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ISSN: 2332-0761
Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs
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The Future of Liberal Democracy

Anton M*

Department of International Relations, Pasundan University, Bandung, Indonesia

*Corresponding Author:
Anton M
Associate Professor
Department of International Relations
Pasundan University, Bandung, Indonesia
Tel: +62 22 7303049
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: June 08, 2017; Accepted Date: June 27, 2017; Published Date: June 30, 2017

Citation: Anton M (2017) The Future of Liberal Democracy. J Pol Sci Pub Aff 5: 267. doi: 10.4172/2332-0761.1000267

Copyright: © 2017 Anton M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Many experts viewed that liberal democracy which lead to capitalism has been the champion of world order. They believed there are no other appropriate system for now and the future except liberal democracy. On the fact that there some questions wherever coming from the democratic countries basing on the reality of capitalism and the gap of asymmetrical prosperity, oligarchy practice, states under control of the bourgeois, unemployment, energy crisis and global climate radical change. There are also some challenge from socialism and other concepts and disability of liberal democracy in providing public services. The issues in this area are wide but the article would like to focused concerning the concept of liberal democracy, practices and its problems, critics from outside to liberal democracy, the development of democracy and its future.



Concept of liberal democracy; Practices; Problems; Critics; The future of liberal democracy


Democracy is believed as the complete political and government system which provided protection towards human right and freedom. Although as the worst system referred to Aristotle democracy has run for centuries by many followers because they remained that the system embraces individual interests. Practically democracy was steered by few and capitalist peoples. Then when democracy further more strengthened its practices as protection of human r?ght and freedom it was transformed to be liberal democracy.

Liberal democracy gave more satisfaction for individuals who led to liberal political practice and capitalism in economic affairs. There are few of parties and corporates which were maintain this system to protect and enlarge their interests in form of status quo and its enlargements. Liberal democracy belief that private or individual can provide welfare for all citizens so its gave limited to the state roles. The state only as the referee or the judge if there is a mistake of the liberal actors.

The new development is that private sector and individuals was proved cannot provide prevalent welfare, more over with the term of free trade, investment and globalization these has re-enforce their capital accumulation and power. Thus appeared some problems in order to promote welfare such as: Firstly, how public interest is could be absorbed in political interests; Secondly, how public get their advance for their current and future life; thirdly, in the reality that liberalism was resulted further more gap the new form between poor and rich.

So as the research questions we ask several questions: First, what is the liberal democracy as the system which cover human right and freedom; Second, how is liberal democracy in practices and what is critics toward the system and its practice? and Third, how is the future of liberal democracy?

The discussion delivered in description method form of research and provides qualitative data’s analysis to answer research questions above covering the concept, practices, critics toward it and the future of liberal democracy.


First, liberal democracy is the champion of world order competition which succeed to form the world in transparent and close relations; Second, liberal democracy secede to provide human rights and freedoms for individuals but lack of being spread evenly to reach for all of peoples welfare provision, on the contrary its led to wider gap and strengthen the previous capitalist and few of new capitalist groups; Third, in the new world order appeared new challenge to U.S.A. domination such as China as one of new emerging force but its lack of support power especially in military power, Europe Union and also Muslims countries with new concept of Islamic sharia’ which are perform as a rising economic power. However U.S.A is holding the steer and direction of the world affairs for the future years.

Liberal Democracy

Democracy is the ancient of human kind social system which was always modified by the experts and rulers to be a modern system. Democracy base on the rule of people whom had the power to govern the whole system in state. The system covered the human right and freedom as core of virtue for the people. The development of democracy leads to liberalism in the political issues and capitalism in the economic issues. Its seem that peoples have gained the power but practically its tend to few powerful circles. The system more likely seem manipulated the power holders necessarily to whom they were gave the authority to maintain the power as the representatives. Democracy system is the improvement from aristocracy system, but practically democracy lean to oligarchy system. Democracy gave more opportunity to the capital holders in the form of resources, power and popularity. Than in the next form of democracy videlicet liberal democracy has prevailed a law that “the survival of the fittest”.

Liberal Democracy origin dates back to around the 18th century. Liberal democracy takes root in Europe as a form of government. Since the origin of the liberal democracy has developed rapidly and spread in many countries for centuries. To really understand the concept of liberal democracy, it is necessary to know everything from its appearance to its evolution into what we might call a modern liberal democracy. Therefore, it becomes important to study these changes throughout history of Liberal Democracy [1].

The history of modern liberal democracy can be broadly classified into three categories, the Early Modern Liberal Democratic, Liberal Democracy 18 and the 19th century and the 20th and the Liberal Democratic 21st century. Liberal Democracy of time in the modern era can be briefly described as follows:

• Early Modern Period: early modern period is about as medieval and before the 18th century. An outline of the events in the history of Liberal Democracy in the early modern period can be described as follows - 1789: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, is the basic document of liberalism and human rights.

• 18 to the 19th century: the 19th century: The power of the British Empire into a laboratory liberal democracy from the mid-19th century onwards.

• 20th and 21st century: The events in the history of liberal democracy in the 20th century and all 21 can be described as-the 21st century: Liberal democracies and fundamental characteristics of their support for the constitution, the elections were free and fair and plural society has won in most areas around the world [1]. For democratic regime to be considered at this time it must also protect the rights of individuals and minorities-in other words, it must guarantee the freedom or the freedom of its citizens. This assurance is usually incorporated into a written constitution, and the government is more limited and constrained by the rule of law. Democracy so understood is often called constitutional or liberal democracies [2].

Relations between the two components of the individual liberaldemocratic rights and majority rule-is a complex one. They can and have been separated, not only in theory but in practice. Premodern democratic city-states were not liberal (in the sense of protecting individual rights) and do not aspire to be. Some European constitutional monarchy relatively liberal even if not democratic. Hong Kong under British colonial rule was very liberal even though the population has very little say in how they are governed. But in the world, today's majority rule and the protection of individual rights almost always appear in tandem. As a glance at the annual Freedom House survey quickly reveals, countries that regularly hold free elections and fair is much more likely to protect the rights of the individual, and vice versa [2].

So when we talk about democracy in nowadays world, we are really talking not only about government by the people, but liberal or constitutional democracy. But this means that modern democracy has a character-it doubles itself, in this sense, a kind of hybrid regime, which rules emotion popular with ant majoritarian features. For a while it seeks to ensure sovereignty at the end of the people, at the same time daily limit majority rule so it does not violate the rights of individuals or minorities. In other words, it is not the pursuit of a single goal that one can seek to maximize but two goals separate and sometimes competing. The solution to the problem of democracy can not only more democracy, because liberal democracy in tension with itself [2].

Leaders are selected through elections free and fair raising and respect political pluralism which is often reflected by having some entity or political party. Liberal democracy operates through liberal democratic constitution to guide the country on how to set up and provide a system of checks and balances. It is a form of representative democracy where elected officials can make decisions on behalf of the masses and their decisions are guided and governed by the Constitution which set forth that the civil liberties and rights are not trampled [3].

Liberal conception of democracy based on a negative conception of freedom and the corresponding conception of human rights. In other words, the conception of freedom as the absence of restraint (“freedom from") instead of the positive conception as the ability to engage in self-development or participate in the governance of one's society ("freedom"). This liberal conception adopted not only by liberals but also by, individualist anarchist and libertarian, whereas a positive conception has always adopted by communists and anarchocommunists. From the negative conception of freedom and a world view that saw human nature as human beings and as an agent atomistic rational ontological existence and interests before the public to follow some of the principles of the constitution of society: political egalitarianism, freedom of the citizens - as competitors- realize their capabilities in economic levels and the separation of the realm of personal freedom of the public domain. These principles imply, in turn, the regime in which the separate state of the economy and market. In fact, liberal philosopher not only takes for granted the separation of the state apparatus from society but to see democracy as a way to bridge the gap between state and society. Bridging role should be played by the representatives of "democracy", a system in which a plurality of political parties would provide an adequate forum for the interests and values of competing systems. Not surprisingly, therefore no founders of classical liberalism are the defense of democracy in the sense of direct democracy, let alone an inclusive democracy [4].

Profit liberal democracy and disadvantages. Every form of government has certain pros and cons. There are many advantages and disadvantages of Liberal Democracy that formed the basic characteristics of the Liberal Democracy. These benefits and losses affecting the nation is. Socio-economic stability of a country depends on all these factors below.

• Advantages of Liberal Democracy: Some of the benefits of liberal democracy in its growth and development. These advantages or benefits can be described as: It limits the power of government to all citizens. Because elected head of state, it is a republic, not ruled by a king or queen.

• Lack of Liberal Democracy: Weakness work against the development of a nation. Liberal Democratic deficiency can be described as follows: A liberal democracy, by definition, implies that power is not concentrated. This could be a disadvantage for the country in times of war, when the rapid and coordinated response is required.

• Structure Liberal Democracy: Liberal Democracy structure provides a description of his skeleton. Liberal Democracy structure tells us how decisions are made, what are the provisions for succession, what kind of government rules with the constitution or not, etc. has a majority Liberal Democratic Rule. Elective is a kind of succession in Liberal Democracy. Parliament present in Liberal Democracy. Liberal democracy has a Constitution [5].

Practice Liberal Democracy and Its Problems

When nations adopt the type of government, factors considered include the social and economic conditions of the country. Therefore, countries that have a liberal democracy as a form of government, have found it helpful in improving social and economic conditions prevalent there. You get a complete scenario of developments and today the Liberal Democratic state just by knowing the Liberal Democrats. Liberal democracy has been adopted by many countries in various continents in the last century and still prevalent. A wise continent Liberal Democrat list of countries can be given as follows.

• Liberal Democratic State in Asia: India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan

• Liberal Democratic State in Europe: Iceland, Switzerland

• Liberal Democratic State in Africa: South Africa.

• All American Country Liberal Democratic North: Canada, Mexico, United States

• Liberal Democratic State in South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile [6].

Liberal democratic government can be defined as a minimum of procedural and political system in which political parties compete for control of the government through elections relatively free and fair. But, beyond this minimum standard, it is recognized that the performance of liberal democracy as a political system varies.

Performance regarding the practice of liberal democracy liberal democratic government. He did not have to do with claims against a democratic government, such as the 'people's democracy' or associational democracy, still less with democracy writ large. It is accepted that some minimum level of performance must be achieved for the democratic system of government is defined as a liberal democracy (a familiar problem degrees and types), but it is the variations in governance practices are important. Performance liberal democracy is understood in different ways, and this tends to make the comparison more difficult. Thus it helps to distinguish three main interpretations of this performance as, first, the resilience of the regime or longevity; second, the efficacy of the government; and the third, sending the values of liberal democracy, or how far liberal democratic governments achieve in practice the values they subscribe in principle [7].

The criteria most often cited for liberal democracy in the form of specific rights and freedoms. They were originally thought to be essential for the proper functioning liberal democracy, but they have gained the advantage as in the definition, that many people now think their democracy. Because no country wants to admit it is "not free", and because the enemies can be described as the "tyranny" by propagandists, they are also usually contested. Right cover of:

• The right to life and personal security.

• Freedom from slavery.

• Freedom of movement.

• Equality before the law and due process under the rule of law.

• Freedom of speech.

• Freedom of information.

• Freedom of the press and access to alternative sources of information.

• Freedom of association and assembly.

• Freedom of education.

• Freedom of religion.

• An independent judiciary

The right to own property, and to buy and sell the same, often seen as a liberal freedom bound by the above, although this is a proposition that is highly contested.

In practice, democracy has certain limits on certain freedoms. There are various limitations such as copyright laws and laws against defamation. There may be limits on anti-democratic speech, on attempts to undermine human rights, and the promotion or justification of terrorism. In the United States more than in Europe, during the Cold War, such restrictions applied to Communists. Now they are more often applied to the organization regarded as promoting terrorism or incitement of hate groups. Examples of legislation includeanti-terrorism, the closure of satellite broadcasts of Hezbollah, and laws against hate speech. Critics claim that these limitations may go too far and that there may not be due and fair judicial process [8].

Common justification for these limits is that they need to ensure their democracy, or their liberty itself. For example, allow freedom of speech for those advocating mass murder undermines the right to life and security. Opinion is divided on how far democracy can extend, to include the enemies of democracy in the democratic process. If a relatively small number of people who are excluded from such freedoms for these reasons, the state can still be seen as a liberal democracy. Some argue that this is not qualitatively different from autocracies that persecutes opponents, but only quantitatively different, since only a small number of people affected and the restrictions are less severe. Others stressed that democracy is different. At least in theory, also opponents of democracy are allowed due process under the rule of law. In principle, democracies allow critic and change leaders and political and economic system itself; just try to do it with the rough and the promotion of violence as forbidden [8].


In our minds can assign philosophical liberalism that conservatives reject. Think of it as consisting of three main principles, intertwined and all contested by one or another type of conservative philosophy:

Individualism in ethics, this is the view that all the values and the right to reduce the value from or to individuals, or individual rights.

A doctrine that same respect for all human beings is based on the belief that all are equally capable of self-government.

A doctrine of freedom of thought and discussion based on the belief in the limited autonomy of reason - that is, the capacity of rational individuals - as the sole and sufficient canon objective truth [9].

Many people will argue that liberal democracy is not democratic or liberal. They argue that liberal democracy does not respect the will of the people except when residents were asked to choose their representatives, and freedom is restricted by the constitution or precedent. Critics will argue that, by denying citizens the right to vote on all issues - the problem is very serious as going to war or constitutional amendment - liberal democracy is the precursor of oligarchy, or government controlled by the elite few. Others would say that only a liberal democracy can guarantee the individual liberties of citizens and prevent the development into a dictatorship. Unmoderated majority rule could, in their view, led to persecution of various minorities [10].

In the essay recently, the philosopher Richard Rorty sketches a portrait of a dystopian gloomy where Western democracy headed: "At the end of this process of erosion, democracy would be replaced by something quite different is possibly going to be a military dictatorship or Orwellian, totalitarianism, but despotism relatively kind, imposed by what would gradually become nomenclature hereditary." “That sort of power structure survived the end of the Soviet Union and now resolidifying under Putin and alumni of the KGB fellow. The same structure seems to be taking shape in China and in Asia southeast. In countries run this way, public opinion is not really matter. Elections may still be held, but opposition parties are now allowed to pose a serious threat to the powers that be. Careers are less open to talent, and more dependent on the relationship with strong people. Because the courts and police review boards are relatively powerless, it is often necessary for shopkeepers to pay protection money to the police, or criminals tolerated by the police, in order to stay in business. It is dangerous for citizens to complain about corruption about the abuse of power by public officials. High culture is restricted to areas that are irrelevant to politics ... No more uncensored media. No more student demonstrations. Not much in the way of civil society. In short, go back to the old regime, the national security establishment of each country playing the role of court in Versailles" [11].

In the early 1990s, the end of the Cold War has brought revalidation democracy with great enthusiasm as the most representative form of government. But this excitement has been offset by criticism of failures and shortcomings. Democracy guarantees political freedom, the rule of law, human rights and a platform for citizen engagement in the political process. However, in practice, democracy has many disadvantages. Inequality, economic inequality, powerlessness, lack of opportunities, civil liberties violations, discrimination of ethnic, social and cultural rights, corruption and opaque system of honorary titles of all present, and does not seem to conflict with democracy [12].

Globally, democracy has also acted in a manner that suggests a direct rejection of the principles of their home. behavior irresponsible, including invasion unwarranted, tolerance of brutality, genocide, abuse of the system veto UN at the expense of global harmony and peace, because of the intrigue is also geopolitical or interference in the affairs of weaker countries - these are all traits that have been marked foreign large democratic state behavior at some point. There is also great poverty on the wealthy world, war on the name of terrorism wherever with unknown real enemy, globalization as the measure of capitalist’s cliques, there are slums countries or areas within capitalists explorations mines, and its likely seem to strengthen and broaden the stretch of markets by capitalism and then bequeath to their “descendants”

Future of Liberal Democracy

There are challenges curb the huge bureaucracy that came to see themselves as above democratic politics. There is a corporate elite that say that achieving efficiency in production and distribution can only be achieved through hierarchical control - that democracy must be done strictly with political representation but stops in the domain of production; technocratic elite who said that the management of a modern state and economy is too complicated for the ordinary citizen and should be left to the experts; national security elite who said that the urgency of providing national security and implement contemporary warfare involving split-second decision requires previous restrictions on freedom of the classical era and the isolation of the national security establishment of what they perceived as insulting "strangeness" civilian democratic politics. What is dangerous about the behavior of these elites is that even as they quietly maintain that a technocratic centralization is critical of modern society and that democratic practice must adjust this fact of life, they opportunistically use the slogan limiting and reducing government to hide their technocratic agenda. I am of course talking about the most influential sectors of the US Republican Party, who cleverly use the Christian Right and the Cato Institute small government type’s cannon fodder to advance their program of conservative centralization [11].

Let me end by saying that with democracy facing the global crisis, we cannot approach the problem as if it was just one of tinkering with a process that is essentially sound and simply need sorting out. We were faced with the classical questions of democratic theory, the fundamental question, which we must frame ideas and institutional solutions appropriate for the times. We must understand and face with courage the full dimension of the threat to democracy, because it is our ability to deal with those who will give an answer to the question whether the democratic revolution globally will deepen or it will become a thing of the past, leaving future historians, as Rorty says, with the puzzle why the golden age of democracy, such as the age of Antonin’s, lasted only about two hundred years [11].

Looking ahead, the competence of liberal democracy will be decided by how to manage puzzles participation and institutional resilience. Important, too, will be the legitimacy of political orientation and policies that rely on self-sacrifice and "moral ambiguity" in the "political system that legitimizes the decision on the basis of a formal, truth procedural without distinction of content" and "with no reference to substantive justice and there is no link to a system of the highest value. "a commitment to representative democracy, such as Juan Linz thus underlined, requires a high degree of neutrality policy, suspension of disbelief is based on" relativism certain "as long as the primary liberal values such as civil liberties and the rule of law is respected, and capture process a decision that is open and pure. Arguably, much will depend on whether democracy finds broad willingness to live without a single sense of common interests and with the understanding that the policy results are temporary [13].

The future of liberal democracy requires the solution of what Dahl identifies six decades ago as a matter of variations in the intensity with which people and groups continue the policy preferences. Democracy must consider what happens when the "consensus underlying the policies that usually exist in society between the dominant majority of politically active members... Before politics, beneath it, wrap it, limit it, cooling it" ceases to exist. If representative democracy require agreement on such a background, tacit or otherwise, as a condition of political compromise and legislative action, and if democracy must produce legislation that recognizes the openness and contingency, what vulnerabilities that arise in their absence? What mechanism supports this understanding and the circumstances which reduces the likelihood that the framework can flourish? We very much need a robust debate on these questions. The quality of our political future depends on how we see the right answer [13].

I still think that it is hard to imagine a society that is truly modern without liberal democracy and market economy. The only thing that might rival is China, but I have great doubts about the success of the Chinese model in the long term. What has changed is that I have to admit that the political system to continue not only advanced, but they also could be on their way to disintegration - this is a genuine problem in the United States. I am also attaching a greater importance for the country to function properly, which in my opinion is more difficult to make than democracy itself [14].

In popular usage, neo-liberalism is equated with market free radicals: maximized competition and free trade achieved through economic de-regulation, tariff reductions, and a variety of monetary policy and supporting social business and indifferent to poverty, deracination social, depletion culture, long-term resource depletion and environmental degradation. Neo-liberalism is most often invoked in relation to the Third World, referring either to NAFTA as a scheme that increases the vulnerability of poor countries to changes in globalization or policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, through the financing package that is attached to a "restructuring" requirements, pull the chain every aspect of Third World existence, including political institutions and social formations. For progressive, neo-liberalism is thus lower not only because it raises economic policies that support or deepen local poverty and the subordination of peripheral to core countries, but also because it is compatible with, and sometimes even productive, authoritarian, despotic, Para militaristic, and/or corrupt the form and state agencies in civil society [15].

While these references capture important effects of neo-liberalism, they also reduce neo-liberalism to a bundle of economic policies with the political and social consequences of unintentional: they abstain from political rationality that both govern these policies and the outer reaches of the market. In addition, this reference does not capture the neo in neoliberalism, tends not to treat the contemporary phenomenon as little more than a revival of classical liberal political economy. Finally, they obscure the special list of neo-liberalism in the First World, that is, the strong erosion of liberal democratic institutions and practices in places like the United States. My concern in this essay with negligible dimensions of neo-liberalism [15].

Thus, the future world order would in the set of liberal democracy with the mixing of socialism values. The system would be performed as the collaboration of many ideologies as the form of interest’s compromise or as the form of showing the “tolerance” to embrace other ideologies. In the liberal democracy side would face the challenge from amazing mixture ideology such as China and its alliance, Europe Union as multilateral state power and Sharia Community such as Muslims countries as the emerging power both politically and economically as the new challenge for the leading liberal democracy. So the next discussion in the field of world order apparently would be predominantly around of liberalism, Socialism and Islam.


The discussion showed us some facts that: First, liberal democracy is still the champion in the era with some advances and obstacles. The advances including the generic system of political and economics, and the obstacles including inability of privates and individuals to provide welfare in equal form. Second, liberal democracy has advance concept in providing human rights and freedoms but lack of common and interests of all the peoples. Third, the future of the world affairs would continue the domination of liberal democracy in new mix favored with other ideologies such as socialism and Islam. Even though there are China, European Union and Muslims emerging countries but U.S.A. would still dominate the world order base on its power in economics, politics, technology, military and influence linkages.


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