Jamaica LANDS
Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism

Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy


Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy is a combination of the elements of Liberalism and Democracy. Liberalism emphasises individual liberty and the right to private property, which makes it ideal for Capitalism. Democracy emphasises the power of the people. As a result of these competing ideas, Liberal Democracy requires a strong constitution to balance power among different classes in society; a constitution in a Liberal Democracy can be seen as enforcing Class Collaboration.

Liberal Democracy focuses more on procedural rules than the actual power of the people, therefore it is obsessed with elections and rule of law. This means that a government can be unpopular, but Liberal Democracies would still consider it to be legitimate because it was elected 3 years ago. Instead of focusing on whether people have power, Liberal Democracy focuses on a process that only happens every few years. Sometimes elections may give control of the state to an unpopular leader or party, and that is arguably undemocratic.

Constitutions can sometimes be seen as restricting Democracy; it is an inherent problem because Liberalism is inherently individualistic, while Democracy is inherently collectivist. For example, if the people in a town decide that they want to hang a serial killer, Liberal Democracy would tell them that they have to abide by the constitution, and that there must be a fair trial first, and then the already-existing law must specify the punishment. The serial killer may get life in prison, but the people may have wanted him to be hanged. This is the conflict that Democracy has with the concept of rule of law. It sometimes limits the ability of the collective, because it values procedures over Democracy.

Liberal Democracy is often seen as an ideal system for protecting minorities, because of its strong emphasis on individual rights. The problem with it, however, is that it tends to protect minorities on the basis of them having property. It protects property more than anything, and no minority benefits more than the minority that dominates society: the Capitalist class.

Often, Westerners - including Western scholars - normalise Liberal Democracy as the only type of Democracy, or as a type of Democracy which must be embraced by all democratic societies when they want to evolve. This is a white supremacist idea, as Liberalism came from white Capitalists.

Carl Stone, however, focused more on the liberal components of Liberal Democracy. In Liberalism, the right to private property is associated with the right to political freedom. Liberal constitutions limit the state's ability to control what citizens do with their wealth and private property. Also, Liberal Democracy allows for competitive politics, where different parties compete for state power. In competing, they spend a lot of money on campaigns to make themselves more visible. Candidates and parties with more wealth will have a greater chance of winning, because they are more visible. This does not mean that the wealthier candidate will always win, but the wealthier candidate has a greater chance of winning than someone who doesn't have enough money to fund a campaign, or than someone who isn't supported by the private sector. This allows the private sector to have a lot of influence on elections, because they possess a lot of wealth that can be used to support campaigns that look out for their interests.

Liberalism supports Capitalism, an economic system where there is inequality. If we accept that wealth is power, then we should also accept that Democracy cannot exist when most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few. Liberal Democracy is not really Democracy, as it focuses on elections without focusing on real power, and "Democracy" is a reference to a specific power structure.