A New Model to Determine Whether or Not a Country is a Democracy

CHALLENGE 2: What Model should we use to determine whether or not a State is a Democracy? Answer as a COMMENT.

The G-Model

Democracy is predicated on democratic values by the government and by the people. I propose a new model to ascertain whether or not a state may be called a democracy [henceforth G-Model]. Structurally, the model requires separate measurements of the government and the people. Regarding the former, there must be free and fair elections available to all citizens (19 years–see Lijphart), and, an absence of non-democratic values in rule, processes, and observable actions. Regarding the latter, the people must subscribe wholly to democratic values in rule, processes, and actions, and, the majority must demonstrate an absence of non-democratic values in rule, processes, and action. The G-Model mandates that both analyses be confirmed in order to confirm that a state is within the democratic core. This model uses an institutional – rational choice — cultural approach to both the people and the government in order to determine whether or not a state constitutes as a democracy. Initial evidence suggests that the American government is outside of the democratic core.

The G-Model is based on the following assumptions. (1) If a country is inside the democratic core, then the government and the people cannot violate democratic values. This includes non-citizens. If in the democratic core, then the people and the people’s government must not engage non-democratic rules, processes, and actions. (2) People and their governments are not synonymous, and must be analyzed separately. (3) Countries who violate the former premises are ejected from the democratic core—and cannot be labeled as a democracy.

Democratic value indicators for the government are: rule of law, equality of opportunity under the law for all citizens, free and fair elections, and the absence of non-democratic values. Indicators of violating democratic values are (1) denial of habeas corpus, (2) illegal search and seizure, (3) cruel and unusual punishment, (4) violations of free speech, (5) violations of press, (6) violations of assembly, (7) violations of religion, (8) unfree and unfair elections, (9) single power-party in government. This is the list to be used in the G-Model. Again, under this model, denizens and/or governments which violate the values of the democratic core are ejected from the democratic core [they need only violate one of the indicators systematically]. Therefore, countries excluded from the democratic core are not democracies—even if they are quite close to the democratic core (see picture 1).

Political scientists should note precisely when and why countries are not in the democratic core (or have not transcended it). Political scientists have long felt the need to make mechanistic recommendations for democratic development. In the case of the United States, I suggest that republicanism may provide solutions to help countries enter the democratic core.

Rational Choice: Working Paper Measuring Institutions and describing the Democratic Core

Preliminary Evidence:

 Political scientists have long desired to scientifically apply a comprehensive model to determine whether or not a country is a democracy. According to the G-Model, to my chagrin, the American government is outside of the democratic core by fault of observable non-democratic rules, procedures, and actions by the American government. The Yoo and Bybee Memos, for example, advocate non-democratic values. The initiation of the Iraq War was an exercise of non-democratic values [even though Americaattempted to institutionalize and consolidate democracy in Iraq]. Secret rendition and the denial of habeas corpus, prima facie, violate values within the democratic core. A drone strike a foreign nation, whereas one innocent civilian is killed or injured, does violate the democratic core. President Obama’s NDAA, for example, alone, is evidence of rules and processes in place that violate the requirements of the democratic core according to the G-Model; therefore, removing the ability to call America a democracy—even if it is still a superpower for good [and close to becoming a democracy].

Institutional solutions in light of American political culture: Republicanism as an endogenous and exogenous mechanism for virtuous change.

There are three major political languages in America: liberalism, republicanism, and biblical thought (Abbott, 2010).[i] Today, scholars struggle with the influence of republicanism upon politics. Dunn (2004) found that today’s scholars must shift their understanding of republicanism upon the American political landscape in order to incorporateAmerica’s republican roots. Dunn (2004) admits that this shift shall invariably be from Lockean rights to one that incorporates republicanism as “‘a dynamic ideology assuming moral dimensions and involving the very characteristic… of society’” (151). Dunn (2004) surmised, “The discovery of republicanism has, according to Joyce Appleby, ‘produced a reaction among historians akin to the reaction of chemists to a new element. Once having been identified, it can be seen everywhere” (150). Many scholars of republicanism now do see republicanism everywhere, and I shall only take a few more paragraphs to articulate republicanism within classic American literature. Then, I will articulate

Republicanism scholars provide numerous contextual and historical examples of republicanism within American political culture. For example, Pangle (1990) explained that the separation of powers, federalism, and the subjugation of ambition were all voices and policies of republicanism. The American people were free in the Lockean tradition, but their government was based on republican values and sought to enable American virtue. Pangle exposed the ideological depth of republicanism from Federalist 54, “…if the laws were to restore the rights which have been taken away, the Negroes could no longer be refused an equal share of representation with the other inhabitants” (1990,116).

Republicanism as non-domination policy enables freedom, which was a foundational political argument by the American founders. Maynor (2003) found that “as long as the British held the power to interfere arbitrarily with the American colonies; they would be unfree in the republican sense” (37). The Founders unquestionably did endure domination by the British through all things political, especially taxes and popular representation. The American Revolution overthrew British domination and arbitrary intrusion via political participation, political parties and public policy, even if the Founders literally re-enacted de jure domination (i.e. slavery). Yet, Maynor (2003) and Pettit (1999) argue that republicanism was the spark for freedom, and republicanism continues to speak against domination and arbitrary intrusion today.

Modern republicanism is, according to Maynor (2003) and Pettit (1999), apparent as the dominant political language when the faction(s) and/or individual(s) actively diminish arbitrary interference and domination within political parties, public policy, and political participation. Maynor (2003) says that republicanism as non-domination (1) secures you from anxiety of interference, (2) reduces the need to anticipate arbitrary interference, and (3) increases trust and stability (44-45). Moreover, the language of republicanism will be obvious when considering that political parties, public policy, and political participation may not suffer arbitrary interference or domination. Thus, republicanism is mostly a political language to describe and enact non-domination by individuals or parties in the paradigm of politics.

The very definition of republicanism changes from scholar to scholar. Some define republicanism via Machiavellian virtu. Others focus on the ancients and see republicanism as a means to enable public virtue, or, the greater good. Moreover, modern republicanism scholars almost ignore the idea of the greater good, and instead describe republican liberty as non-domination by the individual or society upon the individual within society. Regarding the latter, non-domination is liberty. In this manner, republicanism affects the people and the government. .  It is republican liberty that is “essential to the realization of virtue” (Ibid).  While liberalism allows all people to have an opportunity to be involved in the political process, republicanism finds that exclusion from political process alienates people, and (collective) liberty vanishes (Maynor, 28).

Some experts of republicanism find it everywhere in American political culture. Indeed, Kane, who found republicanism as an undercurrent, predicts a resurgence of republicanism in the early 21st century (2008, 133). Other scholars of republicanism also question how it will assert itself and manifest itself in modern American society. Thus, the growth and change of republicanism should be studied longitudinally by political scientists.[ii]

Thus, republicanism has caused and will cause much change in institutions, but scholars are not certain how to use republicanism in a study of institutions, nor does republicanism have official indicators in models studying democracy.[iii] I have provided a definition, model, and indicators which may be used for empirical research.

I define republicanism as a major political language; whereas, (1) the framework of republicanism persists to surround public policy formation and implementation, economic and political participation to remove non-democratic values endogenously and exogenously in individuals (ubiquitously in civil society) and government. It is because of republicanism that individuals, society, and/or government cannot create new rules and procedures to instill non-democratic values, institutions, political parties, etc. This is the essence of republicanism: it is a political language that calls for the greater common good. Republicanism by nature singly advocates virtue as pareto optimal mechanisms to solve collective action problems. Indicators of republicanism for the G-Model are (1) transparency, (2) rules and processes to prevent arbitrary interference by the government and/or individual to be acted upon an individual or society,[iv] and (3) mechanisms to increase democratic values. Due to the nature of this preliminary research, some of the answers are descriptive, rather than empirical. However, the G-Model prefers empirical evidence.

Girdwood and Girdwood (2011) found that 17% of $87 billion for Iraqi reconstruction (2004-2006) were unaccounted for by the American government. 79% of the money went to multi-national corporations. 4% of the money went to Iraqi contractors. In addition to the lack of transparency, some of the reconstruction money went to Dyncorp, nearly $2b, and new evidence shows that Dyncorp was involved in secret renditions.[v] Even though Girdwood and Girdwood’s data source (sigir.mil) provided the overall contractor money, they were unable to see how those multinational corporations spent the public’s money. This is the problem of accountability. The political language of republicanism would articulate that all public money be completely accounted for—a tedious task, no doubt. Yet it is precisely the task of mandating full public accountability which could diminish non-democratic core behavior.

The second republicanism indicator decrees that rules and processes are the political framework to prevent non-democratic injury by the government and/or individual, upon an individual or upon society. Thus republicanism in action is a mechanism for civic virtue, exactly because it stifles and extinguishes vice. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush (2008), Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) and Rasul v. Bush (2004) found that they had the authority to hear such cases, and, they determined that the denial of habeas corpus petitions violated the constitution. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, for example, the Supreme Court decided that the military commissions under the Bush administration to process detainees at Guantanamo Baylacked “the power to proceed because its structures and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.” Thus, the political language of republicanism asserted itself to defend the democratic core.

Republicanism enables the people and politicians to create mechanisms to increase democratic values. For example, the Bill of Rights protect the growth of virtue by securing political and economic liberty for the people by extinguishing non-democratic values. Individual and society are forced to create democratic values. Other examples include the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I contend that the republican language can be measure in all laws, yet the former are the language of republicanism par excellence.

[Classic] liberalism forces the individual and people to utilize private property as a means of political and economic transactions. Yet it is the language of republicanism which is relentless over time in extinguishing arbitrary intrusion and domination within societal institutions (e.g. slavery, segregation, and discrimination inAmerica). The stronger the language of republicanism—the more the culture / civil society showcases these attributes. Thus, republicanism conceptualizes liberty as the absence of domination and arbitrary intrusion in public policy, political participation, and political representation. Republicanism is therefore a mechanism to push a state into the democratic core—and keep it there.

[Classic] liberalism allows for people and private institutions to discriminate through the exclusion of groups via differing attitudes. Liberalism, for example, argues that the free market may segregate and/or exploit labor [therefore people]. I understand that it was the language of republicanism that ended de jure and de facto segregation and discrimination in America. It is republicanism that makes discrimination and segregation un-American. Therefore, quantifying the movement of republicanism is of vital importance to understanding de jure and de facto evidence and implications for economists’ and political scientists’ research of rules, processes and actions.

Republican mechanisms to increase accountability in the rules, processes and actions by the government and the people are unlimited. Regarding the Iraqi reconstruction contracts, republicanism would at minimum mandate that all public money be accessible by the public.[vi] This would enable political scientists and economists access to the very databases they seek to understand. Thus, republicanism, in this case, requires that 100% of the contracts are designated to a company, and, the precise accounting by those companies is made public. In this way, the economists and political scientists will provide a check on the public’s data analysis. This mechanism would invariable describe, empirically, whether or not the funding is in the democratic core, and, alternatives for the government to consider! Other mechanisms of modern republicanism include deliberative polling, compulsorily voting, and the ability of citizens to direct personal tax flows.

I define republicanism as a major political language; whereas, (1) the framework of republicanism persists to surround public policy formation and implementation, economic and political participation to remove non-democratic values endogenously and exogenously in individuals (ubiquitously in civil society) and government. It is because of republicanism that individuals, society, and/or government cannot create new rules and procedures to instill non-democratic values, institutions, political parties, etc. This is the essence of republicanism: it is a political language that calls for the greater common good. Republicanism by nature singly advocates virtue as pareto optimal mechanisms to solve collective action problems. Indicators of republicanism for the G-Model are (1) transparency, (2) rules and processes to prevent arbitrary interference by the government and/or individual to be acted upon an individual or society,[vii] and (3) mechanisms to increase democratic values. Due to the nature of this preliminary research, some of the answers are descriptive, rather than empirical. However, the G-Model prefers empirical evidence.

Theory:

This figure assumes that all states began in anarchy; meaning, there was no government in place. As elites took power (cadre party), a benevolent [and some non-benevolent] form of authoritarianism existed. In the 20th century, most states moved towards the democratic core. I would consider the Scandinavian countries to be in the democratic core, and Norway may have surpassed it towards the normative core.[i] The United States, because of its foreign policy of secret rendition, denial of habeas corpus to foreigners, illegal searches and seizures—remains outside the democratic core—in light of authoritarianism. Thus, I have provided a new model to determine whether or not a country is a democracy. If a country is in the democratic core [and beyond]—then political scientists may call said country a democracy. This model allows for the use of a hueristic to enable “the average Joe” to figure out if a country is, or is not, a democracy[see ix].



[i] The minor political languages are conservative thought and populism. I also study conservative thought.

[ii] My dissertation provides research regarding this thorny puzzle.

[iii] This explained in my dissertation research.

[iv] Recall assumption 2: society in this model accounts for all people on earth.

[v] Does it matter whether or not the actualIraq reconstruction money went to the secret rendition—when it was still the people’s money anyway, which was non-democratic?

[vi] Conceptually, it is important to recognize that governments are examples of institutions rife with transactions for public scrutiny. I mean, if you want learn about how a business solves collective actions problems—your government is a good place to start. More so, how many private businesses books require full transparency to the public?

[vii] Recall assumption 2: society in this model accounts for all people on earth.

[viii]  The Normative Core enables the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To enter the normative core, all citizens must receive a cost-free education according to their potential (imagine the increase of PhDs), and, a cost-free healthcare plan. Thus, governments in the normative core have transcended the values of the democratic core, but empirically, research from the social sciences determines that the former indicators are enforced de jure and de facto by the government and by the people. The government need not necessarily play a dominant role in either education or healthcare.

[ix]  Gary Wills, in Bomb Power (2010), articulated non-democratic actions taken by the American President. These actions were highly unpopular, and, often illegal [worthy of a misdemeanor].

After 236 pages of an analytic narrative. He opens the Afterward:

George W. Bush left the White House unpopular and disgraced. His successor promised change, and it was clear where that change was needed. Illegal acts should cease—torture and indefinite detention, denial of habeas corpus and legal representation, unilateral canceling of treaties, defiance of Congress and the Constitution, nullification of law b signing statements. Powers given the President under the unitary executive theory should not be exercised. Judges should not be confirmed who are willing to give the President any power he asks for… The monopoly on use of nuclear weaponry, the cult of the Commander in Chief, the worldwide web of military bases to maintain nuclear alert and supremacy, the secret intelligence agencies, the whole National Security State, the classification and clearance systems, the expansion of state secrets, the withholding of evidence and information, the permanent emergency that has melded World War II with the Cold War and the Cold War with the war on terror…

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “A New Model to Determine Whether or Not a Country is a Democracy

  1. Pingback: “A New Democracy Designer” Walks into a Comp. Exam « Political Pipeline

  2. Pingback: The War for Democracy within the War on Terror « Political Pipeline

  3. Pingback: Do You Live in a Democracy? « Political Pipeline

  4. Pingback: Does Economic Development Cause Democracy? « Political Pipeline

  5. Pingback: A Response to The Browser: Thanks. « Political Pipeline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s