Arab Democracy... Fiction or Reality?
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
Sir Winston Churchill
Democracy is wonderful. What makes it wonderful, in part anyway, is that, like all what we love or cherish, it is rare, fleeting or fragile. Genuine democracy, after all, is not a natural condition of social life but a refined achievement of it--so, clearly, believed Locke, Montesquieu and the American Founders after them.
Democracy is a form of government that has existed for many hundreds of years. It is very interesting to differentiate between the theoretical definition of democracy, which centers on a utopian reality, and the actual "real" implementation of it in today's governments, or as Alexander Hamilton said in a speech he gave in June 1788 urging ratification of the American Constitution in New York:
It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government.
Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.
But first, a definition of democracy is required. What is democracy and how and where did it first originate? Demos Kratia, or democracy, as it is used in our current day, means "the people's rule." Democracy is a term that originated in ancient Greece to designate a government where the people share in directing the activities of the state, as distinct from governments controlled by a single class, select...