• Brett
    1.9k
    Do those who take power have the right to take it and wield it?

    History is strewn with the work of those who took power, death and destruction, but also growth and security.

    We seem to be entering what many regard as “populism” in politics. People see Trump as the emergence of the demagogue. The same fears of the past re-emerge; jackboots in the White House.

    Most people alive today have grown up with the idea of consensus. The emergence of The United Nations, social democrats, local government or school committees.

    But it seems to me that what emerged out of the past, railways, cities, industries, even government, was driven and built by those who took power and wielded it. Through their own individual desires and the power held by them they created the foundations of the world today. They did not work from consensus except to consult those they employed. Though not everyone would agree whether that was a benefit or not.

    According to Foucault though there are other benefits. “ ... power is based on knowledge and makes use of knowledge; on the other hand, power reproduces knowledge by shaping it in accordance with its anonymous intentions.[3] Power (re-) creates its own fields of exercise through knowledge.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-knowledge.

    I can’t help thinking that we’re not getting much out of consensus, that we’re not growing. It seems to me that collective power is compromised by consensus. More get what they want but everything is a watered down version of their objectives. All around the world governments appear to be ineffective in dealing with their nation’s problems. What we get are watered down policies that add up to nothing more than stop gaps or feel good messages.

    So should we be afraid of the person who seizes power? Is it legitimate? If they can hold onto it then do they deserve it? And vice versa. Could it be the better choice for the future? Is the time long gone for collective decisions that take time and achieve only a small part of their objectives?

    Machiavellian criticises the “moralistic view of authority in his best-known treatise, The Prince. For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power. Rather, authority and power are essentially coequal: whoever has power has the right to command; but goodness does not ensure power and the good person has no more authority by virtue of being good. Thus, in direct opposition to a moralistic theory of politics, Machiavelli says that the only real concern of the political ruler is the acquisition and maintenance of power (although he talks less about power per se than about “maintaining the state”.) In this sense, Machiavelli presents a trenchant criticism of the concept of authority by arguing that the notion of legitimate rights of rulership adds nothing to the actual possession of power. The Prince purports to reflect the self-conscious political realism of an author who is fully aware—on the basis of direct experience with the Florentine government—that goodness and right are not sufficient to win and maintain political office. Machiavelli thus seeks to learn and teach the rules of political power. For Machiavelli, power characteristically defines political activity, and hence it is necessary for any successful ruler to know how power is to be used. Only by means of the proper application of power, Machiavelli believes, can individuals be brought to obey and will the ruler be able to maintain the state in safety and security.” https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/machiavelli/#PrinAnalPowe

    There was a recent OP about leaders and whether there should be a learning institution to learn from. Part of the conversation was whether people need a leader at all and the nature of people in a society which prevents them from simply going about their day-to-day lives without any leader.

    But leaders exist and those who take power exist in society on all levels. Those artists who rise to the top take that position, as do writers and actors. They don’t wait for that laurel wreath to be delivered. Those in the work place who rise through the ranks actively take part in office politics and use their skills to get what they want. They rise to the top because they create benefits for others along the way.

    There’s nothing new in this. The grab for power exists as an integral part of nature, unconsciously or not. The most powerful animal successfully passes on his genes, the smartest survives the politics of the tribe. Alpha males in primates or pack animals control behaviour through domination with mutual benefits to both dominant and subordinate members.

    Are those who take power the best, the hero who “ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces

    Is it legitimate for someone to take power in their own interests? For why else would someone seize power if it was not going to be applied in their interests. Sometimes those interests may serve the interests of others, like the tribal chief or the alpha male of a band of gorillas. Without benefits the power maker fails.

    The power the mythical hero takes and wields in such a way that benefits accrue, that contributes knowledge and inspires others, is a power where you live and die by what you create.
    “Now primitive peoples, as we have seen, sometimes believe that their safety and even that of the world is bound up with the life of one of these god-men or human incarnations of the divinity. Naturally, therefore, they take the utmost care of his life, out of a regard for their own. But no amount of care and precaution will prevent the man-god from growing old and feeble and at last dying. His worshippers have to lay their account with this sad necessity and to meet it as best they can. The danger is a formidable one; for if the course of nature is dependent on the man-god's life, what catastrophes may not be expected from the gradual enfeeblement of his powers and their final extinction in death? There is only one way of averting these dangers. The man-god must be killed as soon as he shows symptoms that his powers are beginning to fail, and his soul must be transferred to a vigorous successor before it has been seriously impaired by the threatened decay.” https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Golden_Bough/The_Killing_of_the_Divine_King

    Is Trump the Picasso of politics? Has he changed the game that allows others to follow? Has he revealed something about the relationship between ourselves and power? This is not about Trump but about power and whether we should look at how it works more closely and overcome our fear of it, about whether power can be wielded morally or whether there are benefits in the idea of power.
  • Invisibilis
    29
    The only power we, as self, have is choice. Anything else from self, except letting go, is by force (trying to change anything to fill its wants and needs).
    The only power we, as innermost being, have is truth.
  • Isaac
    2k
    it seems to me that what emerged out of the past, railways, cities, industries, even government, was driven and built by those who took power and wielded it. Through their own individual desires and the power held by them they created the foundations of the world today.Brett

    This is potentially just historicism. You've no alternative history of consensus-run groups during the same era to compare with. You could equally say that the greatest growth in industry was during the era when everyone wore hats, so we should bring back hat-wearing. Unless you have a control group of non-hat- wearing industrialists who didn't do so well, you can't draw any conclusions.

    I can’t help thinking that we’re not getting much out of consensus, that we’re not growing. It seems to me that collective power is compromised by consensus. More get what they want but everything is a watered down version of their objectives. All around the world governments appear to be ineffective in dealing with their nation’s problems. What we get are watered down policies that add up to nothing more than stop gaps or feel good messages.Brett

    Again, it's a real stretch to link this to consensus. The industrial revolution - which drove the original stage of growth - was always unsustainable. People really wanted cars, washing machines, trainlines etc. Those were really useful things. But we have them now. Not quite so many people really want a toaster that turns on when you speak to it, or a toothbrush that plays the Marseilles while you brush. We're running out of stuff people need, we're having to make the stuff people do need deliberately badly so that it needs replacing sooner. Then there's raw materials, environmental degradation...I won't go into all that and derail your thread. The point is there's a lot more going on than increases in consensus politics. Singling out one aspect to blame when others are much closer in the causal chain is mistaken.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    This is potentially just historicism. You've no alternative history of consensus-run groups during the same era to compare with.Isaac

    Yes you’re right, but only because things were not done by consensus. Obviously I would have to prove that and it would take more effort than I feel like. But we do know how things were done and we can measure the results.

    The point is there's a lot more going on than increases in consensus politics. Singling out one aspect to blame when others are much closer in the causal chain is mistaken.Isaac

    But you do seem to be leaning towards the idea that there is an increase in consensus in politics.
    What else might you suggest is behind what I’m calling a watered down version of people’s expectations.

    I guess this is the crux of part of the OP, does consensus contribute to the sad state of affairs in politics?
  • Isaac
    2k
    What else might you suggest is behind what I’m calling a watered down version of people’s expectations.Brett

    In my view people's expectations have been watered down by advertising and the media. As I said, no-one really wants a speaking toaster, or a razor that shaves 'even closer still'. You'd have to be stupid to think that the fridge you buy nowadays, that lasts a few years is better than the one you just replaced that was 25 years old. The door broke on my oven the other day, I complained about it and they said they'd send me a new oven, but that the "mechanisms can't be expected to last for ever". It was four years old. My Rayburn door was made in 1969, it's still going strong.

    High expectations among your customers is just not good business. Its cheaper to manipulate the customer base to expect less than it is to actually provide more.

    The consequences of this process just leach over into politics.

    It's also not very good economics to have your customer base look after each other, be frugal, be charitable, intelligently analyse things... All these effects leach over into other areas of life.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    In my view people's expectations have been watered down by advertising and the media.Isaac

    But I don’t see that behind the state of affairs in politics. In fact here in Australia Prime Ministers can lose their position as a result of poor polling. One of the consequences is consensus, trying to keep as many people as possible happy with broad middle of the road policies that deliver nothing.
  • Tzeentch
    574
    In the context of social relations I would describe power as "the ability to impose one's will upon another".

    I consider that immoral, thus any government that utilizes such a principle I consider illegitimate.
  • Isaac
    2k
    here in Australia Prime Ministers can lose their position as a result of poor pollingBrett

    Why do you think that is?Is it a complete coincidence that people are so easily swayed by something as rhetorical as polling and this just happens to make extremely profitable consumer base? What would happen in the opposite case to modern manufacturing companies. If people actually spent time investigating the qualities of things and critically examining their claims. How many people would buy the razor that 'shaves even closer still' if they actually critically examined claims which are made in the media?

    The reason why we have middle of the road policies at all is because it's easier to sell things to people in distinct ideological groups (though preferably as few of these as possible, two is ideal) than it is to sell to an amorphous mass whose ideas cannot easily be predicted.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    In the context of social relations I would describe power as "the ability to impose one's will upon another".

    I consider that immoral, thus any government that utilizes such a principle I consider illegitimate.
    Tzeentch

    You might think that for the benefit of your position but there’s more to it than that.

    “In social science and politics, power is the capacity of an individual to influence the conduct (behaviour) of others. The term "authority" is often used for power that is perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust. This sort of primitive exercise of power is historically endemic to humans; however, as social beings, the same concept is seen as good and as something inherited or given for exercising humanistic objectives that will help, move, and empower others as well ... The use of power need not involve force or the threat of force (coercion). An example of using power without oppression is the concept "soft power," as compared to hard power.

    Much of the recent sociological debate about power revolves around the issue of its means to enable – in other words, power as a means to make social actions possible as much as it may constrain or prevent them. The philosopher Michel Foucault saw power as a structural expression of "a complex strategic situation in a given social setting"[2] that requires both constraint and enablement.“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_(social_and_political)
  • Brett
    1.9k


    here in Australia Prime Ministers can lose their position as a result of poor polling
    — Brett

    Why do you think that is?Is it a complete coincidence that people are so easily swayed by something as rhetorical as polling and this just happens to make extremely profitable consumer base?
    Isaac

    It’s the politicians who are swayed by polling. But I don’t see the connection between this and business anyway.
  • Isaac
    2k
    It’s the politicians who are swayed by polling. But I don’t see the connection between this and business anyway.Brett

    Ah, I misunderstood what you were saying, you're looking at this the other way round. I think you're missing a couple of steps in your thinking. Politicians are swayed by polling because we live in a democracy and so what most people appear to want is what gets them elected, right? so your connection between that and watered down policies which don't make any real progress is only valid if {what most people want} results in a watered down policy which makes no real progress. After all, if everyone stood up and with one voice declared that we should try to get to Mars above all else, you can guarantee we'd be working on little else but trying to get to Mars.

    So the politicians doing what they do is not really the point, they're just the photographer, they take a snapshot of the way society is at the time of the election (minus all the bribery, vote-rigging and gerrymandering which actually does sway things a bit). So, by and large, it's the views of society to blame for whatever lack of progress you're identifying. the politicians are just reflecting it, they can do no else, otherwise they would simply be removed from office next election.

    So if we're to follow your 'consensus waters down progress' theory - lets' presume you're right for the minute - then the question you need to ask is why society is divided into such opposing groups that the consensus between them ends up nothing. Why do one group pull left, the other right so that we end up going nowhere?

    To answer this you'd have to follow the trend of increasing polarization and identity signalling in group dynamics. There's loads of really good work been done in this area (some of it by me! But I'm not about to break the beauty of anonymity by making any recommendations), but I suspect academic texts aren't really what you're after anyway.

    Generally, increasing globalisation makes groups more fluid, people don't like fluid groups because their place in the social hierarchy is important to them and it's difficult to identify in a group with fluid identity boundaries. There's a niche there which advertisers and media companies make use of to draw artificial boundaries around groups, thus satisfying an urge people had. Profits, however, are made on economies of scale, so it doesn't pay to create more groups than are strictly necessary to satisfy this urge.

    There's a massive amount of complexity (and disagreement) in there which I've not said, but the upshot is a small number of groups for whom it is in their best interests to strongly declare the extent to which they are opposed to the other groups.
  • Tzeentch
    574
    In social science and politics, power is the capacity of an individual to influence the conduct (behaviour) of others.Brett

    Isn't thereby a government that exercises power imposing its will upon others?

    ... however, as social beings, the same concept is seen as good and as something inherited or given for exercising humanistic objectives that will help, move, and empower others as well ... The use of power need not involve force or the threat of force (coercion). An example of using power without oppression is the concept "soft power," as compared to hard power.Brett

    Soft power is not "power without oppression". Soft power includes things like the use of media, which is capable of being and often is a tool of oppression.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12617.Manufacturing_Consent

    A more fitting definition of soft power would be "Imposing one's will upon another, without the other noticing it."

    Not a bit less immoral, as far as I am concerned.
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    In the context of social relations I would describe power as "the ability to impose one's will upon another". I consider that immoral, thus any government that utilizes such a principle I consider illegitimate.Tzeentch

    I used to think like that, but in the meanwhile, I have corrected my point of view. As far as I am concerned, you are allowed to "impose your will upon another" on the condition that you are willing to risk your life and die for what you believe in.

    Hence, the person in power can choose the time and the place to do that, but he should never complain if "his target" chooses the next time and place to take revenge on him, because in that case, this person in power is just a bad loser.

    In that sense, the problem of power abuse is mostly caused by people who refuse to take revenge, and in that way encourage the power abuse. That is why I utterly despise people who fail to ambush back. Even if you don't do it for yourself, i.e. to carry out vengeful reprisals, you should at least have the conscience to do it for others and for society at large.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    I think you're missing a couple of steps in your thinking. Politicians are swayed by polling because we live in a democracy and so what most people appear to want is what gets them elected, right? so your connection between that and watered down policies which don't make any real progress is only valid if {what most people want} results in a watered down policy which makes no real progress.Isaac

    In the situation I’m talking about the party has already formed a government. As time goes by their popularity is polled, usually on the popularity of the Prime Minister. If the PM’s ratings slide, probably because of particular issues and responses by the PM, then the machine-men in the party look to toppling him and replacing him. Of course polls are notoriously unreliable but they still act on them. So it doesn’t necessarily mean the voters want the PM gone, they’re just not very happy with what’s happening. Consequently it’s a risky move to take a clear position on issues, better to talk around it, seek out some “consensus” and never actually take a chance on what you believe is the right and necessary thing to do. As a result you get ” a watered down policy which makes no real progress.[/quote]”

    As to why one group pulls in the opposite direction than another, I think that just takes me down a side road away from the topic. Whether consensus is responsible for the state of affairs doesn’t really matter. Very few people are happy with the state of affairs. Something’s behind it and I don’t think it’s because “a small number of groups for whom it is in their best interests to strongly declare the extent to which they are opposed to the other groups”. It’s the response that’s the problem.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    Isn't thereby a government that exercises power imposing its will upon others?Tzeentch

    Of course it is. That’s why they were elected, to enact the policies they were voted in on. To not do so would be a betrayal of the majority.

    Your position is a moral one. But your position isn’t clear to me. Your definition of “soft power” doesn’t explore anything about power. You talk about oppression even under democratic process. You mix up authority and power. I’m talking about people who take power without compromise, know what they want, what needs to be done and how to do it.

    An example might be Winston Churchill during the war years. He knew what had to be done and lived with it. He didn’t seek consensus because there was no place for that. He understood power and wielded it in a effective way. He didn’t ask what should be done but told the people what had to be done. Maybe some actions were immoral. In that case I refer you to Machiavelli.
  • ZhouBoTong
    749
    In that sense, the problem of power abuse is mostly caused by people who refuse to take revenge,alcontali

    Modern society has decided that revenge is immoral and hinders the function of society. This change has not just been western culture. Revenge was part of the Samurai way of life, and yet it was outlawed almost immediately after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Modern society doesn't function with revenge killings.

    "Revenge" is a very weak concept morally anyway. I don't need "revenge" for my feelings, I need to stop this person before she kills someone else's family.

    As far as I am concerned, you are allowed to "impose your will upon another"alcontali

    Well of course it is allowed...what is god going to reach down and stop you? Who or what would not allow it? You are really saying it is morally admirable to force your will onto others. Good luck selling that.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    family.

    As far as I am concerned, you are allowed to "impose your will upon another"
    — alcontali
    ZhouBoTong

    You are really saying it is morally admirable to force your will onto others. Good luck selling that.ZhouBoTong

    I don’t think it necessarily means it’s morally admirable. But what’s wrong with it? Maybe we need to really parse that sentence.
  • ZhouBoTong
    749
    I don’t think it necessarily means it’s morally admirable.Brett

    Fair, that is likely me putting my perspective into things. Morals aren't right or wrong, they are admirable or frowned upon (my perspective).

    I don't mind seeking a more universal wording. If he (or very unlikely, she) is just saying morally acceptable, not morally admirable, then I don't see the point. If we are just discussing things that are neither good nor bad (neither admirable nor deplorable), then I am not sure "moral" has a whole lot to do with it??

    If I am not saying anything along the lines of what you were thinking, feel free to change the direction of things.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    One way of imposing your will on another is to argue with their point of view and convince them that they’re wrong. I don’t see anything wrong with that on any level. And if someone was morally contemptible, a paedophile for instance, then why wouldn’t anyone try to impose their will on that person?
  • ZhouBoTong
    749
    Ok, I see where you are going now. I was not viewing things from that perspective and I see your point. I am still going to argue :grimace:, but I think we will see it is mostly semantics and definitions.

    One way of imposing your will on another is to argue with their point of view and convince them that they’re wrong.Brett

    For me, "impose" means "forced" (or at least includes "forced"). I am not sure I agree that convincing is ever "forced"...? (I just looked up the definition and it has a "forced" aspect...but I can also see different potential interpretations...I am going to continue to argue in relation to "forced"...but know that I know that is not the only way that "impose" can be understood).

    And if someone was morally contemptible, a paedophile for instance, then why wouldn’t anyone try to impose their will on that person?Brett

    Once people are harming society, they have given up their right to not be imposed upon. Yes, all people in jail were imposed upon....and I am sure I agree that many of them should be in jail for the protection of the rest of us. However, America is a good example of improper imposing. Many of our prisoners are non-violent and never harmed a soul other than themselves (drugs are the most common reason we put people in jail).

    And generally, those truly imposing their will are breaking the law. Another interesting side thought...once we have created the rule of law...are we imposing our will or just carrying out policy? (if anyone'e "will" is being imposed, they are often long dead??)

    If trickery or violence (or the threat of) is used, then a will has been imposed. If someone knowingly changes their mind, I think I just presented some information that allowed them to change their mind. (I would also point out that the libertarian non-aggression principle would be totally fine with trickery...I disagree...but just mentioning it as a philosophy that would ONLY see violent methods as "imposing will").

    I may have to run soon, but will certainly respond over the next couple days.
  • Tzeentch
    574
    I used to think like that, but in the meanwhile, I have corrected my point of view. As far as I am concerned, you are allowed to "impose your will upon another" on the condition that you are willing to risk your life and die for what you believe in.alcontali

    There are situations in which 'imposing one's will on another' is in the best interest of the other. I do think that individuals can therefore under certain circumstances do this without it being immoral. A parent raising a child, for example.

    However, I do not believe a government could realistically match the criteria required for the imposing to be considered moral, mainly due to the fact that the number of people they deal with are too large. For example, is a government willing to "risk its life" for its subjects?

    I could go into further detail about what criteria I'm talking about, but I think you get the idea.
  • Tzeentch
    574
    Of course it is. That’s why they were elected, to enact the policies they were voted in on. To not do so would be a betrayal of the majority.Brett

    So, what about the minority that didn't elect them?

    A case could be made that the power a government has over the people who voted for it is legitimate.

    However, as long as there are dissidents, the government is imposing its will on people who do not wish it. What possible moral basis could there be for this? (in the context of government)

    When there are no dissidents, there is consensus and therefore (broadly speaking) no imposing of will upon others.

    Your position is a moral one. But your position isn’t clear to me.Brett

    Forcing people to do things they do not want to do is immoral.

    On the individual level sometimes exceptions can be made for this rule, however I do not believe governments can realistically match these criteria. I could go into those criteria if you wish, but I don't think it's that relevant to our current discussion.
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    Modern society has decided that revenge is immoral and hinders the function of society.ZhouBoTong

    The Qisas or equivalence verse in Quran is,[1]

    O ye who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude, this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.
    — Quran 2:178

    The Qur'an allows the aggrieved party to receive monetary compensation (blood money, diyya, دية) instead of qisas,[6] or forfeit the right of qiṣāṣ as an act of charity or in atonement for the victim family's past sins.

    We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers.
    — Quran 5:45
    Wikipedia on the Qisas

    I do not particularly care about the undocumented views of so-called "modern society" on the matter, if only, because I do not consider the lack of documentation to be anything to aspire to. The way in which morality works in so-called "modern society" is rather something for an illiterate society. Things become simply too easy when you do not have to supply any form of justification for what you say. Therefore, I reject all undocumented opinions on morality as manipulative and deceptive.

    "Revenge" is a very weak concept morally anyway.ZhouBoTong

    That is a very undocumented view on the matter. Everybody and their little sister could say that kind of things, but there is no reason to believe that it properly fits in any serious formal system of morality.

    I do not reject your opinion because it would be wrong or right. I reject it because it is clearly undocumented and because it makes no reference to any documented formal system of morality.

    What prevents anybody else from just inventing that kind of views on the fly?
  • creativesoul
    7.6k
    Do those who take power have the right to take it and wield it?Brett

    Rights are afforded to humans... by humans; to animals... by humans.

    Power over people is acquired in only one of two ways. It is either given by consent, or it is usurped. To which method of acquisition are you referring?
  • creativesoul
    7.6k
    Forcing people to do things they do not want to do is immoral.Tzeentch

    I like to force people to leave others alone sometimes... dunno 'bout you. I would not call such action immoral. Yet, on pains of coherence or special pleading, you must.

    :brow:

    I think your notion of what counts as"immoral" needs a whetstone(at a minimum)...
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    For example, is a government willing to "risk its life" for its subjects?Tzeentch

    Bureaucracy is a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions.

    If you do not take risks for your opinion, you are nothing.
    — Nassim Taleb in 'Skin in the Game'
  • Tzeentch
    574
    I like to force people to leave others alone sometimes... dunno 'bout you. I would not call such action immoral. Yet, on pains of coherence or special pleading, you must.creativesoul

    Like I said, there are exceptions on the individual level, however the criteria that need to be checked will not realisitically apply to governments.
  • Isaac
    2k
    it’s a risky move to take a clear position on issues, better to talk around it, seek out some “consensus” and never actually take a chance on what you believe is the right and necessary thing to do. As a result you get ” a watered down policy which makes no real progressBrett

    OK, so the first thing you'd need is some evidence of this. What is the 'progress' you'd like to see (what is the real-world measure of it) and why are other measures of change (because the world certainly is changing) not counted as 'progress' for you?

    Something’s behind it and I don’t think it’s because “a small number of groups for whom it is in their best interests to strongly declare the extent to which they are opposed to the other groups”. It’s the response that’s the problem.Brett

    So what exactly are you wanting to discuss here? Are you just going to repeat your theory until someone says "yes, you're right". If you're just going to dismiss any contrary theory on the grounds that you don't 'reckon' it's right then what's the point in writing what you think on a public forum?
  • Brett
    1.9k


    So, what about the minority that didn't elect them?

    A case could be made that the power a government has over the people who voted for it is legitimate.

    However, as long as there are dissidents, the government is imposing its will on people who do not wish it. What possible moral basis could there be for this? (in the context of government)
    Tzeentch

    If the people have taken part in an election run along democratic ideas then by voting they’re taking part in a process where they hope to win. But it’s understood that they may lose and become the minority. If you want to call those unhappy with results as dissidents then do so. But it’s a big leap to go from being those who lost an election to thinking of themselves as dissidents.

    However if they reject the system of government, in this case representative democracy, then you could regard them as dissidents. In that case they would be hoping for another form of government. However, the government is still imposing itself on the dissidents on behalf of the people that elected them. So the imposing is still legitimate. What else could it be, unless you reject representative democracy, and then you’re imposing your view on others. And I assume you’d feel justified.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    Power over people is acquired in only one of two ways. It is either given by consent, or it is usurped. To which method of acquisition are you referring?creativesoul

    By consent.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    Bureaucracy is a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions.

    If you do not take risks for your opinion, you are nothing.
    — Nassim Taleb in 'Skin in the Game'

    Your absolutely right. Consensus is avoidance of responsibility. Those with power, who make decisions, must absolutely have skin in the game.
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