Democracy is considered by many to be the best type of political system possible, and among this group many believe the system of democracy in the United States is also the best of the best. This notion is one worth examining, and one that in some way has become more relevant in the post-September 11 era. This is because that event, as horrible as it was, brought about fundamental questions about liberty in the democratic model. To this it could be said that a principle function of democracy is to protect liberty, and that these attacks were an attack on freedom. Many of the deaths in this attack can be attributed in some way to America's policy that tries to protect liberty, for example its relatively open borders. This respect for people's liberty has become an important component of America's liberal democratic system, but it has also made it more difficult to protect against attacks on freedom. In this sense, in this post-September 11 era, democracy can be regarded as an adversary of freedom. If one recalls the idea of the tyranny of the majority that was argued by John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, it can be seen that this principle has been employed across airports all across the United States.
It has come to the point where the middle-class to eager to see searches, x-rays and racial profiling, as long as it results in the terrorists being foiled in some way. What is happening is that democracy in the United States is unraveling as the majority is attacking the traditional notion of liberties. The democratic system in the United States has developed since 9/11 in a way that chastises anyone who does not go along with this new majority.
[...] More importantly though, it might make more sense to ask about the future of democratic politics for liberty. It has been shown that democracy is crucial for freedom, as it can foster greater participation in social structures and processes that is as crucial for freedom as non-domination. Democracy is the only political form that can accomplish this as it can ensure that marginalized groups serve an equal role with the economically privileged in creating discursive meanings and their material expression. [...]
[...] In this case it will be examined how liberty has been threatened through America's democracy through the establishment of new rules and regulations, but more importantly it has become jeopardized through the mindless excitement with which people in the United States has come to accept the new rules in this new era. Fear, which should not be a source of legitimate concern for freedom, has become a significant motivating factor. This is moving closer toward a democracy whose ethos has been greatly undermined. [...]
[...] The ways in which domination works are very systemic and cannot be solved simply through adding more legislators of gender and colour to the decision- making process. Participation needs to be understood in broader term. For example, higher levels of education are associated with higher levels of voter turnout. What this is saying is that there is much more to the idea of participation than just casting a ballot. These types of participation are outcomes, but freedom makes it necessary for us to view types of participation that affect inputs, specifically subjectivity and desire. [...]
[...] Increasing freedom for marginalized groups is dependent on their ability to be a part of the democratic process, when this does not happen, democracy flusters and cannot be argued to be the best system of government as it is not accomplishing the objectives that underscore the ethos of democracy. (Hirschmann 2003: 88). This is not a new revelation in liberal democratic politics as feminists have long argued that male legislators create laws that serve to marginalize women, and a lack of visible minority legislators, result in laws that ignore the specific needs to these people, but even though these identity politics are often put forth simplistically and reductively, they are valid observations. [...]
[...] The government wanted to turn welfare into a tool that would shape the desires, the choices and the very subjectivity of the people. This approach did much to accomplish a flawed system of public welfare, one in which a cycle of poverty was created. Lack of opportunity was not the problem, these people ended up becoming dependent on this money, and when the money stopped arriving, as Rousseau would say, they were “forced to be free.” (Hirschmann 2003: 87). These constructions of welfare have deep-seated undercurrents of domination because they serve to misrepresent the reality of lived experience. [...]
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