Nation states across the world have witnessed various systems of government. Some have dictatorships while others have oligarchies. Some have despotism while others are kingdoms. But, the most common system of government in the contemporary world is for sure democracy – a system in which the majority elects the ruler. That is regarded as a system of people. In fact, the renowned American President Lincoln defined it as a system ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’. That might be true but with some conditions attached. Although there is trend of democracy in the world but that is not a system free from follies. That is not a system which can be rendered as sacred cow. It can be objected; it can be criticized.
When assessed according to the political thought of ancient philosophers like Socrates and Plato; democracy turns out to be nothing but a failed system of government. They were vehemently critical of this system. It might be an extreme but their criticism carried constructive debate. They argued against democracy on the basis that;
· This system is governed by majority; but, majority is always incompetent to decide what is best for the state
· This system is based on quantity i.e. number of people; not based on quality i.e. wisdom and knowledge of a few learned in the state.
The arguments remain valid even today. Democracy works well in the states which have good literacy rate and greater public awareness. In the developing countries like those in Africa and Asia; democracy is the worst form of government.