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Posted on May 1st, 2014, by

Democracy is not something easy to explain. Hudson (1) stresses that democracy is a complicated concept and therefore there is no one distinct definition of the term. There is a wide spread definition provided in the dictionaries and it determines democracy as the government (or rule) by the people. The advantage of this definition is simple, but not very informative. Hudson challenges the components of this definition. What is more, different scholars explain it differently too, but they all put the emphasis on different values and build different models on the definition they find most consistent. For example, within the protective model the importance of individual liberty and the need to protect liberty from government infringement is highlighted in definition (Hudson 21).

Having analyzed a number of definitions of democracy, Hudson (42) assumes that one of the inevitable clause of true democracy is accountability. Accountability is important for democracy because all the citizens should have equal awareness of what is taking place in the government and other socially significant authorities. The citizens should have enough information to evaluate the official behavior and get information on the consequences of the officials’ actions. Each democratic leader is obliged to make appropriate considerations of his accountability to public. It also means that he should be responsive to those who have given their voices to him and elected him. The issue of accountability is challenged when power is divided into several branch and they are not accountable to each other.

In fact, many controversies in the American society arise from the habitual state of radical individualism. The Americans lack a conception of the common good that should become their habit of the heart. When the efforts are united for one common goal shared by everyone, the differences become unimportant and threaten the nation’s integrity nevermore. Apart from individualism, another American habit of the heart is commitment. The majority of citizens are committed to preserve primary democratic rights and therefore do care about protection of the minority rights; they are committed to political equality and other democratic ideals, but they clear understanding of what they value and they are easy to manipulate because of these habits.

In the fifth chapter, Hudson focuses on the myth of business’s privileged position.Business can deploy its political resources and exploit its position in the economic structure to assure it an unequal position in the group universe, it is stated (Hudson 176). The thesis of the privileged position of business is objected from the pluralist position, however the threat of business domination and controversy to democracy becomes clear when the role of business in politics is analyzed. Business dominates in lobbying policy makers, finances elections, and creates mass media messages favorable to them.

It redirects us to the problem of secrecy in the American politics. Information relevant to the enactment of public policy is often kept secret from the public and elected officials, Hudson (265) explains. However, there are certain situations when secrecy is necessary for national security, for example when it is involved in military actions. Still, the need for accountability comes into conflict with the need for secrecy. More accountability can be provided by centralization of power that would provide necessary control over the separated power branches and authorities. After all, secrecy should be avoided for it creates a lot of opportunities for cheating the public about what the government is doing.

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