Democracy: Better than other political systems

Politics is all about governance. In democracy, it is about self-governance. This governance, or self-governance in democracy, amounts to exercising sovereign powers. This power is derived from people. This exercising of sovereign power is for the welfare of people and power carries with it the concomitant responsibilities.

In democracy politics is all about self-governance of people geared to their progress and development. It does not mean the governance of people by a professional class of politicians. In today’s democracy, the professional class of politicians is more committed to perpetuating their own enjoyment of benefits of the socio-economic status quo than the welfare of people. This commitment of professional politicians to their own benefits results in condemning the ordinary people to suffer pains indefinitely.

In vibrant democracy political parties have a great role to play. A political party is supposed to have certain ideals and goals to achieve in the collective life of society. They are supposed to have their ideology or philosophy meant to educate people about their welfare and guide society towards such aims, which aims and ideals are propounded by their ideology or philosophy.

Public welfare lies in their progress and development. Public’s progress and development is an objective and measurable thing. It is reflected in their level of living standards. But the term “progress and development” has different meanings to different people.

In human society naturally all persons are not alike. Some are bestowed with capabilities and power, while some are disadvantaged in these respects. To the capable-lot, the meaning of progress and development is to further enhancing their advantages. To the disadvantaged-lot, it means to somehow acquire for them the present advantages available to the other lot. This is a contradictory situation.

But there is a synthetic view of progress and development also, according to which progress and development of public is the just sharing of the available resources/advantages among different sections of the society and further multiplying them for sharing them alike for their ‘common’ progress and development. Humans have evolved out of animal conditions. They are still undergoing evolution. In this evolutionary process, the victory of humans over Nature produces beneficial fruits in the form of commodities, the distribution of which fruits among public is called their progress and development.

This victory of humans over Nature is achieved by their joint/collective, or common, efforts. In view of this fact, it is ‘just’ to commonly share the available resources and enhance them further in the like manner. In the process of their struggle to get victory over Nature, humans’ collective efforts and just sharing of fruits would not only bring them peace and well-being but would also quicken their evolutionary pace further, which is called their progress and development.

Freedom and liberty are some of those traits that make humans different from animals. This freedom should be unlimited. This liberty should be unlimited; unlimited to the extent that it does not impinge on the freedom and liberty of others. My freedom and liberty should run unchecked, till they meet on the way with your freedom and liberty.

But, human relations in an organized collective life are not so simple to define. Firstly, the area where my freedom and liberty meet with your similar rights is an arena of ever shifting lines. For example, my freedom grants me the right to install an industry, which would spew harmful gases into atmosphere; your freedom grants you the right to breathe good quality fresh air. This is an area of eternal conflict, which cannot be resolved; it can only be postponed by arriving at periodical compromises between the two conflicting rights.

Secondly, this right to freedom and liberty should not be on paper only. This right should be real, that is, it should be capable of being put into exercise. Any compulsion, whether by direct or indirect means, on this right is its infringement. We only take into account the direct way of compulsion on our rights of freedom and liberty and prohibit by law these compulsions. But we also need to take into account the indirect way of compelling ordinary people’s rights of freedom and liberty. If you have the freedom to move around any place but do not have the necessary means, and that is money, this freedom is simply on a piece of paper without any worth for the person concerned. An economic system that results in such helplessness of any person – when all around him there is plenty of wealth available – needs to be rectified. A democracy that keeps such an important right on paper only needs to be improved. There is need to bring in citizens’ life the real rights of freedom and liberty, which are capable of being exercised by them.

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