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mad pierrot
07-11-04, 13:42
I'm curious as to how everyone on this board would define it. For that matter, I'm also interested in your opinion. What do you think is good about democracy? What do you think is bad? Can democracy change to fit the needs of a people , or does it have to be uniformly the same? (Example: Will American style democracy work in places like Iraq, that have a strong tradition of theocratic rule?)

Thoughts and comments, please!

:sorry:

PaulTB
07-11-04, 14:42
I'm curious as to how everyone on this board would define it.
There is no ideal democracy.

If I'm playing "invent a government" then I'd probably want it to be fractal and have strong sideways links as well as vertical ones. I'd want it to have a 'micro-level' so the average man would have direct part in government. I'm not keen on parties as strictly divided and formalised as the ones we have now and I think having elections every so many years just makes the 'jolts' to the economy / worse so I'd have a rolling turnover with the "who's (roughly) in charge?" question updated every month or so. (Of course because only a small fraction of the population will have had the chance to change it's vote each month most times there won't be big changes).

It would probably be complete chaos - but I'm sure there's some system that would be better than the ones we already have.

mad pierrot
07-11-04, 16:29
but I'm sure there's some system that would be better than the ones we already have.

No doubt! :cool:

But we have to make do with what we have for now, don't we?
Wasn't it Churchill who said something like,
"Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others we have tried."

Duo
07-11-04, 16:54
We should all be ruled by smart and sophisticated philosophers, just like Plato intended

muahahaha( evil laugh)

um, as for now, I think I would prefer a social democracy :-)

Thor
07-11-04, 17:49
I would actually like to live in a communist-like world.

Duo
07-11-04, 18:08
Thats a good one, you don't know how lucky you are not to have experienced it.

TwistedMac
08-11-04, 05:14
well... communist as in the way it was intended isn't a bad idea...

You're just sort of relying on noone in your entire country wanting to take control of you all by force. well, anyone in any country for that matter.

Creating a communistic government is like throwing meat infront of starving wolves and expecting them not to eat it.

A dictator will ALWAYS rise.

Lina Inverse
09-11-04, 04:26
Well, the current US is clearly far from a good democracy :okashii:
Already the "whoever gets the majority in a state gets everything" is really ridculous :D

I also doubt that it will work too well in Iraq, because Iraq is just too fundamentally different.

Martyr
07-12-04, 04:41
Not sure really, but the only thing I've read about that makes sense is a libertarian democracy. Direct democracy has often been called a "Tyranny of the majority." As an American, I'm not exactly what you might call a patriot," but I consider myself more "patriotic" than the blind chauvinists you often see here. I dislike the traditional* left's hands in America's pockets and the traditional* right's desire to control America's social life. I emphasize traditional because the "traditional political spectrum" is obsolete, but it's just easier to say that. I also dislike the warping of the Constitution for one party's agenda. For example the PATRIOT Act, or the Assault Weapons Ban.

Mycernius
22-02-05, 21:05
I went for what's ideal about a democracy. There are countries in the world that run very well without being democratic. The best example is probably China.
There is this constant pressure in the media saying democracy is right, It's the peaceful way etc, etc. Iraq was a dictatorship, but it was a stable dictatorship. Despite what our politicians would like us to believe Saddam was not the best supporter of intenational terrorism, especially Al-Qeada, who he didn't like at all (different types of islamic views). We go in, tear up the country, give it democracy and now it has terrorists running all over the place blowing and killing people. Did we do this country any good? That you can answer for yourselves. Other 'democractic ' countries are corrupt, see various african countries, Zimbabwes a good example.
Is it right that only 20 to 25% of a countries voting population get to choose the next government? That how labour managed to win their two terms in office, voter apathy. We take democracy for granted now, but we don't seem to want to get involved in it. There maybe better forms of government, but politicains always seem to go with democracy, until it tips them out of office. They then moan about how they were stabbed in the back.
ARRRRGGHHH! I need to rest now before I go on a full scale rant

Sensuikan San
10-03-05, 05:45
Was it not Winston Churchill who defined Democracy - when comparing it to Totalitarianism - as "... by far the lesser of two evils ...."?

I feel that the great beauty of (so-called) 'democracy' is that it isn't, cannot be, never is and never will be ideal. That's what it has always been about, a constant, ever-changing, consensus.

It allows (or should...) evolution of values.

When it doesn't ... it's usually because anti-democratic processes are trying to take control .... which is why you must always keep your eyes peeled!

Regards,

W

Shooter452
10-03-05, 06:08
I'm curious as to how everyone on this board would define it.
Not by the choices given.

Democracy is mob rule. When the mob is enlightened, democracy can be benign. When the mob is petty and driven by human frailty, it is harmful and hurtful.

The United States of America is not a democracy--although there are some who would like us to think it is. It is a republic, but it is also a representative republic. These differences are more than a matter of labels. The philosophical differences are huge.

A republic prevents the mob from taking over by force of pure majority. A republic is ruled by law, and not the mob. Unfortunately, it makes us victim to lawyers, but whatchagonnado?

gDemocracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.h Benjamin Franklin

Silverbackman
10-03-05, 10:18
My ideal democracy is very similar to how it works in the United States. My democracy (if I was to create my own country) would be identical to US democracy except for a couple things.

I think government should be more involved in moral support. They should promote ideal behavior, not neutral on every single thing. For example, the government should make more awareness programs to stop prostitution and make the general public believe it is bad. I don't think there should be a law against it, but I think it should not be supported. It is the same with homosexuality. The government can't make a law to ban homosexuality, but the government can at least stand up for the straight way and say an absolute NO to same-sex marriage.

Of course morals differ from person to person but I think there are certain morals that should be supported always.

I want this democracy to be low on laws and harsher punishments. Make very few rules, but whatever rules a person breaks should be punished hard so it won't happen again.

Silverbackman
10-03-05, 10:21
Oh and one other difference I would have between US democracy and my ideal democracy is that Supreme Court Judges are NOT appointed for life. Like Congress I would have elections for the Judical Branch, and the people need to elect Supreme Court Judges more directly.

So it might be a little more direct democracy than the US, but still very similar.

mad pierrot
10-03-05, 14:10
The United States of America is not a democracy--although there are some who would like us to think it is. It is a republic, but it is also a representative republic. These differences are more than a matter of labels. The philosophical differences are huge.

I never said it was. Actually, it's a constitutional republic, if you want to get technical. And, democracy is not just mob rule. There are more than one way to define it. Such as:

1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule. (mob rule)
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Perhaps I should have been more specfic. This is NOT about America, but democracy in general. As for the choices on the poll, I apologize. The last option is meant to represent alternate choices.

Shooter452
10-03-05, 17:20
I never said it was. Actually, it's a constitutional republic, if you want to get technical. And, democracy is not just mob rule. There are more than one way to define it. Such as:

1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule. (mob rule)
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

But all of the rest comes down--IMHO--to number four. It is that power of rule, the rods-and-the-staves of social discourse, that provides a democracy with its operative clause. The "common people" are not a homogeneous group and the power to cast one's ballot has always been limited in one way or another, in some cases severely restricted.

We have often seen how, in a republic as well as a democracy, the majority has been able to restrict the rights of minorities through the use of the vote. So much for social equity and respect.

There is no guarantee in any system, but it is through the impartial application of the law--restricting the governing body as well as the constituency--that any safety lies. I beleive that in a republic it is more likely to occur than any other form of government. Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin seemed to agree. That's pretty good company to keep, MP.

mad pierrot
11-03-05, 00:29
:sorry:

I hope I didn't come off pig headed in that last post. You make a good point which I definately agree with. Democracy itself doesn't guarantee anything. My intent in this thread bring up a different topic, but this a good topic none-the-less. I originally started this thread based on a conversation I had with a Pakistani cousin of mine. He repeated informed me that "Western" democracy wouldn't work in Iraq, and I was curious to see what constitutes democracy to people on this forum.

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate them. I'll have more to say when I get back.

Shooter452
11-03-05, 16:13
:sorry:

I hope I didn't come off pig headed in that last post.
Not at all. I included the statement only to be non-confrontational.

Debate is an argument moderated and guided by good taste and manners. We debate here. While I can be an ass in my natural environment, I struggle hard to remain polite as the Japanese are.

I eagerly await your next post!

AudiaturAudiatur et altera pars

Index
11-03-05, 16:18
I think it can be sobering to realize that in terms of international politics we actually live in an anarchy, since there is no greater authority that governs nation states.

Shooter452
11-03-05, 17:00
I think it can be sobering to realize that in terms of international politics we actually live in an anarchy, since there is no greater authority that governs nation states.

Lemme see if I grok this...do you mean that the government that governs best, governs least?

Index
12-03-05, 10:42
Lemme see if I grok this...do you mean that the government that governs best, governs least?

Not quite. Political anarchy means there is no governing body. There is no government that controls the actions of countries, and so in a global/international sense, we have anarchy. The actions of governements are dependent on their relationships with other governments of course, but there are no rules or (enforcable) international laws to determine what is right or wrong in a strict sense (as opposed to the relations between a government and it's people). Whilst international law exists, it is very difficult to enforce because of the concept of state sovereignty, among other things, which means that no state should be able to interfere in another state's business. Unfortunately this also is unenforceable, the most recent example being in the invasion of Iraq.

Shooter452
12-03-05, 17:15
Not quite. Political anarchy means there is no governing body. There is no government that controls the actions of countries, and so in a global/international sense, we have anarchy. The actions of governements are dependent on their relationships with other governments of course, but there are no rules or (enforcable) international laws to determine what is right or wrong in a strict sense (as opposed to the relations between a government and it's people). Whilst international law exists, it is very difficult to enforce because of the concept of state sovereignty, among other things, which means that no state should be able to interfere in another state's business. Unfortunately this also is unenforceable, the most recent example being in the invasion of Iraq.
*dryly* I know what the word means, index.

My question was more about what you meant in your prior statement. I am still not certain, but at least now I know you are being a literalist.

smoke
12-03-05, 20:28
I don't think there is such a thing as an ideal democracy.
Looking at your options individually:
The United States of America as it is now.
not being from the unites atates i think it would be unitelligent of me to comment on their democracy as all my perceptions are from the media, which is far from a realistic outlook on anything.
My nation's exemplification of democracy. (Not the United States of America.)
All decisions are made by the governmant, so this is not a democracy. We just choose an idiot to dictate. and we have a monarchy that is basically no more than a novelty for tourists.
Direct democracy- The majority is always right.
this raises the question, what if the majority is wrong? for example; the majority may decide that corporal punishment is 'right'. this would lead inevitably to innocent deaths and also many guilty people not being punished appropiately. and it would lead to other problems...'which criminals deserve to die?'. also there are a lot of stupid people in any country, so if the majority are made up of idiots...well, the outcome would be predictable.
Direct democracy, but with certain rights immune to majority vote.
this raises the question 'what rights are immune to majority vote?'. the right to a fair trial? the right to live? the right to die? and this could go on forever.
Representative democray- Vote for someone to make decisions on your behalf.
i don't like anyone making decisions on my behalf...not serious decisions anyway, but that is our current democracy.
A mix of the above.
What's ideal about democracy? (Other)
i believe within any democracy there will always be people who disagree to that democracy...a rebellion if you will. so there is no possible way to keep everyone happy. that is why democracy will never completely succeed.

my thoughts anyway!

Mycernius
13-03-05, 00:08
A proper democracy would be anarchy. In a proper democracy evrybdy must have their say. Nothing would be done because evryone would be listening and debating whether their point of view is valid. Even the founders of demcracy didn't have proper demcracy. In Athens all democratic discissions where made by rich men, women didn't have the right to vote. They wouldn't even recognise a modern democracy as their type of democracy. In fact in ancient Greece the city state that had any type of womens rights was Sparta, and that was a military based society.

Index
13-03-05, 01:49
Sorry shooter, didn't mean to be a boor. What I meant was that despite the discussions on democracy, what it is and what it should be, if one was cynical one could suggest that since our governments function in an anarchy, then by extrapolation we also live in an anarchy. It follows then that debate about democracy is just an intellectual luxury but has no significance.

Of course it's too simplistic to look at things this way (or is it?), but I wanted to suggest that it puts a different slant on the issue when you do.

LeBrok
15-12-09, 21:26
Hi Kasia, it was a form of democracy (and the only one in Europe at that time, I guess) limited to noble class of 10% of population.
Poland as independent country didn't exist at that time, the country was called Rzeczpospolita, Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, also included Ukraine, Belorussia and Prussia. By it's multi cultural nature it was the most tolerant country in Europe. Many nations and many religions, a million or two Jews lived there too, even small population of Tatars, plus minorities of Germans, Russians and many others.
It's true that Poland was the dominant member of the union, with capitol in Warszawa (Varshava) and Polish as lingua franca. That's why many call Rzeczpospolita, Poland, but it was not. Also I wish history teachers in Poland were less chauvinistic these days.

Regards
Pawel

Carlitos
18-05-11, 23:11
There is no real democracy in the world, only the day we die we can be free.