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Limitations of Democracy

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Winston Churchill.

This rather famous quote holds a paradox of the western democratic model of governance. On one hand, the quote readily admits the system has inherent flaws, yet on the other hand, it suggests that western democracy cannot be changed. And this leads to another paradox: why is it then that we remain content with a system that has so many flaws?

In this chapter, I will be discussing the flaws. In doing so, many readers will assume that I am very critical about western democracy. I should make it clear that I consider myself being very blessed to have been born and raised in Canada in the last half of the 20th century. When I compare the opportunities I have had to the opportunities I could have had if I had been born in other times or places, it's not hard for me to imagine that I would not have acquired the education, experience, time, resources, or outlook to write a book such as this. In essence, my abilities are due, in a large part, to western democracy being able to unlock my human potential.

The reader could also conclude that I am against “politicians” in general. On the contrary; I feel that many of these people have a difficult and thankless job to do and are not paid enough for the sacrifices they make to serve in public office. Politicians—and the volunteers that work for the political parties—are an important part of the democratic process. Without elected politicians as our decision-makers, I believe the alternative of living in a dictatorship or anarchy would not have been conducive to writing a book like this. I also believe that many of our current politicians, with their high commitment of public service, will still find their way into the replacement system of governance that I will be suggesting in the next chapter.

To begin discussion, this chapter lists many of the limitations of democracy. Many readers will find nothing new here for the limitations are easily understood. But perhaps it's a first for many readers to see all these limitations in one place.


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© 2009 Dave Volek.
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