracy—into a mid-performing democracy that is a major oil producer and regional powerhouse. While Indonesia’s economic performance has improved, it still ranks below average in many areas, including civil liberties and judicial independence. Indonesia also faces serious challenges from a rising tide of Islamic populism that is infecting public discourse and political competition.

Does the population have full and unfettered freedom to organize in different competitive political parties or other groupings, and is the system free of undue obstacles that impede their formation? Indonesia’s governing system is characterized by pluralism, as nine parliamentary parties compete in presidential and legislative elections. But the country’s constitution limits a president to two consecutive terms, ensuring a peaceful transfer of power.

The country’s system of government is also democratic in that citizens elect their local executives—provincial governors, district heads, and mayors—via direct balloting. But a legacy of old elites in regional legislatures and collusive horse-trading between parties mean that policy preferences do not always carry weight. Furthermore, a significant degree of economic and judicial corruption inflicts a heavy burden on citizens.

In the 2014 election, the eventual winner, Joko Widodi (better known as Jokowi), ran with a broad coalition of pluralist parties. His rival, Prabowo Subianto, saw this as a weakness and forged alliances with conservative Islamist parties and Islamist individuals that could tap into religious tensions bubbling up from society. Prabowo and his allies portrayed Jokowi as too secular to govern a Muslim-majority nation. This effort was bolstered by an extensive online smear campaign against Jokowi and his family.

While some scholars believe that the mere existence of free and fair elections is sufficient for a regime to be considered a democracy, others take a maximalist approach and argue that true democracies not only guarantee electoral freedom but must also provide guarantees related to other core components of democracy, such as human rights protections, civil liberties, social group equality, and the rule of law. This volume seeks to identify, explain, and debate the signs of a democratic decline in indonesia that include the rise of vigilantism, resurgent state crackdowns on free speech and organization, a deepening of political polarization, and an erosion of checks and balances on executive power. These signs, the contributors to this volume argue, are part of a global pattern of democracy in retreat. The book’s contributors offer a range of explanations for this phenomenon, and discuss ways in which Indonesia can move forward to become a truly democratic country.