• Akanthinos
    1k
    After seeing many a video and article about Communism and Capitalism, for example, I have newly found it useful to ask, what would a perfect system look like? The idea borrows from the engineering field where a 'loss-less' 'frictionless' machine is used as a base, and then the efficiency of an existing machine is calculated against this. Also, prototypes of a machine, for example, a jet engine, may not work, or worse still, engage in runaway behaviour and have to be shut down completely? Chilling familiar? So why not work on perfecting the machine, as suggested?

    Technocracy wont happen in our lifetimes... Some changes are much to radical to introduce at once.
  • wellwisher
    163
    One problem with a modern Democracy, is too many people are vulnerable to propaganda, allowing others to think for them. Their vote is not based on their own line of thinking. When other people think for you, this is no longer a Democracy, since it amounts to a pseudo-Republic in Democracy clothing; leaders speak on your behalf, with you nothing but a voting puppet that says what the leaders wanted to do in advance.

    A modern Republic has a similar problem in the sense the people are represented by leaders, who also try to manipulate them, to vote for them, using the same propaganda tactics. The citizen is still just a puppet. For example, under Obama the leaders did not even represent the public on Obama Care, since 60% of the citizens did not what this. The leaders manipulate the voter puppets, ignored the public, and did not represent them. The fix was in.

    When the US was young, only men could vote and these men had to own property to show a long term commitment to the community. The founders did it this way since they only wanted the self reliant to vote; individuals and not puppets.

    Back then, they did not have all the modern communication and social networking tools and propaganda. Back then, earning a living was time consuming and required resourcefulness. A Republic made more sense, with the leaders elected by men, who had sticks in the fire, and who by default, had to come to their own ideas.

    In modern times, things are much different. Now we have all types of market driven ways and means to manipulate public opinion for fun and profit. Also women, children and people with no stake in the community, can vote. While much of this demographics is heavily tied into the day to day world of the fad living and group think; puppets.

    Even the men are more feminized where emotional subjectivity and self interests do not suit the needs of a wide scale Democracy or Republic. There is no team affect. They would need to get closer to the middle where collective needs and personal needs balance better. This is where Trump is trying to bring the country.

    I would like to see an objectivity test before one can vote. This would be a test, which can be taken as many times as you need, where you show that you understand the main points of views, to prove you are not a voting puppet. The idea is to compete with the propaganda merchants who will try to turn living people into wooden puppets.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    One problem with a modern Democracy, is too many people are vulnerable to propaganda, allowing others to think for themwellwisher

    But this never explains the block vote. The people who will always vote Republican or always vote Democrat, or perhaps always vote Trump. Propaganda will only apply to swing voters, I would think.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Further examining the link between best countries to live in and most democratic countries:

    Best countries to live in:

    • Switzerland
    • Canada
    • Germany
    • UK
    • Japan

    Democracy Index

    • Norway _ Constitutional Monarchy
    • Iceland
    • Sweden - Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
    • New Zealand - Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
    • Denmark - Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
    • Ireland
    • Canada - Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy

    Switzerland : 9
    Germany: 13
    UK: 14
    Japan: 23
  • thegreathoo
    2
    Democracy is not so much an issue. It basically means universal suffrage which is not a problem. The problem is civil government. It's an oxymoron. Every government, every state, that was ever created was created by military. Military is the government, it is the state.
    In that sense, civil government is just an extended arm of the military, it's a mirage, an induced perception of peaceful government which is held by the hidden military. Universal suffrage should be used to control military because that is the main source of power. Right now, there is no direct democratic link between the miltary and the people.
    Then when you scratch the surface, military is financed by the financiers. Financiers and military are not directly linked to democracy, and that is the problem of our democracy since French revolution. People never really got free.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    Are you really going to try and claim that Canada isnt a democracy because of the Queen? Is that what you are saying? Because that is bonkers. Just hilarious. :lol:
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Then when you scratch the surface, military is financed by the financiers. Financiers and military are not directly linked to democracy, and that is the problem of our democracy since French revolution. People never really got free.thegreathoo

    Well if you can provide some circumstantial evidence at least then we can accept this. In any case NOT democracy.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Are you really going to try and claim that Canada isn’t a democracy because of the Queen? Is that what you are saying? Because that is bonkers. Just hilarious.Akanthinos

    Technically it is not a Democracy, but Canada is a mild instance of this. There are other Constitutional Monarchies where there is greater influence from the top of the hierarchy.

    But what I read surprised me as well. The Queen is the Head of State, Official swear an oath to the Queen and Her Majesty appoints the Governor General.

    That's quite something.

    As for the UK, the Queen has been said to influence the government, you can see this info:. A book was also written.

    In a Psychosocial sense it would be pretty important as an unifying force to have a monarch head the state. It would not feel like a democracy I would think, but a sort of managed democracy.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    To quote the Wikipedia article:

    One question that continued to fascinate the public about the phenomenon of a woman Prime Minister was how she got on with the Queen. The answer is that their relations were punctiliously correct, but there was little love lost on either side. As two women of very similar age – Mrs Thatcher was six months older – occupying parallel positions at the top of the social pyramid, one the head of government, the other head of state, they were bound to be in some sense rivals. Mrs Thatcher's attitude to the Queen was ambivalent. On the one hand she had an almost mystical reverence for the institution of the monarchy: she always made sure that Christmas dinner was finished in time for everyone to sit down solemnly to watch the Queen's broadcast. Yet at the same time she was trying to modernise the country and sweep away many of the values and practices which the monarchy perpetuated
  • raza
    704
    Just to put that point in some context, according to the Democracy Index the US is categorized as a "flawed democracy" well down the list of well-functioning democracies.Baden

    That graph appears to rate the US quite highly. Have I not read it correctly? The sky-blue range of 8-9? Isn't that 2nd from best?
  • Baden
    6.8k


    It's all relative. It comes just outside the top 20 in overall score, which puts it in the "flawed democracies" list. But the important point is to notice the backward trend since 2006 (if you follow the link). It's not just about the U.S. If you credit the index as being accurate, it's got to be worrying that we've been, as a world, getting less not more democratic over the last decade.
  • raza
    704
    Down since 2006?

    Maybe, then, it could start to rise. Trump 2020, if he can drain that swamp.

    If the 2006 thing is accurate then what does that say about the Obama years?
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Democracy is dying, then. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the birth of Democracy have been greatly exaggerated.
  • angslan
    49


    I am interested to know, if you are suggesting that "technically" Canada is not a democracy, what definition of 'democracy' are you using? Because as far as my studies in political theory and political science treat it, constitutional monarchies are absolutely capable of being democracies, and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and many other places are considered well-functioning democracies. Democracies are more than just checking if the person at the top is elected - technically Kim Jong-Un is voted in.
  • Akanthinos
    1k
    Because as far as my studies in political theory and political science treat it, constitutional monarchies are absolutely capable of being democracies, and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and many other places are considered well-functioning democracies.angslan

    This.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    .
    .. and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and many other places are considered well-functioning democraciesangslan

    Well yes, Canada is a democracy if you measure it according to accepted norms. However, I would feel it was different, on a personal level for example, taking my pledge of allegiance to a Queen of another country, and having that same monarch appointing government officials - well at least one.

    Also, there have been times when the monarch has intervened, made appeals etc in a political crisis. which carries some weight, as much weigh as maybe the swing voter population
  • ssu
    774
    For a democracy to work, there have to be a lot of things that work also:

    - The country has to be also justice state. Corruption cannot be a huge problem.

    - The country cannot be very poor. Extreme povetry creates problems. A poor state simply doesn't have the ability to create a functioning justice state and likely has problems even to fulfill the basic services that a government has to provide.

    - The country has to have social cohesion. If a country is very divided by ethnic, racial or class lines (or by some other divide), it's likely that even if the democratic institutions do work, the outcome can be very ugly. A functioning democracy needs the political actors to be able to cooperate and find a consensus from time to time.

    I don't think that Western democracy is dying. It's perilous moment was in the 30's, but not now.
  • angslan
    49


    You say
    Canada is a democracy if you measure according to accepted norms. — FreeEmotion

    But I was curious as to what definition or concept of democracy you were using, and you still haven't said. I have no way of knowing what you think accepted norms are, or why you might strongly disagree with them.

    Just so you know, Canada has a Queen known as the Queen of Canada. She is also the Queen of another country (for example, Australia!) but that doesn't mean she isn't the Queen of Canada. It is a separate political institution from Queen of England.

    It might be more informative to talk about what is democratic and how much of a role these factors play. Being able to vote, stand for office, have robust and fair electoral systems that are responsive to voter input and reflect voter preferences, communicate freely with office-holders, publish and discuss differing opinions, be educated in political matters, place constraints on unilateral power, encourage multi-faceted engagement and have some level of ownership and satisfaction without political decisions are democratic factors that countries such as Canada enact relatively well - moreso than, say, North Korea. I suggest that this makes Canada fairly democratic, and the existence of a hereditary monarch who rarely, if ever, intervenes, and especially not so in a particularly partisan way, does not negate these factors. Nor might it place Canada in a less democratic position than various US states such as Kansas where some of these norms are being challenged, such as who and how electoral districts are drawn and how office-holders are voted in, even though these states do not have monarchs.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    For a democracy to work, there have to be a lot of things that work also:ssu

    I agree with those conditions are very important for what I consider as democracy, and what is generally considered to be essential for modern democracy. I am not sure how social cohesion and lack of poverty can be engineered, unless some other force, maybe a dictatorship or authoritarian rule establish these in the first place. Of course reduction of poverty under authoritarian rule has been accomplished in China, but social cohesion - maybe it should be peaceful relationships among the various groups - can that be forced?

    I am curious to know what external factors feature in a democracy, for example, in an extreme case, where a smaller less powerful country is being sanctioned by a powerful neighbour. If the country was non democratic, the argument could be made that this will force it into a democracy, but threatening a small neighbour democratic country I would think is extremely harmful to the democracy of the nation under pressure. In any case it cannot be anything other than democratic.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    But I was curious as to what definition or concept of democracy you were using, and you still haven't said. I have no way of knowing what you think accepted norms are, or why you might strongly disagree with them.angslan

    "ssu"s points are good starting points, I would also add freedom from foreign interference.

    Being able to vote, stand for office, have robust and fair electoral systems that are responsive to voter input and reflect voter preferences, communicate freely with office-holders, publish and discuss differing opinions, be educated in political matters, place constraints on unilateral power, encourage multi-faceted engagement and have some level of ownership and satisfaction without political decisions are democratic factors that countries such as Canada enact relatively well - more-so than, say, North Korea.angslan

    I broadly agree with these rights or should I say benefits are important if not essential for democracy, and yes, Canada does embody the principles of democracy fairly comprehensively.

    What I am not so sure of is if we are agreed on all the factors that undermine democracy, because all factors have to be listed in order to know what we can agree on is harmful. Having a monarchy is not such a huge impediment, but there are others that I shall attempt to list:

    1. An electoral system not based on the popular vote.
    2. Government agencies monitoring citizens without judicial approval
    3. Large monopolies controlling major sectors of business
    4. Unlimited campaign funding for electoral candidates
    5. Media blackouts on carefully chosen events, demonstrations and organizations
    6. Debating / attacking skills as the only qualification for presidency
    7. An economic system that is unable to serve benefits to the vast majority of the population
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Just so you know, Canada has a Queen known as the Queen of Canada. She is also the Queen of another country (for example, Australia!) but that doesn't mean she isn't the Queen of Canada. It is a separate political institution from Queen of England.angslan


    Interesting to know how this is really democracy if it needs an external party to prop it up:


    The Crown today primarily functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against abuse of power,[34] the sovereign acting as a custodian of the Crown's democratic powers and a representation of the "power of the people above government and political parties"
  • angslan
    49


    These undermining elements are really interesting! Thanks for the list.

    1. An electoral system not based on the popular vote. — FreeEmotion

    I'm uncertain how to respond to this one - various concepts of deliberative democracy, which I am quite sympathetic to, will agree or disagree with various electoral systems depending on how representative they are. Sometimes this will disagree with the idea of a 'popular' vote, but I guess that this depends upon what a popular vote really is. Do Germany or the Netherlands have a popular vote?

    2. Government agencies monitoring citizens without judicial approval — FreeEmotion

    I'm broadly in agreement with this.

    3. Large monopolies controlling major sectors of business

    This is more difficult. Personally I think that this is an issue that democracy should be solving, but not necessarily an issue with democracy. However, campaign finance and lobby groups are problematic, as you note, and I think this is the overlap that strikes me the most.

    6. Debating / attacking skills as the only qualification for presidency — FreeEmotion

    Well, I live somewhere without a presidency, and where these skills are not so emphasised. I think Canada, which we were talking about earlier, doesn't rate this as highly as the US either.

    7. An economic system that is unable to serve benefits to the vast majority of the population — FreeEmotion

    There is debate regarding whether this is a core part of democracy or not - conceiving of democracy as a liberal democracy versus a social democracy (as frameworks, not policies) will lead you to different answers here. If this is the measure that you are using, then democracy has again had remarkable improvements over a longer-term timeframe and some challenges more recently.

    Interesting to know how this is really democracy if it needs an external party to prop it up — FreeEmotion

    I mean, it doesn't need this to prop it up - it's just an academic justification for the system. I only pointed this out because of the comment about loyalty to a foreign monarch and wanted to note the technicality that Canada's monarch is the Queen of Canada, who just happens to be the Queen of England, who just happens to be the Queen of Australia.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    I mean, it doesn't need this to prop it up - it's just an academic justification for the systemangslan

    Easy one first: OK, but in my mind any support or bias or influence I would say on a democratic country is not really good for a democracy, in my opinion.And its against the idea, a sort of tainted (with no offence intended to Her Majesty) democracy.

    The other points - well your response is one of the reasons I am on this forum: mind - expanding ideas that I would not have thought of myself.

    1. Popular vote: former governor Jesse Ventura makes the point that all state elections are decided on a popular vote basis, but the presidency is not. You have two elections with the candidate winning the popular vote but not the election, forever changing the fate of millions of people around this world for the better, some would argue, maybe it 50/50.

    .
    However, campaign finance and lobby groups are problematic,angslan

    Agreed.

    7. An economic system that is unable to serve benefits to the vast majority of the population
    Put simply, I thought 99% of all people want this.

    Well that's a different view. I would think that everyone would want to be at most 1/3 as poor as the richest, but I see another point: maybe some people would not mind a society with the top 'one percent" provided they have a change to make it into that group. I am not a gambling man, so I pass on that one, however I see that there are alternatives to socialism that even the disadvantaged might support.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Take China for example. Capitalist fans are eager to point out China's economic growth was due to Capitalism. Forget the fact that they recently supported 60 years of Communism. Forget that there is no democracy over there. The second largest country in the world is Russia, that is not exactly democratic, in fact, the West celebrated the "fall of communism" which means it is no longer in existence, right?

    Tell me, what do you think of sanctions? Don't they upset the delicate balance of democracy in a country? I guess what I am getting at is freedom - which democratic countries are truly free? I would think Germany and the UK are good examples.

    It makes it clearer to ask what sort of system one would like to live under. I would prefer a system that delivers basic necessities and security to the 99% including financial security, and I am not interested in dissent so I fear no crack down on dissent.
  • iolo
    32
    I suppose a free country would be ruled by the majority. Since all countries are ruled by tiny minorities and the mugs have noticed this without drawing any sensible deductions, they are going to elect nobodies from television in the cretinous belief that they know such people. I can't see democracy emerging from this mess.
  • angslan
    49


    Yeah, the Electoral College is peculiar - but this is one of the reasons that I don't put the US up as an exemplary democracy. I think if we look to the US we're going to be less confident about democracy in general, but I think that what it suggests is that the US system needs an update, just as the Australian, German, New Zealand, UK, Swedish, Dutch and other systems have had through the years, and continue to consider.

    Regarding the economic system, the question is whether a certain system should be 'baked in' to democracy, or whether it should be democratically chosen. The former is more static, while the latter can be responsive to various changes in society and so forth. If people want a certain type of economic system for their own benefit, then they can democratically choose that - nothing is stopping them, theoretically.

    (By the way, I'm not convinced that 99% of people all want a similar economic system to each other - what constitutes responsibility, fairness, obligation, charity and other moral values inform people differently on this measure.)
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    I don't put the US up as an exemplary democracyangslan

    Well yes. The other countries that you mention seem to have a working system that is respected worldwide and within the country. All these countries have a heavy social services sector, free health care, free education and so on, which, in a strange way, makes it unlikely that a non-socialist government will be elected, or at least one that will change policies overnight. The systems work, anyway, and people seem to be content.

    Regarding the economic system, the question is whether a certain system should be 'baked in' to democracy, or whether it should be democratically chosenangslan

    This is somewhat debatable, because a democracy could choose a government that is capitalist, socialist, or maybe even communist. In fact it is possible to vote to remove your right to vote, which unlikely, is a strange possibility, or to vote to reduce your rights. Voting for a capitalist system has in history concentrated power in the hands of a few, sometimes. So the question is what is the point.

    I'm not convinced that 99% of people all want a similar economic system to each other - what constitutes responsibility, fairness, obligation, charity and other moral values inform people differently on this measureangslan

    This, I believe is the key: think of this: what will a democracy in a prison look like, if the criminals in there (and the innocents) overthrew their guards and established a democratic system of government?

    What would a democracy among saints look like, among people who only seek the highest good for the other?

    Can democracy be separated from morality? One answer may be a robust constitution and a means to enforce is strictly, but then a democracy can vote to change the constitution. The problem with democracy lies elsewhere: it is the problem of the good citizen.
  • FreeEmotion
    124
    Maybe the constitution should stipulate conditions for citizens and voters as well as candidates for office, that would be the first step.

    Responsibilities

    Freedom to express yourself.

    Freedom to worship as you wish.

    Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.

    Right to vote in elections for public officials.

    Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.

    Right to run for elected office.

    Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”



    Support and defend the Constitution.

    Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.

    Participate in the democratic process.

    Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.

    Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.

    Participate in your local community.

    Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.

    Serve on a jury when called upon.

    Defend the country if the need should arise.



    https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/citizenship-rights-and-responsibilities

    https://mic.com/articles/40101/5-duties-of-a-u-s-citizen-few-americans-are-aware-of#.LPgyIAe7X

    Prior to any election, there should be a media blitz on this . Maybe then we could get candidates to respond : we can only vote for people who fulfil the duties of citizens.
  • angslan
    49


    Can democracy be separated from morality? — FreeEmotion

    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.

    A great difficulty in determining how to answer moral questions is if there is anything that is mandatory (e.g. inclusiveness? what about inclusiveness of terrible ideas?) and anything that needs to be excluded outright (or, for e.g. if there are certain rights that need to be protected). But people already disagree on these framework issues.
  • angslan
    49
    Well, I haven't figured out how to delete a duplicated comment.
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