Democracy is Rule by the People

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The word "democracy" comes from the Greek and means "government by the people". But simply "government by the people" is not enough of a definition. A democracy is government based on certain values and ways of thinking that help to ensure that the majority of the people does not oppress the minority. These values are Freedom, Equality and Security, and they are based on the principles and ideas of Humanism and the Individual.

Democracy can exist in many contexts. Normally, when we talk about democracy, we think of the nation state, but there is potential for democracy everywhere that people assemble or live together. It may be in a village, an association, a sports club, a school, or an entire continent, e.g. the European nation states who have joined in a Union. In principle, we could also create a global democracy, if the conditions were right for it.

Democracy is not a system that we just introduce once and for all, after which it becomes self maintaining. It is a culture that must be cultivated and nurtured, and which requires the right circumstances to live and function. It is a constant process, almost like a living organism. If we do not actively keep democracy alive with debate and free elections and the many other things mentioned here in democracy-handbook.org, it will die. Democracy calls for the people to be actively involved.


Next chapter: Freedom, Equality and Security