newprotest.org: DEMOCRACY?

DEMOCRACY?

September 07, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
It's strange that so many speeches from the right, particularly from the current Administration, contain some sort of reference to "democracy" and freedom, as though these are assumed ideals that everybody wants. Of course, the assumption is that if people don't happen to want it, it's because they just don't know what it is yet.

What is this thing, democracy?

The good folks at Merriam-Webster have this to say:

1. Government by the people; especially : rule of the majority.

Under a pure democracy, 51% beats out 49%, rendering the minority voice silent. It renders the individual voice completely unheard. Clearly, this isn't good; majority-rule is the same as mob-rule.

When the Administration speaks of spreading Democracy, what exactly is it saying? The notion of spreading Democracy to a country where prevailing attitude is already anti-American seems kind of strange, doesn't it?

Of course, in America, we don't really have a pure democracy. We have a Republic, where elected officials (elected by the majority, mind you) speak on behalf of the people. This is much better than a pure democracy, but again - given that the goal of an elected official is to remain in office, the majority vote must be considered. But I suppose that can't be avoided, given that the elected official represents the will of the people, which ultimately means that he or she represents the majority of them.

So... if the goal of the United States government is to actually create a Republic in Middle Eastern countries, who will the officials truly represent? Will they represent the people in the countries in which they reside (again - largely anti-American), or will they represent the will of the United States government? In which case, what the US is really doing is attempting to establish puppet governments across the globe.
np category: politics
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COMMENTS for DEMOCRACY?


Mark Glesne said:
As opposed to... ?

I'm glad you made the distinction between Democracy and Republic. I had fun making that same distinction in college when debating rabid liberals. Apparently no one makes the "and to the Republic, for which it stands" connection.

Any way. You seem a little put off by our form of government. So, what do you propose?

Communism? Socialism? Totalitarianism?

I believe it was Churchill who stated "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others..."

September 07, 2006


jovial_cynic said:
Way to suggest the most buzzword forms of government... jerk. haha...

In fact (and I've said this in a comment on your blog), I'm not a big fan of government at all. You have to be a utilitarian to truly love the system we have now, but the utilitarian is never on the side of the minority voice -- the greatest good for the greatest number of people is only appealing when you're not on the other side of the fence.

Idealistically, I'm in favor of an autonomous collective, and I think that deep down, everybody is. When it comes down to it, every person wants to just be happy and do their thing and take care of the things they need to take care of. They want to eat, play games, experience new things, and generally enjoy life.

The problem is that people are often selfish and lazy, such that things like a transportation infrastructure and medical facilities don't often get handled well by people when everybody isn't pitching in... so as a result of lazy and selfish folks, somebody decides it's a good idea to govern people.

But do you see the problem here? Government exists because some people need to be governed. But I don't. And you seem reasonable enough for me to clump you into the category of folks that don't need to be governed, or told how to live life and not harm people or yourself. You are capable of self-governing.

As a result, people like you and me have to suffer stupid laws because other people can't take care of themselves. In Washington State, it is AGAINST THE LAW to not wear a seatbelt. What sort of nonsense is that? Of course I'm going to wear my seatbelt, but I don't need the government checking in on me to make sure I'm being safe.

So... again - I'm speaking in ideals. A government is here babysit people that can't take care of themselves, and I'm just not interested in being babysat. I'm aware that some people need it... but I don't understand why I should have to suffer for other people's ineptitude.

September 07, 2006


Mark Glesne said:
An autonomous collective?

Forgive me, but isn't that a contradiction?

Autonomous obviously refers to the right or power of self-government and/or the capablity of existing independently.

A collective stresses human interdependence and the importance of the group, rather than the importance of separate individuals. Collectivists seek to give priority to group goals over individual goals.

Further, the philosophical underpinnings of collectivism are often related to holism or organicism - the view that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Looks like we're back to the utilitarianism as majority would have to rule to dictate what is best for the "whole".

So, you want little mini governments running around? You want a autonomous tribal system?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a conservative and swore to hate big government at my underground Right-wing alligence ceremony, but collectivism is far from ideal.

September 07, 2006


Mark Glesne said:
Whoops... obviously meant to spell *allegiance*
September 07, 2006


Mark Glesne said:
Not to mention... *capability*

Is it Friday yet? Haha!!

September 07, 2006


jovial_cynic said:
Apparently, you missed my Monty Python reference.

I see what you're saying, but even so, a collective is scoped at the tribal level, if you want to use that label. A tribe is more capable of being intimately aware of the needs of the individuals in the group than a large scale democracy or republic. You say it's less than ideal, but it's just not your ideal. I think it's more ideal for me, as it meets my end goals.

And you might suggest that I am again promoting relativism, but we're not talking about absolutes here -- we're talking about what we think is best for our own objectives.

Do I want a bunch of mini governments running around? You mean like small countries that have their own laws designed to meet the needs of their own people (or, to take care of the ineptitude of their own people)? Why not? It seems like the folks that seek unification the most are the ones that desire to be in control of more land, and more people.

September 07, 2006


Mark Glesne said:
Again, I completely understand your disdain for big government.

However, our country does have smaller governments (i.e. state, local) within a larger government. Do you not find these systems sufficient?

Again, I'm a conservative and believe more power should lie within the states' rights, but I'm not about to advocate deleting the federal government. Aren't checks and balances a good idea for governments of any size?

That's why I like the "democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others" quote so much. No one is arguing our system is perfect by any means. However, we have yet to find a superior system.

September 07, 2006


Steve said:
Thanks Mark for the direction to the debate. It appears to me that in the case of the autonomous collective, the mob would still eventually rule. As Mark point out, the collective would be the problem. One would be happy while living their life autonomously. Then some also living this way would form their own mini-collective for some mutually benificial reason. Next they would disagree with you because your decisions affect their mutually benificial arrangement and would then form the mob. Would you then call for forming some sort of government to protect them from this mob? While I agree that most folks would want to live in the manner of which you speak, it is neither plausible or attainable in the real world. Utopia is yet a place on any map I have found. That is unless you buy an small island somewhere and attempt to live life in the manner you describe. But be aware, there still will be boats. ;-) Maybe it's hard to accept. but it's reality.
September 07, 2006


jovial_cynic said:
Steve - I stated from the start that it's an ideal. And I also stated why I understand that it's not possible. Are you not reading what I'm writing?

The point is that a small government is more capable of addressing the needs of individuals better than large governments, and in an autonomous collective (or tribe), you have small-government at about its purest definition.

But the bigger point is this: I don't need to be governed, thank you very much... and chances are, neither do you.

September 07, 2006


Mark Glesne said:
Sounds like we have a libertarian on our hands!
September 07, 2006


jovial_cynic said:
Sounds like you have a compulsive need to apply labels everywhere.

Very few things fit neatly in our mental boxes. I like some things about libertarian ideals, and I dislike others.

September 07, 2006


Steve said:
I do understand that it is a discussion about and idea. Maybe it is that I am new to blogging my views and opinions and am not seperating this fact, as I attempt to argue against something that could never happen. That is just an odd position for me as I tend to base my thought process in reality and have not been involved in many discussions in my life that involve theories or ideas that are not even possible. I was never on any debate teams throughout my education and I am starting to understand what I have missed. I have to admit, it is fun. I'm sure I will continue to annoy as I continue to make my voice heard.
September 07, 2006


jovial_cynic said:
Fair enough -- sorry for sounding so harsh back there.

The realism perspective works if, perhaps, you're not interested in ever changing anything, though. I mean... let's say that it's reality that X number of children die of the rotavirus each year. That's reality, so when your kid dies of it, you can either shrug it off as a part of life, or... you can constantly think of ways to improve the situation, tapping into what was previously believed to be merely a fanciful idea.

The original ideals of America (freedom from oppressive rule, both political and religious) were great and new, and previously believed to be unrealistic. But it happened.

So... I'm not just running through philosophical musings here -- I'm promoting the idea.

September 07, 2006


Steve said:
Point made regarding the realism perspective although still a difficult road for me.

On a humorous note; I saw a movie last weekend that actually suggested that such a society your suggesting could exist. It was "The day the Earth stood still". But the only catch was a group of robot policemen whose sole purpose was to keep the peace would eliminate anyone who disturbed that peace. Not perfect but headed in the right direction? LOL ;-)

September 07, 2006


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