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Democracy In America What Has Gone Wrong And What We Can Do About It Pdf

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But that strength is falling victic to a dangerous trend—politics as war.

Fixing What’s Wrong with U.S. Politics

To compete and thrive in the 21st century, democracies, and the United States in particular, must develop new national security and economic strategies that address the geopolitics of information. In this century, democracies must better account for information geopolitics across all dimensions of domestic policy and national strategy. This process has to be examined in the context of the current strategic competition between China and the U.

After the Cold War ended, promoting the international spread of democracy seemed poised to replace containment as the guiding principle of U.

Scholars, policymakers, and commentators embraced the idea that democratization could become America's next mission. In recent years, however, critics have argued that spreading democracy may be unwise or even harmful.

This paper addresses this debate. It argues that the United States should promote democracy and refutes some of the most important arguments against U.

After a brief discussion of definitions of democracy and liberalism, the paper summarizes the reasons why the spread of democracy— especially liberal democracy— benefits the citizens of new democracies, promotes international peace, and serves U.

Because the case for democratization is rarely made comprehensively, the paper explicates the arguments for why democracy promotes liberty, prevents famines, and fosters economic development. The logic and evidence of a democratic peace are also summarized, as are the ways in which U. These benefits to U. The paper then turns to a rebuttal of four prominent recent arguments against the benefits of spreading democracy: 1 the claim that the democratic peace is a myth; 2 the argument that the process of democratization increases the risk of war; 3 arguments that democratic elections are harmful in societies that are not fully liberal; and 4 claims that "Asian values" can undergird polities based on "soft authoritarianism" that are superior to liberal democracies.

The paper argues that these recent critiques of U. The internationa spread of democracy will offer many benefits to new democracies and to the United States.

The democratic peace proposition appears robust, even if scholars need to continue to develop multiple explanations for why democracies rarely, if ever, go to war. The evidence on whether democratization increases the risk of war is mixed, at best, and policies can be crafted to minimize any risks of conflict in these cases.

The problem of "illiberal democracy" has been exaggerated; democratic elections usually do more good than harm. The United States should, however, aim to promote liberal values as well as electoral democracy. And the "soft authoritarian" challenge to liberal democracy was not persuasive, even before the Asian economic turmoil of and undermined claims for the superiority of "Asian values.

In recent years, however, many writers have criticized the idea that the United States should attempt to spread democracy. The Clinton administration's commitment to spreading democracy seems to have faltered, and critics from across the political spectrum have argued that the United States should scale back or abandon efforts to foster global democratization. This paper argues that the United States should make promoting democracy abroad one of its central foreign-policy goals.

Democracy is not an unalloyed good and the United States should not blindly attempt to spread democracy to the exclusion of all other goals, but U.

It often will be difficult for the United States and other actors to help countries to become democracies, but international efforts frequently can make a difference. The United States can promote democracy.

In many cases it should. I develop the argument for promoting democracy in three parts. The first section of this paper defines democracy and the closely related concept of liberalism. It distinguishes between democratic procedures of government and the political philosophy of liberalism, but also explains how the two are closely linked. The second section outlines the main arguments for why spreading democracy benefits the inhabitants of newly democratizing states, promotes peace in the international system, and advances U.

This section presents logic and evidence that demonstrates that the spread of democracy consistently advances many important values, including individual freedom from political oppression, deadly violence, and hunger.

It also will show how the spread of democracy promotes international peace and stability, and helps to ensure the security and prosperity of the United States. The third section summarizes and rebuts some of the most prominent recent arguments against promoting democracy. These arguments include criticisms of the democratic peace hypothesis, the proposition that the process of democratization actually increases the risk of war, claims that in many countries democratic elections are at best irrelevant and at worst harmful, and the argument that the emergence of the "Asian model" of political and economic development demonstrates that liberal democracy is neither appropriate nor necessary in many countries.

Some writers have simply defined it by what it is not: "Democracy is a system in which no one can choose himself, no one can invest himself with the power to rule and, therefore, no one can abrogate to himself unconditional and unlimited power. Philippe Schmitter and Terry Karl offer the following definition: "Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives.

Attempts to define democracy are further complicated by the differences between the democracy of ancient Greece and contemporary democracy. Classical Athenian democracy was based on the ideals of full political participation of all citizens, a strong sense of community, the sovereignty of the people, and equality of all citizens under law.

Because most writers use the term democracy to apply to modern, representative political systems, I will call such regimes democracies even if they fall short of the ancient Greek ideal of direct participatory democracy.

Most contemporary definitions of democracy have several common elements. First, democracies are countries in which there are institutional mechanisms, usually elections, that allow the people to choose their leaders.

Second, prospective leaders must compete for public support. Third, the power of the government is restrained by its accountability to the people. These are the essential characteristics of political democracy. Some writers add additional criteria to the list of what makes a polity a democracy. Larry Diamond argues that a democracy must have "extensive civil liberties freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom to form and join organizations.

These attempts to expand the criteria for democracy reveal that it makes more sense to talk about degrees of democracy instead of neatly dividing states into democracies and nondemocracies.

Some states may be more democratic than others; drawing the line between democracy and nondemocracy will usually be a matter of judgment. They also highlight the importance of the distinction between democracy and liberalism. Democracy can be defined as a set of political procedures involving participation and competition, but liberalism is a political philosophy that is based on the principle of individual freedom.

As one scholar puts it, "liberalism's ends are life and property, and its means are liberty and toleration. Most democracies are liberal democracies to some degree. The Western industrial countries combine procedural democracy with guarantees of civil liberties.

Any state that embraces liberal principles is likely to become a democracy, because political participation, competition, and accountability are perhaps the best guarantees that individual freedoms will be preserved. Thus the terms "liberal" and "democracy" often go hand in hand. It is possible, however, that a country could be an illiberal democracy. For example, states with official racialist or nationalist ideologies might choose their leaders in elections but deny liberty to members of particular minority groups.

Serbia and Iran are contemporary illiberal democracies. It is also possible-although unlikely-that a country could be a liberal state without being a democracy. In theory, a polity governed by a benevolent despot could respect most or all of the individual liberties associated with liberalism. In practice, relatively few contemporary states are liberal without being democratic.

Given the variety of definitions of democracy and the distinction between democracy and liberalism, what type of government should the United States attempt to spread? Should it try to spread democracy, defined procedurally, liberalism, or both? Ultimately, U. Policies to promote democracy should attempt to increase the number of regimes that respect the individual liberties that lie at the heart of liberalism and elect their leaders.

The United States therefore should attempt to build support for liberal principles-many of which are enshrined in international human-rights treaties-as well as encouraging states to hold free and fair elections.

Supporting the spread of liberal democracy does not, however, mean that the United States should give the promotion of liberalism priority over the growth of electoral democracy.

In most cases, support for electoral democracy can contribute to the spread of liberalism and liberal democracy. Free and fair elections often remove leaders who are the biggest impediments to the spread of democracy. In Burma, for example, the people would almost certainly remove the authoritarian SLORC regime from power if they had a choice at the ballot box. In South Africa, Haiti, and Chile, for example, elections removed antidemocratic rulers and advanced the process of democratization.

In most cases, the United States should support elections even in countries that are not fully liberal. Elections will generally initiate a process of change toward democratization. American policy should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good by insisting that countries embrace liberal principles before holding elections.

Such a policy could be exploited by authoritarian rulers to justify their continued hold on power and to delay elections that they might lose. In addition, consistent U. Achieving this goal is worth the risk that some distasteful leaders will win elections and use these victories at the ballot box to legitimize their illiberal rule.

The United States also should attempt to build support for liberal principles, both before and after other countries hold elections. Policies that advance liberalism are harder to develop and pursue than those that aim to persuade states to hold free and fair elections, but the United States can promote liberalism as well as electoral democracy, as I argue below. Most Americans assume that democracy is a good thing and that the spread of democracy will be beneficial.

Because the virtues of democracy are taken for granted, they are rarely fully enumerated and considered. Democracy is not an unalloyed good, so it is important not to overstate or misrepresent the benefits of democratization.

Nevertheless, the spread of democracy has many important benefits. This section enumerates how the spread of democracy will improve the lives of the citizens of new democracies, contribute to international peace, and directly advance the national interests of the United States. The United States should attempt to spread democracy because people generally live better lives under democratic governments. Compared to inhabitants of nondemocracies, citizens of democracies enjoy greater individual liberty, political stability, freedom from governmental violence, enhanced quality of life, and a much lower risk of suffering a famine.

Skeptics will immediately ask: Why should the United States attempt to improve the lives of non-Americans? Shouldn't this country focus on its own problems and interests?

There are at least three answers to these questions. First, as human beings, American should and do feel some obligation to improve the well-being of other human beings.

The bonds of common humanity do not stop at the borders of the United States. In a world where the use of force remains possible, no government can afford to pursue a foreign policy based on altruism. The human race is not about to embrace a cosmopolitan moral vision in which borders and national identities become irrelevant.

But there are many possibilities for action motivated by concern for individuals in other countries. In the United States, continued public concern over human rights in other countries, as well as governmental and nongovernmental efforts to relieve hunger, poverty, and suffering overseas, suggest that Americans accept some bonds of common humanity and feel some obligations to foreigners. The emergence of the so-called "CNN Effect"-the tendency for Americans to be aroused to action by television images of suffering people overseas-is further evidence that cosmopolitan ethical sentiments exist.

If Americans care about improving the lives of the citizens of other countries, then the case for promoting democracy grows stronger to the extent that promoting democracy is an effective means to achieve this end. Second, Americans have a particular interest in promoting the spread of liberty.

Page and Gilens: Democracy in America?

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Democracy in America. English Edition. Vol. 1

The Last Time Democracy Almost Died

To compete and thrive in the 21st century, democracies, and the United States in particular, must develop new national security and economic strategies that address the geopolitics of information. In this century, democracies must better account for information geopolitics across all dimensions of domestic policy and national strategy. This process has to be examined in the context of the current strategic competition between China and the U.

Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It

This section includes comments about problems that were made by all respondents regardless of their answer to the main question about the impact of technology on democracy by These worries are organized under seven themes. These systems will keep every citizen under observation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, monitoring their every action. The re-emergence of public bigotry has nothing to do with technology, except to the extent that bigots use it to promote their malignant goals.

THE protesters who have overturned the politics of Ukraine have many aspirations for their country. But their fundamental demand is one that has motivated people over many decades to take a stand against corrupt, abusive and autocratic governments. They want a rules-based democracy. It is easy to understand why. Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption. That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal. Yet these days the exhilaration generated by events like those in Kiev is mixed with anxiety, for a troubling pattern has repeated itself in capital after capital.

4 Comments

  1. Khaled M.

    07.04.2021 at 23:38
    Reply

    Benjamin I.

  2. Rodas A.

    09.04.2021 at 13:14
    Reply

    The book Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It, Benjamin I. Page and Martin Gilens is published by University of.

  3. Atsmitcathe

    09.04.2021 at 18:23
    Reply

    Request PDF | On Jan 1, , Benjamin I. Page and others published Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do.

  4. Amy M.

    11.04.2021 at 04:22
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    By Benjamin I.

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