# 276 – Democracy Definition by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 276 – Democracy Definition

by

Artwork: Stephen Pohlmann

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
1

February 12, 2015

 

Democracy – and what’s Left in Israel?

I asked you for your definition of ‘Democracy’.

I checked the Net, and it’s FULL of varying definitions – unsurprisingly.

2

E.g.

British Dictionary definitions for democracy

Expand democracy/dɪˈmɒkrəsɪ/.                                       noun (pl) -cies 

1. government by the people or their                            elected representatives

2. a political or social unit governed                        ultimately by all its members

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3. the practice or spirit of social                                  equality

4. a social condition of classlessness                                 and equality

5. the common people, esp as a                                   political force

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‘Equality’ is a word commonly used – and that is where many/most of the World’s democracies come apart: their calculation of ‘equality’.

5

Here’s what someone wrote in a letter to the (right of centre) Jerusalem Post –

So, taking into account that there is no ‘perfect’ form of society, and that democracy, whichever the version, is the best of the difficult choices we have,

let’s see what you say…

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Martin, from Germany, wrote (and the Google translation) –

Here’s my definition of democracy – the key points in my eyes :

– Freedom – I can express my opinion on issues and people , without fear of reprisals.

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– The possibility of the change of power through fair elections – is deselected a government , it shall carry out their place , without there being uprisings.

– Legal certainty – can I assume that I am open to the ordinary courts , when I see violated my rights , or someone attacks me.

8

Michael, from Australia, wrote –

I have one definition for democracy, Australia; where we are able to change leaders without warfare, bloodletting or massive social disruption or electoral fraud. We are not alone in this category, but our track record is second to none.

9

Caroline, from, USA, wrote –

Majority rules, short answer.  All have the right to vote,  short answer.

One man ( surely you also mean woman) one vote????  Come on.

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In so called long established democratic societies only “qualified” voters had the right.

When did women or slaves get the right without huge fights and it continues today.  Only those who owned them had the right for centuries.  If only qualified persons have the right is it still a democracy?  Yes, is the answer for many.

It’s not so easy.

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Stefan, from UK, wrote another

There is no such thing as real ‘Democracy’ – there never has been, and there never will be. It’s just a humanoid concept derived in order to make the proletariat feel better about being financial and political slaves to a relatively small ruling elite in whatever country they happen to reside. Undemocratic countries just haven’t caught up with this paradigm!! Have a nice day……..!

12

Renée, from USA, wrote

Freedom of speech

Free elections

Free schools

Peaceful protests

Justice for all

Equal rights for all

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I think that most Western European countries might qualify as democracies. So would quite a few other countries, such as Israel, but I don’t know enough to list them. So did the United States until the Supreme Court approved Citizens United.

14

Moshe, from USA/Israel, wrote

Democracy sucks – Israeli democracy even more.

How is it possible that the prime minister can be elected and rule with only 20% of the total voters?

(Say no word about the the rooted corruption of the government / Knesset / police / army etc)

The list is too long and too many names to mention.

15

Allan, from USA, wrote

Out of the dictionary – a  system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives

16

Don, from Canada, wrote

The choosing of a government for a maximum period of 4 or 5 years by voluntary ballot – one vote for each citizen over some age, e.g. 18.  (first past the post or proportionate rep. either acceptable).  Candidates chosen by parties or private citizens.

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No recall or other limitations on representatives, except as might be applied by party of affiliation.  The representatives are to make choices without threats or other repercussions from the voters (or institutions, gov’t bodies, etc.).  Corruption, egregious behavior, etc. to be dealt with through media and legal system.

Independent judiciary.  Free speech.

18

Alfred, from USA, wrote

Like Israel!

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Zvi, from UK, wrote

Democracy – generally any right-minded person knows it when they see it (sometimes for better and sometimes for worse). Not North Korea.  Not the Palestinians.  Not many Arab countries.  Most of Europe. (First past the post in UK means you can be the Government and not have the most votes. Technically speaking…….)

20

Democracy – People who don’t have it give their lives fighting for it, yet a generation or so later their descendants need the threat of prison or fines to actually make democracy (seem to) work.

Is it democracy when you can vote for your government and then have almost no influence on what they do for a proscribed period (4 or 5 years)?

21

Geula, from USA, wrote

As it was said before, democracy is the least of evils, definitely not the best system.

22

David, from Hawaii, wrote

Try one man, one vote with free speech and a fine for not voting. Thanks for asking.

23

Tony, from Australia, wrote

Democracy: The right to sack an incompetent government every 3/4 years as we do in Australia.

24

Bonnie, from USA, wrote:

In a democracy, the power lies with the people.

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And coming back to me, the author of this Letter, may I add a couple of pointers….

I really do think that there should be a basic standard of political behaviour’ called ‘Democracy’. Like basic laws, or teachings from the Bible, it needs to be constantly studied and, if necessary, updated, to keep pace with society, decency – and, common sense. Who’s to judge?

26

Well, let the UN (which does have 1 or 2 decently-run departments) set up a think-tank, an upper house of elder statesman. Let them vote on the changes, with votes at each of whatever spectrum they establish (perhaps a random one) being excluded (just like the votes of judges at ski-jumping and ice skating).

27

One great help will be the award of a certain number of seats in a parliament to the winner (first past the post), so that the winner has, for the allocated period, a better chance of forming a strong government, that can, in turn, govern as promised in their manifesto.

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(E.g., in Israel, it has been suggested that 15 seats be awarded to the next election winner, increasing the total number of seats in the Knesset from 120 to 135. He/she who gains 35 out of 120 seats (no one ever gets more here), would then have 50 out of 135, which makes for a stronger coalition.

29

That’s the summary:

Democracy needs to be constantly-changing version of equality.

Stephen

 

 

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# 276 – Democracy Definition by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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