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Future Of Democracy According To Dewey And Benhabib Politics Essay

Democracy is defined as a political from of government in which the power is derived from the people by consensus, direct referendum, or by means of elected representatives of the people. Also democracy is defined as a government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. Freedom and equality are important characteristics of a democratic society and these principles are reflected in all citizens being treated as equal before the law and have an equal access to power.

Dewy was an American philosopher, educational reformer and psychologist whose ideas have influenced both social and education reforms and he is considered as one of the founders of the pragmatism and functional ecology. He laid an emphasis on communication and education as tool; of democracy. He asserted conversation allowed one to explore and discover common interests, wishes, needs and prospective actions of a group. He believes that a society is a factor of co-joint interests rather that a geographic isolation.

Benhabib’s idea of Universalist-deliberative democracy model is the one which balances the demands of judicial pluralism which accepts the coexistence for different cultural as well as religious traditions. Such acceptance of jurisdictional systems leads to institutional design for those societies characterized with a strong ethnic, cultural and linguist diversity. She argues that the following normative conditions of universal deliberative democracy: egalitarian reciprocity, freedom of exit and association and voluntary self-ascription can not be violated by the pluralist structures. Benhabib asserts that an individual must not be forced into a linguistic, 0cultural r even religious group by virtue of his birth but rather the membership should permit extensive form of self-ascription and personal identity as much as possible. Her model of deliberative democracy is open to institutional arrangements that assures the inclusion of voices of all those affected by the norm, legislation or policy.

Concept of democracy

Dewey’s concept of democracy considers the two fundamental elements of a civil society and schools as topics that requires attention and reconstruction in order to facilitate intelligence and plurality. He asserts that complete democracy is not obtained solely on extending of voting rights but by making sure that there is a fully formed public opinion which is only accomplished through effective communication between citizens, politicians and the experts and holding the politicians accountable for the policies that they adopt. Dewey was Marxist who had modernizing populist with an inclination to dividing world into the privileged and the people who upholds the interests of the people as well as partial interests of particular social group. Dewey believed that with technological development a being in a society is no longer as a result of living in a physical proximity but rather when a man ceases to be influenced by being far or being removed from others.

Dewey views education as a communication mode and the concern for the same as a democratic form of life which is characterized by the development of communicative and deliberate capabilities of democracy, thus allowing for characterization of deliberative democracy as an educational process which involves different people contributing to an ongoing process of communication. Dewey views democracy as an expression of a society that is imprinted by mutual communication that often leads to a pluralist kind of life form rather than being a primary mode of management and control. In addition Dewey asserts on the idea that education is a place upon which different individual’s experiences are reflected especially the roles played by the communicative aspects of education. In his book The Public and its Problems Dewey buys the idea that a democratic society is one that is open and commutative in that it allows its institutions such as schools to serve as the public spaces in which the society defines itself and encourages a deliberative communications means.

Dewey’s concept of democratic education is a continuous reconstruction of experience that has high potential impacts when it comes to acting as constructive agency of improving the society and it represents development of children, youth and the future society. Dewey therefore presents the most authoritative philosophy for the movements of civic educational and social capital. He put his idea with the aim of ensuring that an open communication is maintained within groups providing an important guidance for the development of deliberate communication systems. Dewey’s (83) argued that it’s important to ensure that democracy is meant to believe the humanistic culture which should prevail. Therefore, people should be frank and open to any recognition that proposition is an idea which is moral.

Benhabib is a Sephardic Jew born in Turkey and a professor of political philosophy. Her ideas on democracy is that of the three public good s of legitimacy, collective identity and economic welfare which she say that if one of the above is good is excessively realized it leads to jeopardizes the realization of other hence are heavily interdependent. She asserts that there is no single individual or a group that can posses the information necessary to make a rational decision.

Threats to democracy

Benhabib appreciate the fact that use of torture as a mechanism to combat terrorism threatens future democracy as it has been shown that use of torture often don’t produce reliable and significant information that can be used to solve the problem. She argues that crime is unanswered a means of justifying torture, something that can never be justified. From instance she claims that the idea of USA responding to terror by torture is a symbolic entity and it has no moral or pragmatic justification as torture do not stop terror but rather fuels it.

Another threat to future is the fascination and flirtation with the Carl Schmitt’s notions of state of exception that beliefs that liberal democracy rests on violence. This threatens the future democracy as this notion has led to deep hatred of liberal democracy by institutions hence the deep belief for illegality of the rule of the law (Benhabib, 134).

Another threat to future democracy is the state autonomy enjoyed by current state nations. She says that its poor instrument in protecting human rights for instance the issue of increased trade flows makes such states less effective agents of economy policy and the globalization of threats of security does not enable states to solely protect its citizens from acts of terrorism. Such sovereign sates violate the rights of its minority citizens by denying them citizenship e.g. the German Jews who denaturalized the Nazis was a cross misuse of state sovereignty.

Dewey asserts that democracy can not flourish in environment where subject matter of instruction is influenced by utilitarian means that are conceived for the masses for the higher of the few which are ht tradition of the specialized grown class. Another threat to future democracy as stated by dewy is the narrow moralistic view of the morals making an individual unable to realize aims and vales that are moral and makes education a desirable experience.

Ways for securing democracy’s future.

Benhabib proposes that in order to secure future democracy, she advocates for a cosmopolitan frame work which uses tools of political philosophy which has open borders hence does not have restriction which deter human beings from freedom of movement and such forms one of the fundamental freedoms and is morally acceptable. She proposes that democracies have boundaries and not borders as boundaries are limitations while borders are porous. Boundaries are flexible and one can be let in but it doesn’t necessarily mean he has to be let out. There is need for boundaries with representation which an individual knows which democratic entity is responsible for whom hence no need to identify boundaries with states borders. In doing so communities are allowed to interact together and in different forms.

Benhabib proposes that to maintain a decent political community while maintaining the electoral consent one has to mediate between Universalist moral commitments, human rights commitments as well as the self-determination rights which will allow the democratic will to express itself and at same time self-reflexibly impose constraints on itself. More over, models of self determination seen in countries like Canada Quebec should be adopted as it allows they have a high level of economic welfare improving their wealth. These thus correlate with the use of cultural self determination as way to resolving long lasting deep cleavages and socio-economic inequalities. Finally, to secure future democracy there is need develop higher level institutions that guarantee human rights, transparency and accountability hence embeds projects of cultural-determination.

Juxtaposing a nation state to cultural community claims creates unstable situation as witnessed in Lebanon, so the best solution is by allowing cultural self-determination like language autonomy makes such sates successful in the long term

Dewey democracy unconsciously assumes in the in the future just it was in the past its ideals are unrealizable and it involve making a living that dignifies most men and women through free choice. Also the problem of preference for shortsightedness is eliminated by cultivating opportunities that makes one enjoy the reflective values and by engaging in activities that extend their scope.

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