The Weakness of Liberal Democracy

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As the title suggests, liberal democracy has weakness in its system that destroys itself. Brazil’s election came in favor of Mr. Bolsonaro, a right-wing advocate who supports violence, abuse of women, and ignorance of the minority. Within that same time frame, Angela Merkel who practically represents peace and stability in Germany has announced that she will not run again. A pattern starts to emerge. Right winged politicians start to gain popularity and fame when there is a time of crisis like economic decrease or immigration issues. What this reveal is that there’s a fundamental problem with democracy. It contains issues or loopholes that can be exploited to rip democracy itself apart. This often leads from democracy to authoritarian rule. One of the primary issues with democracy is that people don’t truly understand what democracy is about. They believe that democracy is only based on people’s view. While it’s certainly true, it’s only the byproduct or subsection because the government wants to implement systems that protect everyone and their common good. The people believe that the officials are not basing the people’s decision. Thus, they vote for right-winged politicians like Mr. Bolsonaro who says he will rule through “person authority” which is supposedly governed by the people.

However, it’s merely a manipulation of the people to get him into the office. The most evident is the president of Italy who is ruling with an iron fist, replacing local governments with people that are loyal to them. In the end, all supreme power goes to a single person and the citizens suffer. The misconception about democracy is ultimately what destroys it and turn a government attempting to become democratic into authoritarians. Furthermore, decisions made that may not be supported by the public make them feel neglected and without a voice or freedom. This presents the second problem with liberal democracy. The system with democracy sometimes declines the popular will because they need to balance the people’s decisions and government decisions that protect and regular all the people. While the previous example involves an already deep corruption in the government, this type of flaw cause people to believe the government doesn’t care about the general public’s opinions and serving some otherwise agenda. As a result, these right-winged politicians to come into power. They point their fingers to officials that are trying to benefit everyone in the country and say that those authorities are denying the common will. For example, outsiders often scapegoat George Soros who promotes the well-being of others by donating to those who are in need and proclaim that they will restore liberty and the constitution. With the hallucination that the government doesn’t care about the people, citizens believe that this form of the system must be destroyed and rebuild with someone that cares about the public.

For instance, our president Donald Trump gained popularity partly because he advocated policies that appeal to the benefits of the public. However, these policies are often too extreme because while it can temporarily help the public, in the long run, society and its government would slowly erode. An essential subdivision of popular will is that majority rules. From an evolutionary basis, human’s nature commands us to act and form a tribal relationship. Instinctively, we want to compete and rule others. However, the foundation of democracy is that everyone receives rights and privileges equally. Yet, there are circumstances that make people feel they are being violated and are at risk of “endangered”. Naturally, they want to protect their parties, so they vote politicians that will protect them. Thus, people will support laws that bully the minority and remove immigrants. However, liberal democracy focuses on protection of rights for everyone including minority. In order words, the system ignores elections that favor one group over another due to the majority. This has a slight but still noticeable impact in America.

White Christians are becoming fearful that other religious groups can exceed them so they regularly exercise their “whiteness” and are more fearful of the minority. Finally, people tend to go against democracy when they feel like their status is becoming weaker relative to other groups. They suddenly become much more defensive of their group identity and see other minority as potential a threat that can risk their status. Ultimately, their ideology shifts to a survival of the fittest. But once again, liberal democracy dismantles such social hierarchies to preserve rights of minority and peace. This causes people to feel like their rights are being suppressed and that the government is repressive. When someone promises to replace the system with one that “guarantee” people’s freedom, citizens vote for these right-winged politicians. However, once the politicians win the election, he will go against every thing he promised and become a dictator. Brazil is such example as well as many other Latin American countries. All in all, it demonstrates that within the liberal democracy, misinterpretation of democracy, a feeling of trivial public opinion, and social inequality will destroy itself. As a result, people will support radical politicians that can protect their group.

I chose this article because it demonstrates the rarity and importance of democracy. America is home to democracy and people can regularly exercise their basic rights such as freedom of speech. Americans can choose which politicians that they believe in and the government is regulated by multiple authorities, not a dictator. Our system balances power in the power and a central government. Yet these privileges are often undermined and sometimes considered granted. So many other countries don’t allow citizens to voice their opinions or prosecute innocent children because of a differing religion. We are so privileged and lucky to be in America. I believe that we should appreciate such a blessing. Not only this, but we should also help other countries. Many countries trying to be democratic fall back to authoritarian because the citizens are manipulated by false promises and concepts. The people must pay the price at the cost of their life sometimes. Thus, we should be much more appreciative of what this country offers us and the price of such freedom.

I learned that liberal democracy is an extremely complicated process. Until now, I always thought that democracy was just about people having basic rights. I now learned that the problem with liberal democracy is itself, at least partially. I thought that in an economic crisis, our connection with each other would strengthen and that democracy is still intact. However, I learned that it’s through these times of crisis that right-winged politicians come to power due to the people’s desperation. Furthermore, I thought that people would understand that sometime their opinion will be ignored for the general good. But people’s instincts cause them to want to exploit minorities and climb onto the top of the social hierarchy. To sum this in one word, it’s that people are selfish. People’s selfless to become the best and dominate causes a domino effect in which everyone competes and try to downgrade the other. In these times of crisis, politicians create false promises that they will restore freedom in the people, but they almost always turn back on their promise and become a dictator. Finally, I gained insight on truly how precious democracy is.

What surprised me is that countries that seem like it would stay democratic like Germany or Brazil are gaining more and more right-winged popularity. However, Portugal which might not seem like a country heading for democracy has no right-winged party rising. What is more ironic is that Portugal which is still going to an economic crisis impose no austerity yet other European countries with a sufficient and somewhat economy are implementing harsh austerity on its people.

This connects back to the different kind of boundaries that we learn in class. Many times, a country encounters an obstacle to becoming democratic due to ideologic disagreements. A country is hard to become unified if it already has an internal conflict. For example, early Yugoslavia was extremely difficult to manage and even to the modern day, it still is. In the early days, democracy was hard to implement in Yugoslavia. It has a variety of ethical groups in Yugoslavia. Going back to no social hierarchy, giving more rights to minority threatens the status of other religious groups, making them feel less important. Furthermore, it will not be judged based on which group has the most amount of people due to democracy’s idea of rights for all. The boundaries that separate these different ethnic group made it difficult for a country to have a liberal democracy.

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The Weakness of Liberal Democracy. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved April 22, 2024 , from

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