Liberal Representative Democracy

Liberal Representative Democracy

Liberal Representative Democracy

Considering the representative democracy, it may be termed as the type of democracy in which the citizens vote for a representative who shares in their ideologies (Urbinati, 23). Once voted they form a body that rules independently and has the responsibility of acting in the peoples interest. On the other hand, liberal democracy is where the said representatives are voted in free and fair elections. These elections are to be held in a given time frame, through a secret ballot in multi-party elections (Urbinati, 12). Theoretically liberal representative democracy is seems to achieve the required stability in a given country. In the following paper I will give information that contradicts this assumption.

Liberal representative democracy is highly assumed to be the key to the needed stability in terms of equity and freedom. However, what the fanatics of this democracy fail to tell us is the fact that there are assumptions to be made for this hypothesis to be attainable. It is assumed that all the parties involved in this process aim for the stability of their country. The reasons given in support of this notion are highly unrealizable (Croci et al, 33). One of the reasons is the assumption that a political party will act to the interest of the people since the citizens are wise and are able to easily identify the party that addresses their interest in the best way. However, demerits exist in this given the assumption that the public will be able to discern the political party with ill motives. This is not possible in an ideal world. The other assumption is that the opposition between the political parties will aim at determining which party addresses citizens’ interest the best way (Croci et al, 56). This is not true and very difficult to achieve especially in democracies like the United States where there is only two political parties. In totality it’s very difficult to achieve the assumptions laid down by the liberal representative democracy foundations.

Initially, it was universally thought that representative liberal democracy was the best. This was due to what it stood for. In liberal democracies all adults who are citizens of a given nation were granted freedom of speech, freedom of association and so on. These rights according to liberal democracy were national and each citizen was entitled to them regardless of their political affiliation, race, gender or even social status (Salvadori, 34). However over the decades realization has dawn on many that though there is this freedom it had exemptions. It was realized that the freedom granted was limited in some way and one could not exercise them fully. The limitations were in the initial stages accepted however the public has learnt that at times they will go too far causing the lack of fair and due judicial process. Those for these limitations argue that they are needed in order to guarantee that there is the existence of a democracy. This means that a minority of people are excluded from this freedom due to the limitations. This shows that this kind of democracy is only quantitative rather than qualitative by the persecution of opponents. In theory those who advocate that liberalism promotes freedom they argue out that the persecution of opponents follow the rule of law. However, it is unfair to be persecuted by the very same law that you are opposed to. Hence it’s clear from the issued arguments that while a democracy grants rights to the majority making it does not safeguard the interest of minorities.

Giving credit where it’s due, liberal representative has gone a long way in ensuring that the freedom of people is granted. Records indicate that an act of terrorism which is in most cases instigated by the feeling that one’s freedom or right has been violated has in most cases been reported in illiberal democracies. Famine also has mostly been reported in countries that do not support this democracy. In most of those countries that exercise liberal democracy accountability and transparency are common. Liberal democracy has been credited with ensuring the freedom of media. The freedom of media is highly recommended due to the reality that once the media is free it acts a watchdog for other rights. This means that the freedom of speech is upheld together with other scores of rights. Liberalism has had a lot of critics on its compatibility with the freedoms even though it’s the very same foundation that it stands on (Salvadori, 112). However, over the decades records have continually showed that the countries that uphold this principle rarely face humanitarian crisis. This leads to a conclusion that liberalism is partially compatible with freedom given the facts that while on one hand records shows that the principle is one of the best politically and on the humanitarian scale questions always arise about the interest of those who holding different opinions.

The issue of equity hangs on the balance; I will start with facts that show how it supports equity. The first and the most solid of all the arguments is the inclusion of all in the election process. The principle advocates that all adults who are citizens of the country should exercise their right to vote. Each and every adult citizen is entitled regardless of their wealth, skin color, or even political affiliation. This promotes equity in that it ensures all citizens are equal their background or even your present notwithstanding. This system has also supported federalism in that power is divided vertically. This ensures that dictatorial regimes are avoided. This only means that the resources of your country will be brought closer to an individual regardless of the area they reside in. Another implication is that your local leader that you voted for gets to rule your locality. This individual is more likely to understand the needs of your locality to greater lengths as opposed to individuals from other areas. The voting according to the system should be free and fair. Furthermore it should be conducted in a secret ballot and participated by multiple political parties. In the end, we see that liberalism partially seems to promote equity within a society.

However, even though the outlined reasons outlined in the previous paragraph suggest that liberal representative democracy promotes equity critics of the same exist. The support of the system in this issue has been dwindling over the decades (Pennock, 32). This is due to the fact that even though the system advocates for voting by every adult not all adults take part in this process. This only means that only the adults who choose to vote get to decide leaders of the country. Another limitation is that most of the self proclaimed liberal democracies do not have the required resources to exercise this democracy (Pennock, 78). These democracies lack franchise such as a ballot box. Another way in which the system fails in promoting equity is by its failure in democracy. It’s noted that the citizens exercise democracy only when voting for the representatives. After the voting is over all the major decisions are made by the voted ruling body. The citizens are not engaged in major decision making. Supporters have cited the impossibility of involving each and every person. However this is violation of democracy where everyone should be involved to promote equity in the decision making. This should be achieved by holding public forums and having referendums on vital issues. Finally, it can be seen that while liberalism tries to promote equity it fails on the major issue, hence it should modified to fit in democracy.

In conclusion it has been seen that liberal representative democracy fails to bring the correct combination of freedom and equity. However it has tried to address the issues remotely which has mainly lead to its failure in this endeavor. Countries are coming up with strategies of trying to fix the system so that it acquires the right proportion. However, it has been seen that though it fails on some part it has help to uphold many aspects in democracies. The granting of human rights has seen the system prevent humanitarian crisis. Finally, a lot needs to be done to improve the status of liberal representative democracy.


Mintz, Close, and Croci Osvaldo. Politics, Power and the Common Good: An Introduction to Political Science. Toronto. Ontario: Pearson Education publishers, 2011. Print.

Urbinati Nadia. Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy. Chicago: University of Chicago publishers. 2008. Print.

Pennock James. Liberal democracy: its merits and prospects. Virginia. University of Virginia Publishers.2008. Print.

Salvadori Massimo. Liberal democracy. Michigan: University of Michigan Publishers. 2006. Print