On each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld is posting the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. Today Iranian Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi speaks of the vital importance of democracy, human rights and women’s equality for people of the Islamic world. Continue reading
Starting today, on the birthday of Martin Luther King, on each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld will post the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. In the following extract from his acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King reminds us that equality and nonviolence, not bullying, intimidation and division, are the very foundations of democracy.
Our modern system of democracy can be seen then to be comprised of six pillars, each of which acts as a defence against the abuse of power by pathologically disordered leaders and elites. Political participation through democratic elections and direct participation of citizens in government, the rule of law applied equally to all, Constitutional constraints on the power of government, a prohibition on the imposition of state sponsored ideology, social democracy to ensure social stability, and finally the protection of fundamental human rights through international law. Continue reading
Like pure democracy, undiluted capitalism is intolerable
Two pillars in our modern system of democracy emerged from the catastrophes of world war and genocide. These building blocks are social democracy and the legal protection of individual human rights. Continue reading
Remarkable as the new U.S. system of democracy was at the time of Independence, U.S. society at that time had not progressed beyond some of the most unethical features of ancient Athens. Slavery was widespread, women were excluded from political participation, and a genocidal war was being waged against the Native American population. Despite its undoubted advances, what the new American democracy clearly did not do was to guarantee equality of citizenship to all. Continue reading
According to the historian Roger Osborne, the American Revolution was the most decisive event in the history of democracy. Within the first seventy years of the new United States of America’s existence, every white adult male had the right to vote in state and federal elections, almost every important public official was elected, a series of national and state institutions had been set up to protect citizens from the power of the state and from the tyranny of the majority, political parties had been established that relinquished power peacefully after elections, and a culture of mass participation in politics had emerged. Continue reading
Of all the pillars in our modern system of democracy, none has had as great an impact as the development of the rule of law. The rule of law reduces violence, provide a means of holding leaders to account, forces a degree of rationality into political decision making, and offers protection for citizens against the arbitrary actions of their rulers. Continue reading