Democracy (from Greek demos "common people" + kratos "rule, strength") is a form of government.
Different terms and meanings
Some Ancient Greek philosophers viewed democracy as differing from monarchy / tyranny (rule by a single individual) and oligarchy / aristocracy (rule by a few). Democracy could be viewed as one of the good forms of government, contrasted with ochlocracy (mob rule).
The term "democracy" has been applied to many different forms of government. Communist states describe themselves as "democratic" (while outsiders usually view them as oligarchies and autocracies). There are few countries that today do not officially describe themselves as democracies.
One differing characteristic between democratic systems is the degree of direct democracy vs. representative democracy. At least previously, direct democracy, making decisions by direct voting by all the citizens, was only possible in relatively small communities. Electing representatives, who theoretically should transmit the will of the whole population, may create various changes, some possibly positive, such as those elected possibly having higher average IQ than the general population, some possibly negative, such as influences from bribery, "donations", and lobbying.
A "liberal democracy" is a representative democracy, in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and moderated by a constitution or laws that emphasize the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and that places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities. In many cases, when the term "democracy" is used without qualifier, the intended meaning is actually "liberal democracy".
Criticisms of (liberal) democracy
Criticisms of (liberal) democracy include that certain groups, such as the wealthy and/or the media, may have undue influence, in effect meaning that the actual system is an oligarchy.
Another criticism is by arguing that voters are highly uninformed about many political issues. They may be influenced by incorrect propaganda and emotional manipulations. A less politically correct aspect is that many voters have low IQ.
Research has found that partial democracies on some variables may be worse than authoritarian states. One example is research finding that partially democratic regimes have a higher risk of civil war than both highly democratic and highly authoritarian regimes.
Democracy and ethnic heterogeneity
That democracy (or certain forms of democracy) can function well in ethnically heterogeneous countries has been questioned. Singapore's leader Lee Kuan Yew, accused of supporting an authoritarian form of government, stated in a 2005 interview: "Why should I be against democracy? The British came here, never gave me democracy, except when they were about to leave. But I cannot run my system based on their rules. I have to amend it to fit my people's position. In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I'd run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them."
John Stuart Mill: "Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities.” This because when a society is composed of “a people without fellow-feeling . . . the united public opinion necessary to the working of representative government cannot exist."
See also the Political spectrum article, in particular the sections "Ethnic homogeneity/heterogeneity" and "Increasing polarization," on aspects such as increasing political polarization in the United States, argued to be related to the increasing ethnic heterogeneity. Race now outweighs all other demographic divides regarding which party to vote for, with factors such as income not even coming close.
Democracy and average IQ
Another aspect is related to countries and intelligence. The 2009 book Limits to democratization stated that "all nations do not have equal chances to establish and maintain democratic systems. A central conclusion is that it is probably never possible to achieve the same level and quality of democracy in all countries of the world".
Several IQ researchers have expressed very pessimistic views regarding the future of Western civilization and democracy, due to mass immigration of low-IQ groups and other dysgenic trends. See Dysgenics: Pessimism regarding the future of Western civilization .
Democratic peace theory
See the article on the Democratic peace theory.
- Hegre, H. (2001, March). Toward a democratic civil peace? Democracy, political change, and civil war, 1816–1992. In American Political Science Association (Vol. 95, No. 01, pp. 33-48). Cambridge University Press. https://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=92181&fileId=S0003055401000119
- SPIEGEL Interview with Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew: "It's Stupid to be Afraid" http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/spiegel-interview-with-singapore-s-lee-kuan-yew-it-s-stupid-to-be-afraid-a-369128.html
- What We Owe Our People https://www.amren.com/news/2017/11/what-we-owe-our-people/
- Tatu Vanhanen. (2009) The Limits of Democratization: Climate, Intelligence, and Resource Distribution. Atlanta, GA: Washington Summit Publishers.