Critique Of American Democracy Essay, Research Paper
The introspective argument produced by Alexis De Tocqueville in his literary work entitled Democracy in America of the American democratic system is both cynical and enlightening. His prospective as a Frenchman on the bureaucracy of this nation cast new light on a government that is proclaimed to be superior then all others. How persuasive his arguments are that any American citizen who has had the privilege to read this transcription must question the convention of democracy. Analytically approached, a response shall be given to agree or disagree with Tocqueville?s remarks. Alexis is far more knowledgeable but an effort will be given to advocate democracy and give credit to the statements that are true.
To be addressed first is a passage that claims the brightest of Americans are silent in the democratic process. The founding forefathers were brilliant individuals who had the education and intellect to establish the Constitution that for over 200 years has satisfied the needs of the populous. Politically the most able persons hold the high rank of public office. Of course the geniuses of our society endeavor into different fields that they hold interest in. There is a consensus that politics is not as lucrative to able persons because of the bureaucratic framework. Blame for this should not rest in the theory of democracy however in the bureaucratic nature of its application. Admittedly, immoral individuals occupy many offices in the administration of democracy but this can be attributed to the rights of free will. Unfortunately, when elections take place it is not a decision of whom is the best candidate for the job but rather who is the better of the two. Election of that individual may bring corruption and self-ambition but who can determine the outcome. The greatest flaw in the democratic system is that those who elect are often times not fully knowledgeable on what each hopeful elect brings to the respected position. This is a fact that Alexis?s makes light of and unfortunately cannot be denied. As a citizen of a nation the majority would rather dictate their destiny rather than to relinquish that power and be subservient to one man or few elite persons. Toqueville agrees when he says, ?Freedom, on the contrary, produces far more goods than it destroys.? He then talks about payment incurred by officials and the power of taxation.
The question is raised who should levy taxes: high, middle, or lower socioeconomic classes. The higher income classes will push for low taxes on the basis of not taking money out of their own pockets. These individuals primary ambition is to make as much money as possible to raise personal status and/or to gain power. Pertaining to the middle class who only strive to make a descent living taxes should be moderate and inclining from the bottom up. This makes sense because taxes should be proportionate to the income of a household rather than a flat tax rate. A dollar means more to the middle and lower classes than it would to the upper class. The lower class would be a proponent of no tax or tax of the upper class on the premise that the upper class has more to give than they would. Furthermore, the money that the upper class enjoys is due to the labor of the lower class. This should entitle the lower class for assistance in raising their standard of living. The formation of this nation was based on free enterprise and self-ambition but not to forget a fair an equal country, also. To satisfy both ends of the spectrum in economic and social affairs a compromise must be made. To allow the wealth gap to widen would lead to the lower class resenting the institution of government and anarchy would ensue.
To take the point further an agreement can be made with Alexis?s that freedom allows for sentiment to rise above reason in America. Tocqueville makes the statement that a democratic government is sufficient in times of peace but susceptible to overthrow during times of strife. This is the essence of democracy that by allowing free speech, expression, and arbitration difficulties shall be avoided altogether. Under the circumstance that agitation among the nation would occur the elected bodies would give guidance for the country. To extract the emotion and feeling from a nation as Alexis?s proposes would give a country no identity and social progress would flounder. Who is to say that unrest is wrong in a society when the feelings behind the issue pursue bettering the future?
Alexis Tocqueville, ethnocentric in view, perceives aristocracy as a ?firm and enlightened body that never dies.? My inhibition about an aristocratic society is that the elite governing body is removed from public influence. Also, customs are made and the aristocratic government is reluctant to change as generations pass. His antagonistic candor relating democracy as stifling to the will and soul of its? citizens fails logic. The will and soul of each and every citizen is free to be spoken. If the majority fails to agree with that person has their will not been expressed? As compared to aristocracy which does not lend an ear to citizen concern. An elite few presumably contain all wisdom and assume responsibility for governing. What soul is not snuffed by the realization that they are meaningless to governing their own lives and mere tokens of a small elite group? Tocqueville makes the analogy that what is the difference between tyranny by one than of tyranny by majority? The same is greatly apparent by rule of aristocracy. Yes, the flexibility of American laws allows for constant revision but it is imperative to the survival of the nation. As long as popular vote dictates amendments ratified how does this undermine the institution of democracy. There should be fear in an aristocratic system when popular sentiment goes against a law because the only avenue for expressed disapproval is to revolt. To carry the point one step further, Americans have more patriotism than elected officials do because the administration of democracy is just an extension of the people; not a separate entity. Lastly, American society is not perfect so presuming elected officials are would in essence make them superior, which they are not, in a country that attests to the ideal that officials are a reflection of who they represent.
Alexis Tocqueville casts his opinions on American democracy and opinion has been cast back upon him. Assuredly, Tocqueville cannot fully comprehend what being American means. To be granted the opportunity, if so desired, to participate in the process of government is a right endeared to all citizens. Free will to live life under perimeters set by your fellow Americans is far easier to adhere to than laws passed down by an exclusive few. Democracy in America can be commended on its sociological commentary, but Tocqueville was unable to comprehend the essence of Freedom. Mistakes will be made in the process of democracy but the joy of it is that the institution of democracy allows the correction and strengthening of a nation.