Saturday, January 16, 2016

Types of Government

Today I am going back to middle school civics to discuss types of government. Basically there are seven types: anarchy, democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, republic, theocracy and totalitarian.

An anarchy is a lack of government. This usually occurs when there are warring factions or warlords running sections of a country. This lack of government is usually not sustainable, because no one living in it likes it. People live in fear and uncertainty. Even the warlords fear each other. Somalia is the closest example of anarchy today and it is not entirely anarchic. There is a central government, but it only controls a small portion of Mogadishu. The extremist group Al-Shabaab controls most of the country.

A democracy is where people get to vote on everything and the majority rules. Democracy only works for small groups in small areas, such as an office or a classroom. Getting everyone together to vote on what time of day the street lights come on in a city makes little sense. Democracy is usually seen in the form of republics.

A dictatorship is where one person is the government and makes the rules and the people they control have no choice but to adhere to these rules. Some dictators may be good people, but in any large group of people there are going to be disagreements about what the government should do, so a dictator can only control through power. A dictator’s friends like it and some will always be the quiet subdued opposition.

 A monarchy is similar to a dictatorship, but there are some monarchies that also have constitutions which limit a monarch’s power to prevent it from becoming a dictatorship. England, Sweden and Spain have constitutional monarchies. Tonga and Vatican City are absolute monarchies. Most people living in monarchies like this type of government.

A republic is the form of government we have in the United States. We elected people to represent us and we live under the laws and conditions these elected officials provide for us. Most governments in the world are republics.

A theocracy is a government ruled by a religion or sect. This is the type of government many Muslims want where the people are ruled by Sharia Law, with justice doled out by clerics and their minions. There are currently no nations living in a theocracy, but there are small areas inside some countries where theocracy is being practiced.

A totalitarian form of government is similar to a dictatorship, except it is run by a group or gang of people and not a single individual. There is normally no private ownership of property. Marxism, Leninism and communism are forms of totalitarian governments. We usually think of Russia and China as being communist countries, but they are considered republics, primarily because they have elections. Even unfair or “fixed” elections allow you to call yourself a republic.

There will always be opposition in any form of government. The group in power normally supports the government. The way the government treats the opposition usually determines the feelings people have about the government. A group of people that does not feel heard by government officials for an extended period of time has a propensity to rebel and revolt.

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