Democracy in Action
Rogelio Simon Jr. 152393
Democracy in Action
“Can democracies protect the public at large – unorganized individuals—against well-organized special interests?” a line or rather a question from Alan Ryan’s On Politics: A History of Political Thought: From Herodotus to the Present, the question that which plagues all modern democracies and somehow the foundation of this paper (2012).
Now we already know what democracies are, its aspects, components, and purposes, and how it holds its rulers accountable for their action in the public realm, who are also acting through competition and coordination, and how it helps the betterment of its citizens (Miranda, 2011). But that is a rather very superficial definition and only gives us a clear distinction on what democracies, liberal democracies, are today we with this paper we will know what they ought to be.
We must break down Ryan’s question to understand what it is asking before we can answer it. The first part is the public at large. Now what is the individual? According to Flathman, individuals are those parts of groups or other entities larger than individuals and they treat individuating characteristics as functions of group life. That means that any individual, person, or citizen is part of a larger class or strata that treat their own individual actions and personalities as a contribution to the so called class (1992). But what if these individuals are unorganized, According to Ryan, these are the less-off, the incompetent many, the people that will not unite due to differing ideas and interests, thus they are the public at large, which represents the public as a whole, a body of differing interests and goals (2012). But, according to Rousseau, Swiss-Born French Philosopher (Cranston, 2017), everyone submits himself to the General Will, that which considers only the common interest, whereas the will of all is just the sum of particular wills; therefore it takes private interest into account, so even though they are not united per se, they are still part of a whole, that which wants to achieve a common goal or good (general will) (Ebenstein & Ebenstein, 2013).
Now what is the second part, the well-organized special interests? According to Ryan, we could assume or infer that these special interests are the goals and ambitions of the “well-off”, the adept elites or rather the politician/s, at least in previous Athenian standards, that has the majority of influence and economic power in society that which they can influence and/or “exploit” the less-off, the masses to do these “special interests”. In other words, these are the plans and goals of modern day statesmen and politicians that require the active participation of the people, either for their good or for the bad (2012).