Democracy and Freedom

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dblack, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    It seems that one of the principle issues we've been struggling with as a country lately (if you call the last hundred years or so 'lately') is the proper role of Democracy in a free society. If anyone else is interested I'd like to discuss that - with an eye toward what our goals should be in the US.

    I won't pretend to have anything profound to say on the topic, but i'll present my biases up front: I don't see democracy as a very big deal. I don't think it provides any kind of guarantee of the good life, and is about as likely to positively or negatively impact our lives as any other form of government. In my view, the main selling point for democracy is stability, but that's in no way inconsequential. It allows us, in theory at least, to 'throw the bums out' without resorting to violent conflict. Which is why I remain a strong supporter of democracy when it comes to deciding who will govern.

    Beyond that, my enthusiasm wanes. I don't see anything particularly virtuous about majority rule and I don't think I'd want to see more direct democracy in our government. This is becoming more of an issue because we're overcoming some of the hurdles that have made it technically impossible in the past. It's getting to the point where we could open virtually every public decision to majority vote. But would it be a good idea?

    (FWIW, my distrust of majority rule doesn't come from the position of protecting privilege. I'm not one of the one percenters. I have little wealth to speak of and no real ambition in that regard. I do, however, almost always find myself in the minority when ti comes to my values and goals in life. I have no desire to impose my values on others, but neither do I want theirs imposed on me.)
     
  2. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    Are you referring to social issues, i.e. gay marriage, abortion, etc....or something else?
     
  3. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Democracy without civil liberties is the ultimate tyranny.
     
  4. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    I wasn't really referring to 'issues'. Rather the general idea of whether more democracy would be a good thing or not.
     
  5. occupied
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    occupied Gold Member

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    Who are the elite in our country? It is mostly the billionaire class. They have special rights unto themselves, their own tax code, and the ability to pick up the phone and speak to practically anyone. They cannot be voted out or made to answer for exploitation. Direct democracy may not be a good idea as dumbed down and bound by propaganda as we have become but it is a noble thing to work towards. To not work towards greater democracy is to give up the fight against concentration of power, call it fascism or oligarchy or whatever but it is the reward for letting a few unelected people have absolute economic power over our lives.
     
  6. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    So you see democracy as a counter to economic power?
     
  7. occupied
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    occupied Gold Member

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    Yes, without the people constantly pushing for democracy, power will concentrate in ever fewer hands, direct democracy is probably an impossibility but it is the goal we must work towards or before we know it we will not even have the illusion of democracy.
     
  8. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    Should democracy also be used to counter religious power? What about media power? (eg the 'hollywood' elite, sports figures, etc...)
     
  9. Defiant1
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    Defiant1 Gold Member

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    So your idea of democracy is to use mob rule to inhibit the freedoms of people you don't like.

    Got it.
     
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  10. occupied
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    occupied Gold Member

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    Informed democracy is proof against any undue influence, unfortunately we are currently in the midst of a resurgence in authoritarianism, probably due to the media who have given up their mission to responsibly inform. The fact that there is even a discussion on the appropriate level of democracy is alarming to me, it's like giving up in a way, the work of building a democracy is never done.
     

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