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Dale

Critiquing Democracy

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We seem to take for granted the notion that we stand in a continuum in which our time or generation has advanced beyond that of our forebears, but has it ? Take democracy, for instance. We generally consider democracy the best system of governance, or at least the best we can do, but is it the best we can do ?

In practical effect, democracy amounts to:

(1) Nose counting.

(2) The notion that a bad decision made by the millions is somehow more noble than a bad decision made by an individual on high.

(3) Ascribing equal weight to the knowledge and acumen of every voter, even as it is obvious that voters are not equally knowledgable.

Moreover, democracy in itself is not promotive of liberty. Indeed, it readily serves to erode liberty by giving one man the power to plunder his neighbor.

There is more, but for the purposes of this discussion, I'm defining democracy as a form of governance in which the law reflects the will of the majority as determined by direct voting or by voting in elected representatives.

Any reaction thus far ?

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Very good points and interesting. Do you define the USA soley as a democracy?

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Very good points and interesting. Do you define the USA soley as a democracy?

Usually, no sooner than I've brooched the topic, someone rushes in to say, "We're not a democracy, dimwit! We're a Republic!" :unsure:

In any case, I would define 'democracy' as encompassing and characterizing our current system of government. In practical effect, I don't know that it makes any difference whether the will of the people is effected through direct voting or through the actions of voted-in representatives.

Another criticism of democracy is the alienation if engenders, meaning a separation of thought and action. Democracy alienates people from their capacity to fashion their lives as they see fit (in cooperation with others). It takes this liberty away and confers it to the majority (or to an elected official).

You know, I consider it a natural concommitant of democracy the fact that if a hurricane blows a tree of mine into a neighbor's backyard, I cannot work with neighbor to remove the tree and redress the damage. There are ordinances against such creativity and spontenaity.

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By the way, 'vote' comes from the Latin VOTUM, meaning 'will'. Everytime we pull the lever we are imposing our will upon others, which is why I get a kick out of the indignant, "You're just trying to impose your will!" objection invariably raised around election time. Democracy is all about imposition. That's all it really is, boiled down.

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Usually, no sooner than I've brooched the topic, someone rushes in to say, "We're not a democracy, dimwit! We're a Republic!" :unsure:

lol well, actually were a Democratic Republic. Sounds like a bit of an identity crisis, eh?

Im not disagreeing with you when I say that, I was just curious. Have you thought about writing a book?

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lol well, actually were a Democratic Republic. Sounds like a bit of an identity crisis, eh?

Im not disagreeing with you when I say that, I was just curious. Have you thought about writing a book?

Have I thought of writing a book ? Yes, just as soon as this historic highrise boom breathes its last. ;)

Actually, I could hardly improve upon Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn's:

Liberty or Equality

Leftism Revisited: from De Sade to Marx to Hitler to Pol Pot

The first is an examination of the fundamental contradiction between liberty and equality. The latter is an examination of democracy as the modern child of the egalitarian (and leftist) zeitgeist, the so-called 'democracy' of ancient Greece being severely restricted.

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What would you suggest to replace democracy?

Would you consider me a hypocrite for declaring that I don't worry much about a replacement ? Maybe I am. It is enough for me to think about ways of living in a democratic world that allow me to critique the bus I'm riding on.

If pressed, I'd say that we could do much worse than to return to monarchy. Some would say the much-misunderstood anarchy. Seriously, as a Christian, I consider the church an alternative political movement, a sort of radical counter-culture. And yes, I'm all too keenly aware that the church is typically too-enamored with politics as usual.

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Hey is this Urban Planet or Politics Planets......lol :w00t:

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Hey is this Urban Planet or Politics Planets......lol :w00t:

lol can you have one without the other? (oooo deep lol) I have to run out of the office for a bit, but you make very interesting points Dale.

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Hey is this Urban Planet or Politics Planets......lol :w00t:

Go Gators goaded me into this. :unsure:;)

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I really dont care.... Just thought it was funny. Happy Friday to every one!!! :P

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Would you consider me a hypocrite for declaring that I don't worry much about a replacement ? Maybe I am. It is enough for me to think about ways of living in a democratic world that allow me to critique the bus I'm riding on.

If pressed, I'd say that we could do much worse than to return to monarchy. Some would say the much-misunderstood anarchy. Seriously, as a Christian, I consider the church an alternative political movement, a sort of radical counter-culture. And yes, I'm all too keenly aware that the church is typically too-enamored with politics as usual.

No. Not really. I agree that democracy has its faults especially in Modern Culture, where information can be so easily slanted. I was just curious what you would suggest to replace it. My boyfreind is a big fan of monarchies since in theory you are raising people to be rulers and since they will rule no matter what, they have less incentive to be dishonest. My issue with it is the fact that they will rule no matter what :)

Actually my perfered alternative to a democracy is something like the Greeks had. Get a large body of people with the capacity to rule and randomly pick out a senate out of them. There are flaws with this of course (In greece only male citizens could become a senator).

Though, there is an idea of a Theocracy that I have kicking round my head. Might make a good book. Develop a religion that is taliored to be used as a foundation of a government. Rome did something similar I believe. Of course non of the current religions today are really well suited to be the "state" religion.

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No. Not really. I agree that democracy has its faults especially in Modern Culture, where information can be so easily slanted. I was just curious what you would suggest to replace it. My boyfreind is a big fan of monarchies since in theory you are raising people to be rulers and since they will rule no matter what, they have less incentive to be dishonest. My issue with it is the fact that they will rule no matter what :)

Actually my perfered alternative to a democracy is something like the Greeks had. Get a large body of people with the capacity to rule and randomly pick out a senate out of them. There are flaws with this of course (In greece only male citizens could become a senator).

Though, there is an idea of a Theocracy that I have kicking round my head. Might make a good book. Develop a religion that is taliored to be used as a foundation of a government. Rome did something similar I believe. Of course non of the current religions today are really well suited to be the "state" religion.

Wow! It's evident that you've put a little thought into this. And that's just what I was talking about with respect to Greece. Only a very small body exercised 'choice'.

And as regards your criticism of monarchy, you cannot escape the prospect of someone ruling over you by resorting to democracy. ;)

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Wow! It's evident that you've put a little thought into this. And that's just what I was talking about with respect to Greece. Only a very small body exercised 'choice'.

And as regards your criticism of monarchy, you cannot escape the prospect of someone ruling over you by resorting to democracy. ;)

Well I rather have a small body of educated officals lead than one person. Nobody is perfect but in a much larger group, you have more people to catch your errors and come up with new ideas. A "not put all of your eggs in one basket" issue. :) (added by edit)

I have no issues with some one ruling over me. I rather have someone else figure out when to go to war, neigotiating trade agreements, etc. The issue I have is if the Prince or Princess is an spoiled brat. Someone who is really unfit to rule. In a monarchy you really have no choice but to resort to assasination, because you don't want people to lose faith in the blood line.

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Well I rather have a small body of educated officals lead than one person. Nobody is perfect but in a much larger group, you have more people to catch your errors and come up with new ideas. A "not put all of your eggs in one basket" issue. :) (added by edit)

I have no issues with some one ruling over me. I rather have someone else figure out when to go to war, neigotiating trade agreements, etc. The issue I have is if the Prince or Princess is an spoiled brat. Someone who is really unfit to rule. In a monarchy you really have no choice but to resort to assasination, because you don't want people to lose faith in the blood line.

I think I can appreciate the notion of a group serving to dilute ambitions. On the other hand, I don't believe the modern world has witnessed a more brutal tyranny than the mob exercised during the French Revolution.

And I suppose you could characterize democracy as a go-slow mob.

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Come to think of it, Kuehnelt-Leddihn has characterized the American system of government as an 'oligarchy with time limits.'

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I think I can appreciate the notion of a group serving to dilute ambitions. On the other hand, I don't believe the modern world has witnessed a more brutal tyranny than the mob exercised during the French Revolution.

And I suppose you could characterize democracy as a go-slow mob.

A slow go mob. :rofl: I like that!

I have to do more research on the french revolution. It's been a while since I have read anything about it.

Hmmm... I have been giving more thought to your idea that equality and liberty are counter productive. I personally think the ideas are some what related but not necessarily connected as strongly as the United States Government has them.

Here are some very very base theories about the two:

1. Liberty without Equality is Anarism

2. Equality without Liberty is Communism

Be Right back. got to log off my computer to help someone change a password :)

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The French Revolution was an exercise in raw democracy. And Hitler fondly referred to himself as an 'arch democrat.'

In fact, the term democracy translates 'power to the people', power in the brutal sense.

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The French Revolution was an exercise in raw democracy. And Hitler fondly referred to himself as an 'arch democrat.'

I wanted to look up what made the French Revolution so violent. From what I understand (I need to verify this) France was just coming out of a nasty ecomonic downturn ("The End of the Day" From the Les Mes play). There were alot of angry people back then, so I think a mob would have happened either with a democracy or a dictatorship.

Back to my previous thought...

I think our founding fathers tried to find a happy medium between total liberty and total equality. These are the same people that thought up the electorial college to make sure the uneducated masses didn't pick the wrong person for the job. They set up a group of checks and balances to make sure there was a bit of equality and wrote the bill of rights to give us a bit of liberty.

Of course there are some things they didn't really expect. The idea of faceless corporations was beyond our wildest dreams. There are no mention in the consitution of scientific ethics. And the idea of Congress handing some of thier powers to the president probably seems pepostrous in thier time.

We may talk about how flawed democracy is, however, would another system be better? Would it fall to the same flaws that our current government is suffering from? Heck, is our government really suffering or are we ourselves suffering from a case of "It was better in the good ole days"?

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If pressed, I'd say that we could do much worse than to return to monarchy. Some would say the much-misunderstood anarchy. Seriously, as a Christian, I consider the church an alternative political movement, a sort of radical counter-culture. And yes, I'm all too keenly aware that the church is typically too-enamored with politics as usual.

You had me partly until here. NO THANKS to a church/religion run state, no thanks at all. You know while Christians are the majority in the USA, there are others, many others! Christians can't make up their minds what they believe as a group, hence the many different types of religions/churches so I'm not sure if they could even come to an agreement on a unified government. A Southern Baptist controlled state or a Mormon controlled state, HELL NO!

Our gal DD5 is making some fine points and I am in agreement w/her. You go girl! :D

On preview...haven't most monarchies of the past been severely flawed??

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Yes, I can easily envision better systems of government better than what we have. I cannot however envision America changing from what we have. So I consider this discussion academic.

As to the French Revolution, there may be a lot of folklore in the 'historic account.' Kuehnelt-Leddhin points out that the revolution emerged out of a time of unparalelled prosperity in France, and that the predominate emotions which drove the revolution were boredom and envy.

And quite true about the Founders. Their attitudes about the judgement of the populace would be considered politically incorrect in this era.

You had me partly until here. NO THANKS to a church/religion run state, no thanks at all. You know while Christians are the majority in the USA, there are others, many others! Christians can't make up their minds what they believe as a group, hence the many different types of religions/churches so I'm not sure if they could even come to an agreement on a unified government. A Southern Baptist controlled state or a Mormon controlled state, HELL NO!

Our gal DD5 is making some fine points and I am in agreement w/her. You go girl! :D

On preview...haven't most monarchies of the past been severely flawed??

While I don't think the church needs to aspire to power, why would a religious system of government be more disagreeable than the one we have (which could be considered religious in a sense ... all is religion) ?

And monarchies of the past have not necessarily been 'severely flawed'. It is engrained in the American psyche that monarchy = tyranny. Yet, arguably, a subject of the Habsburgs enjoyed greater liberties than do today's Americans.

I think I keep hitting 'edit' instead of 'reply'. Hope you two can work it all out. :)

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Just read the wikipedia article on the French Revolution. What a mess. Definately an example of democracy gone haywire. Of course it failed and turned into an empire. :(

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Just read the wikipedia article on the French Revolution. What a mess. Definately an example of democracy gone haywire. Of course it failed and turned into an empire. :(

Democracy gone bad ? Or just democracy played out ?

And it's quite beyond me why the French celebrate their revolution. It ought to be a source of abject shame.

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I suspect the only thing which rescues modern Americans from the same destructive impulse is that we're just too damned fat to revolt.

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