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October 11, 2011

Where Would We Be Without Democracy

If there is any way to make us appreciate what we have, it is by envisaging what life would be like without it. This same concept can be applied to democracy. It is a thought provoking experience, to imagine your life without something you take for granted day by day. To aid you in that experience and to hopefully offer a new appreciation for the liberties we are granted today, here are some examples of how life would be different.

Without democracy, the demographic of Britain today would be entirely different. Some might argue that without documents such as the Magna Carta, or the English Civil War, democracy would have inevitably emerged as the dominant political form. This owes to movements such as the Enlightenment, which represented a drastic shift in philosophical thought. It was at the time of the Enlightenment, for example, that the French Revolution took place – the monarchy was disposed and many in Britain felt its influences would spread. However, consider if neither this change in philosophical thought nor such rebellions occurred – it is possible that the English Civil War might have never taken place.

If, for example, Oliver Cromwell had not led the parliament after the execution of King Charles I, we would not have the parliament we have today. It is worth extensive consideration; the stepping stones that lead to a state becoming democratic are precarious and can even seem coincidental.

It can start to look like a chain reaction. The events in France acted as an impetus for increasing political reform in England. Additionally, without this, the philosophical belief that underpinned the Declaration of Independence, born out of Enlightenment principles, may have never come to existence. In this vain it is even feasible to suggest that modern day American would not exist, but rather exist as colonial subjects to English monarchy.

Without this, then, we would still be subject to Monarchical law and judgement. It presents an odd image in the mind, and it is hard not to imagine the Black Adder depiction of Queen Elizabeth sitting in a 21st century context demanding the heads from her subjects.

Lastly, as democracy has become an intrinsic characteristic to capitalist society, we would be without our modern day luxuries. Forget your iPhone, if Britain had remained ruled by its monarchy then private business practice would have existed in a much smaller, diminutive form. Private entrepreneurship wouldn’t really have existed and today’s industries would have remained affiliated to state, rather than encouraging individuals to achieve their own power.



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