View Poll Results: Favorite/best form of government?

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  • Democracy/republic

    31 67.39%
  • Monarchy (constitutional/absolute)

    2 4.35%
  • Theocracy

    2 4.35%
  • Anarchy

    7 15.22%
  • Other (explain in post)

    4 8.70%
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Thread: Favorite/best form of government?

  1. #91
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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    I'd phrase it somewhat differently, I'd say such a society lives only to the extent that neighboring societies, or, more accurately, the cadre of elites that control them, don't feel threatened by it, or desire it's resources, and, then, initiate a fit of mass homicide.
    Yeah, but it isn't the point that such societies are bad, or "corrosive," etc. The point is that they do exist. They aren't going to go away.

    This is, ultimately, an argument agains nation-states, because it highlights the corrosive effect of nationalism, and it's fundamental incompatibility with civilization.
    You say such aspects are fundamentally incompatable with civilization; in fact, they arose alongside "civilization." They are a part of civilization -- civilization ain't always pretty -- at least not all aspects of it. But to go into any further depth here, we'd have to agree on a definition of "civilization" first.

    It divides people, on a completely arbitrary and irrational basis, into opposing camps.
    People do that regardless. That is just what people tend to do. Arbitrary divisions were extant in human societies long before the development of nation-states, or anything resembling them.

    Those in the other camps, those outside the nation-state are, at best; naughty children, at worst; vermin to be exterminated. As long as this primitive tribalism holds sway, human progress is significantly limited.
    Your idealism allows you to believe, for some reason, that all mankind can transcend such behavior. My realism prevents me from holding such a belief -- if it has never happened before, where exactly are you drawing your belief from?

    It very well might be impossible for a large, more-or-less,... 'fully realized', shall we say, Anarchist society to coeexist alongside other nation-states. This is another point of divergence from Marxism, I don't make any definitive assertion, nor do I claim to be able to predict the future. I think it depends on the circumstances. At this time, however, one simply cannot, definitively, say.
    ...and the circumstances are, and always have been, heavily against you in this matter. I'm not looking for a definitive prediction of the future, only a realistic view of mankind. Looking to the past is a good way of understanding man and his development, and looking to the past only makes the existence of such an anarchic society seem more of an impossibility.

    In the interim, I have suggested following the basic principles; identifying and dismantling institutions of oppression and exploitation, etc., etc.
    Well, I think that's certainly a nice suggestion, just not a realistic one. Why do you think it is possible to do such things? What are you going off of here? Certainly not history... We've already discussed how such an anarchic society was obliterated in the past.


    I think it's a very accurate characterization.
    You call it "primitive tribalism." Why? If we look at history, it is the default state. How is it, specifically, that you believe all of mankind can transcend this "primitive tribalism?" Something has to change to cause mankind to abandon this primitive tribalism... what?

    On a serious note, my late grandfather once said to me that there are probably a great many people, who would never describe themselves as 'Anarchists', while not being particularly ideological, or approaching it in a systemic way, believe very much the same as I do. I think that's true.
    On an individual basis, probably. But groups of people tend to create societies that diverge from the interest of the individual man.

    Again; I don't claim to have any special knowledge, or powers of precognition.
    Then where are you coming up with your belief that mankind can transcend all these issues we're discussing? As I mentioned, you certainly can't be looking to the past.

    Before nation-states, there were kingdoms, and empires, of which the modern nation-state is a descendent. Before that, there were small, loosely organized tribes.

    That something has not happened is not, by itself, necessarily, proof that it cannot happen. Also, this argument is a double-edged sword.
    You'll need to elaborate. Why is this so, in your view? If you're hoping to base your argument in historical reality, it is clear, barring any new information, that people cannot transcend beyond, etc.


    I don't find this cynical, myopic view of human nature remotely compelling.
    Why, exactly? That's what all previous history and human experience has presented us with. Where do you see a change happening to allow any different?

    At the outset, we should be suspicious of it because it is the gospel of authoritarians everywhere, as it justifies their existence, as well as the monolithic institutions they control.
    I have no problem with being suspicious of such things. I am myself. I am also suspicious, however, of the claim that status, authoritarian tendencies, etc, can be completely suppressed or neutralized in mankind. Why wouldn't I be, there is no reason to think otherwise -- we know for a fact what people in collectives are capable of, and it isn't anything that can be described as a lasting peace.

    That, alone, is reason for skepticism. Perhaps, more importantly, however, are the mountains of evidence to the contrary. This contention flies in the face of reality as you and I experience it. Not to mention all of the evidence from evolutionary psychology, etc.
    Please provide this evidence. The way I see it, all the evidence flies in the face of your view. Overwhelmingly so.

    Unfortunately, the worst representatives of humankind have oftentimes (not entirely surprisingly) have been the clerics, politicians, and generals.
    Sure. So why do you believe that humankind can be rid of clerics, politicians, and generals? They have always eventually arisen in every society that allows for any degree of labor specialization. Societies lacking them were basically non-sedentary hunter-gatherer types, or communities being protected by, or destroyed by, societies that do have them.
    Last edited by other; 07-19-11 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #92
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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    The best form of government is the Free Republic of the Free Citizens. All Democracies are gradually transformed to the politically correct dictatorships of vitriolic minorities and many of those will became Caliphates or States of the old people.
    Rom 6:23:For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  3. #93
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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    Yeah, but it isn't the point that such societies are bad, or "corrosive," etc. The point is that they do exist. They aren't going to go away.
    They could, or they could not. It isn't preordained. These are artificial institutions created and sustained by human beings. They can be changed, modified, or completely dismantled.

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    You say such aspects are fundamentally incompatable with civilization; in fact, they arose alongside "civilization." They are a part of civilization -- civilization ain't always pretty -- at least not all aspects of it. But to go into any further depth here, we'd have to agree on a definition of "civilization" first.
    Civilization is really more of a process. (So is Anarchism, incidentally.) I'm sure you're familiar with Ghandi's commentary on Western civilization; 'sounds like a good idea.' I wouldn't say we've gotten there, yet, but we're groping towards it. The process of civilization, or the progress towards civilization, involves technological and scientific advancement, pluralism, democracy, diplomacy, etc. Religion, on the whole, is generally speaking, fundamentally antithetical to this process. It is divisive, authoritarian, irrational, etc. Nation-States (Which should be distinguished from the broader 'government', which is really any model of social organization.) are similarly corrosive to society. Part of the philosophical basis of the Nation-State is that it's borders are lines of magical power, that seperate human beings into opposing teams. Every Nation-State asserts it's people are uniquely benevolent, virtuous, etc., and that theyir interests are fundamentally different from, and in conflict with, the interests of other peoples. Even something as large and complex as the Cold War was essentially a scaled-up version of tribal warfare. As long as humans are divided into competing tribes like this, again, there is going to be a cap on human progress. There's really no possibility of a thriving, technologically advanced, interplanetary civilization where these forces still hold sway. Ultimately, we will have to shrug off the vestiges of the dark ages, and step forward into the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    People do that regardless. That is just what people tend to do. Arbitrary divisions were extant in human societies long before the development of nation-states, or anything resembling them.
    There are different kinds of divisions. Every human being is different from every other human being on earth. However, the kind of tribalism or factionalism that manifests in mass violence tend to be very particular, and arise in particular ways.
    Your idealism allows you to believe, for some reason, that all mankind can transcend such behavior. My realism prevents me from holding such a belief -- if it has never happened before, where exactly are you drawing your belief from?
    You're essentially saying the same thing three different ways. This is the 'Human Nature' argument against Anarchism, which tends to be one of the most common. This is a big thorny issue, so I'm just going to adress it in the simplest and broadest terms, for these purposes. First, does such a thing as human nature exist? The theory that we come into this world as a tabula rasa seems to be fairly clearly debunked. We definitely come into this world pre-loaded with some rudimentary software. Aggression, and territoriality are, no doubt, wired into us, but equally so is compassion, creativity, etc. Neurology and evolutionary biology are giving us more and more evidence that humans indeed are endowed with an innate moral sense. Clearly, there is a substantial range of human existence; from the sublime to the thoroughly debased, from the Albert Einstein's and the Martin Luther King's to the Ted Bundy's, and the Osama bin Laden's. The question is what model of social organization is most ideal to complement and foster those attributes that are most beneficial for the individual, and for society at large. Clearly, just as there is a significant difference between the range of possibilities in terms of individuals, we can look at the cumulative effects of different models on the macro scale. We can look at Pinochet's Chile, or Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, and contrast that with modern day Sweden, or Canada. In general, in the west, as we have become increasingly secular, democratic, technologically advanced, etc., violence, as a part of everyday life, has, generally, plummeted precipitously. That isn't to say we don't live with horrific violence, or that it can't be drastically reduced further, I'm just speaking in comparison with preindustrial existence. In a nutshell, I would argue that it is precisely the monolithic social institutions, and the belief systems propogated to justify their existence, that create the majority of the ills that afflict modern society.
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  4. #94
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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    They could, or they could not. It isn't preordained. These are artificial institutions created and sustained by human beings. They can be changed, modified, or completely dismantled.
    How exactly, on a large enough scale to make any single anarchist collective viable on its own, and not at the behest of a state?

    Civilization is really more of a process. (So is Anarchism, incidentally.) I'm sure you're familiar with Ghandi's commentary on Western civilization; 'sounds like a good idea.' I wouldn't say we've gotten there, yet, but we're groping towards it. The process of civilization, or the progress towards civilization, involves technological and scientific advancement, pluralism, democracy, diplomacy, etc. Religion, on the whole, is generally speaking, fundamentally antithetical to this process. It is divisive, authoritarian, irrational, etc. Nation-States (Which should be distinguished from the broader 'government', which is really any model of social organization.) are similarly corrosive to society. Part of the philosophical basis of the Nation-State is that it's borders are lines of magical power, that seperate human beings into opposing teams. Every Nation-State asserts it's people are uniquely benevolent, virtuous, etc., and that theyir interests are fundamentally different from, and in conflict with, the interests of other peoples. Even something as large and complex as the Cold War was essentially a scaled-up version of tribal warfare. As long as humans are divided into competing tribes like this, again, there is going to be a cap on human progress. There's really no possibility of a thriving, technologically advanced, interplanetary civilization where these forces still hold sway. Ultimately, we will have to shrug off the vestiges of the dark ages, and step forward into the future.

    You're essentially saying the same thing three different ways. This is the 'Human Nature' argument against Anarchism, which tends to be one of the most common. This is a big thorny issue, so I'm just going to adress it in the simplest and broadest terms, for these purposes. First, does such a thing as human nature exist? The theory that we come into this world as a tabula rasa seems to be fairly clearly debunked. We definitely come into this world pre-loaded with some rudimentary software. Aggression, and territoriality are, no doubt, wired into us, but equally so is compassion, creativity, etc. Neurology and evolutionary biology are giving us more and more evidence that humans indeed are endowed with an innate moral sense. Clearly, there is a substantial range of human existence; from the sublime to the thoroughly debased, from the Albert Einstein's and the Martin Luther King's to the Ted Bundy's, and the Osama bin Laden's. The question is what model of social organization is most ideal to complement and foster those attributes that are most beneficial for the individual, and for society at large. Clearly, just as there is a significant difference between the range of possibilities in terms of individuals, we can look at the cumulative effects of different models on the macro scale. We can look at Pinochet's Chile, or Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, and contrast that with modern day Sweden, or Canada. In general, in the west, as we have become increasingly secular, democratic, technologically advanced, etc., violence, as a part of everyday life, has, generally, plummeted precipitously. That isn't to say we don't live with horrific violence, or that it can't be drastically reduced further, I'm just speaking in comparison with preindustrial existence. In a nutshell, I would argue that it is precisely the monolithic social institutions, and the belief systems propogated to justify their existence, that create the majority of the ills that afflict modern society.
    Ok, so how exactly is it going to happen? How is "civilization" going to progress?

    I think I can see what your model has in common with marxism in terms of a progressive outlook, and an idealist perspective, but I can't say for sure because you haven't yet gone into the actual mechanics of how the progress, or the transcendence would take place yet. What has to happen, in your view, for mankind to move beyond this state of tribalism/statism?

    As you say, there is "there is a substantial range of human existence; from the sublime to the thoroughly debased," and I agree... I said as much a few posts ago. Simply put, however, it is naive to hold the view that mankind can progress toward the "positive" end of that spectrum, when even with all of our "increasingly secular, democratic, technologically advanced" societies we are just as warlike, if not arguably more warlike. Compare the scale of human tragedy and death of the 20th century alone, perpetrated by these so-called "advanced" civilizations to preindustrial wars, and you will find that we haven't progressed as much as you think -- going by that standard alone, in fact, we've regressed.

    And if you want to chalk up that to the issues created by nation-states, I have to ask: How far did man progress, in terms of civilization without them? Do you believe the industrial revolution have happened without them? The development of state-level societies (or other "mechanism of opression") and technological progress, have gone hand-in-hand in many respects. That's part of the reason our wars have become so deadly and large-scale. And I could also just as easily say that, on a day to day basis, the development of nation-states has led to a reduction of horrific violence on an everyday basis.. Although I wouldn't personally say that that corellation is necessarily true, it is similar to the argument you're making.
    Last edited by other; 07-20-11 at 02:14 AM.

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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    The most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictatorship.
    Perhaps .. but how is that benevolence insured?

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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Benevolent dictatorship or a council of equal ideologies, each with veto power.
    Please elaborate .. how would benevolence be insured? or how would the council be decided?

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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicAdventurer View Post
    Perhaps .. but how is that benevolence insured?
    It can't be. Basically, it's just luck of the draw. Sometimes you end up with Caesar, sometimes you end up with Nero.
    Last edited by atrasicarius; 07-20-11 at 03:20 AM.
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  8. #98
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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    How exactly, on a large enough scale to make any single anarchist collective viable on its own, and not at the behest of a state?
    I'm not sure I understand the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    Ok, so how exactly is it going to happen? How is "civilization" going to progress?
    I think I can see what your model has in common with marxism in terms of a progressive outlook, and an idealist perspective,

    If you mean in the sense of being concerned with how things should be, I'd say that's fair. However, I don't think I'm really being unrealistic, especially because I really haven't made any predictions about the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    but I can't say for sure because you haven't yet gone into the actual mechanics of how the progress, or the transcendence would take place yet. What has to happen, in your view, for mankind to move beyond this state of tribalism/statism?
    Through a myriad of means, dependent on the circumstances. The circumstances in the United States are different from those in Iran. The most important, fundamental change will have to be initiatied at a grassroots level, from the bottom-up.

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    As you say, there is "there is a substantial range of human existence; from the sublime to the thoroughly debased," and I agree... I said as much a few posts ago. Simply put, however, it is naive to hold the view that mankind can progress toward the "positive" end of that spectrum, when even with all of our "increasingly secular, democratic, technologically advanced" societies we are just as warlike, if not arguably more warlike. Compare the scale of human tragedy and death of the 20th century alone, perpetrated by these so-called "advanced" civilizations to preindustrial wars, and you will find that we haven't progressed as much as you think -- going by that standard alone, in fact, we've regressed.
    This is a common misconception. Harvard professor Steven Pinker has done a very thorough study thoroughly debunking this bit of 'common wisdom', showing that violence, as a part of everyday life, has declined, drastically. Again; this isn't to say it can't be greatly reduced, just that it's much better than it was. Here's a presentation at TED;
    ‪Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence‬‏ - YouTube

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    And if you want to chalk up that to the issues created by nation-states, I have to ask: How far did man progress, in terms of civilization without them? Do you believe the industrial revolution have happened without them? The development of state-level societies (or other "mechanism of opression") and technological progress, have gone hand-in-hand in many respects.
    I think that's a case of 'post hoc ergo propter hoc. First of all, for clarity's sake, I think it's important, here, to define what I mean by the term; 'Nation-State.' The characteristics of a Nation-State are thus; it is a clearly defined territory, with it's own economy, and a strong, centralized government, ranging from some form of Republicanism to an autocratic police state, it has it's own culture, fetishizes objects and institutions, for example the military, national myths, etc. Now, it's entirely conceivable that a highly sophisticated, modern society could function without at least many, if not most, of these features. However, I will say that modern, Western Constitutional Republics/Constitutional Marchies/Social Democracies are clearly an improvement, in a number of respects, from the empires that preceded them.


    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    That's part of the reason our wars have become so deadly and large-scale.
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    And I could also just as easily say that, on a day to day basis, the development of nation-states has led to a reduction of horrific violence on an everyday basis..
    Although I wouldn't personally say that that corellation is necessarily true, it is similar to the argument you're making.
    Violence has been substantially reduced, however, much of the violence we see, virtually all of the large-scale violence we see is very directly, and very clearly attributable to these institutions, be they Nation-States, religion, or exploitive economic institutions.
    Last edited by NGNM85; 07-20-11 at 03:46 AM.
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  9. #99
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    Re: Favorite/best form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    I'm not sure I understand the question.
    It's the same I've been asking, I'll detail it below...

    If you mean in the sense of being concerned with how things should be, I'd say that's fair. However, I don't think I'm really being unrealistic, especially because I really haven't made any predictions about the future.
    I'm not saying you did, but you aren't detailing how warfare and the tendency to build states and/or coersive systems can be overcome either.

    How do you think that could happen -- Do you think it will happen, for instance, on its own (as with marx's idea of worldwide revolution), or will it have to be somehow implemented?

    Through a myriad of means, dependent on the circumstances. The circumstances in the United States are different from those in Iran. The most important, fundamental change will have to be initiatied at a grassroots level, from the bottom-up.
    What kind of fundamental change?

    This is a common misconception. Harvard professor Steven Pinker has done a very thorough study thoroughly debunking this bit of 'common wisdom', showing that violence, as a part of everyday life, has declined, drastically. Again; this isn't to say it can't be greatly reduced, just that it's much better than it was. Here's a presentation at TED;
    ‪Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence‬‏ - YouTube
    That is interesting, but I see a few problems with his argument, and its support for yours.

    1) He gives a direct comparison of violent male death in hunter-gatherer societies to the US & Europe of the twentieth century... First, those h-g societies don't necessarily correspond to all h-g societies. Many are more peaceful than others, for many reasons such as environment, etc. It would have been much more convincing to see a percentage aggregated from many more h-g societies.

    But even if I concede this, because I suspect the percentage would probably still be a little higher for h-g societies as a whole because of extremely low population densities, how does this help your argument? It shows that we have become more peaceful as we have developed toward more organized governments and states, not the other way around.

    2) He glosses over a lot of known history and admits he doesn't have the statistics. For the European middle ages for instance -- he talks about punishment/violence, I'll go with him there, but as far as actual medieval warfare went, it was actually very small scale, and he doesn't give any stats. In other words, he hardly talks about pre-industrial wars at all, and only really gives some anecdotes from the bible. He doesn't talk about the mechanisms of peace that did develop during the middle ages, such as the implementation of the King's Peace, or the culture of ransom and tournaments.

    Fact is, as he says, we don't really have much quantitative data for much of history -- this kind of undermines his whole presentation. We can't be sure of levels of violence, statistically, in the past. All we can really say for sure is that we do know that it existed then and still exists now...

    3) He notes that there's a hinge-point in the 16th century... Well, note that this corresponds pretty well to the rise of powerful the european nation-states. An argument could easily be made, and he even mentions it while referencing Hobbes and others, that the movement toward the establishment of more powerful nation-states has made things more pleasant.

    Now, it's entirely conceivable that a highly sophisticated, modern society could function without at least many, if not most, of these features.
    ...But not as long as there are other societies around that retain these features. We're going back toward the example of the Spanish Revolution here. Yes, they built a society close to your ideal, (I suppose), that lasted a few years, but they were a society that couldn't compete with the bigger nation-states when those powers came to interfere. We don't even know what would have happened if they'd have been left alone -- how would they react to a major crisis or develop over time? The answer is: who knows? they were not able to survive against an outside power. It was tried, and it failed.

    Violence has been substantially reduced, however, much of the violence we see, virtually all of the large-scale violence we see is very directly, and very clearly attributable to these institutions, be they Nation-States, religion, or exploitive economic institutions.
    Absolutely. But my point is that an arnarchist collective cannot prevent a state-power from perpetrating such atrocity. Only another state power, or several, have been able to intervene to stop them. (WWII as an example). Nation-states are the double edged-sword... They do commit atrocity and oppress people (that's why advocate for very limited government), but they also function to prevent atrocities, enforce the law, and protect societies from foreign threat. That's the meaning of the phrase "government is a necessary evil."
    Last edited by other; 07-20-11 at 05:12 AM.

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