• FreeEmotion
    124
    Personally, I don't think so. Politics discusses moral issues, and how to discuss and resolve those issues - a type of meta-ethics, maybe - is where conceptions of democracy live.angslan

    This is an interesting line of thought, then. So democracy takes place in the moral climate of the country it is implemented in. This explains many things, such as segregation. So apart from seeing democracy as right or wrong, it is simply a vehicle to mirror the common view.

    Is it dying? Well I don't mind as long as its purposes are fulfilled - better living standards for all, at least, we all at least will vote against starvation including our own starvation. The curtailing of human rights, especially free expression through banning facebook and spying on citizens does seem to make it look that way. Also, populations are sharply and bitterly divided in some democracies: I do not think you can have an effective democracy unless people keep the discussion civil and respectful. This is what we all want.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines Democracy as follows:

    A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives

    Well yes, what if the population is nationalist or poor or starving, or racist, or ethno-centric? So democracy is the product of the whole population, educate the population and make them good people and this system will work much better.
  • angslan
    49


    This is an interesting line of thought, then. So democracy takes place in the moral climate of the country it is implemented in. This explains many things, such as segregation. So apart from seeing democracy as right or wrong, it is simply a vehicle to mirror the common view. — FreeEmotion

    Well, this isn't quite what I was saying. Democracy is a framework about how to have a debate. Sometimes people suggest this framework must contain certain necessary principles (for example, freedom of speech),and some of these conceptions would say that segregation is undemocratic. So, again, we would have different people raising different ideas about what is democratic. Some of these conceptions would certainly allow for segregation. But I think less and less conceptions allow for this - political equality is often a cornerstone of democratic participation, and segregation violates this.

    I tell my students not to use the dictionary. Dahl, Estlund, Habermas - there are better places to review comprehensive conceptions of democracy.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Democracy is a framework about how to have a debateangslan

    Of course but then that framework cannot come about as a result of democracy in the first place. There has to be a cataclysmic event, or a revolution.

    The names you mentioned - good sources to look up. Will do.
  • yatagarasu
    119


    You brought up China. I think the one big flaw that democracy has in continuing as an ideology is the threat countries like China bring. Democracy makes change very difficult to actuate. China doesn't have this issue. They just chug along, not having to deal with the competing sides, while continuing to grow and increase standards for their people. And so far it has worked very well. They took the ideas of capitalism and integrated it into their authoritative structure. Perhaps the homogeneity of the Chinese has made this possible, but I'm afraid it is quickly showing that China's system is the way to go. Perhaps it is true that the best form of government is "the benevolent dictator".
  • Banno
    3.8k
    ...best...yatagarasu

    Choose your criteria with care.
  • Maw
    1k
    They just chug along, not having to deal with the competing sidesyatagarasu

    You know what the CPC does with "competing sides", right?
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    Perhaps the homogeneity of the Chinese has made this possible, but I'm afraid it is quickly showing that China's system is the way to go.yatagarasu

    This is a sad post on so many levels.
  • yatagarasu
    119
    @Posty McPostface@Maw@Banno

    Choose your criteria with care.Banno

    Certainly. It would be the positive sides of one person rule with the exception being of course that the leader looks out for his citizens! Everyone's happy! :smile:

    You know what the CPC does with "competing sides", right?Maw

    They disappear magically? haha Anyways, my point was that their system might win it comes to state building, causing more countries to have to emulate it to keep pace. Whatever they do to dissidents is part of the system, but if it leads to economic/military success it would be a template for many countries.

    This is a sad post on so many levels.Posty McPostface

    I was just trying to say that democracies are slow to change (also a good thing in many ways), and China's mix of authoritarian rule combined with capitalistic economy might allow them to progress more without the democracy (people) getting in their way. Some of the negative sides of China's authoritarianism is mitigated by leaving capitalism to its own accord. In the meantime, we can just enjoy our gridlock, as more and more money slips into our "representative democracy".

    GDP_per_capita_of_China_and_India.svg

    Look at that. Another democracy left in the dust. : /
  • yatagarasu
    119
    Also, please reference @Baden comment (below) on the first page where he implied the same thing. If they aren't necessary then we might be in a lot of trouble. The first to get to wide scale automation/robotics, CRISPR bio-genetics wins. The Chinese are historically (and currently) very very liberal when it comes to applying those technologies. Just listening to some of the scientists scoff at possible moral dilemmas makes me very queasy about the possible arms race.

    Oh, and according to the above index the world as a whole has become less not more democratic since 2006 when the index first reported. If capitalism has figured out it doesn't need democracy as much as it thought it did (after Singapore, China etc.) it may indeed simply die out. There are no guarantees.Baden

    Apologizes in advance for pulling you into this @Baden. Just thought it was relevant and you were the only one to mention something like that in this thread.
  • Ram
    105
    Democracy was a bad idea in the first place and I think it's a variation of "might makes right".
  • unenlightened
    2.9k
    A bit of history and economics with your politics? Sorry, this vid is a bit long, but what it shows is not that democracy is a bad idea, so much as that it has only ever been an idea. The 'cradle of democracy' has never really implemented it.

  • Eric Wintjen
    15
    I recently made a post about this issue here:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/4359/the-decay-western-democracy-and-the-erosion-of-civic-virtues

    Feel free to reply to my thoughts here or on that thread
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Eric

    So what is a possible solution to all this? How can we practically instill civil virtues within the population without creating a totalitarian state?

    I have asked the same question: the answer I think is education, people learn through example, and from their leaders. There are immumerable opportunities then to influence people in schools and in the public arena. This is where we come in, write books, novels, maybe and rely on the butterfly effect.

    I also see the need for realism, that is, what can be done easily and with a high probability of success? Enough idealism and reaching for the sky.
  • ssu
    780
    Look at that. Another democracy left in the dust. : /yatagarasu
    Actually, that chart shows precisely when China started it's economic reforms, which happened in 1978. Then it started (and succeeded) to throw away the socialist economic model and well, basically turned to market oriented fascism.

    India btw believed in the socialist extremely regulated economy until 1991 called the Licence Raj. The reforms had been started in the 1980's, but after 1991 the reforms were substantial. It adopted also the free market system, ended monopolies and open up various sectors for foreign investment. You can see this from the graph above too.

    What do we learn from this? Planned economy sucks. Central planning itself isn't a disaster, only if everything is regulated and nothing is left to be decided by the market mechanism.
  • Penav25
    5
    Democracy is merely a delusion. The way politics are formed in modern history leave little to no room for anyone to run for candidate. Democracy has flourished in modern day societies, wars and revolutions have been conducted in it's name and it is considered one of the most fundamental values in the world. However the truth is that it's not the best regime in fact Plato argued extensively that democracy is the second worst regime claiming that democratic societies are doomed to sink in anarchy and corruption. However Plato wrote about the Athenian democratic system which was 10.000 times less corrupted and less complicated than modern day democracies. Ancient Athenians would gather multiple times a year at the general assembly known as the "ecclesia" and would directly vote by raising their hands. Everyone was allowed to participate and also run for candidate regardless of social or financial class. Nowadays democracies are not that simple. In fact they have sustained so many alterations that they have nothing to do with good old Athenian democracy. Modern democracy is so perplexed that even political scientists have a hard time studying it. It is astonishing how a once simple concept has turned into a multifaceted phenomenon that has almost lost its initial meaning and yet people would still give their lives in the name of it. Though we must face the fact that democracy is declining and the decline is rapid. The above statement is proven by the sudden rise of the far right both in the U.S and the E.U . Moreover the decline of Democracy also indicates the decline of Western Civilization. People seem to be bewildered by the current role of democracy. Unemployment, dept, crime rates, wars, poverty, social injustice all these are global issues which democracy has failed to tackle. In fact some people believe that democracy is the very cause of these problems. If we go back in history we'll come accross wars, kingdoms falling, revolutions, coup d'états. There's only one thing that always remains unchanged throughout the course of time and that is : CHANGE. Everything changes and democracy is not impervious to that. One day maybe in the not so long distant future people will have to see democracy drawing its last breath.
  • Athena
    169
    "Democracy does however defend the rights of the weak, encourage individualism and learning, and let the common man decide their own destiny. Freedom is the most basic desire of man, and democracy safeguards it."

    What would happen to Christianity if it stopped teaching its mythology and began preparing the young to be products for industry, in a high tech society with unknown values?

    Education is like a genii in a bottle. The defined purpose is the wish and the students are the genii. Until 1958 the US had education for citizenship and good moral judgment. In 1958 that wish was changed and education is no longer controlled by those who understand what it has to do with democracy. Education is now controlled by the military and high tech business interest. Our democracy is no longer protected in the classroom, so why would this be different from Christianity no longer preparing the young to be Christians?

    Just any education does not serve democracy and education for technology always was for slaves. Liberal education was for free people.

    We are having a housing crisis and it is property rights that are protected not human rights. We are experiencing an end to land and resources free for the taking, and the beginning of overpopulation where people are no longer needed and are pushed to the margins of society where they are likely to have a short lifespan. We are totally unprepared to meet this crisis with a focus on human rights. We are no longer protecting human dignity as we did when Social Security was implemented but made it illegal for people to sleep in undesignated areas and deny them access to water and restrooms. People die because of the conditions of homelessness and we are ignoring this reality. And medically we have put profit above human lives. What we have done to education and students loans is a horror making the bankers rich at the expense of the young or caring parents who go into debt for their children's educations. When the bottom line is money and the thinking of what that means is very narrow, democracy collapses.
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.2k
    Democracy is dying, then. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the birth of Democracy have been greatly exaggerated.FreeEmotion

    Well I am sure glad somebody told me that Democracy is dying because it seems alive and well, doing better than last year in my neck of the woods.
    If Democracy is dying then I can go back to bed and someone else will take care of things?
    Because, frankly, I have been working my ass off for the last 40 of my 48 year life, trying to stay vigilant in knowing that our Democracy is alive, living and therefore needs tending too just like a garden or raising a child.
    No, Tiff, you cannot just go back to bed, reality and the future have NOT been cancelled and we need everyone's participation to make our Democracy work. It doesn't happen all on it's own. The garden does not weed itself, water itself and keep the food safe, we do. The children of ours' do not raise themselves, we do. If "democracy is dying" then it is up to us to get her healthy again. It is what we do, it is what makes the American democracy (which is the one I participate in) what it is, stepping up instead of stepping out is who we are, it is the very spirit in which our democracy operates on.
    Are you sure it's dying? :brow:
  • Athena
    169


    "in fact Plato argued extensively that democracy is the second worst regime claiming that democratic societies are doomed to sink in anarchy and corruption."

    Socrates, Plato's teacher, fought against the Spartans and Athens lost that war. No one should read Plato without also reading Pericles funeral speech explaining why those who fought for Athens did not die in vain. Socrates died for freedom of speech and for democracy. He obeyed the law, giving up his life for democracy. His actions go with an understanding of social/political responsibility and liberty.

    Socrates saw fault in the ignorance of the masses and devoted himself to changing that. Plato was his student and Plato was Aristotle's teacher. Now can anyone name a Spartan who equals Socrates, Plato or Aristotle? There is a cultural reason why these men rose in Athens not Sparta and we seriously need to understand the cultural difference that made that life-changing difference that brought us to democracy.

    Germany was the Sparta of the modern world and the US was the Athens of the modern world. Now the US is the Sparta of the modern world. Sparta won the war with Athens and ruled over it and Aristotle favored the authoritarianism of Sparta and he was picked up by the church during the age of Scholasticism and this supported the authority of the church until the backlash against Aristotle and then Protestantism. However, it was the US that won the war with Germany, and it immediately sucked up all the of German's experts, and the US adopted German bureaucracy and education for technology. And we are what we fought against in two world wars. Some of the post here give us a good look at that education/cultural problem.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.5k


    You never even got to supporting your thesis that democracy is dying. You started off fine, giving a definition of democracy, but then you got sidetracked by your history of a couple particular democracies and your list of some of the benefits of democracy. You never really argued that democracy is dying.
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