The Anti-concept “Duty”: By Ayn Rand

One of the most destructive anti-concepts in the history of moral philosophy is the term "duty" The meaning of the term "duty" is: the moral necessity to perform certian actions for no reason other than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive, desire or interest. In a mystic theory of … Continue reading The Anti-concept “Duty”: By Ayn Rand

We have one life to live, and when we’re dead, we’re done!

A distinguishing feature of Humanism is our belief that life is over when it’s over: we have one life to live, and when we’re dead, we’re done. On first glance this doesn't look like a “value” which might inspire service, but actually, accepting this fact of life is so wide and pervasive. It is the … Continue reading We have one life to live, and when we’re dead, we’re done!

Determinants of the Democratic Prospect in Africa: By Larry Diamond

If Africa is going to develop, politically and economically, it will have to do so democratically. The past three decades have discredited the notion that East-Asian style developmental dictatorships are possible in Africa. Even in East Asia, economic growth was fostered not by pure authoritarianism but by the rise of more accountable, rule-based institutions that … Continue reading Determinants of the Democratic Prospect in Africa: By Larry Diamond

Developing Democracy in Africa: African and International Imperatives

By Larry Diamond.........................................................From the early 1990s, Africa has experienced a "second liberation" that has opened up new prospects for democratic development on the continent. After 1990, most of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa legalized opposition parties and held competitive, multiparty elections.  But those elections have often not met the minimal democratic criteria of freeness and fairness. Many incumbent parties have exploited institutional advantages to deny the opposition any chance of winning power in the new multi-party regimes. These regimes are best understood as #"pseudodemocracies" or what Richard Joseph has termed “virtual democracies.” A distinction between a “merely” electoral democracy and a more substantial form, what may be termed "liberal democracy" is crucial to understanding the limits and possibilities of democratic development in Africa. In a liberal democracy, elected officials have power as well as authority, and the military and police are subordinate to them.  The rule of law is upheld by an independent and respected judiciary.  As a result, citizens have political and legal equality, state officials are themselves subject to the law, and individual and group liberties are respected.  People are free to organize, demonstrate, publish, petition, and speak their minds.  Newspapers and electronic media are free to report and comment, and to expose wrongdoing.   Minority groups can practice their culture, their faith, and their beliefs without fear of victimization.  Executive power is constrained by other governmental actors.  Property rights are protected by law and by the courts. Corruption is punished and deterred by autonomous, effective means of monitoring and enforcement.If we are to understand the prospects for democratic development on the continent, we must have a clear conceptual framework for measuring the real extent of that progress.  And we may also want to examine the relationship between the extent of democracy and the likelihood of its consolidation.  It is certainly plausible to argue that liberal democratic regimes—those which are more politically inclusive, accountable, and respectful of civil liberties—are more likely to become broadly valued and legitimate, and hence consolidated.This is not to suggest, however, that a rapid transition to liberal democracy is everywhere realistic, or the only path to democratic progress.   If, with Richard L. Sklar, we view democracy in developmental terms, as emerging in fragments or parts by no fixed timetable or sequence, then the presence of one fragment of democracy can provide space, experience, initiative, or inspiration for the emergence of others. From this perspective, every increment of democratic progress is significant and should be encouraged.  Thus, the presence in pseudodemocracies of legal opposition parties that may contest elections and of somewhat greater scope for civil society groups to organize and educate the people can gradually erode the hegemony of the ruling party and even produce a surprising breakthrough to electoral democracy. By the same token, although electoral democracy may have many illiberal features, the ability to turn the ruling party out of power is a crucial threshold for democratization, especially given Africa's harshly authoritarian experience.  Most liberal democracies that do emerge in Africa will probably do so after passing through (or even slipping back to) some period of "merely" electoral democracy.The democratic situation in Africa today is very fluid.  Many of the remaining African authoritarian regimes have weaker domestic support bases and face more vigorous and organized opposition, especially in civil society.  Some of the pseudodemocracies, such as #Kenya and #Ethiopia, at least have more political pluralism and freedom. Senegal experienced a breakthrough in March 2000 from pseudodemocracy to electoral democracy, as a result of international pressure and domestic vigilance that produced a surprisingly free and fair election and the defeat of the ruling Socialist Party after 40 years in power.Most remaining authoritarian regimes in Africa are fragile. The problem is that most of the new democracies are as well. Increasingly Africa is threatened by the specter not just of authoritarianism but of the breakdown or disintegration of the state altogether.  Because of the low legitimacy and pervasive weakness of state structures of all kinds, the #democratic prospect appears more open-ended in Africa, more subject to the influence of a number of key variables, than in any other region of the world........................................................................Larry DiamondSenior Fellow, Hoover Institutionemail: diamond@ hoover.stanford.edu

Developing Democracy in Africa: African and International Imperatives

By Larry Diamond.........................................................From the early 1990s, Africa has experienced a "second liberation" that has opened up new prospects for democratic development on the continent. After 1990, most of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa legalized opposition parties and held competitive, multiparty elections.  But those elections have often not met the minimal democratic criteria of freeness and fairness. Many incumbent parties have exploited institutional advantages to deny the opposition any chance of winning power in the new multi-party regimes. These regimes are best understood as #"pseudodemocracies" or what Richard Joseph has termed “virtual democracies.” A distinction between a “merely” electoral democracy and a more substantial form, what may be termed "liberal democracy" is crucial to understanding the limits and possibilities of democratic development in Africa. In a liberal democracy, elected officials have power as well as authority, and the military and police are subordinate to them.  The rule of law is upheld by an independent and respected judiciary.  As a result, citizens have political and legal equality, state officials are themselves subject to the law, and individual and group liberties are respected.  People are free to organize, demonstrate, publish, petition, and speak their minds.  Newspapers and electronic media are free to report and comment, and to expose wrongdoing.   Minority groups can practice their culture, their faith, and their beliefs without fear of victimization.  Executive power is constrained by other governmental actors.  Property rights are protected by law and by the courts. Corruption is punished and deterred by autonomous, effective means of monitoring and enforcement.If we are to understand the prospects for democratic development on the continent, we must have a clear conceptual framework for measuring the real extent of that progress.  And we may also want to examine the relationship between the extent of democracy and the likelihood of its consolidation.  It is certainly plausible to argue that liberal democratic regimes—those which are more politically inclusive, accountable, and respectful of civil liberties—are more likely to become broadly valued and legitimate, and hence consolidated.This is not to suggest, however, that a rapid transition to liberal democracy is everywhere realistic, or the only path to democratic progress.   If, with Richard L. Sklar, we view democracy in developmental terms, as emerging in fragments or parts by no fixed timetable or sequence, then the presence of one fragment of democracy can provide space, experience, initiative, or inspiration for the emergence of others. From this perspective, every increment of democratic progress is significant and should be encouraged.  Thus, the presence in pseudodemocracies of legal opposition parties that may contest elections and of somewhat greater scope for civil society groups to organize and educate the people can gradually erode the hegemony of the ruling party and even produce a surprising breakthrough to electoral democracy. By the same token, although electoral democracy may have many illiberal features, the ability to turn the ruling party out of power is a crucial threshold for democratization, especially given Africa's harshly authoritarian experience.  Most liberal democracies that do emerge in Africa will probably do so after passing through (or even slipping back to) some period of "merely" electoral democracy.The democratic situation in Africa today is very fluid.  Many of the remaining African authoritarian regimes have weaker domestic support bases and face more vigorous and organized opposition, especially in civil society.  Some of the pseudodemocracies, such as #Kenya and #Ethiopia, at least have more political pluralism and freedom. Senegal experienced a breakthrough in March 2000 from pseudodemocracy to electoral democracy, as a result of international pressure and domestic vigilance that produced a surprisingly free and fair election and the defeat of the ruling Socialist Party after 40 years in power.Most remaining authoritarian regimes in Africa are fragile. The problem is that most of the new democracies are as well. Increasingly Africa is threatened by the specter not just of authoritarianism but of the breakdown or disintegration of the state altogether.  Because of the low legitimacy and pervasive weakness of state structures of all kinds, the #democratic prospect appears more open-ended in Africa, more subject to the influence of a number of key variables, than in any other region of the world........................................................................Larry DiamondSenior Fellow, Hoover Institutionemail: diamond@ hoover.stanford.edu

Democracy and Development in Africa: Pressures for Political and Economic Reform

Democracy and Development in Africa: Pressures for Political and Economic Reform By Rod Alence Though the wave of democratization in Africa did not gain momentum until after the Cold War ended, in the 1980s critics inside and out began asking tough questions about the performance of the region's authoritarian governments. Dragged down by global economic … Continue reading Democracy and Development in Africa: Pressures for Political and Economic Reform

Lack of the Structural Bases for Stable Democracy in Africa

Democracy and Development in Africa: Doubts about Democracy By Rod Alence ......................................................................... No shortage of skepticism greeted Africa's new democracies. Many analysts questioned whether they would last—and, if so, whether they would make any significant contribution to economic recovery and poverty reduction. One set of doubts stemmed from the absence of structural “requisites” observed in … Continue reading Lack of the Structural Bases for Stable Democracy in Africa

Good-for-nothing Intellectuals

#Melese Birmeji Imagine having to deal with the condescending pity of a fellow youth who has been reading you on Facebook, who thinks he has found "absolute truth" and so has a duty to save you. He insists you are not Christian enough, that you are floating in the middle - all the way to … Continue reading Good-for-nothing Intellectuals

A story about an Afar Girl and Democracy

Once i read about a girl who is from one of the communities in the region. In this community the people have one Religion, life style, even the adressing style is all the same. Life is communial. Within this social setting there was an erratic girl. She breachs all the social norms of the community. … Continue reading A story about an Afar Girl and Democracy

To Hr. #Girma #Seifu Maru Ethiopia’s sole opposition MP.

In an Interview with Reuters, you claimed that EPRDF is following the China's model in a bid to drag swathes of the Ethiopian people, many still subsistence farmers, out of poverty by 2025. You also argued saying, "the Chinese model is that economic development is the primary issue, don't ask about human rights issues, don't … Continue reading To Hr. #Girma #Seifu Maru Ethiopia’s sole opposition MP.