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Liberal And Illiberal Democracies In The 20th Century Politics Essay

1289 words (5 pages) Essay in Politics

5/12/16 Politics Reference this

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The turning point in the 20th century was declaring the victory of liberal democracy on world level, this is what Fukuyama said in his famous book the end of the history which at the same time overlook the crimes of liberal democracy against the non-European people.”That is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”.(Fukuyama,1992). It is easy to establish this hypothesis on some historical evidences. So after the fall of Fascism in 1945, soviet communism was the main alternative to the western liberalism, but even this collapsed by the outbreak of the revolutions in the Eastern Europe countries between 1989 and 1991, rejecting government principles of planning and interventions. As in Africa, Asia and Latin America the democratizing of the political system is done by the proliferation of different parties and the growing tendency towards economic reform which is based on the market. Those continuing operations reflect the obvious superiority of the liberal ideology over other competitive ideologies. The future seems to be apparent by the shrinking of the economic and political difference at different rates to meet all on the liberal democratic model.

According to Fukuyama’s argument, the victory of liberal democracy is the only solution that is capable to live and continue. Fukuyama’s concept consists of two parts that are associated with each other. First is liberality: the existence of a limited author of the state that allows individuals and citizens to exercise a great deal of personal freedom and their capability to participate in political life by giving them the freedom of expression and other different things. The second part is democracy: which means, in Fukuyama’s perspective, the real capacity of people to choose the governments they want. Fukuyama tries to emphasize that the U.S. is not the ideal model for his idea of liberal democracy. But at the same time he refuses any other model along these lines, so when the Chinas communism model was introduced, Fukuyama responded quickly by saying that China’s economic success was due to their capability to get rid of the socialist system and introduce their economic freedom as a substitute: “Japan may offer an alternative to America’s liberal democracy and combine a successful economy with social bonds”. (Fukuyama, 2009, 85).In fact that is true but what China needs to be a liberal democratic country is to get rid of the single party system and support the multi-party democracy.

Fukuyama believed that liberal democracy and the market-oriented economic system are the only two alternatives that are able for application in the modern societies. Now the World has seen the progress of the West over the rest of other societies, this is due to their belief that progress at both the scientific and theoretical sides goes back to their faith in liberal political thought. The democratic experiment in the West took root through the law of the market and the transfer of power to the socialist parties in more than one European country; all this confirms the credibility of the liberal democratic model in the world.

To understand the differences between liberal and non-liberal democracy:

Liberal democracy does not just include elections and establishing some official democratic foundations like parliament and courts, it also includes the creation of free press; the rule of law; an independent judicial system; the rights of minorities, the freedom of speech; the ability of parties and individuals to seek to divert official positions peacefully through competitive elections as well as the establishment of independent civil foundations that are in charge of solving civilians problems apart from any governmental control.

Non-liberal (illiberal) democracy, which was established by the journalist and the editor Fared Zakaria, means a system in which elections are made where civil liberties and civil rights as well as the multiple dimensions of a real democratic society are severely limited or non-existent. Societies that were under the effect of totalitarian governments and were affected by ethnic and sectarian divisions were the most affected ones by such internal conflicts. So Zakaria was trying to illustrate that liberty and democracy can only be connected in the western societies and not for the third world societies, that is because the liberal democracy system is not just about free elections, it exceeds that to include the rule of law, the separation of powers as well as the protection of fundamental freedoms to citizens such as the freedom of speech, of movement, of listening, of ownership and the freedom of religions.

Zakaria believed deeply in democracy and mentioned that democracy has moved from being a form of government to a way of living (the future of freedom,2003), but this didn’t prevent him from criticizing this phenomenon, especially when it separated from liberalism its mixed partner in the West to an extent that may cause an imbalance in governments power which could impede its performance or affect it negatively. To criticize illiberal democracy Zakaria set Hitler as an example who get to power through democratic elections, the point is that many dictatorship governance system around the world use the election system ……

Which at the same time ignoring the constitutional limitations on its authority and….its citizens from their fundamental rights .

Within this competition, still the differences in opinions between democracies a continuing problem, often these democracies differs among themselves about important political options such as the promotion of democracy, international economic policy and how best to respond to threats of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed stats, ethnic conflict, violations of human rights. Despite the calls for formation of Commonwealth of Democracies to …for the weaknesses of the United Nations, the European Union and other international institutions to face the world’s problems, still the common standers remain over where should draw the line between liberal democracy and illiberal democracy a big problem. We cannot find lots of countries that wish to give priority to such a gathering upon their provided obligations to its regional bodies and other institutions………

To sum it up, the fall of the Berlin Wall two decades ago, the collapse of communism, the end of the Cold War, as well as the success of rebels in Ukraine and Georgia are all signs of real progress for democracy. Thus the future victory has to be for the liberal democracy system according to Fukuyama and Zakaria. The way of living today is a democratic way in spite of all the conflicts; the information revolution; the tendency to an open environment towards liberalization and the critical demonstrations demanding freedom like the way now in Iran. The other side of democracy or the negative side is that it can be used for violence, violence is becoming democratic in the way that any group of people are able to exercise violence and bombing without resorting to the state apparatus. Accordingly, terrorism is spreading under the name of democracy. Accordingly, the success of democracy is not inevitable. And as many American leaders starting from Roosevelt, Truman ending with Obama by saying that the aspiration for freedom of democracy is fundamentally a human yearning.

In the 1990s Francis Fukuyama claimed that liberal democracy had won the twentieth century’s ideological battle. In contrast, Fareed Zakaria argued that the emergence of illiberal democracies threatens to ‘discredit liberal democracy itself, casting a shadow on democratic governance’. Systematically discuss and analyse the foundations of Fukuyama’s argument and how it has been countered by other liberal thinkers like Zakaria. Do international relations in the 21st century support or undermine the idea of Liberalism’s ‘victory’?

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