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What is the position of a citizen in a modern liberal democracy?

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What is the position of a citizen in a modern liberal democracy? A modern liberal democracy is the common title given to those states which broadly follow a liberal tradition that can be traced back to the eighteenth century. There are two central principles, or requirements, of a liberal democracy. Firstly the government (central governing body) must be based on the consent of the people, secondly, that this central governing body is responsible for the people of its state. Examples of additions to this basic principle of liberal democracy, thus making it more acceptable in a more modern world, are things like broadening the franchise (broadening the range of people that decide the government.) In all states or societies, systems may vary. However, there are several basic principles that must be maintained in all liberal democracies. The principles are outlined below. Firstly, as stated above, the people must elect the governing body. These elections must be regular so that the people can have opportunities to change the governing body if they do not think the current is performing very well. ...read more.


In a liberal democracy the rights of citizen's should be enjoyed equally throughout the community (no dependence or financial or professional status.) There are obviously exceptions to this rule too. When people are put in jail, they are said to loose their freedom, and therefore their rights. They regain these rights when they are set free of prison and are said to have regained their freedom. A wide variety of beliefs should be tolerated, providing they do not threaten the peace of the community and existence of the state. People should be free to worship (right to worship,) without interference or hostility. It is believed that the variety of culture, religion and ethnic backgrounds in such communities, are what makes them thrive. In such modern liberal democratic systems, citizens can benefit from the ideas and experience of hundreds of different cultures. The governing body itself is also subjected to its own laws i.e. should not attempt to place itself above the law and should not act in an arbitrary fashion. ...read more.


Clause 3: You can only elect a government, you cannot, from that point on, directly influence or completely control what that government chooses to do with its powers. In conclusion, citizens in modern liberal democracies have number of rights and entitlements that allow them to live their lives freely to the extent that society may run smoothly. If everyone did exactly what he or she wanted, nothing would get done. If the people made all political decisions, the basis behind these decisions would not necessarily be properly informed and it is likely no solid conclusion would be made as everyone would disagree-hence representation. As I have said, although people cannot completely control or influence the activities of a government once it has been elected, people know that when voting, they are placing their trust in a particular party to make decisions for them, incorporating public opinion. Thus I believe that the position of a citizen in a modern liberal democratic system is fortunate, fair and a trustworthy system to have. Charlie Matthews 12CAS 06/05/2007 1 of 2 ...read more.

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