Good Democracy and Bad Democracy

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An appeal for good behaviour is obviously not enough to secure democracy in the long run. As it says in the introduction to one of the oldest laws in Denmark: "A country shall be built on the law, but if everyone would mind their own business and let others enjoy the same right, then no law would be necessary."

We need to look after democracy and each other through legislation, education, discussion and, when absolutely necessary, physical force. A good democracy is based on a range of institutions, regulations and principles that we have to support constantly. A bad democracy is a majority dictatorship, mob rule, where no-one listens to each other and where the multitude of factors which underpins a healthy democracy is reduced to referendums, technocracy and superficial debate.

In order to ensure that democracy stays healthy and in good shape, each and every one of us has to be active.

In the existing democracies, there are some things we must demand both of ourselves and of others; namely, that we are involved in what is happening around us; that we comply with the law; that we support the legal community and the state; and that we get actively engaged in politics or the political debate if there is anything we want changed.

Where there is no democracy, the struggle is quite different, but the principles remain the same: without knowledge and mutual responsibility, a healthy democracy cannot be built.

Next chapter: Political Ideologies