Flaws of US democracy Assignment

Flaws of US democracy Assignment Words: 1732

In the united States serves as a model for many other nations, it has many flaws that choke its true potential. Some authors, like Carl Schmitt would argue that from its outset, democracy in America is inherently flawed, while others like Thomas Jefferson believe that simple adjustments should be made for a more efficient democracy. It is important for the flaws and challenges that plague democracy In American democracy to be addressed, as there are many. It Is particularly important to address those challenges if they are some of the essential components of a true democracy.

Open discussion, for example, is an important part of democracy, yet here in the united States we have fallen short of the standard. Another challenge U. S democracy faces Is the fact that the government is not as representative of the people as it should be. One of the central components of democracy is supposed to be open discussion and deliberation. In fact, Habermas argued that this is the foundation that a democracy should be built upon. In his writings, he goes in depth about the theory of communicative action. which explores the role of communication.

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It is used to achieve mutual understanding and he xplains that In communicating with others we hope to reach a consensus. Carl Schmitt had the same idea and felt that discussion is a fundamental principle of democracy. Schmitt suggest that the essence of parliament is “public deliberation of argument and counterargument, public debate and public discussion (Schmitt 34)”. When members of parliament come together they should have open minds and be prepared to exchange rational arguments. Democracy In America Is does not meet the reasonable standard that both Habermas and Schmitt have set.

To Schmitt the reality of democracy in America involves talk but no real discussion. Members of parliament are not In any real pursuit of truth and Justice, and discussion has just become “merely a faqade” with no real meaning (Schmitt 49). There isn’t a forum for open discussion with mutual reason giving, and most things happen behind doors and the public is not able to take part in these discussions. Some of the reasons for this are the paucity of demands put on people as citizens. Habermas argues that compared to other democracies, liberal or constitutional democracies like the one In the united Sates, demands very little.

Citizen’s main duty is voting and they are not oncerned with much else, therefore they themselves don’t get Involved with deliberation nor do they demand it from their representatives. As far as politicians are concerned, Schmitt concludes that their lack of deliberation and meaningful discourse Is due to their preoccupation with trying to win. The problem is that interest groups who want to promote their own opinions capture the whole system; they are not concerned with being persuaded by other ideas and arguments Without open discussion American democracy suffers.

Firstly, open discussion guarantees truth and Justice (Schmitt 49). According to Schmitt, historically, It “seemed to be essential and 49). With open discussion force is not used but the weight of the reasoning is the ultimate decider and Justice prevails, people cannot take advantage of one another if proper reasoning is used. He also mentions that without open discussion there is a risk of backroom deals, and public knowledge (Schmitt 50). For Habermas, the issue is if there is no open discussion, then legitimacy is not conferred to decisions, and there is no “fair bargaining process (Habermas 24)”.

If people are not given reasons and Justifications or decisions then there is no moral weight to them, and the losing side may not be able to accept the decisions as legitimate. In democracies decisions making should not Just be an empty formality based on “previous convergence of settles ethical convictions”, but it needs to draw its legitimacy from rational arguments with the “better arguments” prevailing (Habermas 24). Another challenge that democracy faces in the United States is the lack of representativeness in government.

According to the constitution, every single state, no matter what the population is gets 2 enators. Even small states like Delaware, Rhode Island and Wyoming, get as many senators as a big state like Florida. Levinson complains that only twelve states represent “almost a full quarter of the senate”, and the total population of those states is less than 5%(Levinson). The rest of the population in larger states is not equally represented. What this means for the larger states and the larger population is that the interest of the smaller states get better represented.

The senators from the smaller states have more motives to focus on the exiguous issues concerning the ulk of their constituents (Levinson 53). The problem with the small states interest being advanced disproportionately to those of the larger states is that the interest of the smaller states is usually agrarian in nature. Levinson gave an example of one of the smaller states issues that involved “subsidies for growing wheat or corn” and “transforming corn into ethanol (Levinson 54).

The smaller states “excess of power” allow these issues to be well promoted, versus larger states that cannot focus solely on one issue given that their constituents are more diverse and they cannot only upport certain kinds of issues that only affect some of their constituents. Levinson also addresses the problem of the redistribution of wealth that occurs from the larger states to the smaller ones. The minority also has the power of the filibuster so they can hold up important legislation for their own purposes. Another way that our government is unrepresentative is the way the Judiciary is made up, specifically the Supreme Court.

According to the constitution, Supreme Court Justices ” shall hold their offices during good behaviour (Levinson 125)”. This clause has been interpreted o mean that the Justices are able to serve for life, and many of them have done Just about that. Even when Chief Justice Rehnquist was in “failing health” he still served on the Supreme Court. The problem with life tenure is that there are still Justices on the supreme court that were elected 30 years ago, and that means that they still have ideals from back then.

The experiences they had growing up, and the issues that were important in their younger days are much different than the issues America is facing now. The older the Justices are, the less in tune they will be with the current ssues, especially issues facing young people. They do not hold many of the same ideals as modern Americans because many of them are much older than the average American and “their formative adult experiences took place forty years earlier in a society often unrecognizable in the present (Levinson 130)”.

The Supreme Court is also unrepresentative in that it is skewed to the right. Republican presidents chose many of the Supreme Court Justices. In fact, Jimmy Carter did not get to elect a Justice justices. While there is no perfect answer to resolve all the issues that characterize emocracy, some changes can be implemented so that our democracy can better serve its purpose. To address the lack of open discussion and debate I believe that we should take from Habermas ideal of a deliberative democracy that emphasizes the role of deliberation in a democracy.

This way people can more readily accept decisions because they will have moral weight based on reasons. If each side is allowed to voice their opinion through reason giving then it is “a fair bargaining process”. We should also require that government discussions, like those of congress, be more open to the public. It would mean that the public would need to demand this type of transparency, by suggesting an amendment to the constitution calling for more public involvement where that is concerned.

The public should be able to monitor what the government is doing, and be able to hear the different arguments and reasoning’s so that they may accept decisions as legitimate. There should also be rules that govern the deliberative process. One party or person should not Just be able to dominate the whole process, nor should any decision be made without the consent of every one, and if someone does disagree they must explain why, and the thers must continue to give their reasonings in order to persuade the dissenter. Discussion in “parliament” should not Just be a sham but should have real meaning.

To confront the issue of representativeness, I believe there needs to be constitutional changes made. There should be more specific language concerning the tenure of the Supreme Court members. The ambiguous “good behaviour” clause should be changed to a fixed term of 10-15 years like professor LaRue suggest in Levinson’s book. His reasoning is that Justices ” do their best work during the period of their fifth to tenth years (Levinson 135)”. This improvement to the constitution would help to prevent the republican advantage in the Court.

Since a Justice would serve a maximum of 1 5 years, presidents wouldn’t have as much incentive to choose younger justices so that their party has a longer hold in the Supreme Court and the wouldn’t in effect “lock up” the court (Levinson 136). The constitution should also be changed so that smaller states get a smaller number of representatives in the senate. Each of the small states should only get one representative since they make up such a small portion of the population. They should not be able to have an advantage over larger states.

If the above changes were to be implemented they would only address few of the many problems of democracy in America. I think that Levinson has a good point in that our constitution is inherently flawed. That is why we have the issue of lack of open discussion and a lack of true representation. We cannot hope to remedy the many problems that our constitution, bred out of undemocratic conditions, has caused. The founding fathers had their many flaws and in the same way that Supreme Court Justices should not serve for life because of changing times and deas, a constitution written hundreds of years ago should not be the ruling document forever.

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Flaws of US democracy Assignment. (2018, Sep 28). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://anyassignment.com/social-science/flaws-of-us-democracy-assignment-38907/