The question of democracy is very relevant in the modern world, and it is the subject of research for many scientists. Despite the fact that democracy has its roots in the times of Ancient Greece and Rome, it is still very popular in the modern world and continues to evolve. Modern countries have passed through many stages before they achieved democracy. However, even after the establishment of democracy in the world, there is much debate about its efficiency in all countries and adequacy of its basic principles. This paper provides a discussion of whether democracy has only Western or a universal value.
The term democracy means the political regime, which is based on the collective decision-making method with equal exposure of the outcome to all participants of the process. Although this method is applicable to all public activities, to date, its adaptation to the state is of the first importance, as it has great power. One of the main goals of democracy is to limit arbitrariness and power abuse.
Enlightenment, American and French revolutions have stimulated the intellectual and social development, especially the development of ideas about civil rights and political equality. After these events, at the end of XVIII and at the beginning of the XIX century democracy becomes the main form of government for the United States and leading European countries. The emergence of the USA in 1776 became the first attempt in the history of humanity to implement the idea of democracy on the scale of an entire country. This idea was reflected in the Declaration of Independence and in the US Constitution adopted in 1789. In the USA and some European countries democracy has evolved rapidly and fiercely. Accordingly, the level of democracy, its system, and popularity among the population in these countries is much higher than in many others. Probably because of this, there was the belief that democracy is only a western value.
However, it is necessary to consider the values of democracy first in order to determine whether it is an exclusively Western concept or the universal one. The rule of law, equality, freedom, human rights, consensus, pluralism, and the right of self-determination are the core values of democracy. Despite the fact that in the history of its development democracy often faced many complicating factors such as race, sex or national discrimination, it is finally formed to serve for the good of the people. Talking about the values of democracy, pluralism implies the principle that contributes to the existence of a diversity of political or other competitive forces to be representated in government. It involves a legal conflict of interest, the debate between the supporters of different points of view.
Consensus or consent is a way of conflict resolution in the decision-making process that stipulates no objections to most of the stakeholders. In turn, the right of self-determination is one of the basic principles of international law, meaning the right of every person to resolve problems as a state, to determine their political status and to pursue their economic and cultural development. Human rights, like rules of conduct, are selected in the course of the history of humanity and shall protect the dignity and freedom of each individual through the rule of law. These rules form the core of the constitutional law. The most popular document that fixes these rules in public international law is the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Since most of the democratic values are enshrined in the UN documents referring to one hundred ninety-three countries, it is possible to draw the conclusion that the vast majority of existing countries not only agree with the existence of the above-mentioned human rights and freedoms, but also maintain and monitor the implementation of these rights. This is the first argument for the universal value of democracy. If to dismiss the legal aspects, it is still easy to see that the democratic values are close and important for all people in the world. Thus, democracy as the concept that combines all of these important for a person factors can be considered a global value.
The next aspect that should be discussed is a form of democracy. Almost all countries have elements of a democratic culture, and absolutely every country has a place to improve the quality of its democracy. Democracy takes many different forms in different countries. Although political scientists count more than fifteen varieties of democracy, each of them is based on the main principles of the ideal of democracy. Moreover, it is possible to find signs of democracy in any country, regardless of the form of government. An example of this would be the prohibition of slavery in every country, the protests of Muslim women or any other minorities who attempt to assert their ethnic and sexual rights. It is difficult to say that democracy as a regime is applied in all countries without exception. However, the basic democratic concepts of equality, freedoms and rights exist and manifest themselves under any form of government. For instance, the religious teachings in Islamic countries transmit the power to the caliph of God, so the possibility of fair elections is eliminated. However, any manifestation people’s power like peaceful protests or strikes can be considered a sign of democracy. In addition, a person who decides to profess Islam voluntarily agrees to this method of selection of the Caliph.
Many scientists are arguing with each other about western or global value of democracy. However, this question remains open up to today as each of the parties may provide serious arguments. Considering all the above, it can be noted that democracy is like a wave that swept the United States and all around the world, leaving its imprint on every culture, ethnicity, and country. Once, democracy of Ancient Rome has become a significant impetus for the development of the civilized countries. Nowadays the successful US nation with its high reputation is an example for many countries to follow and develop. Thus, a well-developed democracy of successful countries is an incentive to the further growth.
To summarize, democracy is based on the government of law, and this principle applies to all countries. Anyway, any archon or the government should listen to the views and wishes of the people, even if that country does not a democratic form of government. Otherwise, this government condemns its country to protests, discontent, revolution, and the total governmental collapse. The democratic principles do not lose their value all over the world, and therefore each country follows those principles and partly accept them. Democracy is a universal concept because it allows one social circle to promote its own interests at the expense of others. Social groups, which previously did not have favorable conditions for self-determination now gained an opportunity to express themselves. That is why countries that oppose the democracy should still establish it in any convenient form.