Robert Dahl On Democracy

816 Words 4 Pages
In modern thought, democracy is considered as the ideal form of governance; it is a tool to usher in freedom and progress to citizens of a state. While the term “democracy” is used liberally to describe a wide array of governing systems, it is assumed that most “democratic” governments share similar principles that highlight individual freedoms. Robert Dahl, in On Democracy, makes his case for the democratic system. Dahl argues throughout the book that democracy should not just be viewed as desirable; democracy is the most viable governing option for the modern state. Therefore, achieving the highest levels of democratization ought to be the goal of all governments that are considered democracies. While newer governments are routinely scrutinized …show more content…
A polyarchal democracy is a governing system that fulfills two main requirements; it has six institutions that work to ensure the participation and freedoms of the states’ citizens and these institutions are being applied to large bodies of people, not small city-states. Dahl summarizes that the institutions needed for a polyarchal democracy are free, fair, and frequent elections, freedom of expression, alternative sources of information, associational autonomy, and inclusive citizenship, which all culminate to ensuring maximum participation from a states citizens. Polyarchal democracies by virtue of having these institutions are ultimately inclusive (Dahl 90-91). In addition, the culture created by the institutions, by the system of democratic government instills a democratic practice among the citizenry. Those accustomed to free and fair elections continue the tradition. As well, the institutions that are founded to insure rights, for example the constitution, as deified in the minds of those participating. The symbol of democracy in a polyarchy is weighted more heavily than the reality of if these institutions are sufficiently

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