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Old 03-17-2004, 10:06 PM   #41
JediLiberator
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I think American democracy is dying. Democracy itself is an idea. It can't die unless it is forgotten. In the end I think America, in its attempts to create a kind of "invisible empire" based on capatalist values, is going down the tubes. The weakness of our democracy is very simple. Never in the original constitution was any real thought given to how leaders were chosen. Now we see elections powered by the money of special interests and side line groups suberseeding the will of the people because no thought was given to how our leaders would be chosen. The next step of implemented democracy will HAVE to give serious consideration on what criteria its leaders will have to fill. In the end all governments are trying to put political power in the hands of those who will use it well for the greater good. We just need a better means of seperating those kinds of good leaders from power mongers.


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Old 03-19-2004, 06:50 AM   #42
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Originally posted by The_One
So, please don't just say "Communism doesn't work" when we haven't even seen a true Communist system, or given one a chance to work.
I don't buy the 'we've never seen a true Communist state' crap. The Middle-East islamists say the same about the Sharia. And I'm willing to bet that neo-nazi apologetics say the same about Nazism. Point is that that excuse can be used to justify any revolution as part of a world-wide experiment on a grand scale.

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We just need a better means of seperating those kinds of good leaders from power mongers.
How are you going to do that without sacrificing an essencial part of democracy: The people choose whomever they want. If the people vote for a stupid, power-mongering git, then that's their legitimate choice. I've yet to see a model that could sort the candidates a priori without taking on the trappings of a despotism.

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Old 03-19-2004, 03:30 PM   #43
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Im sorry. I should have clarified something I said earlier. When I said the point of government was to give power to people who was using it wisely I meant voting power as well as holding office. The idea of giving everyone voting power has already proven itself suspect. If you want to understand what I mean, go read Robert Heinlein's book Starship troopers. He points out the big flaws in OUR version of democracy.


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Old 03-20-2004, 05:27 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by JediLiberator
Im sorry. I should have clarified something I said earlier. When I said the point of government was to give power to people who was using it wisely I meant voting power as well as holding office. The idea of giving everyone voting power has already proven itself suspect.
If we don't give all American citizens the right to vote then democracy DOES die.

And StarShip troopers is not the way to base our democratic system. Only allowing people who serve in the military to vote is bullocks. I have absolutely nothing against people in the armed services and I do admire them, but the majority of them that I have met in real life are going to vote for Bush in the coming election.

That right there tells me that military men are no more fit to make decisions of leadership than the average American citizen.



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Old 03-21-2004, 12:47 AM   #45
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Not what I trying to get across Et warrior. The whole point is to give power to people who will use it wisely. The whole idea heinlein was trying to express is that giving everyone franchise or full political power DOES NOT make them more responsible citizens. Besides, in starship troopers people only got voting rights and the right to run for public office AFTER they leave the service. They had NO political rights while serving and not all those people were military. So of them were just plain government workers. The whole reason they got power was because their experiences taught them to look at things from the perspective of the good of the many over the good of the one. Also, the people who didn't have voting rights still had free speech, freedom of the press, etc. The simple harsh reality is that what WE concieve of as democracy may take a new shape to serve the needs of future generations. A shape which we may not agree with. That's the way life works. Nothing stays the same.


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Old 03-21-2004, 12:30 PM   #46
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Originally posted by JediLiberator
The whole point is to give power to people who will use it wisely.
But what criteria are you going to employ in your selection? If you go to Iran, then the criterium is "Islamist Zealot". If you look at the neoconservative American Right, then the criterium would probably be "Christian Zealot". And I'll not even go into what it would be in Israel.

What about hippies? Are they responsible citizens? I think not. Priests? Hardly. But I'm pretty sure that most people here disagree with me on at least one of the above.

According to most parts of the world, Bush is harmful to society. According to most parts of the world, he's a blithering idiot as well. Does that mean that we have the right to exclude him from running for office? I don't think so. Why not? Because according to most people in the Bible Belt, Kerry is a menace to America. If we were to exclude dubya from running for Prez, then why shouldn't the Deep South have the right to veto Kerry's campaign? From what authority would such decisions be derived? How would you justify your version of democracy if the majority of the people weren't allowed to vote?

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Old 03-21-2004, 03:35 PM   #47
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There's very simple way of selecting people for the right to vote. Anyone willing to join government service, willing to suffer, risk their lives, for minimal pay I might add, and act for the good of a nation rather than their own hides deserves the right to vote. Their religion and political views don't enter into it. The point is to make voting hard to reach because I guarantee you, very few people who don't deserve power are willing to risk their hides to get it. Could you imagine G W in an actual combat unit as a bid to earn his presidency? I don't. And even if he did go through such a trek, he's still gotta deal with constituents who understand military matter, have the agression to question authority, and enough brains not to commit their fellow man to a conflict which earns more suffering than value. Also, if you look at how difficult training is for such units, you'd realize anybody who wasn't fully prepared to make a serious commitment to doing their duty to their country ain't gonna cut it.


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Old 03-21-2004, 04:14 PM   #48
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I'm sorry, but I've known FAR too many idiots who've decided that since they're too stupid for college they're going to join the armed services, and when they got out they were STILL morons.

Again, this in no way implies all people who serve are stupid, but you see my point. Serving in the military or even for the government by no means makes you any more qualified to vote than the average 18 year old American citizen.

Just because I dont choose to serve in the military because I find killing morally unacceptable does NOT mean I am unable to make a reasonable and intelligent decision on who I will vote for.



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Old 03-21-2004, 04:24 PM   #49
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Poppycock.

Voting is the right of all citizens regardless of their "civil service." This is the way it should be and was the clear intent of the Founding Fathers, though the definition of "citizenship" has changed over the course of 200 years (some would say to the expectations and hopes of many FF).

A system of excluding those that choose not to serve their country amounts to a form of tyranny. Moreover, it works under the a priori notion that "civil service" is exculsive of any duties that are not in direct employ of the government. Our society is such that all members (even non-citizens) serve the nation in some capacity: business owners, cashiers, ditch diggers, volunteers at soup kitchens, etc.

Excluding a typology of citizenship would ensure that "that type" doesn't vote. But perhaps these are the very voices that need be heard.

Dissent is a concept that this nation was built upon and is a patriotic ideal. The dissenters deserve as much right to vote as the hardline, civil servants...

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Also, if you look at how difficult training is for such units, you'd realize anybody who wasn't fully prepared to make a serious commitment to doing their duty to their country ain't gonna cut it.
More baloney. I retired from the military and can assure you that all ratios of intellect are well represented. The military is a predictive cross-section of normal society. What changes is the culture (jargon, norms of behavior, etc.) and the job skills.

A military serviceman is no more or less qualified to vote than the person flipping burgers at your local Wendy's (assuming the same age-grade).

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Anyone willing to join government service, willing to suffer, risk their lives, for minimal pay I might add, and act for the good of a nation rather than their own hides deserves the right to vote.
Of course they do. As does anyone willing to look for a job in today's job market, go to college and obtain an education, fix the cars as a mechanic in a garage, pull the fries out of the oil as soon as the timer goes off, or grow food on a farm to feed the nation, or .....


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Old 03-21-2004, 06:49 PM   #50
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Ya know what the most funny thing about this whole thread is? In arguing against my points you guys have proven just how alive democracy is.


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Old 03-22-2004, 05:15 AM   #51
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Agreed. Democracy is far from dead.


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Old 03-22-2004, 03:33 PM   #52
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Originally posted by JediLiberator
Ya know what the most funny thing about this whole thread is? In arguing against my points you guys have proven just how alive democracy is.
Freedom of speech and democracy are two very different things.



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