The Strengths and Weaknesses of the American Model of The Liberal Democracy
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the American model of the liberal democracy? In liberal democracy people are not directly involved in ruling but they choose their representatives who channel their needs to the government. The chosen representatives exercise their power within the legal framework. Liberal democracy is a type of government whose actions are closely monitored and regulated by various institutions. These institutions act as checks and balances against the misuse of power by the government.
The term liberal democracy is used to describe the American political structure. Liberalism mostly is geared towards changing and improving the social political and economic status quo. My focus on this paper will be to analyze the weaknesses and strength of the American model of liberal democracy. The American model of liberalism has been a topic of discussion lately because liberalism has impacted differently on the American society.
For example, in the education sector, liberalism led to the decrease in the education standards in 1960s.The most institutions that were affected were the universities where professors started urging people to launch counter culture attacks against the traditions, norms, values, beliefs, and customs of the Americans. Even the most appropriate and revered practice that were of importance in schools like grading students depending on their performance, gauging student’s seriousness in class work and adherence to the rules and regulations started being less valued.According to Ruthman, Yale professor, said, “Expressive individualism has become the dominant ideology of the American intellectual, servicing as a debarking tool for disassembling the status quo” One effect of the effects of liberalism is that it led to increased social ills and the solution to this is raising the criteria for those joining the nation schools. This liberalism has put a negative notion to the students that education is less important than other things and here teachers are apportioned the blame of not helping the students to attain the required grade.
Other people have attributed poor performance in schools to poor socialization. They argue that when students are not properly socialized they join peer groups that are greatly influenced by the external forces in the society thought this has been thought to occur due to psychodynamic changes. If colleges are not properly managed according to some scholars, they may not alter the student’s values, it may bring together different students from different backgrounds but they may fail to nurture and promote students values and instead become forums for enforcing socially held values that mostly are not questioned.One challenge that face liberal government is on how to develop their nations’ economically. There has emerged a movement that is referred to as the neo liberalism. Which is a political group that advocates for liberalism in the economic sector as a means of advancing its performance.
This ideology in the field of economies has been noted to perform well in some countries. It is said to have led to the growth of international trade and an increase in the exchange of products across the borders. Liberalization in the economy means removing all barriers that prevent trade from running smoothly.Liberalism has led to governments reconsidering policies such as privatizing the former enterprises that belonged to the state. This empowers the citizens of a particular nation by making the wealth of the nation in the people’s hands.
Economic liberalism in America has led to improvement in the social welfare for the federal government has increased the much it spends on the social welfare. According to McPherson, when capitalism is introduced in the economy it leads to freedom for all. The impact has also been felt in the education sector where the quality of education has been improved, and more schools have been built.In the housing sector, the government has build good houses for those who cannot afford to build their own houses and has also led to improvement in healthcare as more hospitals have been built, drugs are readily available. In short everybody had an access to hospitals freely without having to walk for big distance. Despite the fact that this liberalism has led to the above stated advantages, it has been criticized in that it has resulted to over production of industrial products that destroying the market mechanism.
It has also been accused of increased terrorism acts as people can move freely without their moves being limitedIn America liberalism trace way back to the colonial times when settlers from Europe arrived in America in thousands to look new lands in the region. They settled in these extensive plantations something that led to the distribution of the properties across the land. In the light of the above, it is clear that even the colonial liberal economy achieved its objectives in that properly widely distributed and more so equitably though the minors were exempted to this. Starting from 1960s, anti-American started facing a very serious attack from all over the world. Almost all fields were attacked including institutions and policies.
The criticism was more directed on values and American way of life. The Europeans attacked Americans by saying that America had already attained the most extreme form of liberalism. According to them it was, “A culture founded on experimentation and novelty, unencumbered by tradition or history, in which both communal life and individual identity had to be constantly reinvented. ” Liberal democracies for example U.
S. A are very sensitive when it comes to any form of perceived threat and are ready to curtail the freedom of others, spend whatever amount of money and lose many lives in punishing their adversaries.This is one weakness of liberal democracy but this interference is only for a short period and then things return to normal. Those whose freedom is curtailed feel better about it but when the outcomes are looked closely you note that it is worthy to curtail for a short time and then to have a long lasting solution. Democracies give security matters the attention they deserve more than they do to other things. Liberal democracy models such as U.
S. A are nations that are trade oriented and create a free space for their egoist citizens to carry various actions that can give them pleasure.When an external force confronts them, they are quickly to mobilize their people who are more than willing to gang up against their enemy. Research has shown that citizens are very sharp in coming up with the right policies after terrorist attack but they have also shown that the support they give does not transform to a uniform thing for example, after the September 11 attack, many people supported president Bush in the action he took against the enemies but later this move came to be a campaign tool among the people and the government.The president who has a wide range of power source can influence his citizens to take a particular course. Using his power president can make people to come together during unprecedented dangerous situations to protect themselves but when businessmen are killed they withdraw the support that they give to their president.
In the past, the question of whether democracies are peaceful or not was asked frequently but researches have now shown that democracies unlike non-democracies get less involved in military operations. Strong democracies like U.S interfere with peace of other nations for example, the Iraq war was justified on grounds that it would restore democracy and end a chapter of human rights violation. The president indirectly asked for worldwide support saying to them that it was imperative to help other nations to achieve their democracy, as culture is universal and not limited to particular localities. Therefore there is need of helping other nations to fight tyranny.
However, in as much as citizens would like to continue enjoying the fruits, this is never realized.The American model of democratic liberalism limits the majority rule by using the American constitution and the power to rule is held by a small group of individuals. In America there is what is called social liberalism and this group holds that the liberty of the Americans must be protected. It advocates for the rights of human beings whether civil or human rights as well as other freedoms should be protected. It supports the modern values, beliefs and culture and tends to sideline those of the past times.These supporters believe that if there were no economic opportunities, no quality health care and education, then the liberty of the citizens would be already at stake.
Social liberals are ardent supporters of the economy that supports private enterprise together with some services that should be provided by the government. Liberal democracy promotes monopoly of the bourgeois and it is very useful in class based and capitalist system like that of United States. In this system, the politicians only care about the rights of the rich.It creates a platform on which economic exploitation is conducted and for this reason it becomes so undemocratic. Marx does not support this type of government in that citizens are given a very good opportunity to choose the individuals who would represent them in the government only to be betrayed by them when they enter in the parliament. He says that citizens do not choose them because they are fit to be chosen but because they have money to influence people to vote them in and as a result it becomes a government by the rich and for the rich.
For example in U. S. A, if you do not have enough money to contest for presidency and other respected posts, then you cannot find your way to the office. Here democracy is dispensed with money in the name of liberal democracy.
Media liberalism in America is also something that has a profound impact in the society. Few rich individuals own Media in United States. The rich have been using the media to influence the public opinion. They give false information to the people especially during election times.In America today, the election campaign is mostly done through media where different presidential candidates try to present themselves to the public in the best way possible and at the same time trying to disrepute their competitors. Though there is freedom of expression in America, not all topics can be discussed openly over the media but the rich can buy their freedom to air their views unlike the ordinary men and women.
When this biased coverage takes place, the perpetrators behind it provide proofs to substantiate their false claims.According to an article that was put in the Scientific American journal, most people in America take time to listen to biased information so that they could cement the basis of their beliefs. In America, candidates vying for seats are given attention that depends on their personality and their wealth as opposed to the real assessment of the policies put before citizens. It has been noted that media liberalism if not used properly can compromise democracy.Mostly when media are presenting events they avoid complex issues that require in-depth explanation such as issues that are of public concern and instead they deal with the personalities of specific candidates especially if they have ever been involved in any malpractices or scandals. Today this is what is happening between Senator Obama and Mrs.
Clinton where each is trying to compete against each other by tarnishing the name of the other candidate. This is a weakness of the American liberal democratic model as the outcome is negative.Today the political life of Americans has slowly by slowly been shifting from liberalism to what is referred to as populism, this means degradation of social standards, and the disappearance of public sphere. As capitalism in the market continue to establish itself the egoistic feeling of Americans will be the main tool for shaping all aspects of culture and the relationship that people share with others will somehow become that of the market.
If his will be allowed to continue, people will become less and less interested in political matters and expected obligations. This will greatly undermine the current American culture.Liberalism, which has resulted, has polarized and compromised the social organization. Basically, social liberalism has led to the abandonment of older traditions and expectations and moving towards tradition refashioning. Social liberalism has synthesized economic inequalities, minorities and differences in culture.
What democracy means is that people are entrusted with the duty of ruling though not directly. This mostly sets no boundary on what the citizens may do or not do within their state in liberal democracies. In America there is no adherence to any designated type of religion or in short there is no single religion that is approved.These governments cannot harass or penalize anybody for not subscribing or following any particular religion. In America people are allowed to express freely their views concerning their religion. They are also allowed to establish institutions that are in line with their religions principles.
The government like this cannot force people to adhere to religious acts if is against their wishes although this statement cannot be supported fully as there have been cases where schools that are run state by states have been reportedly said to have forced children to follow certain religious teachings .In the united states the principle that people should not be prevented by the government to practice their faith is not respected, “In the name of equal treatment of religious and non religious citizens, the courts have increasingly refused to recognize a special right to exemption from ostensibly neutral government regulation for religious practice, even though the constitutional text surely sounds as if one were intended”Many liberal individuals argue that strict protection of the religious rights is not good as they fear that this would misinterpreted by religious fanatics to mean that they are above the law. It is not good to have absolute liberty and yet you are unequally treated. These people also believe that the government should not be over concerned with religious matters as region is supposed to be a private thing and should not be of public concerns.
So persons should be allowed to advance their religious activities, to believe and to practice whatever they want.The government should not let religion to take place in its activities by thus saying, religion should be a private affair that should take a back seat in public and private sectors. Many Americans who emphasize on personalized religion as opposed to institutionalized religion practice this type of religion. Religion in liberal democracies has been accused of interfering with other institutions for example in Missouri, there was a case where sponsored public dancers were denied to rent school building by a group that regarded this activities as immoral.Also in some states, some landlords refuse to let unmarried people to rent their rooms claiming that if they allow then they’ll be helping people to sin.
In short, the American liberal democratic model has both strengths and weaknesses. One of its strength is that it allows people to choose the type of government that they want. In fact this model entails that it is the government for the people and working for the people. They elect representatives whom they think can serve them well.
There are also weaknesses of this American model of liberal democracy in that when people are not restrained on some issues they just go to the extreme. Absolute freedom means no choice. This model has been criticized that it prevents people from exercising their political rights as instead of being in direct control of the government, then they subject their will to the chosen few representatives who go to pursue their egoistic goals.