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What are the pros and cons of democracy?
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Information is kept from voters in a democracy

From general misinformation to propaganda and post-truth politics, politicians use less-than-honest tactics to manipulate voters into voting for them and their policies.


Democracy was first imagineered in ancient Greece by the leader of Athens, Cleisthenes, as a way in which the people could rule instead of being ruled. Equality was at the heart of the philosophy of democracy, and a new form of government took shape which would forever change the world. It was seen as the fairest and most ethical way to govern a nation and its people. For many centuries, democracy has become widespread among developed nations, being both promoted peacefully and by force. But today the debate rages as to whether or not democracy is really the golden form of government that it has long been made out to be. Does democracy really work? Do the pros outweigh the cons, or is democracy an inefficient and fallible system? With the tumultuous 2020 U.S. presidential election nearing the boiling point, this question is being asked now more than ever: What are the pros and cons of democracy?

The Argument

Truth and facts are vital pieces of information that voters need to make informed decisions, but politicians will use every tactic in the book to subvert the truth and hide their true agendas from the public. In the modern age, politicians rely on their supporters via social media to spread misinformation and propaganda quickly[1]. They use datamining and analytics to research what voters want to hear.[2] And they use post-truth politics to distract voters from real issues by appealing instead to emotions during debates.[3] Most politicians have hidden agendas that they don't want voters to be privy to, because nine times out of ten, those hidden agendas would make voters think twice about who they cast their ballot for. In post-truth politics especially, they will focus only on things that people will react to emotionally instead of rationally, riding the high of their elevated emotions to distract them from the most crucial issues. They will mudsling, calling attention to every little flaw in their opponent, especially those of moral consequence which have little to no bearing on the real issues that the people face, such as in the case of Cal Cunningham's sexting scandal.[4] A person might have brilliant insight into current issues, and have a plan in mind to solve some of society's problems; but an attack on their personal lives prevents them from enacting a plan that could help thousands, if not more. In some cases politicians hide vital information, like the spread of Covid occurring much sooner than originally reported,[5] presumably to sweep under the rug that they could have acted sooner on containing and studying the pandemic virus. Politicians would obviously not want this getting out, because it would sour voters from voting for them. Democracies allow for these kinds of deceitful tactics to flourish during a dire time where truth and facts are more important than ever for a voter to have. How many crooks will we vote into our government because we do not have all of the facts? How many problems will society face, and how many people will suffer due to the hidden and often self-serving agendas of the privileged elite?

Counter arguments

Politicians do focus on the most emotionally-charged issues at hand, because these are--understandably--the issues that are most important to people at the time; such as Covid in 2020. In a democracy, the people decide what issues need to be focused on, and politicians respond to those concerns. Post-truth politics is nothing new. We aren't somehow magically finding ourselves in a new, modern age where the truth has suddenly become a fleeting thing; politicians have been using these kinds of tactics for centuries. What is perhaps more modern is the fact that there is so much distrust of politicians in this day and age.[6] And while many politicians will use dishonest tactics to gain votes, democracy has checks and balances in play that hold politicians accountable for their actions. Governors, mayors, judges, etc. can all be removed from office. Even the president of the United States can be impeached.[7] Democracies are also not the only form of government to engage in shady political practices. In fact, it is more prevalent in governments like dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, where a single entity is pursuing their own self-interest at the expense of the people. At least in a democracy, the government can be held accountable for any lies and trickery used during elections. It is in the power of the people, and if they remain complacent and choose not to pursue justice, then that is their choice. Democracy isn't at fault in spreading misinformation and hiding facts. Human nature is.



[P1] Politicians use dishonest tactics to gain votes. [P2] Democracy allows politicians to hide vital information from voters.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] Some politicians may use dishonest tactics to gain votes, but democracies allow for them to be voted out. [P2] Democracy gives us the means to hold politicians accountable for mistruths.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 16:06 UTC

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