The Concept of Democracy

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For many individuals the concept of democracy has taken on an almost sacred position. The result of democracy holding such a position with some individuals is that democracy has attained a quasi-religion status that results in its being unquestionable as a concept in the eyes of these individuals. These individuals would likely be surprised that some of greatest minds in human history dating back to the time of Aristotle and Plato and continuing through to modern times have viewed democracy differently and have actually been quite critical of it as political concept. Democracy as a political idea began with the ancient Greeks. When it was developed by the Greeks the philosophers and rulers of the time were not friendly to the idea of many can and should rule themselves. The prevailing thought was that governing was a difficult task and that most individuals lacked the sophistication, intelligence, character, and training necessary to perform the task. Aristotle himself supported this view when he stated that democracy "is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments (Greenberg, 2010: p.5)." Consistent with this attitude Aristotle believed that the ideal form of government was a polity where an amalgamation of the best of the aristocracy and the general population combined to rule. For Aristotle, democratic rule was subject to too many potential problems and he, like many individuals after him, feared that majority rule under the broad
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