Democracy Versus Dictatorship Essay
Democracy is a form of Government based upon self-rule of the people and in modern times upon freely elected representative institutions and an executive responsible to the people; and way of life based upon the .fundamental of the equality of all individuals and their equal right to life, liberty (including the liberty of thoughts and expression), and the pursuit of happiness. As a general concept it may be held that the democracy is a form of social organisation in which the participation of each individual in the various phases of group activities is free from such artificial restrictions are not indispensable to the most efficient functioning of the group, and in which group policy is ultimately determined by the will of the whole society.
The basis of democratic development is the demand for equality, the demand that the system of power be erected upon the similarities and not the differences between men. Of the permanence of this demand there can be no doubt, at the very dawn of political science Aristotle insisted that its denial was the main cause of revolutions. It is because political equality, however, profound, does not permit the full affirmation of the common man’s essence that the idea of democracy has spread to other spheres. It was with the French Revolution that economic equality may be said to have become a permanent part of the democratic creed. From that time, particularly in the context of socialist principle, it has been increasingly insisted that in the absence of economic equality no political mechanisms will of themselves enable the common man to realize his wishes and interests. Economic power is regarded as the parent of political power. To make the diffusion of the latter effective, the former also must be widely impossible the attainment of a common interests by state action.Economic equality is then urged as the clue upon which the reality of democracy depends.
The arguments for democracy have been set forth in three principal, variously interrelated forms, namely the doctrine of natural rights, first appearing, as a defense of democracy in the latter Middle Ages, the theory’ that the standard utility, or the happiness of the many,makes democracy the preferable form of government; and the idealist doctrine, set forth most explicitly during the last half century, that only democracy makes possible the full realisation of the most characteristic potentialities of human personality.
In the seventeenth century John Locke, a British philosopher, who sought to establish a scientific justification for the parliamentary revolution of 1688 argued that the only sort of political society justifiable, on the basis of perfect freedom of man in the natural state, was one in which the people incorporate themselves into “one body politic, wherein the majority have a right to act and conclude the rest”. This is the central idea of the latter classics of democracy, such as Rousseau’s Social Contract, pain’s Rights of. man, and the great “Declaration” of the American an~ French Revolutions. Many of the most significant events of modern political history – the growing supremacy and gradual democratization of the English. House of Commons, the achievement of American independence from Great Britain, the overthrow of the old autocracy in France, the later movements for written constitutions and representative parliaments, the recent independence of Indo-Pak and other Asiatic countries have been widely interpreted as efforts to vindicate the claim that ordinary men have an inherent right to determine the form and personnel of their governments.
The utilitarian argument is that since political government has no other end than the well-being of the individual men and women that make up. society and since each individual’s well-being ought to count for as much as that of any other individual, a society is properly organised politically to the extent that its constitution and policy tend to promote the interests, conserve the rights, and extend the capacities and opportunities for happiness of the greatest number of individuals in the community. Democratic Government satisfies these requirements, since it is least likely to subordinate the welfare of the majority of the community to that of any part. Democracy means government by those who have the greatest concern for and the greatest awareness of the interests and rights of the people generally. The natural self-interest of human beings is the best security against political action that is oppressive or tolerant of oppression.
It is also contended, in the utilitarian argument of democracy, that is so far as governments promote human welfare through the efficient and equitable discharge of the primary political functions furnishing protection from internal and external enemies, settling disputes, providing the means of education, and supplying certain other essential and common needs democratic governments have actually produced results at least as satisfactory as those achieved under monarchies and aristocracies. It is also contended that in certain functions, as in alleviating poverty and removing traditional economic and social injustices they have been more prompt and thorough going than other forms of government.
Dictatorship, on the other hand, is opposed to democracy, as it means absolute control of the community.by the will of a single-ruler. It is a term which has undergone notable change in meaning. In the constitution of the Roman Republic it signified the temporary possession by one man of unlimited power, a trusteeship regarded as necessary to enable the state to weather a crisis. In Modern times there have been numerous instances of absolution, sometimes, benevolent and acceptable, sometimes harsh and deserving the name of despotism and even tyranny. But the concept of dictatorship has until recently been kept separate and history has used it to designate an emergency assumption of power, as England, in order to escape from civil war, had to put herself. temporarily, in the absolute power to her one great man – Cromwell.
But.in the decade following the World War I, there was a wide spared tendency to use the term ‘ dictatorship’ as synonymous with absolutism or autocracy. In the true dictatorship the suspension of some constitutional features has in the past had as its aim the saving of the constitution as a whole. But in the post-war dictatorship, constitutional government was ignored or encroached upon in the interest of an ambitious hero or a privileged-class, with little evidence of popular consent save man’s unwillingness to resist machine gun and police agent. . This principle of one-man political rule found practical expression in’ Italy, Germany, and in some other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where dictatorship were set up. Each of the dictators put himself up in power chiefly by means of armed forces, destroyed all effective opposition, in the early stages of his regime, by a policy of governmental terrorism, and retained the’ use of censorship, and a summary judicial procedure ‘as normal means for dealing with political minorities. Yet each was approved, it appeared, by substantial numbers of the more intelligent citizens and was widely acclaimed by. the populace. It is not difficult to find explanations for the origins of the dictatorships and for the practical successes which, in some measures, they achieved. On the one hand, the World War I, or the conditions of the terms of peace, left each of the countries in a condition of exceptional economic and social disorder on the other hand, the normal operation of parliamentary institution was made impossible or difficult by a general popular lassitude, in reaction from an extraordinary war discipline, and by the failure of rival democratic groups to agree on any economic programmer to meet the emergency. Where the choice appeared to lie between a perpetuation of such conditions and a submission to the iron hand of ruler which, although destroying self government and individual liberty, seemed able to meet immediate needs in the way of balancing budgets, stabilizing currencies, and maintaining order the people chose, or accepted, the latter alternative.
If democratic institutions as currently applied disable the nation from acting at all in a multiform crisis that demands action, it is not surprising that the people accept even welcome, the ‘strong man’, with his boldness the self-confidence, his readiness without debate to make decisions with those of the nation he purports to incarnate. He brings order and settles matters not by trying to persuade or by counting majorities but by his own fiat. The mass of the people dote on one who by a mystery of magnetism inspires respect, makes them feel great through their kinship with him, their national symbol. If he has the privilege of military success they love him as the nation’s savior. If he has a journalist’s flair for phrase-making his slogans may kindly enthusiasm in a newspaper reading age, giving him power comparable with that of the sophistical demagogue in the days of oratory.
Some critics of democracy and advocates of dictatorship claim that, when usually difficult problems have to be faced, even the. older democracies confer their impotence and surrender to emergency dictatorship. Premier Poincare, it is pointed out, saved France in 1926, by persuading the French parliament to give him a “dictator’s mandate” in reorganising the finances of the nation. The British in 1931, escaped financial and social disaster only by yielding to the Prime Minister Mac Donald’s emotional plea that the votes give him and his associate carte blance in devising the fiscal and economic measures to deliver the country from its crisis, which only vague intimations as to what his measures would be. The Congress of the United States, in 1933, blindly conferred on President Roosevelt the vast discretionary powers he demanded to inflate the currency, institute governmental economies, and regulate production, prices, and working cdhditions’in private industry and trade as the only way to restore·prosperity. If these steps were necessary, then the critics contend, democracy is discredited, for the test of a good form of government is to be found in the measure of its success in meeting the difficulties of a crisis, any form of government may work tolerably in times of prosperity and peace .
The theoretical justification of dictatorship was set forth most extensively by Mussolini and other spokesmen for Italian fascism, who characterized their doctrine as a “new conception of civil life” the’novelty. consisting essentially in an emphatic repudiation of the assumptions, ideals, and methods of modem democracy. It was the object of the Fascists to display the visionary, disintegrating, enfeebling creeds of equality and freed•om by a realistic doctrine of an organic, hierarchically constituted nation, whose few most virile citizens assist a dictator in holding the .multitude to the task of realizing destinies more exalted than the petty aims of commonplace men.
It is obvious that dictatorship has certain advantages over democracy. A dictator can make administrative action swift, while that of a parliament is vacillating. He can satisfy the more pressing demands at once in readjusted taxation, extravagant public work, although he may thereby be storing up difficulties for himself. He is in a better position to improvise remedy in time. But in the economic field he is under a heavy handicap, for it is I here where he chiefly needs the common counsel which his regime rejects. He must depend on his own intention. Because he considers himself omniscient, the indispensable critical advice is hard to get, and especially to accept when one is maintained in office as the ineffable, all-powerful, all-knowledge one. In external affairs the dictator’s policy is cheap and easy nationalism. Hatred of the foreigner is something on which all classes may be united and stirred to an emotional pitch sufficient to divert them from consideration of lost liberty. Unluckily, caught as he is, the prisoner of the legend of his greatness that has been woven round him, the dictator is tempted into rash, and disastrous adventures. Dictatorial power seldom terminates except in lawlessness from where it generally originates, because absolute power is the constitution’s normal vigor is enfeebled during dictatorship, when the dictator is gone, there is the additional danger that would be successors will destroy the nation in their struggles for mastery.
Thus whatever the :original purpose of dictatorship, history indicates that it cannot avoid degeneration and when that occurs the benefits of the dictatorship are bound to be confirmed to those who share in its operation. Democracy, though it is not a perfect form of government, is certainly superior to dictatorship as it is built on the sound notion that the only way of responding to the wants of total experience in modern communities is to give that experience the full opportunity of expression, and the only way to give it that freedom is to offer it in its various aspects the responsibility of sharing in power. Parliamentary democracy demands many virtues. It demands, of course ability. It demands a certain devotion to work. But it demands also a large measure of cooperation of self-discipline, of restraint. It is obvious that a House like this cannot perform any functions without a spirit of cooperation, without a large measure of restraint and self-discipline in each group.’. parliamentary democracy is not something which can be created in a country by some magic wand. We know very well that there are not many countries in the world where it functions successfully. I think it may be said without any partiality that it has functioned with a very large measure of success in this country. Why? Not so much because we, the members of this House, are examples of wisdom, but, I think, because of the background in our country, and because our people have the spirit of democracy in them.
“We have to remember that parliamentary democracy means, more so in this time of change and ferment that in ordinary times. Even when the old order is good, it has to yield place to a new one, lest one good custom should corrupt the world. Change there must be, change there has to be, particularly in a country like Pakistan which was more or less changeless for a long time, changeless’ not only because the dynamic aspect of the country was limited restricted and confirmed by foreign domination, but also Because we had fallen into ruts of our won making, in our minds, in our social framework and the rest. So we had to take our souls both from the ruts and from the disabilirapied changed in order to catch up.
“but, while change is necessary, there is another quality that is also necessary a measure of continuity. There has always to be a balancing of change and continuity. Not one day is like another. We grow old each day. Yet, there is continuity in us, unbroken continuity in the life of a nation. It is in the measure that these processes of change and continuity are balanced that a country grows on solid foundations. If there is no change and only continuity, there is stagnation and decay. If there is change and only continuity, there is stagnation and decay. If there is change only and no continuity, that means uprooting, and no country and no people can survive for long if they are uprooted from the soil which has given them birth and nurtured them. “The system of parliamentary democracy embodies these principles of change and continuity, And it is up to those who function in this system, members of the house and the numerous others who are part of this system, to increase the pace of change, to make it as fast ~ they like subject to the principle of continuity is broken we become rootless and the system of parliamentary democracy breaks down, Parliamentary democracy is a delicate plant and it is a measure of our own success that this plant has grown sturdier during these last few years, We have faced difficult and great problems, and solved many of them, but many remain to be solved. If there are no problems, that is a sign of death. Only the dead have no problems, the living have probes and they grow by fighting with problems and overcoming them. It is a sign of growth of this nation that not only do we solve problems, but we create problems to solve