first up - The argument to support democracy is completely m00t because no such thing exists.
Democracy implies that everyone's opinion in some way counts.
But everyone's opinion is molded by the Pan Global Media System.
As pointed out by nick from the apprentice on have I got news -
"the sun ran the headline, Osbourne Listened to Sun readers, overturns pasty tax - he didn't listen to Sun Readers, He listened to the Sun"
Thus the opinion of the "masses" is going to be the opinion that those with money want them to have.
Distraction, smoke and mirrors.
Take the whole Gay marriage thing in the US - this is a distraction, Fire people up with opposing rhetoric - and they will put their energy debating something that doesn't really matter - and ignore the things that do.
It's a little known fact that the Racism in the deep south of the US was actually started on purpose by the very rich.
Who planted the seeds, and fanned the flames.
Divide and conquer - Make Johnny white and Cleatus black fight each other,
blame each other for the poverty they live in - and they won't take a moment to think
"hey hang on - were all poor, yet you 7 people have lots of money"
So this then is democracy -
Those with the money and the power, using that money and power to get more money and power.
If you have not seen the film Bullworth - I suggest you do so.
here is a clip:Bullworth tells it like it is
However - there seems to be talk of general civil rights in here too.
oh and BTW - there is a country where you can say anything you want, prostitution drugs and suicide are all legal.
It's called the Netherlands - and it's one of the richest countries in the world with one of the highest standards of living, lowest teen pregnancy and std rate, lowest drug use rate (especially among the young) and best healthcare systems.
However i don't feel that the liberty/law conversation isn't really in keeping with the OP so instead i will focus on the system of governance.
(i'd mention something or crack a joke about it - but apparently this can result in the tears which stem from a Ban - not that i minded, was making a salad at the time, perfect garnish)
So in terms of system -
one the one hand we have total referendum politics - in which every* citizen votes on every law
on the other end of the scale we have a total dictatorship.
Now people often associate a dictatorship with a lack - and often total lack - of personal freedom.
However this is not necessarily the case (though of course, it's a dictatorship so you won't have much or any political freedoms)
That being said - there is nothing to say that you can't have as many personal freedoms as you like.
And there are a fair few dictatorships around the world where people enjoy more freedoms than most places.
What i feel is lacking from this discussion is the role of the Media.
and in the two polar systems, what is the role of the media and how much power do they (these un-elected, unaccountable billionares) actually have.
In a democratic system the Media is king.
the media gets most of it's revenue from big companies such as P&G , Chevron, Unilever, Nestle etc.
the government in a democracy - is 100% reliant on positive media exposure.
(the prime minister the News International suggests people vote for has ALWAYS won...think about that)
So in a democracy we have at the top of power and influence - a power sharing arrangement between big media and big corporate.
(2 entities motivated entirely by money, and empowered by their shareholders to exploit whatever means they can to increase profits)
And underneath these two - the goverment.
After all (and we can all agree) that a democratically elected gorvernemt will not remain in power unless it is given positive coverage by the Media."The hand that gives, is always above the hand that receives" - Napoleon Bonaparte
In a dictatorship - things are different.
Here the government is above the Media - and the large corporations.
and a governments prime motive* is to improve the country and there by the lives of the people in it.
However even in a dictatorship, the government is rarely above the Banks.
As these days most countries have given away the power to even issue their own currency,
Instead they sell Bonds = Debt.
and this is done with interest, the rate of which is decided by a bank called Standards & Poor
and here too we have a privately owned, for profit pan global system.
A system that was designed from it's inception to give more money / power to the rich,
while taking it from the poor."Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild
So in a democracy we have 3 groups of people who are un-elected, un-accountable and un-interested in whats good for the nation and it's people, with more money than the government.
These are: Multinationals, Media & Banks.
And in a sense it matters not your system of government.
For the power of these global organisations, and the network they have built for themselves is too great, and too seductive to resist with any real effect.
Why then NO to democracy.
Because (as I have hopefully demonstrated)
You have no real power regardless of system.
You have no say in the people who run the economy, or how they run it.
and money makes the world turn round.
So what does Democracy give us that a dictatorship does not?
THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE.
THE LIE OF EMPOWERMENT
THE JOKE OF "SELF DETERMINATION"
and in my opinion that's just sick.
Because a system where the people were actually put first (please don't say communism) would be grand.
and I'd be very interested in reading some ideas about what that kind of system would look like.