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Elitism vs Pluralism

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When we look at the basic premise behind our founding fathers design to create our government, we are looking at democracy. We can view democracy in many different ways. The most basic principle is that we have a government that requires many different people and groups with contrasting ideas to make the most important decisions. To study the backbone of our government, democracy, we must look at the theories that contrast how we view ourselves as a democracy.

As in any political debate, the two main theories, elitism and pluralism present numerous conflicts. Firstly, elitism defines all governments as systems that divide the people the few people that make the important decisions (the elite) and those who do not (the majority). Pluralism, on the other hand, defines democracy as a balanced system of government that is achieved by many well-organized large groups that individuals participate in the reach a compromise on issues. In elitism, no social organization can form with out elites to lead and make all the decisions for the organization. Contradictory, pluralism holds that majority will always prevail regardless of any leader¡¯s personal view.

Through the views of elitism, leaders will always have a different perspective than the members of their groups. The opposing pluralist view portrays that members of the same group form the group because they share the same views and subsequently choose a leader as a voice for the group.

While elite leaders have their own voice, mainly focused on their own interests, they do not necessarily oppress the people, but may show a genuine concern for the welfare of the majority.

In the elitism democracy, leaders choose what they expose the majority to in order to maintain acceptance of their decisions. Pluralism attempts to make the theory of democracy more realistic by recognizing that the individual alone is no match for the big government and other big organizations, therefore, individuals form into larger groups to magnify the individual ideas that the majority share. Elitism makes no claim of being democratic stating that the majority is uninterested in politics and only sees what the elites want them to see. Pluralism reaffirms democratic values; placing emphases allowing a natural competition between groups protect the individual, and thus maintaining a system of checks and balances.

Although many Americans may disagree, I believe we live in a pluralist democracy. Yes, the media may influence the viewer by distorting issues in one direction or another, but there are many avenues to stay educated to form your own opinion. By educating yourself and forming your own opinion, you can join a group (i.e. democrat or republican) that shares your same view. The elected spokesperson (political leader) voices the opinion of the group. If that spokesperson chooses to speak their own views, which are against those of the majority, the majority can remove that person from their position. This is just one of many examples of how our pluralist democracy has its own internal checks and balances, a major principle formed with the creation of our government.

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