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I've had enough of democracy watch

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    We're being run by two unelected clowns anyway.
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    I'm not too critical of accountable institutions or the parliamentary system, I think both of them are good, but I think the direction that we are moving in (mass democracy) is not a good idea. We need to stand up for bourgeois values.
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    ... We need to stand up for bourgeois values.
    Which are what?
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    (Original post by NDGAARONDI)
    I pretty much agree tbh. But what are the realistic alternatives?
    I haven't quite got there, but I'm thinking something along very elitist lines. If we ditched democracy, we wouldn't have to think of elitist as a dirty word in our public institutions. We could be ruled by well-respected doctors, barristers, economists, academics, trade specialists, and so on. I'm thinking along the lines of the House of Lords (which is by far the most effective part of parliament, incidentally - probably because in it's so undemocratic), and so I think it would make sense for the government to initially be appointed by the Lords.

    I think a highly skilled ruling council would be appropriate, which could elect a leader to use the essential prerogative relating to the military.

    Councils would only serve a set term, and it would probably have to be law that an individual can only serve one term. To protect against dynasty, I think there would have to be an entirely separate body that appointed the governments after each term, and another protection could be that anyone who serves on the appointment committee could never serve in the actual government.
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    You're stuck in a catch 22, here.

    You care about health, foreign affairs etc-all very commendable.

    But then you say that the people should not have any say in how these are managed. So how can a dictator satisfy the people?

    For instance, say we got some of the LPUK loonies into a dictatorial situation. They can profess all they like to care about the people, but what they would do would be extremely unpopular. The end result would be a civil revolt, until a new dictator was installed with a new agenda.

    This cycle would repeat itself as social and economic change demanded a change in the governing agenda.

    We may not have direct democracy, and it may seem a grubby and inefficient system, but what it does do is allow the installation and removal of an executive peacefully, and to limit the powers said executive can take.

    I'm reminded of a very good quote-'democracy is the worst system of government, apart from all the others'.
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    I agree it hasn't worked in our country particularly well in recent times.. politicians need to be more accountable, PR needs to be introduced over this **** system we have now etc etc
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    anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!anarchy! anarchy!anarchy!anarchy!
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    (Original post by scanningforlifeforms)
    You're stuck in a catch 22, here.

    You care about health, foreign affairs etc-all very commendable.

    But then you say that the people should not have any say in how these are managed. So how can a dictator satisfy the people?

    For instance, say we got some of the LPUK loonies into a dictatorial situation. They can profess all they like to care about the people, but what they would do would be extremely unpopular. The end result would be a civil revolt, until a new dictator was installed with a new agenda.

    This cycle would repeat itself as social and economic change demanded a change in the governing agenda.

    We may not have direct democracy, and it may seem a grubby and inefficient system, but what it does do is allow the installation and removal of an executive peacefully, and to limit the powers said executive can take.

    I'm reminded of a very good quote-'democracy is the worst system of government, apart from all the others'.
    But to suggest that the individuals best suited to satisfying the people are the people that the people choose is ridiculous. The Chinese middle classes don't revolt much, and not just because they're oppressed but because they're happy.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the temporary satisfaction of the electorate probably isn't a critical concern for the responsible government. There are arguments to be made for putting down civil unrest, if the purpose is to secure the long term future of the nation.
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    Also.. is being in a democracy any different that being under the rule of a benevolent person/group of people? Take China for example... China is under the rule of a "fascist party" in a way, the people have no choice who to vote for, but under this party, the lives of the majority of Chinese people has improved and ironically in our country our debt is now larger than ever before. Makes ya wonder doesn't it?
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    But it's common knowledge that democracy is the least worst possible form of government.

    Ideally we should have an all-knowing benevolent dictator, who is able to think in the longest possible term and acts in full accordance with the country's needs.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Ahh, the frustrations of youth. Seriously, democracy is what gives you a voice in how things happen, a small voice and an imperfectly heard one, but a voice nonetheless. The alternatives are that you have no voice and if the 'supreme leader' makes decisions you don't like then you have to bite your lip, because speaking out would mean your execution. There's a reason why societies of longevity and prosperity have made their way towards democracy - all the other options thusfar have been flawed enough to generate change.
    I agree completely with what you are saying. People may argue that we do not have a truely democratic political system in which we as a nation have a say on every minute detail of government policy. While this may be true, we must understand that while our voice may be small, it is a voice nonetheless.
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    (Original post by wholenewworld)
    But it's common knowledge that democracy is the least worst possible form of government.

    Ideally we should have an all-knowing benevolent dictator, who is able to think in the longest possible term and acts in full accordance with the country's needs.
    Good old common knowledge - saves us the trouble of actually thinking about things.
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    (Original post by Grape190190)
    Good old common knowledge - saves us the trouble of actually thinking about things.

    Oh no, I think it is actually true. I don't think there's anything better than democracy even if it's not perfect.
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    i hate democracy.

    any political system with a government is bogus.
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    If only democracy where true that it would not be so reviled.
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    And so the Socialist agenda realises that when, after, a sufficient period of time, people begin to lose faith in their utopian project, they abandon democracy and believe it's their prerogative to control people's lives for them, for better or for worse.

    While democracy isn't necessarily the converse, totalitarianism is a rejection of people's right to live and rule their own lives, because it places absolute authority in one body to which everyone else is subordinated. And while you may claim you can find the most "intelligent and skilled people" and put them in Government (rather than the private sector), I really very much doubt that that's true -- and anyway, what gives an intelligent person the right to govern a stupid person?

    Of course, I advocate vast reform of our present system, but not against democratic lines, but in favour of a greater democracy. While much of what you are saying, Grape, is actually right -- especially 2&3&4 -- the conclusion to these correct points isn't totalitarianism. It's more democracy. Direct democracy.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Ahh, the frustrations of youth. Seriously, democracy is what gives you a voice in how things happen, a small voice and an imperfectly heard one, but a voice nonetheless. The alternatives are that you have no voice and if the 'supreme leader' makes decisions you don't like then you have to bite your lip, because speaking out would mean your execution. There's a reason why societies of longevity and prosperity have made their way towards democracy - all the other options thusfar have been flawed enough to generate change.
    This is the second time we have roughly agreed on a point. Actually, this is convenient: What, in your opinion, is the most desirable form of democracy for a Marxist? How would your ideal democracy be run?
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    (Original post by Necro Defain)
    Also.. is being in a democracy any different that being under the rule of a benevolent person/group of people? Take China for example... China is under the rule of a "fascist party" in a way, the people have no choice who to vote for, but under this party, the lives of the majority of Chinese people has improved and ironically in our country our debt is now larger than ever before. Makes ya wonder doesn't it?
    this has only come about since China changed its economic system. Before that, millions died. Our debt may be larger than ever, but still low compared to other countries, yet the Chinese had to adopt a market economy for them to claim potential superpower status......
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    (Original post by Grape190190)
    Let's see if we can't find something better?

    I know it's almost heretical to say that in this country, and until very recently I'd have bitten off the head of anyone put forward such a view. But I'm starting to lean away from my democratic instincts. There are a number of reasons. Allow me to share them with you:

    1. There are things I care about more than equality at the ballot box.

    I won't prejudice my argument here by getting into specifics, but whatever you believe about health, and education, and war and peace, and the environment, and nuclear weapons, and welfare, and the distribution of income, and economic policy, and internationalism, and interventionism, and pensions, and licensing, and drug law, and crime, and - whatever you think about any of those things, surely your opinions about them matter more to you than everyone getting an equal say.

    I don't care all that much about whether or not a politically-ignorant plumber from Plymouth gets to vote. I do care what kind of public services he gets, and I do care whether his kid goes off to fight in Afghanistan or Darfur or nowhere, and I do care how money he gets to support his family with. Why? Because those have a real and quantifiable effect on his life, and getting to vote really doesn't.

    Ask yourself when you became so certain that it was crucial to the stuctural stability of our little island for everyone to get an equal say. There's no justification for it, except citizenship lessons.

    Democracy has become a religion: something invisible and unquantifiable, which we cling to over and above our real and physical concerns. I'm an atheist. I want the system which gets the policies right: I'm not sure I want to worship the system anymore.

    2. It's not like we have a real democracy, anyway.

    I don't want to waste time discussing well-known deficiencies in British democracy. But, briefly, I'll run through a few.

    First, representative democracy isn't democratic in any meaningful sense: citizens get no say in any constitutional matter; we instead have a choice between two or three realistic parliamentary candidates who will have broadly similar opinions. After their election, MPs have no accountability, and over the course of five years can act as they please in the important matters of state. If democracy is primarily about promoting self-determination, then "representative democracy" ain't democracy.

    Second, parties are the dominant force in British politics. Whips, leadership elections, and the duality of executive and legislature see to this.

    Third, the Prime Minister who has a plethora of important powers under the royal prerogative is not directly elected.

    Fourth, in light of poing number two, first past the post sucks. The power of a voter varies by constituency, and it takes a relatively small percentage of the popular vote for a party to form a government.

    Fifth, turnout is never anywhere near 100%.


    3. The "elected = vaguely moral; unelected = Stalin"-dogma of Western education isn't historically accurate - or even consistent in a contemporary context.

    Hard to believe, isn't it? My textbooks never placed much emphasis on the fact that Hitler was elected, and, when it did come, the it was normally waved away with a swift,

    Textbook: "Oh, that was because of the Treaty of Versailles."
    Students: "Oh, phew, that's alright then."
    Textbook: "Ye of little faith! Had you going there for a moment, didn't I?"
    Students: "Praise be to democracy!"

    And it's funny that Mugabe's rise to power never comes up in citizenship, isn't it? History has shown us on many occasions that having been elected does not preclude a government from becoming tyrannical.

    In modern Britain, we are represented at the Euopean Parliament by electees from the BNP, a fascist organisation. If we're to promote democracy, they should be allowed to participate; we should acknowledge our own subjectivity, and surrender to the will of the democratic process. But I don't see why that should be the case. I'm not sure we should have to tolerate the influence of those who support racial inequality just to preserve electoral equality. I constantly struggle with the contradiction of projecting liberal values onto the fundamentally illiberal, of acting with tolerance towards the intolerant. What we end up with is a system that is permissive of a challenge to our most fundamental beliefs.


    4. No one likes the products of democracy, but by gosh, we love the producer.

    Isn't that a contradiction? This point is entwined with what I've written above, and I'll confess it's more rhetoric than anything else. But the fundamental paradox in the minds of voters is striking to me. How can a system that produces such perpetual and unwavering disappointment be so exempt from criticism? I ask that as a member of a mainstream political party.

    Politicians are cynical and politics itself irrelevant. But of course, democracy is great.

    The foremost wouldn't have to pander and the latter could deal honestly with the real issues of the day - if only they weren't held hostage by the passing whims of opinion polls.

    Constitutional principles like democracy aren't papal diktat: we should see what works.

    5. Discarding democracy would allow us to to be governed by the most intelligent and the most skilled from a wide cross section of society.

    Instead of Nadine Dorries.

    *

    Hm. Not sure if I believe any of that, but it's been coming for a while now, and I needed sketch out what I'm thinking.
    - who defines who the most intelligent are? and how?

    - people like democracy since persons are freer under liberal democratic systems. IMO, that is the only reason. People can scoff at freedom, but in most liberal democracies, people's basic rights are generally respected, and are not oppressed by their governments.

    - What is real democracy? How is a direct model any more real?
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    (Original post by rajandkwameali)
    - who defines who the most intelligent are? and how?
    Well, we'll get to that once we've got rid of democracy. However: as I wrote in subsequent post, one possibility would be for the House of Lords could initially appoint the government, as well as an entirely independent panel, which would select a new government every five years or so.

    But this is all rather hypothetical, because any two people who want to dispose with democracy could be doing so for conflicting reasons.

    - people like democracy since persons are freer under liberal democratic systems. IMO, that is the only reason. People can scoff at freedom, but in most liberal democracies, people's basic rights are generally respected, and are not oppressed by their governments.
    Ha. That really depends on what you think people's "basic rights" are, doesn't it? And this comes back to our communal indoctrination with the constitutional system that happens to govern us.

    What are the basic rights you speak of? We no longer have a right to a trial by jury. Our right to habeas corpus has been limited. A few years ago, these would have been the fundamental rights that liberals like me believed were sacrosant. The right to protest? That one went under Thatcher. The notion that we have some standardised list of The Basic Civil Liberties is nonsense.

    And what's more, I think we have to examine the whole assumption that "civil liberties" are somehow superior to the rights afforded to us by normal government policy. Wow, confusing sentence. What I mean to ask is this: why is your right to a fair trial more important to you than your right to see a doctor in certain period of time? Why is the right to [what we laughingly refer to as] "protest" more important than your right to a fair proportion of the nation's wealth?

    Just as we've come to worship democracy over above the real and important results of government, we've come to accept that certain political rights are somehow different to the things politicians tinker with.

    - What is real democracy? How is a direct model any more real?
    I laid down my criteria: democracy is fundamentally about the self-determination of the masses - as in, everyone having equal power. I think it's pretty evident how a direct system would be closer to that ideal.
 
 
 
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