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Old 04-03-2016, 08:45 AM
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Default Democracy - as defined by the members of Writer's Beat


Democracy

I am starting this in part because of some responses the God and Guns thread.

A theme that came out of that was that the U.S. Should not return to local militia but maintain a large standing army just in case there is another world war and we have to help the UK out to “defend democracy”. And some angst among some posters because the United States “took too long” in two world wars to jump in when the UK had bitten off more than it could chew and “Defend Democracy”


Things we can discuss:
1. What is Democracy?


2. Is it a viable system of government?


3. Is “Democracy worth defending?


4. Should there be limits on participation in Democracy?


5. Did the UK, and by extension the US (Bailing the UK out in two world wars) really defend democracy in these wars?


6. Is the United States a democracy?


7. Did the Founding Generation of the United States intend to have a democracy?


8. Is the UK a democracy?


9.Are all cultures capable of democracy?


Notes:
  • We don't have to have this discussion in the order they appear. People can touch on topics in any order.
  • There is on occasion some sniveling when the Comic Sans font is used. Be aware that ComicSans is a very appropriate font to use when discussing DEMOCRACY.
What is Democracy?
A somewhat common response to that is “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep having a discussion about what is for dinner. True democracy is “direct democracy” or Athenian Democracy. The rest of the systems have some aspect of “the popular vote” thrown in to give an illusion of self determination.


From wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athenian_democracy
Athenian democracy developed around the fifth century B.C. in the Greek city-state (known as a polis) of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica and is the first known democracy in the world. Other Greek cities set up democracies, most following the Athenian model, but none are as well documented as Athens.

It was a system of direct democracy, in which participating citizens voted directly on legislation and executive bills. Participation was not open to all residents: to vote one had to be an adult, male citizen who owned land and was not a slave, and the number of these "varied between 30,000 and 50,000 out of a total population of around 250,000 to 300,000."[1]


Modern Definitions of Democracy” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy

1a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

2 : a political unit that has a democratic government

3capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the United States <from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy — C. M. Roberts>

4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority

5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

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Last edited by Mohican; 04-03-2016 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:49 AM
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I can (and will) expand on my answers throughout our (polite) discussion)


1. What is Democracy?



See my Opening Post for real (Athenian) and modern democracy.


2. Is it a viable system of government?


Democracy is viable on a small scale with a homogenous group of people with similar goals. As the population grows a representative for of government with tinges of democracy works better.


3. Is “Democracy worth defending?


That depends on the people involved. In my opinion, fighting a war just to “Defend Democracy” is a non starter.


4. Should there be limits on participation in Democracy?


Of course.


5. Did the UK, and by extension the US (Bailing the UK out in two world wars) really defend democracy in these wars?


No. Forms of representative Democracy survived, but WWII was not about defending Democracy.


6. Is the United States a democracy?


No. It's barely a representative Republic anymore. And what true democracy there is can be overridden.


7. Did the Founding Generation of the United States intend to have a democracy?


No.


8. Is the UK a democracy? No.
Edited to add: UK does give more opportunities for referendum by citizens, such as the (sadly failed) Scots secession vote. And the current thing to leave the EU. So you have much more direct democracy available to you than we do in the states. Even though I'm not a proponent of unfettered democracy, there are times that would be nice.


9.Are all cultures capable of (or desiring) democracy?
No. Not all cultures are capable of democracy, many do not desire democracy.
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Last edited by Mohican; 04-03-2016 at 03:59 PM..
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:28 AM
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Serious question. Are you trolling?
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Non Serviam View Post
Serious question. Are you trolling?
No
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:59 AM
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Maybe we can answer Mohicans questions by looking at the alternatives.

What is totalitarianism, and what is oppression?

Should we be happy to live in a world where people are denied even the illusion of self-determinism, or to be oppressed because of religion, or gender, or sexuality, or race?

Should we be prepared to defend the rights of others and their right to the same freedoms as ours or should we just say fuck it, who cares?
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
No
Okay. I realise that it was a post of mine that triggered this. Since your sincere position is seriously that neither the US nor the UK are democracies, and you sincerely believe that fighting to defend democracy isn't worthwhile anyway, and you aren't trolling when you say this, then I'm afraid I have nothing further to say to you on this topic. I apologise for not engaging.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by wyf View Post
Maybe we can answer Mohicans questions by looking at the alternatives.

What is totalitarianism, and what is oppression?

Should we be happy to live in a world where people are denied even the illusion of self-determinism, or to be oppressed because of religion, or gender, or sexuality, or race?

Should we be prepared to defend the rights of others and their right to the same freedoms as ours or should we just say fuck it, who cares?
Wyf, those are all valid questions.

In the absence of "democracy", there is only totalitarianism and oppression?

Is a "full throated" democracy the only place where you can have self determination?

I did note that is seems the UK is open to a bit more "democracy" and self determination. That can be used as a good thing. Democracy and self determination can also be bad?
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:08 AM
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In the absence of democracy there can either be anarchy, which NS espouses, but which can't work on a national scale, or dictatorship, whether oppressive or benign.

Any form of self determinism is a bit of an illusion but at least one has a vote (use it against Trump, please!!!) and no one person is in power long enough to fuck anybody over big time. And there are checks and balances.

Tell me how democracy and self determinism can be bad?
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:13 AM
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That's a nihilistic view and one I'd qualify with "in theory". And in a democracy, your amount of self determination could be limited by the votes of your fellow citizens.

I could use the example of an existing neighborhood or rural township forming a homeowners association. They get voted on. Sometimes it only takes a majority, or a supermajority but not a 100% agreement to make this occur. And then power is delegated to the association. Suddenly, you might not have the ability to do what you want to with your property. You might have also, through the democratic process lost the ability to "opt out". At that point, your ability within this democratically elected association to self determine comes down to your ability to play by your own rules.

As for tRUMP, if I look at the five remaining candidates of the two major parties in the US I can see him as most benign.

tRUMP
Cruz
Kasich
Clinton
Sanders

Somewhat surprisingly, I hear more about states rights and returning powers to the states from tRUMP than I do from the Republican running as a Christian Constitutional Conservative.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:11 AM
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It's a huge topic, but on the whole neither the UK nor US practise real democracy. The ruling elites in both have devised clever means to keep power in the hands of a few while placating the masses with the illusion of choice. In the UK we are not even citizens but "subjects" of a hereditary monarch who can override parliament by the Royal Prerogative if and when she chooses. Coupled with that the corporate meeja ensure the masses are kept docile and distracted and manipulated into delivering the right outcome at the ballot box (not that there is much choice anyway).

I don't believe any war has ever been waged in the interest of promoting democracy, whatever our rulers claim. It's a good cover story to mask profitable adventures and the desire for economic domination.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
Suddenly, you might not have the ability to do what you want to with your property.
Who said democracy was about doing what you want? Surely democracy is about the greater collective good over the ability of the individual to do what he wants?
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by flyingtart View Post
I don't believe any war has ever been waged in the interest of promoting democracy, whatever our rulers claim. It's a good cover story to mask profitable adventures and the desire for economic domination.
Where was the profit in the UK entering WW2?
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
As for tRUMP, if I look at the five remaining candidates of the two major parties in the US I can see him as most benign.
Probably should be another thread but I find this interesting. A lot of americans seem to love him, but outside the US he's seen as somewhere between a dangerous buffoon and a psychopathic maniac. There was a pettion raised hereto ban him from entering the UK which had enough signatures to force it being debate in parliament.

Obama is seen as an intelligent and 'presidetial' president outside the US, a statesman and the voice of reason, yet he seems unpopular now in the US.

Bush was a dope, but you guys liked him.

Why is there such a diference in perception?
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wyf View Post
Where was the profit in the UK entering WW2?
Wars are about who controls resources. Ever wondered why so much of WW2 was fought in the Middle East? British imperialism continues to this day.
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by flyingtart View Post
Ever wondered why so much of WW2 was fought in the Middle East?
Not really. I don't know all the details, but oil output from the Middle East was a tiny fraction of the world's supply at the time, and the Germans would have had to get access to it through Egypt, and that ended at El Alamien. They were getting oil from Romania and also betting on getting more from the Caucasus, plus they were producing synthetic oil. The Allies got almost all their oil from the U.S., the worlds largest producer. So I believe there was very little fighting in or over the Middle-East oil producing countries during WWII, if any.

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Old 04-05-2016, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by wyf View Post
Who said democracy was about doing what you want? Surely democracy is about the greater collective good over the ability of the individual to do what he wants?
Well, I never democracy was doing what you want, although people tend to vote for what they perceive as their short term self interest. I was creating an example.

Democracy often ends with people losing their self determination ie ability to plot ones course.

Liberty is often the God that Failed.
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Old 04-05-2016, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wyf View Post
Probably should be another thread but I find this interesting. A lot of americans seem to love him, but outside the US he's seen as somewhere between a dangerous buffoon and a psychopathic maniac. There was a pettion raised hereto ban him from entering the UK which had enough signatures to force it being debate in parliament.

Obama is seen as an intelligent and 'presidetial' president outside the US, a statesman and the voice of reason, yet he seems unpopular now in the US.

Bush was a dope, but you guys liked him.

Why is there such a diference in perception?
Bush II was seen as a dope. He was actually pretty smart. And knew how to build an effective team. I don't admire the direction the nation started to take under Bush II, but he's not the "ignorant cowboy" he's thought to be.

Obama is a dope, or a puppet, and has had some reckless policies.
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Old 04-05-2016, 12:30 PM
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So which candidate is less likely to be a puppet this election? Which one will ebb the flow of illegals flooding in? Which one is not "bought" and due to owe favors to special interest and big corporations?
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:24 PM
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We might need a POTUS 2016 thread. Are the folks outside the US interested in a POTUS 2016 thread?
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Old 04-05-2016, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
We might need a POTUS 2016 thread. Are the folks outside the US interested in a POTUS 2016 thread?
What is POTUS 2016?
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:22 AM
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Basically (the next) president of the United States.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
Democracy often ends with people losing their self determination ie ability to plot ones course.
so is there a real alternative?
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
Bush II was seen as a dope. He was actually pretty smart. And knew how to build an effective team. I don't admire the direction the nation started to take under Bush II, but he's not the "ignorant cowboy" he's thought to be.
Of course, he must have had some level of competence to have become president. I think the difference of viewpoint is that we can only judge by what we see (a dope who had difficulty stringing coherent sentences together) whereas you judge by what you get.

Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
Obama is a dope, or a puppet, and has had some reckless policies.
and obviously the perception here is that he's charismatic, eloquent and everything bush wasn't. And to us his healthcare policies seemed just common sense. Why should people bankrupt themselves just to get medical treatment?
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:49 AM
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Except that his 'healthcare policies' were not limited to that. From what I've seen, the only people who've really benefited from the whole scheme are people who were too poor to afford health insurance to begin with and so were drawing Government benefits for health care anyway, and the insurance companies.

I don't know anyone who paid for their own insurance out of their own pocket, or was covered under a group health plan from work, who now has the same or better coverage for the same or a better price. Everyone I've talked to who works and/or pays for their own coverage has seen premiums and deductibles rise and services curtailed.

This, along with the government intrusion into and control over the lives of those subsidized, as well as the fact that no one read the entire bill before it became law make me think the whole thing is a boondoggle.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wyf View Post
and obviously the perception here is that he's(Obama) charismatic, eloquent and everything bush wasn't. And to us his healthcare policies seemed just common sense. Why should people bankrupt themselves just to get medical treatment?
Public polling was heavily against the "Affordable Care Act", and at least 80% of the people thought that their coverage was adequate or better. And only 5-10% probably identified as being in need. So to take care of a decided minority, FedGov turned everything upside down.

The legislation did nothing to address real issues in the health care industry, from frivolous law suits to impediments bringing drugs and devices to the medical market.

It didn't address the limited competition within each state. Each state before and after has a chosen pool of insurers, people not in that states pool can not offer health insurance. So competition in pricing is very limited.

There are other aspects that Prodigal mentioned. It's a messed up system. Because that is Obama's "signature legislation" the old decrepit peanut farmer from Plains Georgia is doing cartwheels because he is no longer viewed as the most incompetent president in modern history.
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Old 04-08-2016, 01:49 AM
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Frivolous lawsuits etc... how much of this didn't get addressed because of the money and power behind the drug and insurance companies? How much will any real reform be stymied by self interest?
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
Bush II was seen as a dope. He was actually pretty smart. And knew how to build an effective team. I don't admire the direction the nation started to take under Bush II, but he's not the "ignorant cowboy" he's thought to be.

Obama is a dope, or a puppet, and has had some reckless policies.


I'm not being political when I say this... Really I'm not. But... If you believe W. was even close to as smart as Obama, you are mistaken. Just because you don't agree with someone's policies doesn't make them dumb.
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wyf View Post
Frivolous lawsuits etc... how much of this didn't get addressed because of the money and power behind the drug and insurance companies? How much will any real reform be stymied by self interest?
Tort reform wasn't fought (to my knowledge) by the insurance or drug companies - actually, if you think about it drug companies would benefit from tort reform. There are several prominent Democrat politicians (Probably Republican, too) that got rich as suing for frivolous malpractice suits . John Edwards comes to mind first.

And BrianP - you may be mistaking sociopathic ruthlessness for smarts. He's as stupid sounding as Bush II when off teleprompter.
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