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John Wilkes Booth 08-31-2014 11:37 AM

democracy
 
do you believe in it?

is the best form of government one that draws its power from the people? what if the people are clueless when it comes to the complex questions of how to run a country, shore up geopolitical interest and maintain a healthy economy. people don't have the time of day to run a country... so what makes the public uniquely qualified to pick out the people that do?

Dharma & Greg 08-31-2014 11:54 AM

The people in general are certainly incompetent and I wouldn't trust them with my goldfish. They elect idiots and crooks, let themselves get fooled into believing that they've done otherwise, all the while knowing the truth somehow. It'd be a perfect story for Kurt Vonnegut. The only thing that makes democracy desirable is that rule is divided amongst so many people that tyranny is far less likely. Sure we have power-hungry politicians, but the fact that they have to pander to us means that they at least have to stay within the bounds of sanity to stay in power (evangelicals not withstanding). Democracy blows, but it's better than any other alternative.

FishlessExistence 09-01-2014 01:52 AM

I believe in direct, Jacksonian democracy – in such a system an informed voter is important, and yes in some countries there's apathy and ignorance about some issues, but when people have direct control over their government it fosters a spirit of education and people generally become more informed. No decision making on the part of elected officials, just pure uninhibited democracy and lots of campaigning and political activism from the people themselves.

John Wilkes Booth 09-01-2014 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FishlessExistence (Post 1484214)
I believe in direct, Jacksonian democracy in such a system an informed voter is important, and yes in some countries there's apathy and ignorance about some issues, but when people have direct control over their government it fosters a spirit of education and people generally become more informed. No decision making on the part of elected officials, just pure uninhibited democracy and lots of campaigning and political activism from the people themselves.

any (modern) examples of this in practice?

Dharma & Greg 09-01-2014 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FishlessExistence (Post 1484214)
I believe in direct, Jacksonian democracy in such a system an informed voter is important, and yes in some countries there's apathy and ignorance about some issues, but when people have direct control over their government it fosters a spirit of education and people generally become more informed. No decision making on the part of elected officials, just pure uninhibited democracy and lots of campaigning and political activism from the people themselves.

I'm not saying I support it, but I often toy with the idea of sort of the opposite of this. Kind of like the old Roman republic, where government offices could only be held by an elite caste. Our current political system often puts people in office who really have no business being there, but a much smaller pool of candidates who have been raised since birth in the ways of governing might actually be a better solution, assuming you could account for the obvious problems inherent with an aristocracy. Some kind of official like a tribune, elected from the common man, would obviously act as a counterbalance. It might not be the prettiest or fairest form of government to sell to people, but if it could work... ?

Again, not saying I support this idea, but it's interesting as a thought experiment at least. Democracy and "the will of the people" are kind of a fetish in the modern Western world, and no matter their merit, people often support the whole philosophy simply because... well, it's democracy, man. It's... you know, like, the thing. The only moral system of government... or whatever. Most people don't even consider for a moment that something less "We the people"-y might actually work better.

Moss 09-01-2014 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FishlessExistence (Post 1484214)
I believe in direct, Jacksonian democracy in such a system an informed voter is important, and yes in some countries there's apathy and ignorance about some issues, but when people have direct control over their government it fosters a spirit of education and people generally become more informed. No decision making on the part of elected officials, just pure uninhibited democracy and lots of campaigning and political activism from the people themselves.

Yep sounds good. Where is this Xanadu?

FishlessExistence 09-01-2014 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Wilkes Booth (Post 1484352)
any (modern) examples of this in practice?

The closest example in the modern world is Switzerland, which is a semi-representative democracy with heavy elements of direct democracy.

FishlessExistence 09-01-2014 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Batlord (Post 1484363)
I'm not saying I support it, but I often toy with the idea of sort of the opposite of this. Kind of like the old Roman republic, where government offices could only be held by an elite caste. Our current political system often puts people in office who really have no business being there, but a much smaller pool of candidates who have been raised since birth in the ways of governing might actually be a better solution, assuming you could account for the obvious problems inherent with an aristocracy. Some kind of official like a tribune, elected from the common man, would obviously act as a counterbalance. It might not be the prettiest or fairest form of government to sell to people, but if it could work... ?

Again, not saying I support this idea, but it's interesting as a thought experiment at least. Democracy and "the will of the people" are kind of a fetish in the modern Western world, and no matter their merit, people often support the whole philosophy simply because... well, it's democracy, man. It's... you know, like, the thing. The only moral system of government... or whatever. Most people don't even consider for a moment that something less "We the people"-y might actually work better.

I think history demonstrates that class systems, aristocracies, and caste based systems eventually end in revolution. At best it would evolve into a cult like state where the glorious leaders at the top always know what's best.

Dharma & Greg 09-01-2014 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FishlessExistence (Post 1484380)
I think history demonstrates that class systems, aristocracies, and caste based systems eventually end in revolution. At best it would evolve into a cult like state where the glorious leaders at the top always know what's best.

And democracy may very well be leading to terminal government stagnation and paralysis. People are willfully ignorant, petty, self-satisfied in their over-simplified concepts of politics, and not just easily, but eager to be led like sheep. What proof do we have that the rule of the people is going to end any better? A couple hundred years of hit-and-miss successes is a blink of the eye compared to many historical governments. I think my idea is at least interesting to think about, if only to get people out of the habit of treating democracy like some kind of secular religion.

Pet_Sounds 09-01-2014 06:49 PM

Batlord's idea deserves consideration, at least. After all, democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others previously tried, and should be considered such.


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