Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Randy Gonzalez
Last updated: June 22, 2019
Freedomcan have several interpretations from different viewpoints. A prisoner can befreed from his offenses after being released from prison, yet he will still becaged within the guilt that his crimes had made him feel.
A doctor can feel astate of relief after a successful operation, however he may still feel detainedby the risks and dangers tomorrow’s surgery might bring. These varyinginstances suggest how the definition of freedom is dynamic. When one asks aboutthe meaning of freedom, the answer usually deals with the description of aphilosophical, judicial, political, economic, and social system.Ingeneral, freedom is a state wherein there is an absence of restriction or limit. Freedom can be incorporated as a naturalright, which is intrinsic to every human being born. It can also be identifiedas a constitutional privilege, wherein one can do whatever he/she wants as longas it is in the jurisdiction of his/her country’s constitution (Anderson, 2002,p.35). All of these characteristicsexhibit a definite but paradoxical meaning of freedom; it is not absolute.
In the Philippines, democracy andfreedom are two misguided ideologies used to describe power. Democracy as agovernmental structure formed and constructed by the people of society, is thesource of sovereignty of the Filipinos. This type of regime was adopted by thePhilippines as the pillar of its administration ever since the Americanscolonized the country on 1946. The Western colonizers implemented this type ofsystem in the Philippines in order to protect their colony from the influenceof communism that was being promulgated by the different Communist leaders(Paredes, 1989, p.12). In this type of government, citizens exercise power andcivic responsibilities directly and through their elected representatives. The Filipinos were given the power to enactlaws and decide how these laws will be enforced.
Even though not everydefinition of democracy is alike, as culture and society influence people’sideals, the fundamental principles it upholds still remain consistent in everyform (Kramer, 2006, p.433). At present, democracy in thePhilippines is still alive and active. The population is still able to electtheir officials by the means of electoral voting. The Filipinos, in terms ofall the rights and opportunities their country’s jurisdiction can provide, arestill able to exercise the liberty and the freedom of speech and information.
Although,the sovereignty that it once had attained is very much different from the autonomyit has today (Mckenzie, 2012,p.157).Before,there was a genuine balance of power betweenthe executive and legislative branches of the government, even if thissometimes resulted in political stalemate and administrative inaction. Now, dueto the abuse of the granted “rights to speech and information” by the systemicgovernment, the population, including the administration and the society, is currentlyexperiencing instability within its economic system (Paredes, 1989, p.11). Althoughdemocracy is fair and nondiscriminatory,it relies mostly, if not solely, on a majority to make an informed decision,and in the Philippines, that unaware majority can be manipulated by capitalistpoliticians, this can lead to ineffective governance.
Democracy in its direct form, mostlyfavors small governments and personal liberty over large administrations andpersonal freedom (Marsh, Blondel,Inoguchi, 1999, p.197).It also has intrinsic characteristics that suggest how itcan be a feasible type of government in developing countries. The voice of astates citizen and their liberties are the most important factor, thus personalinterests of the democratic people are protected and safeguarded by thegovernment.
This suggests how democracy is a type of government that isappealing to not only the state officials but also to normal citizens in anation. A representative government is established in a democratic country, thuselections are free and fair. Media and press are also autonomous, meaning thatthese mediums of communication cannot be influenced or controlled by thegovernment, thus transparency of information is attained. It is a form ofadministration wherein it represents the views and notions of all the citizensof the country, whether majorities or minorities (Keohane, Macedo, Moravcsik,2009, p.8). Thus, the citizens are able to voice their opinions without fear ofgovernmental retribution. Ademocratic state also promotes equality in terms of its law-making judiciariesand law-implementing councils. It is a just government wherein all members of the State are equal in the eyes of law.
All enjoy equal social, political and economic rights and the state cannot discriminateamong citizens on the basis of caste, religion, sex, or property. All haveequal right to choose their government. And because it is a system based onpublic will and interest, there should be little, or perhaps, no chance ofpublic revolt, thus forming a stable administration (Anderson, 2002, p.35). Representatives elected by the people conduct the affairsof the state with public support in order for the administration to branch outits influence and maintenance to the society effectively. This results to aharmonic communication between the government and the people, thus publicrevolts and chaos will be avoided (Holcombe, 1985, p.223). Allof these characteristics of Democracy show how it is a type of governmentwherein unification of equality and power are its main techniques to establisha stable economic nation.
However, most of these qualities also contain ambiguitiesthat can become gateways for abuse. This accountability is also a verysignificant element especially in the Philippines, wherein the majority of the democraticcommunity population is a part of the marginalized sectors of the society, aregion of the society wherein the influence of the wealthy dominates the mindsof the unfortunates. Another issue can also be accounted to this is theconflict about the middle class sector of the community, wherein ever since thetransition of the Philippines from the authoritarian rule to democraticgovernment, more and more citizens from this section try to expeldemocratically elected leaders through extra-constitutional actions likeprotests and rallies (Ungpakorn, 2007, p.8).
These actions further promoteinstability within the democratic government. Democracyin the Philippines is an important paradoxical issue. The nation is the first country in the regionto topple authoritarian rule (Girling, 2002, p.47).
Signs of a vibrantdemocratic atmosphere are extensive: high voter turnout, civic engagement, andinstitutional arrangements that theoretically promote accountability andsafeguard rights and liberties. Yet the flaws in the democratic process arealso extensive: elite dominance, institutional feebleness, and widespread abuseof public office (Mckenzie, 2012, p.157). Concerns about the quality ofdemocracy have become central to political discourse in the Philippines.
According to Jose Sison (2014): We have been onthis “experiment” of an independent republic anchored on a US-style democracyfor nearly three (3) generations since 1946. True, we were under an authoritarianregime for a brief 14 years, but we have been back on a democratic track for 28years or twice as long as the Marcos dictatorship and yet the level of economicprosperity, quality of life and happiness index remains much to be desired (n.p.). One point of argumentation whydemocracy is not a feasible system of administration in the Philippines is theflaw of its original definition on the emphasis of quantity vs.
quality. Thisdefinition states how democracy doesn’t really seek out what is best for thecitizens, but simply does what the majority of the citizens’ want. A defect ofthis definition is it generalizes the fact that what the majority wants willalways be what the majority needs. It does not account the errors in humandecision-making wherein the views of thepeople aren’t always the ones that will lead to the greatest outcome, in factthey often aren’t.
In directdemocracies, like in the Philippines, where the people rule, they often makemistakes in their decisions, because of fleeting passions and not having fullknowledge which has severe consequences for everyone (Mckenzie, 2012, p.158). Thisloophole of democracy can eventually lead several shortcomings; unawareness ofnational political status and misuse of the granted “democratic” rights.