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Aristotle: Types of Government Polity vs. Democracy (

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1 Aristotle: Types of Government Polity vs. Democracy (

2 Aristotle‘s Good Government...
Moral education is important. A good government supports the development of good citizenry (the cultivation of the virutes). The best government is one of virtuous citizens. That means the government must create the basis favorable for the individual development of reasons, education, virtue.

3 Aristotle: Forms of Government
Good Government Bad Government Monarchy Tyranny decays into (Best) (Worst) “Rule by One” Rule for One Aristocracy decays into Oligarchy (Good) (Worse) Rule for the Few “Rule by the Best” Democracy (Mob Rule) Democracy decays into (Poor) (Bad) Everyone for themselves “Rule by the Many”

4 Rule by many: Polity vs. Democracy
The term democracy is derived from the Greek words, ‘demos’ and ‘kratos’, the former meaning the people and the latter power. Democracy, thus , means power of the people. It is now regarded as a form of government in which the people rule themselves, either directly or indirectly through their representatives.

5 Why is Aristotle leery of democracy?
Democracy is not always wrong: “polity” is in fact a correct regime However, Aristotle refuses to conclude that it is the best form of government People collectively are good at judging, not at ruling There is, however, some role for the people in all correct governments A good government should be governed by those who are well educated. Aristotle assumes that this will never be true of the majority.

6 The need for the Rule of Law…
Aristotle stated that “the rule of law is preferable to that of any individual.” This is because individuals possess flaws and could tailor government to their own individual interests, whereas the rule of law is objective. The law is reason unaffected by desire. Rulers must be “the servants of the laws,” because “law is order, and good law is good order.”

7 The need for the Rule of Law…
In addition to law, Aristotle believed a large middle class would protect against the excesses of oligarchy and democracy: [T]he best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes ; for the addition of the middle class turns the scale, and prevents either of the extremes from being dominant.

8 Aristotle’s Ideal Rule…
The ideal is the state in which the best, who are inevitably few in number, exercise power in the interests of all (i.e., Aristocracy). Ideal society Everyone is educated to be morally virtually. All citizens participate in political society Middle Class should rule Educated members Are more stable and rational Rich = too arrogant Poor= too vengeful Impossible to achieve

9 Aristotle’s best Government…
However, since that ideal is hard to achieve, and even harder to sustain, Aristotle advocated a form of mixed government, or “Polity", in which all citizens "rule and are ruled by turn", and power is monopolized by no particular class. Aristotle’s best Government was a Polity, which is a mix of an aristocracy with some sense of democracy, supported by a strong middle class Aristotle was a vigorous critic of democracy.

10 Democracy There are two types of democracy: (1) Pure or Direct and (2) Indirect or Representative. Pure or Direct Democracy: A form of democracy in which all members of a political community participate directly in the decision making process. Direct democracy was established in ancient Greek city states. Today when large and complex societies have emerged and when area of the state is very extensive, direct democracy is impracticable.

11 Democracy In representative or indirect democracies citizens elect representatives who then govern, and popular participation is limited primarily to voting in local and national elections. The people exercise minimal, if in fact any, political power and ‘real’ political power is confined to elected political activists and elites. In representative democracies political freedom and participation tends to be measured in terms of individual freedoms, civil liberties and political rights.

12 Democracy as we know it today…
Present-day democracy as a political system where the entire adult population has the opportunity to participate in decision-making in that society, and enjoy legal, political and civil protection of individual rights and freedoms.

13 Democracy Features… There is more than one political party competing for political power. The competition for power is open, not secretive and is based on established and accepted forms of procedure. Entry and recruitment to positions of political power are relatively open. There are periodic elections based on universal franchise.

14 Democracy Features, con’t…
Pressure groups are able to operate to influence government decisions. Associations such as trade unions and other voluntary organizations are not subject to close governmental control. Civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, freedom from arbitrary arrest, are recognized and protected within the political system. This assumes that there is substantial amount of independence and freedom from government control of the mass media. There is some form of separation of powers, i.e., a representative assembly has some form of control over the executive and judiciary is independent both executive and legislature.

15 Democracy Features, con’t…
Most of the people attaining a certain age can participate in the elections both as a voter as well as candidate (contesting elections), Voting is free and secret (free voting), and Citizens and political leaders have the basic freedom of speech, press, assembly and organization (fundamental and civic rights).

16 Merits of Democracy It pays special attention to the interests of common man. It is based on equality. It is based on public opinion. It minimizes the chances of revolution. It gives political education to the people. It promotes patriotism and national unity and creates the interest of the people in administration.

17 Demerits of Democracy Democracy can be ruled by incompetent persons.
In democracy administration is very costly. Capitalists can exercise a dominant influence upon democracy. In the democracy there is the rule of majority which become unjust sometimes. Political parties spoil the harmonious atmosphere and corruption becomes rampant. Local conflicts are predominant in democracy which harm national interests. It proves weak in times of war and crisis.

18 References: Chan Saeteurn Kirk Mullins Mohammad Alauddin
( Kirk Mullins ( Mohammad Alauddin ( Agrawal, R. C.(2005), Political Theory, New Delhi: Chand & Company Ltd. Kapur, A.C.(2000), Principles of Political Science, New Delhi: Chand & Company Ltd

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