Politics can very well be defined as the study of who gets what, when and how? The principal reason for such a definition is that politics conflicts between the demands for certain satisfaction and this conflict contributes to the major characteristic of every society. No society can meet all the people’s wants, needs and desires. Resources cannot be distributed in accordance with the relatives bargaining power of its members. Someone or some group must be in a position to guide or explain as to what should be done and how. Thus, many problems whether they are social or economic must be settled politically or by the authoritative decision making process of society. Now the problem which arise here is that, questions of rights and obligations, which will handle a problem politically come in the way when a decision is to be made.
Woodrow Wilson thought that democracy was a universal panacea, the best political system for any country. The word democracy has acquired universal prestige and even countries having dictatorship would want to pass for democracies using terms such as, guided democracy, basic democracy and limited democracy.
Many eminent leaders have defined democracy in their own ways. Abraham Lincoln called it the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Lord Bryce claimed democracy to be nothing more or less than the rule of the whole people expressing their sovereign will by their votes. Clarance Streit said that democracy is government of the totality by the majority for the sake equally of each majority of one.
Democracy is a political doctrine, not a class doctrine. Democracy becomes a class doctrine if it concerns itself only with material interest. But democracy engages itself in politics and thus has everything to do with opinions and material interests. In opinion, a man sometimes makes his decisions while taking into consideration the opinions of many fellow men and sometimes just few individuals and this is the case whether he is a proletarian, bourgeois or a capitalist. Whatever a man maybe, either a thinking animal or an economic animal, he is either a part of the majority or a minority. It is said that a majority is never permanent and even though democracy is regarded as the rule of the people, its practical implication is basically the rule of whoever happens to constitute the majority on every issue, which arises.
Modern democracy assumes that it is the rule by the majority, and though the majority need not be right it should have its way and tackle most of the social problems sensibly. For this majority principle to work successfully it is necessary that discussions must be free, open and candid A.D. Lindsay in his famous book said,
Indecisive wooliness is the curse of much modern democratic thought. Wooliness of thinking, however is not the same thing as conviction about a way of life, which is none the less spiritually deep-seated and practically operative because the ordinary man would find it difficult to formulate in apt and comprehensive words (The Modern (Democratic State, 1943).
The literal equality of men, in body, and attainments is limited to experience and observation. Individuals nowadays hardly seriously maintain these two elements as the foundation of democratic faith. Aristotle surmised it as the most dangerous of fallacies, certain to deliver democracy into the hands of oligarchy and autocracy. Biologically, men have always been profoundly unequal and it is impossible that every society will be so composed that every citizen makes as valuable a contribution to its corporate life as every other.
Classical Conservatism states, “Due to the recondite inclination towards illogical demeanor on the part of humans, superintendence and direction is needed from conventional authorities so that a society can enjoy accord and stableness. Traditional sway should pass along ethical edification through the family, religious establishments and governmental enactment. People should be granted liberty to infract moral ordinance (Frank Meyer, Freedom, Tradition, Conservatism).
The incomprehensible equality of men is a completely different conception. Edmund Burke who was a philosopher and a member of the British Parliament states, in his famous work, the significance of preserving traditions, authority and moral values. In his discussion of political ideology, Burke argues that human nature is not characterized by rational supremacy (Reflections On The Revolution in France, 1987). Burke sees the ability of reasoning in people to be extremely limited and that many individuals do not reason explicitly and are illogical, impulsive and unpredictable. He views people of being incapable of running their lives smoothly by their own decisions. Besides considering men as untenable, Burke also reckons them to be unequal. Since every person is graced with his own natural talent he is also blessed with different levels of abilities. Conservatives like Burke stress on the point that people are dissimilar in terms of their political endowment. Some individuals are better talented in political decision making than others are. According to Burke, “society is best arranged when those who are natural rulers do the ruling. To call for equality in the laws and to demand that all individuals be placed on the same level of decision making would be erroneous” (Reflections On The Revolution in France, 1987).
Unlike classical conservatism, Classical Liberalism argues in favor of the idea that people are equal in terms of custody of natural rights to life, rights of individuals, liberty and property. Classical Liberalism may be explained as a doctrine that attempts to guarantee personal autonomy in a society that has been set up on laws of just conduct. Hence, classical liberal evaluates equal treatment under law equally eminent as liberty. According to Friedrich A. Hayek,
The most important of the crucial terms on which the meaning of the classical formulae of liberal constitution turned was the term Law. To the founders of constitutionalism the term Law had had a very precise narrow meaning. Only from limiting government by law in this sense was protection of individual liberty expected.
The philosophers of law in the nineteenth century finally defined it as rules regulating the conduct of persons towards others, applicable to an unknown number of future instances and containing prohibitions delimiting, but of course not specifying the boundaries of the protected domain of all persons and organized groups (The Road To Serfdom, Chapter 9, Pg. 132).
Classical liberalism includes the following characteristics, an ethical emphasis on the individual as a rights-bearer prior to the existence of any state, community, or society. The support of the right of property carried to its economic conclusion, a free-market system. The desire for a limited constitutional government to protect individuals’ rights from others and from its own expansion. The universal applicability of these above convictions (Amy Sturgis, The Rise, Decline
And Reemergence Of Classical Liberalism).
Robert Nozick astounded the liberal and the non-liberal communities after publishing his Anarchy, State and Utopia in 1974. In his book he criticized John Rawl and his book, in which he advocates mixed economy socialism as social policies chosen behind a veil of ignorance. Nozick criticizes Rawl, who stated that people do not possess the right to use their natural rights. Nozick avers the framework for a meta-utopia in which people might work together to form communities of free entry and exit. Members of these associations might choose to pact away certain rights in return of receiving certain services. These emerging communities might not be completely liberal. With the option of exit ever present, however, each association must remain true to its contract and accountable to its members (Amy Sturgis, The Rise, Decline And Reemergence Of Classical Liberalism).
Socialism is a political concept, which almost all democratic countries uphold. Socialism as a power is thought to begin with Marx in Europe. It is true that before Marx’s time there existed socialist theories, both in England and in France. During the revolution of 1848, socialism gained a lot of momentum in France.
Socialism is essentially an economic doctrine; the essence of socialism is the advocacy of communal ownership of land and capital. Communal ownership may mean ownership by a democratic state, but cannot be held to include ownership by any state, which is not democratic. Some socialists expect communal ownership to arrive suddenly and completely by a violent revolution, while other expect it to come gradually. Some insist upon the necessity of completeness in the acquisition of land and capital by the state, while others would not mind pockets of private ownership here and there. While all forms of socialism have democracy in common and the abolition, virtual or complete, of the present capitalistic system. Further more socialism emphasizes that present wages system is a means of exploiting the laborer in the interest of the working class, and hold that communal ownership in one form or another is the only means of bringing freedom to the producers.
Thus socialism emphasizes on the eradication of poverty by bridging the gulf between the haves and the have-nots and through the prevention and the exploitation of the working…