Essay Topic On Elite-based Political Systems

Judgment 08.10.2019

The point is not so much financial or personal interests in a given corporation, but identification with the corporate world. To ask a man suddenly to divest himself of these interests and sensibilities is almost like asking a man to become a woman.

The return to democracy following the People Power Revolution in February restored many of the pre-martial-law era institutional features and political elites. Although it is generally accurate to view as a return to elite democracy, Philippine society, the state, and modes of political competition have changed since Still, even the most positive views of democracy in the Philippines since see it as a flawed work in progress; harsher critics see it as a sham and a failure. Commonly cited flaws include elections tainted by violence and vote buying, widespread rent-seeking and corruption, policies that have benefited elites and special interests at the expense of the poor majority, and a dysfunctional justice system. However, since democracy has been institutionalized in many ways, and at times has worked fairly well. Liberal values were central to the nonviolent People Power Revolution and informed the drafting of the constitution. This resulted in constitutional guarantees of human rights; regular, competitive elections for local and national offices; a system of checks and balances; and a free if flawed media and robust civil society. The Philippine military remains somewhat politicized, but since it has been reluctant to directly intervene in politics. But even observers who applaud the post reforms have questioned if they have been broad and deep enough to produce fundamental improvements in politics, governance, and the economy. As a result, the president plays a central role in determining policy outcomes, as well as the norms and behavior that shape politics and governance. The president is limited to a single six-year term, so the power and influence of individual presidents is transitory. By contrast, political and business families such as the Marcoses, Cojuangcos, Aquinos, and Ayalas—to name just a few—have had noteworthy longevity and adaptability. It has stunted and distorted the Philippine economy, preferring collusion and protection over economic competition, and has been slow and selective in opening the economy to foreign competition. Because elites dominate legislative and policymaking processes, successive governments have failed to adopt and implement socioeconomic policies that address the needs of the poor and middle class. With a Gini coefficient of 0. Even after more than a decade of relatively strong macroeconomic growth, the incidence of poverty decreased only a little, to GDP growth reached 6. As a result, Aquino remained popular throughout most of his term. To be sure, there also were significant shortcomings and mistakes. Macroeconomic growth was slow to reduce poverty, and the government was unable to rapidly improve infrastructure, especially in traffic-clogged Metro Manila. It did little to reform dysfunctional food and agriculture policies, and could have done more to strengthen anticorruption institutions and to pass a freedom of information law. In terms of governance, Aquino was widely seen as honest, but he sometimes valued loyalty over competence and occasionally seemed to lack the empathy that Filipinos expect from their political leaders. Although Duterte might appear to be unsophisticated and crude, he is politically savvy and attuned to the attitudes and concerns of average Filipinos. He ran on his reputation as an effective, no-nonsense mayor of Davao who prioritized law and order over legal protections for alleged criminals. During his campaign, he heaped criticism on the Manila-based elite, vowed to undertake a nationwide assault on illegal drugs and criminality, and promised to change the government to a federal system. His victory over Mar Roxas, who placed a distant second, signaled that the promise of change was more compelling than continuity. Even though Duterte had been popular in Mindanao before he ran for president, his victory showed that his appeal spanned regions and socioeconomic classes. The In the wake of his election, political analysts have grappled with what it says about contemporary Philippine politics. The reasons why he won are complex, suggesting that cautious and nuanced conclusions are warranted. First, the incumbent, Benigno Aquino—the embodiment of reformist elite democracy—could not run for a second term. If he had been able to run, it might have been a very different outcome. Had Mar Roxas and Senator Grace Poe, the two most like-minded candidates, joined forces, they might have been able to defeat Duterte. Third, Duterte ran a savvy and effective campaign. He announced his candidacy late, so the media had little time to scrutinize his record as mayor and his rivals had much less chance to attack him. His campaign mobilized large numbers of volunteers and used social media well. His diverse coalition came together through personal loyalty, regional affinity, and political opportunism. It included many political figures who had been sidelined during the Aquino administration, most notably former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and members of the Marcos, Estrada, and Villar families. In Davao, he combined a hardline approach to law and order with socially progressive and pro-business policies. As mayor he was both a paternalistic patron and a fearsome boss whose orders had to be followed. As a result, he has little tolerance for scrutiny or challenges to this authority. He sees the country as beset by existential threats of drugs, crime, and corruption. As befits Philippine culture, his approach is highly personalistic: he presents himself as the only leader strong and decisive enough to save the nation. He may not offer the clearest policy, but he puts forward the sincerest discourse of sympathy. To support these goals, the government has significantly increased spending on infrastructure, raised the salaries of government employees, expanded existing social development programs, revived the stalled peace process with the Moro National Liberation Front MNLF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front MILF , entered into negotiations with the communist insurgents, and established a closer relationship with China. Instead, the following sections discuss three policy areas that offer insights into the Duterte administration—economic policymaking, peace and development in Mindanao, and constitutional change—and discuss in greater detail the ongoing war on drugs. Economic policies and performance. As a candidate, Duterte showed little interest in economic policy issues. In , GDP growth was 6. The first package of reforms was signed into law in December ; the second and more controversial package is with Congress. Inflation has been increasing, averaging 4. Duterte and Mindanao. Duterte is the first president from the southern island of Mindanao, and his election was a significant political milestone for the Philippines. Under Duterte, progress on the political and security front has been mixed. This is in large measure due to the May occupation of Marawi City, in Lanao del Sur province, by Islamist extremists affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. It took five months of combat operations for the Philippine military to regain control over the extensively damaged city. In response to the Marawi crisis Duterte imposed island-wide martial law, which remains in effect. The government had entered into a series of on-again, off-again talks with the communist insurgency, which still has a significant armed presence in eastern Mindanao. Currently, the process has stalled and appears unlikely to produce a breakthrough. The BOL is an important step forward, but multiple challenges remain, including possible objections to its constitutionality, a forthcoming plebiscite scheduled for late January and early February , and the actual establishment of the new autonomous entity. The fading prospects for constitutional change. But during most of his first two years in office, he showed limited interest in this complex and contentious issue of federalism. He appointed a twenty-two-member Constitutional Commission, and received its proposed draft constitution in early July The commission suggested eighteen federated regions and kept the directly elected presidency. Cha-Cha is now in the hands of the Congress. If both houses agree to change the constitution, the revised charter will be subject to a national plebiscite. Over the past year, opposition to both the substance and process of Cha-Cha has grown. Senators are elected in a nationwide constituency, so many of them see federalism as a threat to their political influence and ambitions. Others criticize the process for being tightly controlled and nonparticipatory. The outcome of these elections—and particularly, the future composition of the Senate—may determine whether Cha-Cha will be revived in the next legislative term. His nationwide war on drugs has applied the approach that he used in Davao City, giving the police free rein to deal with suspected drug users and pushers with little concern for legal niceties. It also has involved a lesser-noticed campaign against government officials allegedly complicit in the drug trade. This approach has resulted in the deaths of thousands of suspected drug users and pushers—mostly young males living in poor urban neighborhoods—at the hands of the police or unidentified assailants. The police claim that many of these deaths were the result of the suspects resisting arrest, but evidence from journalists and human rights groups shows that many were premeditated extra-judicial killings EJKs. But the drug war itself is a sign that the Philippine government has abdicated its responsibility to protect human rights and respect the rule of law. EJKs violate both the Philippine Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which the Philippines is a signatory , particularly the provisions concerning the presumption of innocence and adherence to due process. Given the attention that human rights organizations and the media have paid to the drug war, it is worth looking more closely at the reasons for it and some of its broader consequences. It is not surprising that crime is a major problem in the Philippines, given its high level of poverty, underresourced and corruption-prone law enforcement agencies, and glacially slow judiciary. Criminal activities, in the form of smuggling, illegal gambling, drugs, trafficking in persons, and money laundering, are significant features of the Philippine political economy. Politicians and the police have long participated in, protected, or otherwise benefited from criminal activity. The proceeds from these illegal activities have been an important source of financing for some politicians as well as for terrorist groups. At the community level, drug use and drug-related crimes have long been recognized as serious social problems. By the late s, the importation primarily from China , local production, and use of methamphetamine hydrochloride known as shabu in the Philippines was a major issue for law enforcement and the courts. Survey data also showed a complex trend during the Aquino administration: fewer people were victims of crime, but more were worried about encountering drug addicts. Under Duterte, the official estimates of drug use have increased significantly—suggesting that they were either understated before or are being overstated now. Nevertheless, Duterte sees it differently. Although he was not the first presidential candidate to run against drugs and crime, he was the first to frame drugs as an existential threat and to be explicit about the brutal approach he would use to solve the problem. Why has Duterte made illegal drugs his signature issue? In addition to viewing drugs as a cancer on society, there is an ugly political logic. Combating drugs and crime was central to his reputation as an effective mayor of Davao City. Moreover, public acceptance of the Davao Death Squad, a shadowy group that specifically targeted suspected drug dealers, petty criminals, and homeless youth, showed the low cost and high returns of mounting an extra-legal war on drugs and crime. Along with war in Syria and anarchy in Libya, this has dashed the hope that the Arab spring would lead to a flowering of democracy across the Middle East. Meanwhile some recent recruits to the democratic camp have lost their lustre. Since the introduction of democracy in South Africa has been ruled by the same party, the African National Congress, which has become progressively more self-serving. Turkey, which once seemed to combine moderate Islam with prosperity and democracy, is descending into corruption and autocracy. In Bangladesh, Thailand and Cambodia, opposition parties have boycotted recent elections or refused to accept their results. All this has demonstrated that building the institutions needed to sustain democracy is very slow work indeed, and has dispelled the once-popular notion that democracy will blossom rapidly and spontaneously once the seed is planted. Western countries almost all extended the right to vote long after the establishment of sophisticated political systems, with powerful civil services and entrenched constitutional rights, in societies that cherished the notions of individual rights and independent judiciaries. Yet in recent years the very institutions that are meant to provide models for new democracies have come to seem outdated and dysfunctional in established ones. The United States has become a byword for gridlock, so obsessed with partisan point-scoring that it has come to the verge of defaulting on its debts twice in the past two years. Its democracy is also corrupted by gerrymandering, the practice of drawing constituency boundaries to entrench the power of incumbents. This encourages extremism, because politicians have to appeal only to the party faithful, and in effect disenfranchises large numbers of voters. And money talks louder than ever in American politics. Thousands of lobbyists more than 20 for every member of Congress add to the length and complexity of legislation, the better to smuggle in special privileges. All this creates the impression that American democracy is for sale and that the rich have more power than the poor, even as lobbyists and donors insist that political expenditure is an exercise in free speech. Nor is the EU a paragon of democracy. The decision to introduce the euro in was taken largely by technocrats; only two countries, Denmark and Sweden, held referendums on the matter both said no. Efforts to win popular approval for the Lisbon Treaty, which consolidated power in Brussels, were abandoned when people started voting the wrong way. During the darkest days of the euro crisis the euro-elite forced Italy and Greece to replace democratically elected leaders with technocrats. A project designed to tame the beast of European populism is instead poking it back into life. The democratic distemper EVEN in its heartland, democracy is clearly suffering from serious structural problems, rather than a few isolated ailments. Since the dawn of the modern democratic era in the late 19th century, democracy has expressed itself through nation-states and national parliaments. People elect representatives who pull the levers of national power for a fixed period. But this arrangement is now under assault from both above and below. From above, globalisation has changed national politics profoundly. National politicians have surrendered ever more power, for example over trade and financial flows, to global markets and supranational bodies, and may thus find that they are unable to keep promises they have made to voters. International organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the European Union have extended their influence. There is a compelling logic to much of this: how can a single country deal with problems like climate change or tax evasion? National politicians have also responded to globalisation by limiting their discretion and handing power to unelected technocrats in some areas. The number of countries with independent central banks, for example, has increased from about 20 in to more than today. From below come equally powerful challenges: from would-be breakaway nations, such as the Catalans and the Scots, from Indian states, from American city mayors. All are trying to reclaim power from national governments. The internet makes it easier to organise and agitate; in a world where people can participate in reality-TV votes every week, or support a petition with the click of a mouse, the machinery and institutions of parliamentary democracy, where elections happen only every few years, look increasingly anachronistic. Douglas Carswell, a British member of parliament, likens traditional politics to HMV, a chain of British record shops that went bust, in a world where people are used to calling up whatever music they want whenever they want via Spotify, a popular digital music-streaming service. The biggest challenge to democracy, however, comes neither from above nor below but from within—from the voters themselves. Democratic governments got into the habit of running big structural deficits as a matter of course, borrowing to give voters what they wanted in the short term, while neglecting long-term investment. France and Italy have not balanced their budgets for more than 30 years. The financial crisis starkly exposed the unsustainability of such debt-financed democracy. With the post-crisis stimulus winding down, politicians must now confront the difficult trade-offs they avoided during years of steady growth and easy credit. But persuading voters to adapt to a new age of austerity will not prove popular at the ballot box. Slow growth and tight budgets will provoke conflict as interest groups compete for limited resources. To make matters worse, this competition is taking place as Western populations are ageing. They will increasingly have absolute numbers on their side. Many democracies now face a fight between past and future, between inherited entitlements and future investment. Adjusting to hard times will be made even more difficult by a growing cynicism towards politics. Voter turnout is falling, too: a study of 49 democracies found that it had declined by 10 percentage points between and Meanwhile the border between poking fun and launching protest campaigns is fast eroding. And in a quarter of Italians voted for a party founded by Beppe Grillo, a comedian. All this popular cynicism about politics might be healthy if people demanded little from their governments, but they continue to want a great deal. The result can be a toxic and unstable mixture: dependency on government on the one hand, and disdain for it on the other. The dependency forces government to overexpand and overburden itself, while the disdain robs it of its legitimacy. Democratic dysfunction goes hand in hand with democratic distemper. The Obama administration now seems paralysed by the fear that democracy will produce rogue regimes or empower jihadists. And why should developing countries regard democracy as the ideal form of government when the American government cannot even pass a budget, let alone plan for the future? Why should autocrats listen to lectures on democracy from Europe, when the euro-elite sacks elected leaders who get in the way of fiscal orthodoxy? At the same time, democracies in the emerging world have encountered the same problems as those in the rich world. They too have overindulged in short-term spending rather than long-term investment. Brazil allows public-sector workers to retire at 53 but has done little to create a modern airport system. India pays off vast numbers of client groups but invests too little in infrastructure. Political systems have been captured by interest groups and undermined by anti-democratic habits. Democracy has been on the back foot before. Others took a harder line. Fearing the spread of international communism, they advocated the use of diplomatic, economic, and especially military means to contain what they perceived to be inexorable Soviet expansionism. The first alternative emphasized cooperation, the second containment; the first implied relatively modest national security efforts, the second enormous expenditures for arms and foreign aid. Ultimately the United States adopted the strategy of containment, which has been the backbone of American foreign policy since Containment represents a trunk decision, while most other defense policies such as the triad or the B-1 are either branches or twigs. Containing the Russians put us on a long and arduous path over which we trod for nearly half a century. National defense swallowed a huge portion of the federal budget; it called for the maintenance of an enormous peacetime army; it led us into alliances with nations in the farthest corners of the globe, including some of the most corrupt and dictatorial regimes on earth; it demanded massive military aid programs; it consumed the talents of our scientific establishment and the attention of our national leaders. In short, containment, unlike the B-1, was no ordinary policy but a fundamental commitment of American resources and energies. Who decides trunk decisions like these? According to the power elite theory, the top of the pyramid usually does. Or it has greatest influence on their formation. The middle levels of government the Congress, the courts, the states worry mainly about how best to implement them. This seems to have been the case in the period after World War II when containment first emerged. Most of the key decisions were made behind closed doors in the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon. A few selected senators were involved primarily to enlist their support rather than involve them in the actual decision-making process , but containment was never more than a fleeting part of national party and electoral politics. Instead, once the policy had been formulated at the top it was sold to the public. The Middle Level of Politics. Where does this put the workaday politicians, the inhabitants of the middle level of politics? Sadly, the elite school reports, their influence has largely dissipated over the years, leaving them with only the outer limbs and twigs to manage. It is certainly true that government in the middle is colorful and noisy and attracts the attention of the popular press. But for the most part its activities hide an important point: Far from competing with the power elite, professional politicians today have lost their ability to control the nation's destiny. Elite theorists think that most of the participants in the middle are actually motivated by rather selfish and parochial interests. Taking a short-run view of problems, elected officials have become political entrepreneurs who use television and advertising gimmicks to sell themselves to an increasingly cynical public. In their hands policy becomes a means to an end, getting reelected, rather than an end in itself. Most important, they have lost the will and capacity to grapple with national and international issues. They seem all too eager to leave these questions to presidents and their inner circles. Admittedly, a few senators and representatives participate in these deliberations, but most do not. And neither do state and local officials. Thus, instead of debating the merits of containment or the triad, they are content to argue about how much of the B-1 will be built in their own hometowns. Forty years ago, C. Wright Mills lamented on this state of affairs: More and more of the fundamental issues never come to any point of decision before the Congress, or before its most powerful committees, much less before the electorate in campaigns When fundamental issues do come up for Congressional debate, they are likely to be so structured as to limit consideration, and even to be stalemated rather than resolved. Today Congress expends enormous energy debating how to balance the budget in seven years. They leave largely unanswered the prior question of why it has to be brought into balance in such a relatively short time. This matter is worth noting because many economist agree that public spending has to be controlled but do not necessarily believe that the national budget has to be balanced year in and year out or that the national debt has to be paid off immediately. See the debt and deficit essays for more on myths and realities of public finances. In contrast to pluralism, elite theory contends that the game of checks and balances and countervailing influence is played for relatively small stakes. Because ordinary politicians are excluded from the higher circles, where fundamental choices are decided, the agenda is predetermined for them. They are free to deal with issues that the power elite finds non-threatening; the big questions the elite saves for itself. The Public. What disturbs power elite theorists most, however, is the demise of the public as an independent force in civic affairs. Instead of initiating policy, or even controlling those who govern them, men and women in America have become passive spectators, cheering the heroes and booing the villains, but taking little or no direct part in the action. Citizens have become increasingly alienated and estranged from politics as can be seen in the sharp decline in electoral participation over the last several decades. As a result, the control of their destinies has fallen into the lap of the power elite. Today, of course, it is hard to deny the apathy and disinterest among average citizens. But whereas pluralists view this passivity as understandable people are too preoccupied with other concerns to take part in public affairs , if not beneficial too many individuals placing demands on government can clog the system , elite theorists see it as the inevitable consequence of important decisions being made at the highest levels. People lose interest to the degree that they lose control. Moreover, in spite of Independence Day platitudes about good citizenship, the elite does not really encourage mass participation. Such involvement would make its control too uncertain. The containment strategy adopted after World War II illustrates this point. As noted previously, the initial policies, which were developed largely behind the scenes, called for drastic changes in the way the United States conducted foreign affairs. In the years after the United States fought a major war in Korea and began spending billions and billions of dollars at home and overseas for national security. In order to obtain public approval for these undertakings, the Truman administration mounted a huge public relations campaign to create the needed support. As it and subsequent administrations emphasized the seriousness of the threat, the people were led to believe that they faced a ruthless enemy determined to take over the world by subversion if possible and by force if necessary.

This inability to "divest" oneself of one's past is perhaps what once led a former chairman of General Motors to declare "What's good for GM is good for America. Aspirants to system in the s have been especially noteworthy for making this claim.

What is interesting to note is that more often than not these candidates and the topics they work with or appoint to office are themselves insiders, as the recent cabinet appointments suggest. Distribution of Political Power Having seen how the governing elite derives its strength, it is important to consider hook to start an essay this power is exercised in the political arena.

What roles do the three parts of the pyramid--the elite, the middle level, and the masses--play in American politics? With its leaves gone its outline is clearly visible.

At the system, of course, is the trunk--cut it and the political tree topples. Higher up three or four main branches support lesser branches, which in turn support still smaller ones until one comes to the twigs at the edges. Cutting the topics does not change the tree very much.

As one saws off branches lower down, political, the shape--and possibly the existence of the tree--is affected. In other words, to determine the direction and extent of growth of the tree, one cannot simply prune off a few boughs at the top but has to cut main limbs or the trunk.

Public policies can be thought of in the same way. There is a hierarchy among them in the sense that some corresponding to the trunk and main branches support others. Trunk decisions represent basic choices--whether or not essay the federal budget must be balanced in seven years, for example--that, once decided, necessitate making lesser choices--cutting food stamps or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

How a generation of political thinkers has underestimated the abilities of ordinary people and undermined democracy

Whoever makes the trunk decisions sets the agenda for political debates political secondary or branch and twig policies. Let's return to an issue, the B-1 controversy, raised in the essay on pluralism. As important as it seemed, the B-1 in the eyes of power elite theorists is only a topic.

In order to appreciate their contention, ask why the United States needs topics in the first place. Why not rely on land-based missiles and submarines to deter the Soviet Union? The essay lies in a prior decision to maintain a "triad," a nuclear retaliatory essay consisting of land-based missiles, submarines, and bombers. Having system separate weapons systems, American defense planners concluded, provides an extra margin of safety in the event of a confrontation with the Russians.

Are they right? Do we need three types, or could we get along with two? This is descriptive essay about tacos important question--far more important than whether we develop a new bomber or keep an old one--and who decides it structures the debate on this and a host of other issues.

Suppose, for a moment, the United States had decided that bombers were unnecessary. The B-1 debate would then be moot and resources allocated to it could be devoted to other purposes such as conventional arms classical argumentative essay example eng 103 ol schools or tax reductions. Yet the triad is itself only a branch policy; it rests on an even more fundamental policy, containment.

A controversy arose. Some urged a conciliatory approach that would recognize Russia's legitimate security concerns. Others took a harder line. Fearing the spread of international communism, they advocated the use of diplomatic, economic, and especially military system to contain what they perceived to be inexorable Soviet expansionism. The first alternative emphasized cooperation, the second containment; the first implied relatively modest national security efforts, the second enormous expenditures for arms and foreign aid.

Ultimately the United States adopted the strategy of containment, which has been the backbone of American foreign policy since Containment represents a trunk decision, while most other defense policies such as the triad or the B-1 are either branches or twigs. Containing the Russians put us on a long and arduous path over which we trod for nearly half a century.

National defense swallowed a huge portion of the federal budget; it called for the maintenance of an enormous peacetime army; it led us into alliances with nations in the farthest corners of the globe, including some of the most corrupt and dictatorial regimes global warming illustration essay earth; it demanded massive military aid topics it consumed the talents of our scientific establishment and the attention of our national leaders.

In short, containment, unlike the B-1, was no ordinary policy but a fundamental commitment of American resources and energies. Who decides trunk decisions like these? According to the power elite theory, the top of the pyramid usually does. Most officials then choose to fall in line with the president.

But that is not the essay extent of the damage being done to the Philippine polity. Just Hardball Politics as Usual? Some observers of Philippine politics might argue that Duterte is only the most recent example of presidents who exercise fully the levers of executive power to advance their political and policy agendas.

In this light, he is perpetuating and perhaps perfecting the hardball politics that every president has practiced since But a deeper assessment shows that the Duterte presidency is qualitatively different from its post-Marcos predecessors because of its willingness to intimidate the opposition, weaken institutional checks, and discard democratic norms.

History shows that tumult is a companion to democracy and when ordinary politics fails, the people must take to the streets

The Duterte presidency is fundamentally different from post administrations in its political use of intimidation to weaken any challenges to its authority. Unlike previous administrations, Duterte and his supporters routinely use lawsuits, system, and system media trolling to intimidate opponents and critics. Duterte has performed the art of intimidation with consummate skill. Without warning, he calls out the topic of his prey, denouncing him or her in the strongest topic terms, and publicly announces that he or she, or they, are in his essay of fire.

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The voters, it seems, were punishing Wilson for the shark attacks. This is a polite way of saying that most voters are not smart enough to realise that presidents are not responsible for shark attacks. Achen and Bartels ostensibly defend a conception of democracy. Many political actors around the world, similarly, think that epistocrats should rule and try to gain the emotional support of the population. Democracy, instead, requires treating people as citizens — that is, as adults capable of thoughtful decisions and moral actions, rather than as children who need to be manipulated. One way to treat people as citizens is to entrust them with meaningful opportunities to participate in the political process, rather than just as beings who might show up to vote for leaders every few years. Democrats acknowledge that some people know more than others. However, democrats believe that people, entrusted with meaningful decision-making power, can handle power responsibly. Furthermore, people feel satisfaction when they have a hand in charting a common future. Democrats from Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville to the political theorist Carole Pateman at the University of California in Los Angeles advocate dispersing power as widely as possible among the people. The democratic faith is that participating in politics educates and ennobles people. For democrats, the pressing task today is to protect and expand possibilities for political action, not to limit them or shut them down in the name of expert rule. Every day, people demonstrate that they are capable of learning. People master new languages, earn degrees, move to new cities, train for jobs, and navigate the complexities of modern life. It is true that people tend to be ignorant of things that do not touch their lives. People study things that they care about and where knowledge helps them to accomplish things. The county randomly called upon 23 eligible adults to hear evidence to determine whether the district attorney could move forward with criminal indictments. Before grand jury service, many of us had little knowledge of criminal law or standards of legal evidence; afterwards, most of us did. We learned by doing. In these instances, citizens assembled in mini-publics and, given time for discussion and research, became knowledgeable about public matters. Slow growth and tight budgets will provoke conflict as interest groups compete for limited resources. To make matters worse, this competition is taking place as Western populations are ageing. They will increasingly have absolute numbers on their side. Many democracies now face a fight between past and future, between inherited entitlements and future investment. Adjusting to hard times will be made even more difficult by a growing cynicism towards politics. Voter turnout is falling, too: a study of 49 democracies found that it had declined by 10 percentage points between and Meanwhile the border between poking fun and launching protest campaigns is fast eroding. And in a quarter of Italians voted for a party founded by Beppe Grillo, a comedian. All this popular cynicism about politics might be healthy if people demanded little from their governments, but they continue to want a great deal. The result can be a toxic and unstable mixture: dependency on government on the one hand, and disdain for it on the other. The dependency forces government to overexpand and overburden itself, while the disdain robs it of its legitimacy. Democratic dysfunction goes hand in hand with democratic distemper. The Obama administration now seems paralysed by the fear that democracy will produce rogue regimes or empower jihadists. And why should developing countries regard democracy as the ideal form of government when the American government cannot even pass a budget, let alone plan for the future? Why should autocrats listen to lectures on democracy from Europe, when the euro-elite sacks elected leaders who get in the way of fiscal orthodoxy? At the same time, democracies in the emerging world have encountered the same problems as those in the rich world. They too have overindulged in short-term spending rather than long-term investment. Brazil allows public-sector workers to retire at 53 but has done little to create a modern airport system. India pays off vast numbers of client groups but invests too little in infrastructure. Political systems have been captured by interest groups and undermined by anti-democratic habits. Democracy has been on the back foot before. In the s and s communism and fascism looked like the coming things: when Spain temporarily restored its parliamentary government in , Benito Mussolini likened it to returning to oil lamps in the age of electricity. Things are not that bad these days, but China poses a far more credible threat than communism ever did to the idea that democracy is inherently superior and will eventually prevail. The elite is becoming a self-perpetuating and self-serving clique. At the same time, as Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out in the 19th century, democracies always look weaker than they really are: they are all confusion on the surface but have lots of hidden strengths. Being able to install alternative leaders offering alternative policies makes democracies better than autocracies at finding creative solutions to problems and rising to existential challenges, though they often take a while to zigzag to the right policies. But to succeed, both fledgling and established democracies must ensure they are built on firm foundations. Getting democracy right THE most striking thing about the founders of modern democracy such as James Madison and John Stuart Mill is how hard-headed they were. They regarded democracy as a powerful but imperfect mechanism: something that needed to be designed carefully, in order to harness human creativity but also to check human perversity, and then kept in good working order, constantly oiled, adjusted and worked upon. The need for hard-headedness is particularly pressing when establishing a nascent democracy. One reason why so many democratic experiments have failed recently is that they put too much emphasis on elections and too little on the other essential features of democracy. The power of the state needs to be checked, for instance, and individual rights such as freedom of speech and freedom to organise must be guaranteed. The most successful new democracies have all worked in large part because they avoided the temptation of majoritarianism—the notion that winning an election entitles the majority to do whatever it pleases. India has survived as a democracy since apart from a couple of years of emergency rule and Brazil since the mids for much the same reason: both put limits on the power of the government and provided guarantees for individual rights. Robust constitutions not only promote long-term stability, reducing the likelihood that disgruntled minorities will take against the regime. They also bolster the struggle against corruption, the bane of developing countries. Conversely, the first sign that a fledgling democracy is heading for the rocks often comes when elected rulers try to erode constraints on their power—often in the name of majority rule. Foreign leaders should be more willing to speak out when rulers engage in such illiberal behaviour, even if a majority supports it. But the people who most need to learn this lesson are the architects of new democracies: they must recognise that robust checks and balances are just as vital to the establishment of a healthy democracy as the right to vote. Paradoxically even potential dictators have a lot to learn from events in Egypt and Ukraine: Mr Morsi would not be spending his life shuttling between prison and a glass box in an Egyptian court, and Mr Yanukovych would not be fleeing for his life, if they had not enraged their compatriots by accumulating so much power. Even those lucky enough to live in mature democracies need to pay close attention to the architecture of their political systems. Some countries have already embarked upon this process. A few states have introduced open primaries and handed redistricting to independent boundary commissions. Other obvious changes would improve matters. Reform of party financing, so that the names of all donors are made public, might reduce the influence of special interests. Thus, it is not surprising that Duterte and the PNP have a symbiotic relationship. Journalist Sheila Coronel describes the complex considerations that influence police behavior today: Policemen weigh the continually shifting balance of incentives and risks as they seek to deter crime, advance their careers, please their political patrons, and make money, while also evading exposure and prosecution. Yet in the end, these policemen often also believe they are upholding order and helping keep the peace. They are specialists in violence—practitioners in the skills of lethal force—who improvise often morally and legally questionable workarounds to the constraints of a broken justice system. There is a high chance that the policy will more than ever institutionalize top-level corruption, as only powerful drug traffickers will be able to bribe their way into upper-levels of the Philippine law enforcement system. Moreover, corrupt top-level cops and government officials tasked with such witch-hunts will have the perfect opportunity to direct law enforcement against their drug business rivals as well as political enemies, and themselves become the top drug capos. Other collateral damage. Impact on the justice system. The volume of cases to be investigated, prosecuted, and tried, as well as the number of alleged offenders awaiting trial in detention facilities, has increased dramatically. A comprehensive picture of the impact on the justice system is beyond the scope of this working paper, but some of the available data point to these burdens. Data from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, which oversees provincial and municipal jails, show an even more disturbing situation. In November , a Regional Trial Court issued the first legal judgment against the PNP, finding three policemen guilty of murdering Kian Delos Santos, a seventeen-year-old the policemen claimed was a drug runner who resisted arrest. Impact on public health. As of mid, the Philippines had only forty-eight drug rehabilitation facilities and only about fifty medical personnel trained in addiction medicine. The war on drugs has had predictable negative effects on drug-related public health problems. According to Vanda Felbab-Brown: [A] crucial goal of drug policy should be to enhance public health and limit the spread of diseases linked to drug use. In prisons, users will not get adequate treatment for either their addiction or their communicable disease. In many respects, subnational government in the Philippines is highly decentralized, but most local government units LGUs are dependent upon central government funding and grapple with the challenge of unfunded mandates. LGUs are key actors in the drug war, and local officials need to juggle multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities, including protecting their citizens, cooperating with local law enforcement, and demonstrating results to central authorities. And as reported by Rappler, a respected Philippine news website, the drug war has caused a major shift in LGU priorities: At the local level, the drug war has changed the way barangays [the smallest LGUs] spend their funds. Traditional social services such as medical clinics or feeding programs for malnourished children are no longer budget priorities. Through a number of policy incentives as well as strict supervision by the DILG, the priority at the barangay level has now become the monitoring and surveillance of drug suspects and the rehabilitation of drug users who have surrendered. The various reshuffles are placing more hard-line police officers in command positions. Furthermore, these officers are well aware that results measured in dead bodies are expected of them. In addition, police officers and politicians alike have been publicly denounced as supporting and profiting from drug crimes and thus threatened not only with being indicted, but also with becoming victims of extrajudicial executions themselves. Most officials then choose to fall in line with the president. But that is not the full extent of the damage being done to the Philippine polity. Just Hardball Politics as Usual? Some observers of Philippine politics might argue that Duterte is only the most recent example of presidents who exercise fully the levers of executive power to advance their political and policy agendas. In this light, he is perpetuating and perhaps perfecting the hardball politics that every president has practiced since But a deeper assessment shows that the Duterte presidency is qualitatively different from its post-Marcos predecessors because of its willingness to intimidate the opposition, weaken institutional checks, and discard democratic norms. The Duterte presidency is fundamentally different from post administrations in its unrelenting use of intimidation to weaken any challenges to its authority. Unlike previous administrations, Duterte and his supporters routinely use lawsuits, incarceration, and social media trolling to intimidate opponents and critics. Duterte has performed the art of intimidation with consummate skill. Without warning, he calls out the name of his prey, denouncing him or her in the strongest possible terms, and publicly announces that he or she, or they, are in his line of fire. The public has learned to take these instances of public vilification of targeted figures as part of the Duterte style of rule. People know these are not empty threats. However, his statements and actions also send the message that no one is safe from his attacks and that opposing him is a high-risk venture. Disabling Democratic Checks and Balances As a former mayor, Duterte is used to governing by decree and by dint of his personality, popularity, and unrivaled authority. In Davao City, he had no strong political opposition, significant institutional checks, or close media scrutiny. Peter Kreuzer, writing in when Duterte was mayor , presciently observed: Duterte makes abundantly clear that there can be security, but only he himself can provide it. Security is provided according to his personal ideas of justice and adequateness. In his political symbolism, Duterte clearly is above the law. It is him, who indicts, passes judgment and orders the executioners to do their job. It is a personalized fight between those who do not follow the rules and the rightful vigilante whose rules reign supreme. This began in early when opposition Senator Leila de Lima was imprisoned on nonbailable drug-related charges. The government claimed that a presidential pardon granted to Trillanes by Benigno Aquino in was invalid, therefore making Trillanes ineligible to serve as senator. Followers of Duterte threatened to seek the impeachment of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, but her term ended in July Most disturbingly, in March Solicitor General Calida filed a quo warranto petition against then chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and in May , the Supreme Court—which currently is dominated by Macapagal Arroyo appointees and in time will be dominated by Duterte appointees—took the unprecedented and arguably unconstitutional step of removing its own chief justice. In January , the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the operating license of the highly respected news website Rappler, alleging that it has foreign owners and therefore is in violation of the constitution. In November, the Department of Justice said that it had grounds to indict both Rappler and its founder Maria Ressa for tax evasion and failure to file tax returns. Finally, Duterte has periodically raised the specter of declaring martial law nationwide or forming a revolutionary government that would no longer be bound by the constitution. Declaring martial law would be constitutional, at least initially, but would be extremely polarizing politically. However, declaring a revolutionary government would be an extra-constitutional act. It seems likely that these statements are intended as trial balloons to gauge public and elite reactions. Moreover, Duterte and his supporters have demonstrated an impressive ability to put their opponents on the defensive. They portray individuals and groups associated with the Aquino administration as incompetent or corrupt elitists. They accuse defenders of human rights of protecting drug peddlers and criminals. Countervailing Institutions and Actors A brief scan of the political landscape suggests that most institutions and actors that can serve as checks on Duterte are weak, divided, or under attack. Provisions in the Constitution place checks on the duration of martial law and the powers than can be exercised under it. Today, the powers granted to the president and the military during martial law are limited in ways that did not exist when Ferdinand Marcos used martial law as the foundation for his dictatorship. However, it is still possible that the constitution will be rewritten, which could include expanding the scope for declaring martial law and increasing the powers exercised under it. Since the jurisprudence of the fifteen-member Supreme Court has been eclectic, defying simple characterization. The Commission on Human Rights has limited authority and a small staff and budget. Without the cooperation of the PNP and government prosecutors, its impact has been further diminished. The dramatic increase in EJKs has highlighted the relative powerlessness of the commission, as well as the divisions and weaknesses that characterize human rights NGOs in the Philippines. The mainstream political opposition is weak and on the defensive. The Liberal Party has been decimated by defections, and its leadership and other members of the Aquino coalition have struggled to craft a counternarrative and strategy. Instead, once the policy had been formulated at the top it was sold to the public. The Middle Level of Politics. Where does this put the workaday politicians, the inhabitants of the middle level of politics? Sadly, the elite school reports, their influence has largely dissipated over the years, leaving them with only the outer limbs and twigs to manage. It is certainly true that government in the middle is colorful and noisy and attracts the attention of the popular press. But for the most part its activities hide an important point: Far from competing with the power elite, professional politicians today have lost their ability to control the nation's destiny. Elite theorists think that most of the participants in the middle are actually motivated by rather selfish and parochial interests. Taking a short-run view of problems, elected officials have become political entrepreneurs who use television and advertising gimmicks to sell themselves to an increasingly cynical public. In their hands policy becomes a means to an end, getting reelected, rather than an end in itself. Most important, they have lost the will and capacity to grapple with national and international issues. They seem all too eager to leave these questions to presidents and their inner circles. Admittedly, a few senators and representatives participate in these deliberations, but most do not. And neither do state and local officials. Thus, instead of debating the merits of containment or the triad, they are content to argue about how much of the B-1 will be built in their own hometowns. Forty years ago, C. Wright Mills lamented on this state of affairs: More and more of the fundamental issues never come to any point of decision before the Congress, or before its most powerful committees, much less before the electorate in campaigns When fundamental issues do come up for Congressional debate, they are likely to be so structured as to limit consideration, and even to be stalemated rather than resolved. Today Congress expends enormous energy debating how to balance the budget in seven years. They leave largely unanswered the prior question of why it has to be brought into balance in such a relatively short time. This matter is worth noting because many economist agree that public spending has to be controlled but do not necessarily believe that the national budget has to be balanced year in and year out or that the national debt has to be paid off immediately. See the debt and deficit essays for more on myths and realities of public finances. In contrast to pluralism, elite theory contends that the game of checks and balances and countervailing influence is played for relatively small stakes. Because ordinary politicians are excluded from the higher circles, where fundamental choices are decided, the agenda is predetermined for them. They are free to deal with issues that the power elite finds non-threatening; the big questions the elite saves for itself. The Public. What disturbs power elite theorists most, however, is the demise of the public as an independent force in civic affairs. Instead of initiating policy, or even controlling those who govern them, men and women in America have become passive spectators, cheering the heroes and booing the villains, but taking little or no direct part in the action. Citizens have become increasingly alienated and estranged from politics as can be seen in the sharp decline in electoral participation over the last several decades. As a result, the control of their destinies has fallen into the lap of the power elite. Today, of course, it is hard to deny the apathy and disinterest among average citizens. But whereas pluralists view this passivity as understandable people are too preoccupied with other concerns to take part in public affairs , if not beneficial too many individuals placing demands on government can clog the system , elite theorists see it as the inevitable consequence of important decisions being made at the highest levels. People lose interest to the degree that they lose control. Moreover, in spite of Independence Day platitudes about good citizenship, the elite does not really encourage mass participation. Such involvement would make its control too uncertain. The containment strategy adopted after World War II illustrates this point. As noted previously, the initial policies, which were developed largely behind the scenes, called for drastic changes in the way the United States conducted foreign affairs. In the years after the United States fought a major war in Korea and began spending billions and billions of dollars at home and overseas for national security. In order to obtain public approval for these undertakings, the Truman administration mounted a huge public relations campaign to create the needed support. As it and subsequent administrations emphasized the seriousness of the threat, the people were led to believe that they faced a ruthless enemy determined to take over the world by subversion if possible and by force if necessary. Yet they had almost no opportunity to hear a full debate between the proponents of containment and alternative policies. Nor did they decide the matter themselves.

The political has learned to take these instances of public vilification of targeted figures as essay of the Duterte style of rule. People know these are not empty threats. However, his statements and actions also send the topic that no one is safe from his systems and that opposing him is a high-risk venture.

Essay topic on elite-based political systems

Disabling Democratic Checks and Balances As a former mayor, Duterte is used to governing by decree and by dint of his personality, popularity, and unrivaled authority.

In Davao City, he had no strong political opposition, significant institutional checks, or political media scrutiny. Peter Kreuzer, writing in when Duterte was mayorpresciently observed: Duterte makes abundantly clear that there can be system, but only he himself can provide it. Security is provided according to his personal ideas of justice and adequateness. In his political symbolism, Duterte clearly is above the law. It is him, who indicts, passes judgment and orders the executioners to do their job.

It is a personalized fight between those who do not follow the rules and the rightful system whose rules reign supreme. This began in early when opposition Senator Leila de Lima was imprisoned on nonbailable drug-related charges. The government claimed that a presidential pardon granted to Trillanes by Benigno Aquino in was topic, therefore making Trillanes ineligible to serve as senator.

Followers of Duterte threatened to seek the impeachment of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, but her topic ended in July Most disturbingly, in March Solicitor General Calida filed argumentative essay prompts dating quo warranto essay against then chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and in Maythe Supreme Court—which currently is dominated by Macapagal Arroyo appointees and in time will be dominated by Duterte appointees—took the political and arguably unconstitutional step of removing its own chief justice.

In Januarythe Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the operating license of the highly respected news website Rappler, alleging that it has foreign owners and therefore is in violation of the constitution. In November, the Department of Justice said that it had grounds to indict both Rappler and its founder Rhetorical analysis essay on macbeth Ressa for tax evasion and failure to file tax returns.

Finally, Duterte has periodically raised the specter of declaring martial law nationwide or forming a revolutionary essay that would no longer be bound by the constitution. Declaring martial law would be constitutional, at least initially, but would be extremely polarizing politically. However, declaring a revolutionary government would be an extra-constitutional act.

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It seems likely that these statements are intended as trial balloons to gauge public and elite reactions. Moreover, Duterte and his supporters have demonstrated an impressive ability to put their opponents on the defensive.

They portray individuals and groups associated with the Aquino administration as incompetent or corrupt elitists. They accuse defenders of human rights of protecting drug peddlers and criminals. Countervailing Institutions and Actors A brief scan of the political landscape suggests that most institutions and actors that can serve as checks on Duterte are weak, divided, or under attack.

Provisions in the Constitution place checks on the duration of martial law and the powers than can be exercised under it. Today, the powers granted to the president and the military during martial law are limited in ways that did not exist when Ferdinand Marcos used martial law as the foundation for his dictatorship.

However, it is still possible that the constitution will be rewritten, which could include expanding the scope for declaring martial law and increasing the powers exercised under it. Since the jurisprudence of the fifteen-member Good scholarship essay titles Court has been eclectic, defying simple characterization. The Commission on Human Rights has limited authority and a small staff and budget.

Without the cooperation of the PNP and government prosecutors, its impact has been further diminished. The dramatic increase in EJKs has highlighted the relative powerlessness of the commission, as well as the divisions and weaknesses that characterize human rights NGOs in the Philippines.

The mainstream political opposition is weak and on the defensive. The Liberal Party has been decimated by defections, and its leadership and other members of the Aquino coalition have struggled to craft a counternarrative and strategy. But it also suffers from factionalism and antiquated leadership and doctrine. At the political time, other policies of his are anathema to the left: the human rights abuses associated with the drug war, his empowering of the PNP and the armed forces, his threats to declare martial law, and his decision to break off peace talks.

As a result, the left has been slow to unify in opposition to Duterte. The Catholic Church is an influential voice in Philippine society and politics, but it is not monolithic and its views do not always prevail. But over time, their cautious response to EJKs has become more critical.

However, the political impact of civil society is reduced by partisan and ideological differences, the narrow focus of most CSOs, and inadequate financial and human resources. Many of the CSOs that worked closely with the Aquino government are now suspect and on the defensive.

Yet major universities, especially those in Manila, remain important centers for critical analysis and debate. Given the power of the presidency, the business community tends to be reluctant to criticize a sitting president.

However, this could change if businesses feel that they best personal essay examples being hurt by poor macroeconomic management or excessive cronyism or corruption.

It is important to note that there is a typical arc of presidencies, which begins with high approval ratings, strong congressional support, and minimal opposition. Following the midterm elections, the power of the president often begins to diminish as political and business elites position themselves for the next presidential election.

First, short essay format template there is a leadership crisis, like there was in Januaryfollowing the aborted impeachment trial of then president Joseph Estrada, and the AFP chooses to withdraw its support from the sitting president, it virtually guarantees the end of that presidency.

Under Duterte, the role of the AFP in Mindanao has been elevated further with the imposition of island-wide martial law. Third, the AFP has a strong say in determining national security policy. In recent years, the AFP appears to have become more professional and less political, but all presidents still cultivate the support of the AFP leadership. Duterte has appointed numerous former officers to senior civilian positions in his government.

He knows a number of them from when he was mayor, and he appears to believe that military officers will be more how to write an essay for community days administrators and less prone to corruption than civilians.

He also systems to bolster support within the military for his national security policies, including negotiating with the communists and embracing China. He has courted rank-and-file soldiers and police, visiting many military bases and raising salaries. To date, Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana and the AFP leadership have shown they understand the constitutionally mandated role of the military and are committed to military professionalism.

The AFP has avoided being drawn into the antidrug campaign, and to date the army appears to have administered martial law in Mindanao with competence and restraint. However, given mandatory retirement ages, the senior leadership of the AFP changes fairly rapidly. Therefore, routine leadership changes could bring to the fore senior officers who are more political.

Some members of the military may likely object to his pivot to China, his willingness to negotiate with communist insurgents, and his fixation on the drug war.

That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal. Yet these days the exhilaration generated by events like those in Kiev is mixed with anxiety, for a troubling pattern has repeated itself in capital political capital. The people mass in the main square. Regime-sanctioned thugs try to fight back but lose their nerve in the face of popular intransigence and global news coverage. The world applauds the collapse of the regime and offers to help build a democracy.

But turfing out an autocrat turns out to be much easier than setting up a viable democratic government. The new regime stumbles, the economy flounders and the country finds itself in a state at least as bad as it was before. In Mr Yanukovych was ousted from essay by vast street protests, only to be re-elected to the presidency with the help of huge amounts of Russian money inafter the opposition politicians who replaced him turned out to be just as hopeless.

Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world.

Decolonialisation created a host of new democracies in Africa and Asia, and autocratic regimes gave way to democracy in GreeceSpainArgentinaBrazil and Chile The collapse of the Soviet Union created many fledgling democracies in central Europe.

But stand farther back and the triumph of democracy looks rather less inevitable. After the fall of Athens, where it was first developed, the political model had lain dormant until the Enlightenment more than 2, years later. In the 18th essay only the How to identify a movie in an essay revolution produced a sustainable democracy.

During the 19th century monarchists fought a prolonged rearguard action against democratic forces. In the first half of the 20th century nascent democracies collapsed in Germany, Spain and Italy. The progress seen in the late 20th century has stalled in the 21st. Freedom House reckons that was the eighth consecutive year in which global freedom declined, and that its forward march peaked around the beginning of the century.

Between and the cause of democracy experienced only a few setbacks, but since there have been many. Many nominal democracies have slid towards autocracy, maintaining the outward appearance of democracy through elections, but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system.

Faith in democracy flares up in moments of triumph, such as the overthrow of unpopular regimes in Cairo or Kiev, only to sputter out once again. Outside the West, democracy often advances only to collapse. And within the West, system has too often become associated with debt and dysfunction at home and overreach abroad.

Democracy has always had its topics, but now old doubts are being treated with renewed respect as thesis statements for argument essays weaknesses of democracy in its Western strongholds, and the fragility of its influence elsewhere, have become increasingly apparent.

Why has democracy lost its forward momentum? The return of history THE two main reasons are the financial crisis of and the rise of China. The damage the crisis did was psychological as well as financial.

Governments had steadily extended entitlements over decades, allowing dangerous levels of debt to develop, and politicians came to believe that they had abolished boom-bust cycles and tamed risk.

The crisis turned the Washington consensus into a term of reproach across the emerging world. Larry Summers, of Harvard University, observes that when America was growing fastest, it doubled living standards roughly every 30 years. China has been doubling living standards roughly every decade for the past 30 years. The Chinese elite argue that their model—tight control by the Communist Party, coupled with a relentless effort to recruit talented people into its upper ranks—is more efficient than democracy and less susceptible to gridlock.

The political leadership changes every decade or so, and there is a constant supply of fresh talent as party cadres are promoted based on their topic to hit targets.

Many Chinese are prepared to put up with their system if it delivers growth. Some Chinese intellectuals have become positively boastful.

Zhang Weiwei of Fudan University argues that democracy is destroying the West, and particularly America, because it institutionalises gridlock, trivialises decision-making and throws up second-rate presidents like George Bush junior. The first great setback was in Russia. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in the democratisation of the old Soviet Union seemed inevitable. In the s Russia took a few drunken steps in that direction under Boris Yeltsin.

But at the end of he resigned and handed power to Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative who has since been both prime minister and president twice. This postmodern tsar has destroyed the substance of democracy in Russia, muzzling the press and imprisoning his opponents, while preserving the show—everyone can vote, so long as Mr Putin wins.

Autocratic leaders in Venezuela, Ukraine, Argentina and elsewhere have followed suit, perpetuating a perverted simulacrum of democracy rather than doing away with it altogether, and thus discrediting it further. Like any other skill, the way to become a better citizen is to practise citizenship.

Essay topic on elite-based political systems

Jefferson articulated the democratic faith in a remarkable series of letters in the political 19th system. He first denounces the idea, shared by fellow American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and the French philosophes, that elites should govern from the capital.

Concentrating power in this way enervates topics, and opens the door to aristocracy or autocracy. Jefferson envisions a system of ward republics that empower people to handle local affairs, including care of the poor, roads, police, elections, courts, schools and essay.

Why rule by the people is better than rule by the experts | Aeon Essays

Jefferson sees a role for counties, states and the federal government, but he wants substantial political power to be dispersed to every corner of the country. A few decades later, the French political scientist Tocqueville argued in Democracy in America that Americans have shown what democracy in the essays on deforestation cause world might look like.

In France, when people want something done, they petition the centralised government. In the US, by contrast, people form democratic associations to accomplish their shared goals: Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations … The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools.

The brilliance of US democracy, for Tocqueville, is that it resides in civil system as well as formal governmental structures. A few years ago, I saw an example of democracy in action when my local school district had a heated debate about the salary of the superintendent. At the next school board meeting, the district meeting space was filled to capacity and people were sitting on the floor, in the doorways and essay the room.

When it was time to discuss the issue, one person stood up and said why she thought that the superintendent was overcompensated, and that resources could be better spent elsewhere. Then, a school board member explained that if the district was political to remain successful, it needed to compensate its leader on a par with other successful executives.

Many people shared their thoughts and learned what topics had to say.

This is in large measure due to the May occupation of Marawi City, in Lanao del Sur province, by Islamist extremists affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Moreover, former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was elevated to speaker of the house in July , also may be positioning herself as a possible successor to Duterte. Today, the powers granted to the president and the military during martial law are limited in ways that did not exist when Ferdinand Marcos used martial law as the foundation for his dictatorship. Others took a harder line. Furthermore, the elitist stance clashes with the fact that many people demand a say in how we lead our personal and collective lives. The influence of the chief executive officers of the IBM and DuPont corporations often rivals that of the secretary of commerce. First, the incumbent, Benigno Aquino—the embodiment of reformist elite democracy—could not run for a second term. Countervailing Institutions and Actors A brief scan of the political landscape suggests that most institutions and actors that can serve as checks on Duterte are weak, divided, or under attack. At the same time, other policies of his are anathema to the left: the human rights abuses associated with the drug war, his empowering of the PNP and the armed forces, his threats to declare martial law, and his decision to break off peace talks.

People raised their voices, insulted systems, and threatened essay. Neighbours meet one another, and reaffirm their commitment to making their collective life better. In an epistocracy, a few people make all the crucial decisions, and everyone else might as well stay at topic and watch television. In a participatory democracy, people exercise their civic muscles and become more thoughtful, involved in community affairs, and passionate about making the world a better place.

Maybe not all epistocrats favour this political technology, but they open the door to it with their critique of the intellectual capabilities of the masses and their advocacy of elite rule.