Liberal Democracy vs Social Democracy

Topics: Democracy, Socialism, Liberalism Pages: 7 (2375 words) Published: May 5, 2014

The essay to follow will discuss what is meant by liberal democracy. The term will be defined and further discussed. In addition, it will be contrasted with that of a socialist democracy. This democratic system will be defined in political terms with reference to valid examples as too will liberal democracy.  

The following essay is based on a contrast between liberal and socialist democracy from a political perspective. An analysis of the terms, concepts and the question will then follow. In addition, reference will be made to current examples such as that of the USA, Great Britain, and Chile as evidence for each type of democracy that is being examined. Furthermore, key issues that will be discussed in this paper consist of democracy as a whole, negative and positive freedom within a liberal democracy, and the failure of socialism in the third world. Furthermore this essay will prove that Sweden is not a socialist democracy.

In order to contrast liberal and socialist democracy one must first hold an understanding of what each term means. In order to go about understanding these terms, it is important to first understand what democracy. In simple terms, democracy can be defined as the rule of the people. A democracy is about the people who come together to decide on laws. And according to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of 1863, democracy links government to the people as he stated that democracy is a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Heywood, 2014). Universal suffrage plays a role in deciding these laws. This term is understood as the right of almost all adults to vote in political elections. Depending on the country, there are different requirements which have to be fulfilled. In the Philippines, citizens have to be at least eighteen years of age, and have to have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the region wherein they wish to vote, for at least six months prior to the election (Castillo, 2011).

There is not always collective decision-making within every democracy. Zimbabwe for one claims to be a “democracy” based on the will of the people with a leader who claims to a monopoly of ideological wisdom but there isn’t collective decision making. Whereas it really is a totalitarian democracy in which there is absolute dictatorship that pretends to be a democracy. Also here, which is a republic version of democracy, where you elect representatives to make decisions on your behalf.

The scope of a democracy defines what should fall under the sovereignty of life, and divides the liberals from the socialists. Heywood (2013) states that liberalism is “the ideology of the industrialized West”. By this Heywood means that liberalism is a classical ideology that supports social progression and the changing of laws through reform rather than through a revolution. The individual is the primary focus of liberalism, not of revolution. Consequently we can understand liberal democracy as a modern form of governance that denies that popular rule is the ultimate political rule. Leaders are elected by the collective to govern the entity on behalf of the community. In South Africa not all leaders declare voted for by the collective due to the fact that there are provisional elections that are only open to those citizens residing in that province, such as you could not vote in Cape Town if you live in Gauteng. But you choose to vote for an overall party during the elections based on the rule of the law and therefore the election is free and fair (Yufo, 2008).

Great Britain is an example of a state which has a liberal democracy even though it is also a monarchy (Evolution News, 2014). It is considered a laissez-faire liberalism in that the Government are free to do as they choose for up to 5 years before the next free and fair democratic election The British declaration political settlement of 1688 is evidence that Great Britain became the first liberal state...

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