The Greeks and Romans ran one party states. In presence of some discontent from lower status citizens, they set up governance structures that addressed discontent within context of the existing one-party state. The Greeks among other things introduced isonomia — equality under the law, an equal share in citizenship and political rights. The Romans instituted the provocatio, the right of a plebeian (commoner) to challenge the decision of a magistrate. The seeds of democracy were so evident in ancient Greece, an anonymous Greek vents and admires as follows:
“Any wretch who wants to can just stand up and say whatever he thinks, and can sit on the council. This may be bad government, but it is the very basis of the people’s power and liberty.”
In today’s world, plurality of beliefs and views imply one-party states tend not to be the best representations of democratic institutions. This is the case because the richest most powerful people tend to hijack the party to the detriment of more qualified, less powerful, not-as-rich citizens. This potential for hijack is the most important weakness of the one-party system. This potential for hijack perhaps is the reason Russians want to keep Vladimir Putin in power — avoidance of a power struggle for the heart of the country by the richest and most powerful.
The main advantage of one-party states is the fact that political parties have no need of opposing each other over ideological differences. There is no right or left, no center, only people that differ in ability or capacity to govern for the people.
There is no right or left, no center, only people that differ in ability or capacity to govern for the people.
In a world increasingly torn apart by differences in views and ideologies — the sorts of differences making politics difficult in the United States, a one-party system can seem like a viable solution to presence of political impasse. This need not necessarily be the case.
If democratic institutions built on multi-party systems are to avoid impasse, they must be willing to concede to facts produced by objective third parties consisting of intellectuals who either do not have any political affiliations, or straddle all of the political parties. The United States and United Kingdom, the best examples of democratic institutions have such mechanisms in place. African democracies, which are characterized by more significant splints along religious, language, and ethnic lines hardly have any such institutions. Socialist structures in countries of Western Europe and Nordic countries — structures that turn these countries into what essentially are one-party states (in so far as economic policies are concerned), reduce probability and incidence of political impasse, and decrease demand for objective, factual evidence that enables avoidance of political impasse.
If democratic institutions within multi-party states are not to break down, politicians typically play party politics with matters that are not of critical importance, but respect objective evidence produced by intellectuals in respect of matters of significant importance for socioeconomic welfare. Since matters that are not of significant importance can be mediated within private sectors and associated capitalist economies, party politics tends not to induce significant losses in welfare of citizens or residents. Party politics in respect of weighty matters can, however, induce significant losses in welfare of citizens or residents, resulting in loss of faith in a country’s political system.
The dilemma within multi-party states?
The remedy for the dilemma?
A political system that produces potential leaders whose achievements speak for themselves. In presence of leadership qualities, people can vote for ability and capacity to govern for the people, as opposed to voting on ideology.
If multi-party democracies are not to break down, Presidents need to be chosen on personal merit, as opposed to political ideology. The people then must demand the two parties work together on matters of significant importance for welfare of citizens and residents. The United States of America got this right with choice of Donald Trump as President of the United States because only Donald Trump seemed capable of attempting to lead the country. There simply was too much of a risk of maintenance of the status quo with Senator Clinton.
If multi-party democracies focus on picking Presidents based on ability and capacity to govern for the people, multi-party democracies approximate one-party states and retain benefits of a multi-party structure — which is, more room for participation by average non-rich, non-powerful citizens. It would seem then that introduction of evidence-based decision making, and choice of Presidents based on candidates’ ability and capacity to govern for the people has potential to enable multi-party democracies eat their cake and have it.
Power to the people who adopt voting paradigms that are ethical, rational, and spiritually sound to ensure they eat their cake (increase in participation in political processes) and have it (multi-party systems that work) .
The quote in the article is from “History of the World: Earliest Times to the Present Day (2015), John Whitney Hall, ed.,World Publications, Bridgewater MA.”