Democracy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by manifold, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    My understanding is that true democracy was only tried once, in ancient Athens, and ultimately it failed. Are there any true democracy success stories of which I am ignorant?
     
  2. busara
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    busara wanasiasa wapumbava

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    there are many different types of democracy, and it has been used in places other than athens. im sure wikipedia has information on that (though i dont know how accurate it is)
     
  3. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    Even that wasn't a true democracy, depending on your definition of the term. A handful of voting males ruled a population roughly ten times the size of those allowed to vote.
     
  4. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    It is the best and can be the worst.

    "In a large ocean there are two neighbouring islands: faultless democracies with full civil and political rights. One island is extremely rich and prosperous, and has 10 million inhabitants. The other is extremely poor: it has 100 million inhabitants, who live by subsistence farming. After a bad harvest last year, there are no food stocks, and now the harvest has failed again: 90 million people are facing death by starvation. The democratically elected government of the poor island asks for help, and the democratically elected government of the rich island organises a referendum on the issue. There are three options: Option A is a sharp increase in taxes, to pay for large-scale permanent structural transfers to the poor island. Option B is some increase in taxes, to pay for immediate and sufficient humanitarian aid, so that famine will be averted. Option C is no extra taxes and no aid. When the votes are counted, 100% of the voters have chosen Option C. After all, who wants to pay more taxes?

    So 90 million people starve. Yet all electoral procedures on both islands are free and fair, the media are free, political campaigning is free, there is no political repression of any kind. According to democratic theory, any outcome of this democratic process must be respected. Two perfect democracies have functioned perfectly: if you believe the supporters of democracy, that is morally admirable. But it clearly is not: there is something fundamentally wrong with democracy, if it allows this outcome."

    Why democracy is wrong


    A vote for John McCain is a vote against the fundamental principle of America, the right of the individual to lead their life privately without the government interfering.
     
  5. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Interesting hypothetical. However, there is no guarantee that any other form of governance on the rich island wouldn't have also adopted option C. And if one delves a little deeper into this hypothetical, it suggests that humans are basically selfish evil fuckers, which in a way makes sense considering that socialism itself is largely predicated on this very notion. :eusa_think:
     
  6. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    In the earliest democracy, there was no voting: the Athenian Greeks had an annual lottery, and every citizen was in the pool. When your name was drawn, you had to serve in the Polis or legislature for a year. At the end of the year, you were out and replaced by a new person selected in the lottery. Sort of like jury duty.
    What made democracy unique, wasn't voting: that was just a means to the end. What's unique about democracy is that it's the only form of governance in the 6000 year history of modern civilization in which the power, authority, and credibility of government is derived from its citizens alone. Whether by lottery or by voting, it is the citizens who both comprise and direct the government. Not warlords, not churches, and not giant corporations.
    To America's Founders, democracy meant that a government drew its power and legitimacy from its citizens, and must be responsive solely to its citizens, and not to any other institution.
    It's time to get the banana companies out of our republic. A handful of rogue megacorporations and their "think tank" and "lobbyist" front groups are sullying our democratic waters, corrupting our political processes, and through monopolistic behavior wiping out local businesspeople and putting free enterprise at risk along with the democracy it once nurtured.
    Stripping personhood from corporations (a simple return to the policies of our Founders) will open the door to truly reforming our electoral process, putting it back into the hands of the people, and make it possible to return to our airwaves the voices of politicians who haven't sold their souls to corporations for funds to buy advertising. This can be done by bringing back public service and public debate programming requirements, a ban on corporate money in politics and elections (companies can't vote, the Founders said, so why are they involved in politics?), and putting in place instant runoff voting (IRV) to widen the political spectrum.
    With these steps, We, The People, can bring about a revitalization of democracy in America, and reverse our current slide into banana republic neofeudalism.
     
  7. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a voting system used for single-winner elections in which voters have one vote and rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first preference rankings, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and that candidate's votes redistributed to the voters' next preferences among the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until one candidate has a majority of votes among candidates not eliminated.
     
  8. Charles_Main
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    Charles_Main AR15 Owner

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    You are correct, True Democracy has rarely if ever existed, as it means no elected leaders, and instead leadership by popular vote and Majority rule.
     
  9. Epsilon Delta
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    Epsilon Delta Jedi Master

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    There was something close to true democracy in Catalonia in the waning years of the Spanish Civil War, before it got squashed by Fascists on one side and Stalinist extremists on the other. Look it up, 1936-1939 Catalonia.
     
  10. Stefan
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    Stefan Rookie

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    Referring to Athens you have to consider that only CITIZENS were allowed to vote, which these times didn't mean "everyone born here" but the rich guys. Going into politics meant to loose much money, because the job wasn't paid (same in the roman republic).

    What would be a "real" democracy? All we have today are representative democracies, people electing guys who represent them. If they don't - what happens in many democracies these days - , democracy has a problem. A direct democracy is impossible, because one should have some knowledge about what he decides over, and one cannot ask the people for every shit a modern state has to decide. It would be impossible to rule.
    Fareed Zakarya wrote that we have too much democracy these days, and pointed out that the citizens trust the government less and the judges most - the institution with the fewest democratic legitimation is trusted most, the one with the most democratic legitimation is trusted less. Quite a bit shizo, isn't it?
     

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