TED Conversations

Marco Franco

This conversation is closed.

Should we force democracy?

What I wanted to know is: do you think that democratic countries should force other countries to implement democracy? Don't you think that that is a flaw in the all idea of democracy?

Share:
  • Mar 21 2013: There is only one way to lead - by example.
  • thumb
    Mar 20 2013: I believe it is fatal mistake to force the democracy in the other countries especially those have dictator leadership. As a live example whats happened in Iraq approved that ..
    • Mar 21 2013: Can we afford the time that it will take for some countries to do that?
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: Marco,
        I guess we can afford the time by activating the media in this side much more than we have currently
  • Mar 27 2013: Democracy is a benevolent lie because its function largely depends on Socioeconomics .Capitalism by its nature neutralizes the benefits of Democracy leaving us in what can be called indirect autocracy without anyone actually realizing it because supposedly everyone have equal opportunity and freedom with no corruption whatsoever..

    So to your question: should we force democracy, Absolutely not.
    Democracy is something that should come first from the people. The people must demonstrate that they have enough power,desire and influence (also on an intellectual level) without outside intervention, otherwise they won't make an informed choice and will just choose the dictator. This was proven time and time again by history.
    The French and The Americans for example arrived at their democratic state because their people fought for it.
    • Apr 18 2013: Uri" We fought for it 200 years ago, but we are losing it fast, due to our very poor educational system. Yes, we defeated the British, but now seem to be hypnotized into folllowing their path to Imperial bankruptcy.
      • Apr 19 2013: @Shawn: Nationalism is also a lie, we are all homospaience with negligible differences if any, much of this imperial bankruptcy exist because we turn on each-other to wage wars and kept blind from the bigger picture. It is the same manner that the presidents of various nations insist that there is an external threat to help justify their unjust actions to their people.

        And Nationalism is funny, since as it is, a citizen doesn't have a basic right of owning land in "his/her country", it is all borrowed land at best(with interest of course) and some people do not even have money for that much so in a way you could say the true freedom of autonomy was taken from us at day 1 with no choice in the matter so saying "My Nation" or "My Country" is kind of funny in that respect and you might as well say "My Master's country" or "My Owner's Nation"..

        it doesn't matter if you are British or American or what have you, in the end as Humans the core problem of greed remains.

        Apologies if I sound somewhat radical , I do not pretend to have a perfect solution to that problem.
        • Apr 19 2013: I dont think your being radical, or rather, not nearly radical enough.
      • Apr 19 2013: Shawn, you think that forever you'll be #1?

        "Yes, we defeated the British, but now seem to be hypnotized into following their path to Imperial bankruptcy."

        Lest you forget, they followed... The roman empire, the Persian empire, the Greek empire, the Egyptian empire...etc etc

        seeing a pattern here are we ... lol
  • thumb
    Mar 26 2013: I think it’s not so much a question of ‘should’ (‘should’ and ‘force’ don’t go well together in pretty much any context, so an immediate response would be: no, of course not.) Rather, it’s a question of ‘can’.

    Two points:

    1. There is this tendency to depart from the various definitions of democracy and say that a political system, however flawed, is a democracy because it does not meet enough criteria to be called an authoritarian regime. When you consider things strictly from the point of view of this dichotomy, of course people will readily agree that democracy, while imperfect, is better. And while ‘forcing’ and ‘democracy’ seem like mutually exclusive terms, what you would be doing in effect is giving people more personal freedom, expanding their rights, encouraging participation and so on. However, the problem is that you can assist them in building democratic institutions, but you cannot ‘export’ a ready-made institutional system without considering the local context (and without exporting said system’s flaws along the way.)

    2. Democracy is not defined by one single thing, or even one single category. It is not simply a collection of rights associated with citizenship (i.e., voting, freedom of expression, political participation etc.) It is an interaction of different categories, such as electoral processes, civil rights, institutional accountability, socio-economic context and the international environment. This is a complex system that involves a lot of variables. As an external agent, you are not bringing (or forcing) democracy on a country, but impacting on 1-2 of these categories.

    I would argue that it’s not possible to force democracy on a country, but not because ‘forcing’ is an uncomfortable term. Instead, because it simply wouldn’t work as expected. You can assist in democracy building, you can offer expertise, involve said country’s citizens in the process or facilitate financial aid. But you cannot give them democracy as a full package.
  • thumb
    Mar 21 2013: We will not get true democracies , until we take the power out of the hands of "political parties" . As long as political parties hold the upper hand , business will always run government. We should look towards the best run countries and take a little knowledge from each and build a system that works for the betterment of society, not just the 1%.

    As it stands right now , our system here in North America has been hijacked by big money , which use our elected members as lobbyest . Time to get a bottom up system , instead of top down . The only way we can force a chane in the democratic process , is to bring the present system that empowers the 1% , down. and the ballot box has not worked for the 99% todate.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: Well we are the bottom lets make it the top
    • thumb
      Mar 29 2013: I just read all the posts above and below and I see that there is a good deal of agreement that we need a better way of managing our affairs. We have the means at our fingertips. We can let our desires be known directly. We can be polled on every decision and take part an any we wish. But can we trust "the masses" to rule? I think so.
  • thumb
    Apr 18 2013: "Forcing democracy" is close to being an oxymoron.
  • Apr 15 2013: There is no real democracy, here I am in Toronto. The people are always misled in to believing different things. The govt has purposely not developed the mathematical side of their curriculum so that students never learn how to manage money! and the list is very long. Politics shall always be about mis leading the people in to thinking they have the power when they really don't have that.
  • thumb
    Apr 3 2013: I doubt any of you will read this but it is very apt to this conversation:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/04/03/creators-oped-n1554734
  • thumb
    Apr 1 2013: It's hypocritical, but spreading democracy was never the goal. Spreading democracy is the story. Expanding our hegemony is the goal. The democracy we force upon countries is shallow, and only for the public to accept the occupation or invasion. The people might vote for a leader, but behind the curtain it's planned for a leader that's obedient to the hegemon. The US grants an abundance of rights to its citizens constitutionally, none of these rights have translated to any "democracy" we've created overseas. Power and business run the show.
  • Mar 31 2013: Absolutely we should but we should start with the USA.
  • Mar 27 2013: That wouldn't be very democratic.
  • Mar 26 2013: Yes we should, if the democracy is our religion - we should not look on the history, traditions, habits, religion of the country - we should push democracy (as we call it) of any kind in Egypt, Iraq, Syria etc.,etc... I remember crusaders and don't understand what the difference is - they also brought Christian progress to the nations with sword and fire.
  • thumb
    Mar 25 2013: Democracy and freedom are not the same. Democracy is oppressive for the minority who have to subject to the will of the majority.

    Democracy is not free of force. When a minority does not submit to the will of majority "voluntarily", that will will be forced on them by democratic government.

    One thing is not up for discussion in a democratic society - it's democratic process itself. It must be accepted overwhelmingly by society, regardless of political differences. If it's not accepted, the process will not work.

    I'd say, in the U.S., democracy is imprinted in people's brains almost religiously. Ideas of democracy are taught in elementary schools and proclaimed on every corner. That's how overwhelming consensus about democratic process is achieved. I'm not sure if there is any other way. So, in a sense, people in the U.S. are not "free" to choose or reject democracy. There is some circularity here.
    • thumb
      Mar 26 2013: HI Arkady i agree with what you say ,"Democracy is not free of force. When a minority rebels against a law passed democratically, a democratic government will use force against the rebels."

      I would like to ask thinking people , is there an alternative idea for Governace other than democracy.I believe there is always a scope for new ideas .
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2013: Sorry, I slightly rephrased my initial post as you were answering, but the idea is the same.
  • Mar 23 2013: Force and Democracy dont match in the same phrase.
  • thumb
    Mar 21 2013: The flaw is corruption, not democracy. Our founding fathers did their best to try and get rid of corruption, with the checks and balance system. Problem is the more "checks" you write the less balance
  • Mar 21 2013: Yes,I agree what u said:It is definitely a flaw in the all ideas of democracy.I think democracy belongs to spiritual category more, people will affect practical reality from spiritual ideas.Once people could be democratic in spiritual level completely,that's mean democracy come to us truely
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Mar 21 2013: Pure democracy in a culture as insane as our global culture is cannot work. It pits neighbor against neighbor until all are enemies.
  • thumb
    Mar 21 2013: The Romans and the Nazis did not force their ideologies on countries they sold them on it. Even the U.S. does this.

    My opine is the way to do this is through the economy as with China and Vietnam and the USSR forget the ideology just start trading and the Communism thing will not be as not big a deal.

    Will it be perfect NO. Just aim for improvement and quit being a perfectionist.
  • Mar 21 2013: I strongly suspect that externally forced democracy is weaker than internally grown democracy.

    Rather than forcing democracy we should do whatever encourages the natural growth of democracy, which I think probably revolves around education.

    I think the world would benefit greatly if nations were able to have their embassies double as universities.
    • Mar 21 2013: Well I do think like that to, but what if those countries do not "grow" democracy by there own.
      Are we, the "free west", morally capable of imposing democracy. Even if citizens of those countries do not want democracy?

      Thank you Lewis
      • Mar 21 2013: Unwanted democracy seems to me like a contradiction. Couldn't the citizens just vote in a dictatorship, theocracy, oligarchy, etc if that is what they wanted?
        I think that democracy can only be maintained if a population is ready to embrace it.
  • Apr 20 2013: While it might seem humorous, remember never a truer word was spoken than in jest.

    Monty Python - Dennis The Constitutional Peasant

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOTKA0aGI0
  • Apr 19 2013: We, whoever "we" is (how accuratley are we represented in our own democracy?), should let the people we wish to have democracy vote on whether or not they already want it. Even if the argument in response to this is "They don't know what they are missing, how would they know to vote yes" the result of forcing democracy would not be giving democracy at all. It would be founded in hypocrisy.
  • Apr 19 2013: First, I think that we should improve the democratic system in the United States before we spread our form of democracy to other countries. There are a multitude of issues within our democratic system, like the Electoral College process. Events like the 2000 presidential election have shown us that our voting process is flawed.
    The power is also shifted unfairly in the United States, because the most wealthy people influence the politicians by lobbying heavily for them.
    Democracy should not be enforced on a country. The citizens of the country need to be aware of the intricacies of democracy, the idea of the majority, and other things that have taken the United States centuries to understand. Countries need to learn how to govern without outside influence, otherwise they will not be able to exert their power as the people. Forcing democracy would not work for countries like Afghanistan or Iraq because the people need to understand their responsibilities to uphold a democratic system if they decide to have a democratic government.
  • Apr 19 2013: What I wanted to know is: do you think that democratic countries should force other countries to implement democracy? Don't you think that that is a flaw in the all idea of democracy?

    Thrasymachus had said that justice is what the powerful decide: might is right. (cough usa), so the answer by his standards is not if your the one forcing it...
  • Apr 18 2013: I don't think so. Afghanistan and Iraq are examples where democracy would have a very difficult time thriving. The people there don't have a sense of individual liberties, but theirs is more of a collective/community based culture. Like a tribe maybe. Democracy probably can only work if a people as individuals possess the right moral foundation. At least in order to thrive, because we need most people willing to obey the law of the land. I'm going to paraphrase here, but John Adams said that our form of government or our constitution was designed for a moral and religious people and inadequate for any other group.
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2013: I understand what you are saying, however I'm worried about the idea that democracy isn't compatible with a 'community based culture'. Democracy is the result of community; people coming together to voice their opinions on a matter and the party with the most voices wins - simple as that. I think some of us have a tendancy to evoke morality with democracy which isn't the case. I don't understand what law abiding has to do with democracy because people break the law under democracy just like they do under communist or theocratic governments. Also what exactly do you mean by 'the right moral foundation'? If you have the answer to absolute morality I would love to hear it.
    • Apr 19 2013: Morality is subjective.
  • Apr 18 2013: Democracy cannot succeed without the support of the people. No exceptions.
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2013: We just can't start peace with violence and can't start democracy with dictatorship, internal or external. If we want the rest of the world to go democratic, we should use positive economic incentives (look how well democratic nations do!) rather than the negative threat of force. The same goes for incentivizing the adoption of communications media, from which democracy will follow because the key to democracy is social communication so that the people of the nation in question can make their government into what they want.
    • Apr 19 2013: We just can't start peace with violence ...

      Cant you... how would define world war 2.
  • Apr 14 2013: In a Democratic country, the decision making is 'representative' and is open to criticism and review and in most cases to reversal. This gives the other countries a sense of predictability and comfort when dealing with democratic countries as we tend to view democracy as being executed 'by the book'.

    The reality is however the opposite and democracy has become synonymous with bureaucracy, complacency, politics and corruption. This leaves us all disillusioned with the process in general.

    That being said, Democracy is still the number one option because there is nothing as a 'Benevolent Dictatorship'.
  • Apr 14 2013: No you cannot force a Democracy.. that would defeat the very principles Democracy is built on. Democracys may be influenced into existence. The best way to promote Democracy would be through education. The merit of Democracy cannot easily be measured but i do believe its value is a "Self-Evident Truth."
  • Apr 14 2013: Perhaps a better question is "can we", rather than should we (and also, who is "we")? Democracies require some fundamentals in a society that are often not in evidence, such as universal understanding and a basic understanding of and support for the democratic process.

    With the advent of easily accessible internet via phones and tablets, less and less corners of the world will be isolated from the vast array of data on the internet, and thus more and more places will build their own democracies. The Arab Spring, despite its flaws, is an example of this effect.

    Forced democracy seems to be an oxymoron to me.