Political Culture: Democracy and Civil Societies Essay (Critical Writing)
Political culture, civil society and the rule of law are the factors which form the foundation of democracy and greatly help in sustaining it. In this essay, my argument is that civil societies form the cornerstone for democratization.
Democracy is viewed as a form of governance whereby the people decide how they are governed (Diamond, 2008). The essential factor in democracy is that the people governed control how they are governed, that is, they must be in control of the governing institutions. It may also be said that they delegate their power to govern to some institutions, for instance the presidency, the senate, and expect that such institutions will run the business of governing in a manner that is consistency with their (the people’s) beliefs. Democracy, therefore, is a system that allows people to put others in governing positions on a regular basis.
A civil society can be viewed as an association that is interested in advancing members’ interests. Civil societies usually take the form of non-governmental organizations and their main aim is the defense of members’ interests. These societies are also very significant in creating awareness of issues relevant to the interests of the members and therefore more often than not they engage in educating members on issues affecting them directly and indirectly (Diamond, 2008).
On the issue of governance, civil societies can act as whistle blowers. They can effectively inform members on wrong governance and propose remedies. Civil societies can question government actions and bring to light back stage government activities. All these actions by civil societies go a long way to form an informed citizenry. If the citizens are well informed on their rights, then they are likely to stand up for their rights. Civil societies are therefore important in ensuring that the citizens are well informed on issues to do with rule of law and correct political culture orientation. The correct understanding that rule of law applies to all people and the need to have the correct political culture orientation form the very basis for democratization. Therefore, a civil society is indeed the cornerstone of democratization.
Rule of Law
The existence of a rule of law in a society does not indicate the existence of democracy. Dictatorship does not uphold rule of law because dictators assume they are above the law. Nevertheless, other forms of governance, for instance monarchies, may uphold the rule of law but yet they may not be considered to be democracies because they may not govern the society in the interest of the people (Diamond, 2008).
The correct political culture is important for democratization to be initiated. If a society assumes that politics is a dirty game and therefore people can rig elections, then democratization cannot be fostered but if the society understands that politics should be fair then democratization will be fostered (Diamond, 2008).
A civil society is a very significant element in ensuring that democracy is upheld in a society. Civil societies help in championing the interests of the members. They enable the members to understand their rights and educate them on how to fight for their rights. These societies therefore create an informed public. An informed public will develop the correct political culture orientation and will quickly point out when the rule of law is not being applied equally. These will significantly help in democratization of a society.
Diamond, L. (2008). Spirit of Democracy. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company.
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