TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Why does the Western world think democracy is a magical, catch all solution?

There seems to be this sort of prevalent attitude in the Western world that democracy is something of a catch all solution for all the world's political problems.

Now, lets just get this out of the way. This isn't some pro-autocracy/democracy is bad argument, I believe the system has many benefits. I'm not for one second disputing all the good its done in many countries. What I am claiming, is that there are situations where its not the right answer.

Take for example the recent revolution and election in Egypt. Dictator toppled, Muslim Brotherhood elected democratically, uses democratic tools to get rid of democracy, toppled by military. If it wasn't for the military, chances are Egypt would have been going down the road to being a theocracy right now.
The same happens whenever a country with a long standing tradition of politically active religious groups with a wide voting base. Any democratic election will lead to democracy being canceled in short order.

While I dislike using it as an example, it also can't be ignored that Hitler originally rose to power democratically. The same is true for many other dictators, of both religious and secular leanings. That's what happens when a democratic tradition simply isn't there.

Any transition to democracy, needs to be done carefully, and with the bare minimum force of arms. Its not something that can be rammed down people's throats, and there are simply situations where the political climate doesn't allow it work.

I'm trying to get some insight as to why the western world doesn't see that?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 4 2013: A pillar of democracy is that it has the support of the people it represents. A government should always work for the people it represents, and not for a select few who farm the people like herd animals.
    • thumb
      Sep 4 2013: actually, it is a dreamworld. in the real world, governments should do what grants them votes. if working for people grants them votes, they do that. if bombing syria grants them votes, they do that. if war on drugs grants them votes, they do that. if lying shamelessly grants them votes, they must do that. if we trust the people with voting, we also must accept their final authority, and should not have other values than the majority vote.

      if it sounds scary, you are not a fan of democracy. neither do i.
      • thumb
        Sep 4 2013: " in the real world, governments should do what grants them votes" I feel that is the dream world.
        In any reality I know so far politicians promise anything and everything and deliver only what they themselves deem is good for they themselves, if it happens to benefit the populace then so be it, if not oh well !

        however, we the people have every responsibility to hold them accountable
        we may have the wheel but we will continue to improve the wheel
    • Sep 4 2013: I agree with the "should", but "should" and "actually does" are two very different things.
      If every government already looked out for the best interest of the lot of its citizenry, we wouldn't need democracy at all. We could just skip the entire election process, and all the dictators of the world would be benevolent. If only...

      Democracy works great in theory. In some countries, it even works great in practice. That list of "some countries", unfortunately does not include all of them.

      In some political realities which exist in certain places around the world today, democracy simply doesn't fit, and therefore should not be imposed upon by force of arms.
      • thumb
        Sep 5 2013: In a less than perfect world it is foolish to strive for perfection, but it is wise to aim for continual improvement.
    • Sep 5 2013: which i'd argue isn't democracy at all.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.