Democracy is the most popular system of governsnce in the world, and the practices of many countries showed that the democratic principles have a positive effect on people’s well-being. What are the four pillars of democracy?
What is democracy?
Democracy is widely defined as “rule of the people” since it derives from the Greek word “demokratia”, which consists of two parts meaning “people” and “rule”. Nowadays, democracy is a common practice in most of the countries of the world, and there are plenty of different ways to implement democracy. This system has been around since the Ancient Greek times.
There are four basic principles of democracy, which are also commonly called pillars of democracy. The order of democracy in the country foresees these main principles being followed and implemented.
What is the four pillars of democracy?
Since the main definition of democracy is “the rule of people”, this order has to represent the people and their major needs. It has to establish certain rules and follow them. The democratic society can make laws directly or with the help of elected representatives. If the representative fails to keep up with people’s wishes, they have a right to choose a different one next time.
Democracy consists of four main pillars that ensure the freedoms and rights of people who live in the democratic society. 4 pillars of democracy are justice, equity, freedom, and representation. The four powerful pillars of democracy are meant to keep the democratic society in order. Now, let’s have a look at these principles and find out what are they all about.
Justice is a theory of fairness, which focuses on the needs of those who suffered from various wrongdoings and punishing those who deliberately caused harm to the society. For this, the proper laws should be implemented in the country, and they have to make sure that every person, regardless of their social background, race or gender is treated equally and fairly, as the law assumes. There are the following aspects of justice:
- Criminal justice – justice against those people who have committed the crime. The democratic country needs to have a fair and unbiased criminal justice system, which purposes are to identify the criminals who brake the law, catch and punish them. The government does not have the right to punish people without investigation.
- Retributive justice – the concept of justice which suggests that the most appropriate response to the crime is the punishment which is proportional to the amount of offense. For example, the person who stole something from the store and the person who murdered someone have to receive a different degree of punishment.
Equity is the concept of justice and fairness between society and individual, which foresees the equal distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges. Social equity is important in the democratic society because one of the main concepts of it is treating every person in the same respectful way. Discrimination by gender, race, religion or other aspects, as well as prejudice against the various minorities, is not a part of a healthy democratic society. Equity is the equality of the opportunities, and every democratic order has to pay special attention to giving the equal rights to every citizen, ensuring that they have a chance to become what they want to become.
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Freedom is one of the most essential parts of every society that wants to identify as democratic because it is the main factor that differentiates democracy from authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
Freedom is usually defined as the power to speak, think, and act how the person wants, without restraints from the controlling government. Every person has to possess the fundamental rights, which are fundamental to building a society or culture. As the history has shown us on a regular basis, the infringement and violation of people’s rights have resulted in public dissatisfaction with the government and large societal conflicts.
The basic rights are life, choice, vote, strike, phone call, equal treatment according to the law, getting married, peace, etc. People must have a right to express themselves freely, to keep privacy, to remain silent, the rights of property and the body rights. If the violation of the basic human rights occurs, the person also has a right to turn to the protection means, such as going to the court and suing the violator.
The concept of freedom also means that every person has a right to believe in what they want, speak their mind, go wherever they want, and not getting in trouble for it as long as they remain peaceful in relation to other people and the society. Some of the major freedoms are:
- Freedom of assembly – the freedom for a group of people to express, promote and defend their ideas.
- Freedom of choice – the freedom to perform the choice from two or more options without the influence or pressure from any external parties.
- Freedom of speech – the freedom for people to express their mind and ideas without the fear of punishment and censorship.
- Economic freedom – the freedom to take economic actions of one’s choice.
- Academic freedom –the freedom to save, get and share various information without the fear of repression, discrimination or loss of job.
- Freedom of the press – the freedom of sharing opinions in the printing issues, without the interference from the government.
- Freedom of religion – the freedom of teaching, practicing and observing various religious beliefs.
All the freedoms are valid, as long as it does not cause severe discomfort and harm to other people and their fundamental rights.
This principle of democracy means that every citizen has to possess the opportunity to vote for their representatives in the government. Every person has their own political views that they should freely express, and electing the representatives is a practical implementation of these views. All the groups of a population should have the right to vote, and if someone’s rights to elect their candidates are restricted, this is not a sign of democracy.
Usually, people are unable to voice their own opinion in non-democratic countries, so the lack of representation is the complete opposite of democratic ideas. Since the citizens live in the country, each one of them should have the freedom to decide the country’s future.
These pillars of democracy are the main basis for the insurance of people’s rights and freedoms. They are the key to a successful democratic society where all the citizens are treated equally and respectfully. We hope that someday the violation of human rights in Nigeria will stop, and the democratic society, which our political leaders are trying to build, will truly blossom.