For example: Do all the people have a vote in determining how they are governed is a question of fact. If they do not who does not have a vote? This is also a question of fact. Is the vote direct or is it used to choose a representative? This is also factual and these items can be measured. They are all part of a process. On the other hand how do you measure a “form of society”? The answer can only be opinion. It cannot be specifically measured. There can be many forms of society, which ignore hereditary class distinctions and tolerate minority views.
Lenin did not accept The Oxford Dictionary’s second definition. In his view, set out in “State and Revolution” published in 1919 he says, “No, Democracy is not identical with majority rule. No, Democracy is a State which recognises the subjection of the minority to the majority, that is, an organisation for the systematic use of violence by one class against the other, by one part of the population against another.” Lenin is referring to his perception of the reality of democracy but in doing so he distorts the word in order to promote his political ideology. An approach which is not unique to Lenin. Like many politicians Lenin was also prone to exaggeration. He once asserted “Proletarian democracy is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; Soviet government is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic”.
Throughout history the establishment, consisting of the educated elite, have regarded democracy as a threat, probably through their fear of the “rule of the mob” and because they saw it jeopardising their comfortable existence. Only in recent times has this fear subsided as democracy has slowly been introduced without their comfortable existence disappearing. The Encyclopaedia Britannica gives an extended definition of the word. It says there are three basic senses in contemporary usage:
Democracy is a system of government. It is not a perfect form of government and often there are difficulties with it. On the 11th November 1944 in Parliament Sir Winston Churchill declared “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”