Monday, February 25, 2013

Democracy as Universal Value - Amartya Sen

Extracts from a very Important conceptional essay arguing "Democracy is Universal".  
So  " The Universal Human Rights can not be curtailed by local Governments . These can be  protected  by assuring      Democratic Rights " 

full document available on the following links 

Universality of Values  
"...... democracy's claim to be valuable does not rest on just one particular merit. There is a plurality of virtues here, including, first, the intrinsic importance of political participation and freedom in human life; second, the instrumental importance of political incentives in keeping governments responsible and accountable; and third, the   constructive role of democracy in the formation of values and in the understanding of needs, 
rights, and duties. In the light of this diagnosis, we may now address the motivating question    namely the case for seeing democracy as a universal value. 
In disputing this claim, it is sometimes argued that not everyone agrees on the decisive  importance of democracy, particularly when it competes with other desirable things for our attention and loyalty. This is indeed so, and there is no unanimity here. This lack of unanimity is seen by some as sufficient evidence that democracy is not a universal value.  

.....(.It is to) argue that universal consent is not required for something to be a universal value. Rather, the claim of a universal value is that people anywhere may have reason to see it as valuable. 

.....(W)hen Rabindranath Tagore argued for "the freedom of the mind" as a universal value, he was not saying that this claim is accepted by all, but that all do have reason enough to accept it--a reason that he did much to explore, present, and propagate.

 Understood in this way, any claim that something is a universal value involves some counterfactual analysis--in particular, whether people might see some value in a claim that they have not yet considered adequately. All claims to universal value--not just that of democracy--have this implicit presumption.

......The value of democracy includes its intrinsic importance in human life, its instrumental role in generating political incentives, and its constructive function in the formation of values  (and in understanding the force and feasibility of claims of needs, rights, and duties). These  merits are not regional in character. Nor is the advocacy of discipline or order. Heterogeneity  of values seems to characterize most, perhaps all, major cultures. The cultural argument does  not foreclose, nor indeed deeply constrain, the choices we can make today.  

           Those choices have to be made here and now, taking note of the functional roles of democracy, on which the case for democracy in the contemporary world depends. I have  argued that this case is indeed strong and not regionally contingent. The force of the claim that democracy is a universal value lies, ultimately, in that strength. That is where the debate belongs. It cannot be disposed of by imagined cultural taboos or assumed civilizational predispositions imposed by our various pasts. "  

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            Hence the Democratic Rights are the tools by which the people can ensure their future against all kind of forces which may be ruling or socially exerting  to suppress. 

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