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Thread: Can there ever be too much democracy

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Meh, I don't believe in democracy on a macro level.
    Way to much disinformation and ignorance for it to work correctly.

    I'm going with Blackdog on this, that it works for small countries and areas with small populations but after that it really starts to break down.
    Where's the killer example of direct democracy failing a large state though? It simply hasn't been tested on a large scale yet.

    "Democracy" of sorts has been enforced on some countries like Russia and Indonesia when democracy was a precondition of economic aid - and failed.

    I forgot to add - the history lesson forgot to add that though Switzerland allowed women the vote in 1959, the US only allowed white women the vote in the 1920s and had not even completed it's own civil rights movement till 5 years AFTER Switzerland rolled out the vote to ALL adult citizens.

    I do think direct and other forms of citizen engagement greater than we have now can work but it requires both participation and structure to enable it to work.

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Where's the killer example of direct democracy failing a large state though? It simply hasn't been tested on a large scale yet.

    "Democracy" of sorts has been enforced on some countries like Russia and Indonesia when democracy was a precondition of economic aid - and failed.

    I forgot to add - the history lesson forgot to add that though Switzerland allowed women the vote in 1959, the US only allowed white women the vote in the 1920s and had not even completed it's own civil rights movement till 5 years AFTER Switzerland rolled out the vote to ALL adult citizens.

    I do think direct and other forms of citizen engagement greater than we have now can work but it requires both participation and structure to enable it to work.
    Heinlein pointed it out in my first response to this thread.
    Wisdom is not additive.

    Democracy failed in ancient Greece, it has failed in the Americas, in Europe, including many other places.
    It's a potential dictators wet dream to have a popular democracy.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    You could add the same argument about any political "ism" - communism / capitalism etc etc but the fundamental question reverts back (and I'm not American so I'm also not thinking that the post is solely concerned with the US and its' Republican version of public representation or wishing to propose a change to the US constitution) to whether any people - be it 500 or 500 million can have too much democracy. My answer would be "depends" - as in depends on how it is implemented.
    That is not true. After the people realize they can vote them selfs money, it's over, period. No way around this simple fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    If all 500 million had to agree (or a majority of those 500 million) a policy to ensure it works then no, there is such a thing as too much democracy but if it were organised along similar lines to the cantons in Switzerland and the vote affected regions - it could work.
    It is hard enough to get a few hundred people to agree on anything. Let alone thousands.

    No it can't on a large scale because eventually someone with power will disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Ancient Greece also exhibited direct democracy but that too was broken down into decisions made in the different Greek Kingdoms. (And before Mr Guerilla says the Greeks never allowed women or slaves to vote....) and the argument could have been made that direct democracy worked for the 1million or so population of Greece but could never apply to a population of 8 million or so..
    It has never in history worked on a large scale. It can't because of reasons I have stated.
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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Pure or complete democracy will require a much high level of education and intelligence of the people.
    As of today, we are no-where close.
    Witness the tea bag rallies.
    Or our Congress.
    And we have just 40% of the people voting.
    Now I know why democracy failed in Greece, and why dictatorships flourish.

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    -- Democracy failed in ancient Greece, it has failed in the Americas, in Europe, including many other places.
    It's a potential dictators wet dream to have a popular democracy.
    How did direct democracy "fail" in Greece?
    Or more reasonably - do you want a history lesson on why Greece was over-run and thus became a subjugate nation?

    As to your wet dream example - have you never heard of the Greek reverse election process called "Ostracism?" (now you know where the word comes from) in that Greek Citizens could vote to exile a politician or leader for a period of 10 years.

    This was how they prevented civil war and corruption - and the threat worked on the politicians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    That is not true. After the people realize they can vote them selfs money, it's over, period. No way around this simple fact.
    It's not a simple fact - read up on Ostracism as a Greek voting process and procedure. Might be useful to introduce it to some UK politicians..

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    -- It is hard enough to get a few hundred people to agree on anything. Let alone thousands.
    And do you know how long it was a success in Greece before the country was overrun and became a small part of the Roman Empire?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    -- No it can't on a large scale because eventually someone with power will disagree.
    Power to the people
    One distinctively Athenian democratic practice that aroused the special ire of the system's critics was the practice of ostracism - from the Greek word for potsherd. In this reverse election to decide which leading politician should be exiled for ten years, voters scratched or painted the name of their preferred candidate on a piece of broken pottery. At least 6,000 citizens had to 'vote' for an ostracism to be valid, and all the biggest political fish risked being fried in this ceremonious way. For almost 100 years ostracism fulfilled its function of aborting serious civil unrest or even civil war. At the end of the fifth century it was replaced by a legal procedure administered by the jurors of the people's courts. Power to the people, all the people, especially the poor majority, remained the guiding principle of Athenian democracy

    About the author
    Paul Cartledge is Professor of Greek History at the University of Cambridge.



    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    -- It has never in history worked on a large scale. It can't because of reasons I have stated.
    Direct Democracy first appeared in Switzerland in 1290... where it has dissappeared around the world is where/were (I can never remember which is correct) more powerful neighbours or conquerors over-ran a nation. I'm afraid unless you have an actual example of the failing of a system like direct democracy in a nation - due to the nature of direct democracy, I can not accept your argument.

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Yeah. People don't know what's best for others.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    How did direct democracy "fail" in Greece?
    Or more reasonably - do you want a history lesson on why Greece was over-run and thus became a subjugate nation?

    As to your wet dream example - have you never heard of the Greek reverse election process called "Ostracism?" (now you know where the word comes from) in that Greek Citizens could vote to exile a politician or leader for a period of 10 years.
    I understand but remember the trial and death of Socrates.
    Rampant populists and democracy condemned him to death for essentially nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    This was how they prevented civil war and corruption - and the threat worked on the politicians.
    The average lifespan for a democracy is about 200 years, with representative democracies we'll get a bit more time.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    I understand but remember the trial and death of Socrates.
    Rampant populists and democracy condemned him to death for essentially nothing.
    This was pretty symptomatic of the era - I don't think this qualifies as a failure of direct democracy. Some historians argue that Socrates was favorable to the Spartans who had just conquered the Athenian state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    -- The average lifespan for a democracy is about 200 years, with representative democracies we'll get a bit more time.
    No hard examples yet of a direct democracy failing because of the nature of direct democracy though.

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    It's a shame but many educators still teach the students that we are a democracy. Not true. We are a republic.

    But then the Soviets used to call themselves a republic and nothing could have been further from the truth.

    A lot of condominiums have associations that work like a true democracy where the members vote but the problem is, is that they spend most of their time fighting over trivial matters and often wind up in court.

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    Re: Can there ever be too much democracy

    Too much democracy??

    Yes, it's called the California Ballot Initiative System...

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