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The strength of democracy

Reader comment on item: A Better World[, Explains Michael Mandelbaum]

Submitted by Brian Jackson (United Kingdom), Feb 1, 2003 at 16:57

Democracy is not such a fragile flower as some think. The reason for its strength is that, like our own bodies, it has been created by evolution. The ancient Greeks are credited with the invention of democracy, but their version, based on a slave-owning society, was very crude by our standards.

In England democracy evolved over many centuries, and is still evolving, not from any grand design but by "two steps forwards and one step backwards"; the golden rule - survival of the fittest. In the process we have created many intrinsic institutions such as a free press and an independent judiciary. These institutions form a complex network which renders our democracy both resiliant to attack and adaptable to changing circumstances.

America, learning from England's mistakes, adopted a full-blown republican system (based on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - to my mind one of the most beautiful and elegant constructs in the English language) and their constitution too has evolved into a modern democracy.

Some democracies, such as newly made nations in Africa, have disintegrated for lack of the hard-won institutions needed to support them. But in time, they may revive.

In spite of the inherent weaknesses of the democratic system, such as freedom of speech for opponents as well as adherents, I am optimistic that we shall survive and outlive those who seek to destroy us. We defeated fascism, we have seen the demise of soviet communism, and I believe we shall weather the rise of militant Islam.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (17) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
3The strength of democracy [250 words]Brian JacksonFeb 1, 2003 16:576231
Mandelbaum Premature? [440 words]Ruben PerlmutterJan 2, 2003 18:295434
4Democracy is dictatorship by the majority. [125 words]Goh Heung Yong.Jan 1, 2003 19:435393
Democracy [126 words]B DormanAug 31, 2006 20:335393
A Question of Race [44 words]Rophe OmegaMar 6, 2011 13:095393
Islamic history contradicts [30 words]Charles CouryJan 1, 2003 15:355384
Limited Government key [21 words]Ricardo PedrazaJan 1, 2003 13:345379
UK [112 words]IsaDec 28, 2002 10:455223
Peace, Democracy and Free Market [45 words]Muhammad SiddiquiDec 28, 2002 01:115211
Great Disaster [273 words]Dr Mac BarksdaleDec 27, 2002 23:095204
1Good ideology [250 words]MottyDec 27, 2002 20:575199
Re: peace, democracy, and free markets [212 words]David RomeroDec 27, 2002 18:105189
Mandelbaum [91 words]Martin SchulbergDec 27, 2002 16:075178
Islamic facisim [144 words]Glenn KlotzDec 27, 2002 14:205171
Vehement Disagreement with Mandelbaum [138 words]Sy SteinbergDec 27, 2002 10:425163
Too optimistic [190 words]Benjamin StephensonDec 27, 2002 09:105160
Totalitarian ideologies [252 words]AnonymousDec 27, 2002 04:585156

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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