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The Better Democracy

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The Better Democracy

The literal meaning of democracy is "The government of the people". Today's society finds democracy as the fairest efficient form of government. Almost all powerful and wealthy western nations use some kind of democracy as their form of government. Many Americans regard democracy as the only fair and proper form of government, and are willing to resort to military action in order to impose democracy onto other nations. A Pure democracy, one in which every citizen votes on every issue, can be quite ineffective. Several reasons for this are brought up in Plato's Republic. Although these arguments are applicable for the pure democracy found in ancient Athens, they do not hold true for the representative democracy used by the United States because of its basic principles, and the people involved.

Plato illustrates that democracy by describing the democratic man. He describes him as one that is free to do as he pleases and seeks whatever pleasures he finds most enjoyable. This leads him away from seeking proper virtues such as education. As a result he is unable to properly determine what is best for society thus becoming an unfit ruler. A society that consists of common rulers is no better than an oligarchy because the common rulers are still seeking out their own pleasures. Also, because everyone is more inclined to do as they feel the society is nearly in anarchy. A society such as this, fare as it may be, is less functional than an oligarchy.

Plato could not make such criticisms on the representative democracy used in the United States today. The most obvious reason for this is that a representative democracy is much different from the pure democracy used in Athens at the time. Not everyone votes on every issue. The citizens elect the people that have the proper education and knowledge to govern, thus the ignorant, pleasure-seeking masses are not responsible for every law and decision.

Also, in today's American culture, most citizens do not care that much about politics. There are many pleasurable entities, such as sports, drugs and television, to distract the uninformed masses from voting and causing their ignorant and thoughtless opinions to damage society. As a result, the majority of voters is at least somewhat informed, and has made a thoughtful choice as to which candidate to select.

Thirdly, Plato could not make such attacks on the United States'

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