Throughout history individuals have discussed the term democracy, which has its origins in ancient Greece, and is derived from the words demos and kratos. The literal definition of this term is "rule by the people." However, this definition is ambiguous and has allowed scholars to interpret it in a variety of ways. In order to assess the threats to democracy, we must understand what the term actually means. Today, the term democracy has many definitions, which, in turn, cloud the fight for true democracy. This situation is due to the fact that scholars have not been able to agree on how to define the term. Some believe that certain definitions might themselves be a threat to democracy (Touraine, 1994/1997). The problem with this development, however, is that it makes democracy subjective and open to manipulation and abuse, enabling those in power to use the term to their benefit. Others have used different approaches to defining democracy, including looking at characteristics of countries that are typically called democracies (Lijphart, 1984). The problem with this definitional fallacy is that it would not be logical to define the term by looking at countries considered democracies when we have no criteria for defining or measuring democracy (Beetham, 1994). Even a study of ancient Greece illustrates that not all people were able to rule. Out of 250,000 individuals who lived in ancient Greece, approximately 30,000 were allowed to be citizens, as women, slaves, and metics were not allowed to be citizens.
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[...] In the book, West argues that the biggest threats to democracy in the United States are three dominant antidemocratic dogmas of free market fundamentalism, aggressive militarism, and escalating authoritarianism. West also identifies other factors that have led to a decline of democratic energies and traditions in the United States. Specifically, he discusses the growth of three forms of political nihilisms, which are evangelical nihilism, paternalistic nihilism, and sentimental nihilism. West then discusses three forces that can renew the democratic spirit of the United States, which are Socratic commitment to questioning, prophetic commitment to justice, and the tragicomic commitment to hope. [...]
[...] While the United States has used aggressive militarism as a tool in an attempt to bring democracy to the Arab and Muslim states, Sullivan asserts that evidence suggests that the democratization of the Arab and Muslim states cannot occur through military interactions with the United States. In fact according to him, the only way to democratize the Arab and Muslim states is through economic, cultural, and personal interactions with the United States. The North American Congress on Latin America (1998) finds that the quest for aggressive military in the United States has led to military-style intervention on crimes domestically. [...]
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