Since the 1960’s protests have become a normal part of politics in democracies. Does this threaten the stability of a democracy. So dissent occurs in democracies when there is a challenge to the legitimacy of the state or social system, or to dominant beliefs and values.
The reason for political disenchantment is that citizens are also offered very little in terms of understanding the issues at stake by organisations or campaigners who treat the citizens as political observers when parties lose membership. But there are many more reasons as to why Political disenchantment seems to be on the rise. As constantly with the media there has been a dumb down in the news coverage so citizens have become less likely to understand underlying issues in respect of politics. Politics can be seen to fail when what it delivers is judged on a framework. The media feeds a culture where fact opinion and speculation, merge into one with a cynical view on politics. But the problem with this is that it disengages people and states that in the end selfishness will triumph. People therefore So when the media reflect on events that have taken place in the political arena it connects with political disenchantment as politicians are always the subject of the news for something that they have done wrong. For example lying, yes politicians do lie sometimes but it generally rests upon to points; that being firstly we all lie some of the time and secondly there are many halfway houses that politicians may have to occupy uncomfortably to meet our expectations. A further example would be that people are very sensitive about the increasing rise in corruption and through corruption the reputations of politicians and political systems have been damaged.
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The real problem with politics even in democracies is that it is destined to disappoint, as it is a tough process of squeezing collective decisions out of multiple and competing interests and opinions. Populists see themselves as true democrats who defend the neglected interests of the people Gerry Stokers (stoker 2006) criticism of populists is that it fails to see the complexities of politics as changing the world as to how you want it, is a matter of capturing the will of the people. It should deliver what the people want, if it does not then it is down to corrupt politicians, the influence of do-gooders or big businesses.
Additionally looking at globalisation and technological challenges to politicians in the 21st century, citizens have a sense of doubt that politics will be unable to deal with big issues effectively as people are more concerned with the planet and human species. Stoker insists that most people believe that their government does not act according to their wishes, this being because many people living in democracies are alienated from politics and feel that it does not work properly, so the types of people that the public would like to see with more power include intellectuals (writers and academics) and religious leaders.
When it comes to politics most people are amateurs they have no intention about making it a career, as so Stoker further believes that people should be more reflective in their approach to politics and become more challenging included amateurs. Opportunities need to be more expanded for citizens to have a say about the issues they care about. People want a politics where they can say what is important to them, as having a say means wanting to influence. Not decide. But people tend to judge political decisions according to their own interests and circumstances , as people tend to assume that most other people agree with them.
it would be false to say that a democracy without dissenters is a failed democracy, as if you have no one to disagree with you everyone would remain happy, no argument, no debates and it could only improve the world in which we live today, as people would be changing and making better laws, decisions not just made to help a single person but to benefit everyone. The statement is true as if this were to happen then it would not really be a democracy, as democracy is about trying to compromise and reach an agreement and so without dissenters you don’t really have a democracy. Without dissent new laws cannot be set up as it really doesn’t give any meaning. You are unable to limit the power of freedom of speech. Democracy is about equality so everyone has a right to vote, so without dissenters, the lower minorities could not get their views across, no line on opinions but a line in which they are expressed.
When examining if it is terrorism that is the greatest threat to western democracies, some people see violence as a part of politics, others see it as when politics breaks down. Macintyre (Macintyre 1971) believes there are many reasons for people to use violence on political ends. On the other hand Honderich (Honderich 1986: 20) see’s political violence or terror as a considerable destructive use of force against person or things a use of force prohibited by law directed to a change in the policies system. Terrorism is not a political ideology, but targets specific enemies as well as the innocent. E.g. Nazi Germany and the USSR rule under Stalin.
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Targets of terror could not defend themselves in law or by changing their behaviour. This can be seen in Italy under Mussolini as it was a repressive regime not a terror one because the legal system remained intact this can be seen with the amount of prosecutions (5,619) and the amount that were found guilty (998) as well as only 47 people being killed between 1921-1943.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union it has brought about greater uncertainty and diversity, as to what new type of ideologies are being formed. So when George Bush declared war on terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 it fell in line with cold war imagery of the fight against communism, but terrorism or political terrorism is like no other “isms”. The crucial idea behind terrorism relates to the justification for the use of terror as a strategy, using violence to endanger and cause fear for those political ends. Terrorist groups and regimes are associated exclusively with either left-wing or right-wing thinking.
Looking at the IRA it could be argued that the Brighton bomb was a political violent act according to O`Kane (O’Kane 2007: 27-48). But there were many attacks that were terrorist e.g. Dublin unless you can accept the warnings that were first. These warnings were for their supporters in order to let them know that they were trying to minimize their casualties. Hoffman and Graham state that you cannot be a terrorist if you are oppressing a repressive regime (Hoffman & Graham 2009: 455).
In conclusion disenchantment is the greatest threat to a democracy. Therefore if disenchantment was to occur in many or all western democracies citizens would leave the government to itself without taking any concern until an issue arises that affects them, (in a bad way) there will be revolt until something is done where these revolters are listened to and citizens could take to the form of political violence which in turn could lead to terror. So disenchantment does matter as it affects democracy, because democracy is a way of demanding through politics that all citizens have a right in what affects them, and so it is a guide as to how we should take collective decisions in society. This in turn should deliver what the people want as it is a way for people to get their voices heard. People like the idea of a democracy as it is the closest thing to self rule. But if terrorism was to take a massive boost in its members it would certainly be a great threat towards western democracies as terrorism targets both the guilty and the innocent, therefore not producing fear from intimidation but fear that comes from the unknown where there is no means of control.
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