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Old 01-13-2004, 04:29 PM   #1
The_One
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Arrow Is democracy dying?

Democracy. That system of government we've all come to love. But, is it on its way out?

It occured to me in the wake of events over the last year or so, that democracy may be dying, or even dead. Indeed, when you start to contemplate the idea further, there is little democracy left - and it's surprisingly easy to argue a case supporting the claim that the ethos is dead.

Literally, by Greek definition democracy means "people power". To be fair, only the Greeks ever implemented a system of democracy that came right out of that definition. A system of direct democracy has never been seen in any liberal democracy of modern times. Which leads me on to my next pondering...

We all (well, most of the members here) live in representative democracies - whereby you elect politicians into office to represent your views in a legislature, and take decisions on your behalf. But, ask yourself this: if those decisions contradict what the mass of the electorate think, is that at all democratic? Should that be the nature of representative democracy? I think not. This has been exemplified over the last year more than ever - in particular the UK, with a government using its mandate to justify the implementation of highly controversial policies, opposed by large numbers of people.

Then, you need only look a little deeper into the UK's political system to find massive problems with the electoral system, which elects governments not supported by a majority of the electorate - well, no way near. On top of that, there are millions of wasted votes, with many people not represented at all, just because they happen to live in a "safe" area. Then, turn towards the other big "democratic model", the USA, and you'll find that the man who won the 2000 election is not actually the President. Bummer. And then, you have States constantly gerrymandering constituencies to work to their own political advantage. When you take a look at the turnout for elections around the Western, liberal world you'll find they are very low. Is this not a reflection on the fact that there is little the voters can do to change anything?

There are far more examples you can find that illustrate the death of democracy as we know it, but that leads me on to a very interesting question...

Did democracy ever exist, truthfully, in the first place?

I don't think it did. I see it in (and bear with me here) a similar light to Communism - with regard to the fact it has been tried, but never implemented successfully. It just so happened that millions of people died, for no reason, in the name of Communism, and therefore Communism was seen as a "bad thing". I see democracy as having been just as unsuccessful, and what we have now is bearly democratic. It's only now, after Iraq, that many people have died (for what many people see as no good reason) in the name of democracy, and "freedom". Now, "democracy" is getting a bad name, and people are just beginning to wake up to that fact.

What are your opinions on this?



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Old 01-14-2004, 12:54 AM   #2
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First of, I have to correct you about the Greeks. Only pure greek citizens were allowed to vote. If you lived in ancient greece and weren't greek, you didn't get to vote. You also have to understand that there was a lot less people in that time so much less votes to count and it was basically easier.

Democracy isn't dying. Democracy is...evolving. For the better or for the worse, that we'll see. Pure democracy is impossible to achieve.
Here in Canada, we have the same type of representative government as in the UK.
I kinda know what you mean when you're talking about our representatives not doing exactly what we would want them to do but when you voted for him and got him elected, you've given him/her your voice among your peers. He is supposed to represent you.
Of course, unless you're strangely lucky, your views on every subject won't be the same as him/her's.

The government disagreeing with the people is common in every democracy.

This bring us on the people voting for the laws themselves. How is this supposed to be done? It's totally impossible. People don't have the time to go vote for laws all the time. People will simply not care about it and let the crazy extremists vote for their laws.

Now saying that because the US went to war for "freedom" and "democracy" kills democracy is false. It destroys diplomacy but not democracy.

Believe me you don't want to live in a totalitarian country. Democracy is way better. Unless you're asian...(bad sarcasm, I'm asian myself don,t call me a racist).


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Old 01-14-2004, 01:01 AM   #3
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Likewise, I agree with you that democracy never really lived. I think it is impossible for humans to form a truly democratic government/country as long as humans do not change some core aspects of themselves. (ie. greed, desire to be better than others). I also realize that human beings have evolved to become this way (don't start a evolution/creation dispute on this one please, they are just my thoughts ), but until we evolve to rid ourselves of certain feelings/traits, I don't think we can form a true democracy.

Now, I can't comment on UK matters because I don't really know about them too well. But for here in the USA, I think that democracy goes through shifts, its ups and its downs. Sometimes there is more democracy (as in the recall of Governor Gray Davis in CA), and sometimes there is less (too many to list here). Some presidental/congressional terms bring more democracy to the respective people, some less, but the point is that there is never true democracy. It may get closer, but never reaches it, and has never reached it. Something like a limit (in math).
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:05 PM   #4
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Is democracy dying? Well...no, I don't think it is dying. When mass groups of people want different things, democracy is the only way to keep a general sanity over the group. Do some of the democratic national governments around the world need to be tweaked at the least or completely revamped? Yes, even the US could use some slapping. I think it was Rush Limbaugh (yeah, I know I know) that said a few years back that the US might be getting too big for a central government to run it. Could this hold any truth?

But, I think a big problem lies with the people that have the right to use the system, but don't. Example: I live in Ohio. Ohio is very boring and though many of the cities here have a lot of crime, the state lives in realitive peace. Tomorrow, Governor Taft will be signing a bill legalizing the right to carry concealed weapons. Now, since this got reported people have been up in arms (no pun intended) about this saying that it isn't needed blah blah blah... Point is that these same people knew that the state government was and has been talking about this issue for some time. Did those people write their senators or represenatives saying that this was a bad idea? Some did, I'm sure. But most didn't.

I think what it comes down too is the education of the people who can vote. I think that statistics for the US say that maybe some 30% of the people that can vote do so on a regular basis. That means only 1/3 of the people pick our leaders. I think that if even 50% of the people in the country voted, we might see some vast differences. Voting should be an issue pushed in the schools every where. Otherwise, democracy will die out from lack of use.
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Old 01-14-2004, 07:45 PM   #5
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Agreed. Education about politics and the right to vote are a must. Barely 60% here vote to elect the leaders. The rest of the 40% complains all the time about how this government sucks...hell go vote, THEN complain.

Here, I've only had one teacher who talked to me about how important it is to vote. The school system doesn't help it neither. They prefer to talk to you about math and other stuff that won't necessarily affect your life and avoid the important subjects.


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Old 01-16-2004, 08:57 PM   #6
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I must agree...education is the key to a sucessful democracy. This can especially be evidenced by the current political specrum in the United States. I have heard time and time again people crying out against President Bush in a kind of ignorant passion that bewilders me. After the recall of Gray Davis (I live in CA), I had a very short debate with a classmate over who "should" have been voted in as governor - A conservative, I voted for Tom McClintock, the conservative candidate. He voted for Cruz Bustamante. When I pressed him for a reason for his vote, I got little more than "Bustamante's better."

The same goes for the current presidential race. Time and time again I hear candidates running on the platform of, "I'm better than everybody else" and "Bush is evil, miserable failure, gang leader, etc," but I have yet to hear any candidate offer a positive vision for the United States...and yet people follow them.

And now to restrain myself in order to stay on topic...

The reason that so many candidates go against the views of the people who vote for them is because the people either do not vote, or they vote through ignorant passion. A democratic system depends on a sense of civic duty - for America, we have a duty to serve for jury duty, register for the draft, and to be educated on candidates and issues before voting. Civic duty is what maintains any democratic system. Democracy is "power to the people," but when the people do not maintain their government properly, it is the people's fault when the government falls apart.
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Old 01-18-2004, 08:42 PM   #7
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I don't agree here somewhere. I believe that there are few politicians-democrats who really think about people they represent or at least state it first priority. I mean that they think more about their salaries and their carrier, and it's a normal situation cause it happend to be the essence of democracy: selfishness.

Monarchy is understandable for their were no successful monarchies without some democratic implementations in it

Communism is about sharing everything you've got with others, your cloth, you wife perhaps and even freedom of will.

For me democracy is about freedom, individuality and that everything has to be payed for (you want it - you pay for it). As long as these things are maintaned, democracy won't die.
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Old 01-18-2004, 10:33 PM   #8
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Well freedom, individuality and pay-for-what-you-want can all be possible in a monarchy.

Communism, at its roots, is not such a bad idea for us poor guys. It turned out to be such a huge flop because the leaders are not noble in any way.

I have to remember people that democracy has once elected bad people too. Hitler was democratically elected. He just used the people's anger and hate to get elected. This kind of tampering with people's feelings can happen again in any democracy.
It's already starting in the US...

Democracy's core isn't selfishness..ok maybe it is a bit. Nevertheless, it does encourage people to cover themselves from others, living alone like hermits.


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Old 01-23-2004, 12:14 PM   #9
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i'm about 1/2 way through reading Stupid White Men and i have to say i'm thoroughly depressed about the whole thing. I'm not sure that democrasy is dying, i'm begining to think it is almost as much of an illusion as communism turned out to be. Whatever system you have in place it still ends up as a lot of people with power and influence protecting their power and influence and very little changing for anyone else.

i think i might just move to a tropical island somewhere...



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Old 01-23-2004, 05:10 PM   #10
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i'm about 1/2 way through reading Stupid White Men and i have to say i'm thoroughly depressed about the whole thing. I'm not sure that democrasy is dying, i'm begining to think it is almost as much of an illusion as communism turned out to be. Whatever system you have in place it still ends up as a lot of people with power and influence protecting their power and influence and very little changing for anyone else.

That's what you get for reading Michael Moore.

The continuation of democracy depends on the outlook and response of its people. The reason communism does not work is that it allows corrupt and power-hungry people to gain power without giving the people the chance to react and remove them from power.

In a democratic system, however, the people can, through their vote, change the system. How the system changes depends on the education and motives of the voters. If the voters are educated enough to recognize a candidate that is only running due to a lust for power, they will not vote that person into power. If a candidate does not show his true colors until after elected, the people can either vote to remove him from power, or not re-elect him.

The continuation of a democratic system also depends on the vision of the voters. Michael Moore and people like him are all about tearing down the establishment - he spends all of his time tearing down and rarely, if ever, builds people up. If this negative vision of the world is spread throughout the voting public, the people will see voting as useless, leaving the system to the vocal minority, who will vote into power whomever will give them the resources or legislation they want - the power-hungry individuals who will serve the special interest for votes.

On the other hand, if the people have a positive vision of how they can improve their nation and society, they will be motivated to enact that vision through their vote, thus moving the nation forward toward the proverbial Shining City on the Hill.

In short, don't read Michael Moore - there are so many better resources out there.
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Old 01-23-2004, 11:55 PM   #11
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It isn't Micheal Moore's fault or anything, he just expresses what we, educated individuals, sometimes feel about democracy.

The problem here is like said above, education. Even if people were aware of what they can do, they can still be easily manipulated by power hungry individuals who "are trying to improve things".

Sadly, democracy is a bit more difficult to manipulate but still doable.


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Old 01-24-2004, 01:20 AM   #12
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Hey, I have a question for all of ya.
First of all, technically, isn't the United States of America a mix of both worlds, democracy AND republic? In school, my teacher said that this was partially true, because we don't leave EVERYTHING up to the people. The government does a lot of work, too. So, WHAT IS IT exactly? I'm not saying this is true, I'm just asking.

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Old 01-24-2004, 10:46 AM   #13
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by rccar328

The continuation of democracy depends on the outlook and response of its people.

you are absolutly correct. the will of the people mataphorically can be conceived as the will of a single individual. if someone wants to achieve a thing they turn their will to it with a determination that wont cease until the goal is accomplished. democracy is not dying it is only becoming lethargic complacent weak willed it is losing its acuity and so on ad nauseum. alright here's the image of ideal. we are not a well educated populace on the whole for proof i turn to the recreational preoccupation that seems the be so proliferate these days that nietzches proclamation of the death of man seems to be coming to pass in that our collective perceptions of what is important are diminishing. the mad artist is even more of a ghoul today than he was 50 years ago. the desire for art and artists is being supplanted by more tangible pursuits like television and sports and other diverting distractions. and all of this ties into the topic being discussed here for if you do not know who you are by means of enhancing your own individuality how can you possibly know what will be good for the herd or er i mean the people. i'm sorry i was sidetracked and never did state the ideal which is so foriegn to this world that i am not sure i can express it adequetly, but it is a world in which every one truly wishes to live and contains the potency of something great, and is capable of expressing it through word form sound or image. a democracy in such a world would be volatile but it would lack 90% of the problems this one suffers.(i cant explain this here) if any of you are truly interested in this topic, and im sure most of you are you should look up a man named Leo Strauss. he is the name sake of the political movement that is called straussian and a key mentor of karl rove(a white house advisor and some other top official in the administration. sorry i cant think of his name right now) but one of the major tenants of straussian political science is that there are only a small majority within a democracy that are capable of ruling. have you ever heard of the P.N.A.C(PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY) well the straussians are behind that as well. and for those of you that believe that democracy is dying this could be the stream that is bringing the poison to the lake so to speak


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Old 01-31-2004, 03:10 PM   #14
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First of all, technically, isn't the United States of America a mix of both worlds, democracy AND republic? In school, my teacher said that this was partially true, because we don't leave EVERYTHING up to the people. The government does a lot of work, too. So, WHAT IS IT exactly?
America is a democratic republic - we democratically elect representatives to run our government. If we were a pure democracy, every citizen would have to vote on every issue - it would be a logistical nightmare, to say the least.
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:53 PM   #15
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Originally posted by rccar328
If we were a pure democracy, every citizen would have to vote on every issue - it would be a logistical nightmare, to say the least.
I agree... democracy is fine... but the ACLU is messing it up... oh, doh! wrong thread... or not?

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Old 02-01-2004, 09:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by MennoniteHobbit
Hey, I have a question for all of ya.
First of all, technically, isn't the United States of America a mix of both worlds, democracy AND republic? In school, my teacher said that this was partially true, because we don't leave EVERYTHING up to the people. The government does a lot of work, too. So, WHAT IS IT exactly? I'm not saying this is true, I'm just asking.
The US of A is a capitalist government. Every decision is made based on money.I dont mean that "big businesses control the government, ITS A BIG CONSPIRACY!" kind of talk, but it indirectly affects the way the government makes decisions. If that makes sense.


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Old 02-02-2004, 01:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thrackan Solo
The US of A is a capitalist government. Every decision is made based on money.I dont mean that "big businesses control the government, ITS A BIG CONSPIRACY!" kind of talk, but it indirectly affects the way the government makes decisions. If that makes sense.
You can't really argue with this. Still, if a government is making too many "money based" decisions, they tend to fall quite quickly.


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Old 02-02-2004, 10:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thrackan Solo
The US of A is a capitalist government. Every decision is made based on money.I dont mean that "big businesses control the government, ITS A BIG CONSPIRACY!" kind of talk, but it indirectly affects the way the government makes decisions. If that makes sense.
The US economic system is capitalism, but capitalism isn't a form of government (unless the corporations take control of our government). The corportations that trade under our capitalist economic system are still subject to the laws of our republic.
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Old 02-03-2004, 02:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by rccar328
The US economic system is capitalism, but capitalism isn't a form of government (unless the corporations take control of our government). The corportations that trade under our capitalist economic system are still subject to the laws of our republic.
Woah, that makes it twice we've agreed....I'm honestly a little weirded out......



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Old 02-03-2004, 03:55 AM   #20
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yeah...this is getting kinda scarry
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Old 02-03-2004, 05:26 AM   #21
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Hmmm... I agree as well.

I would add that Capitalism is one of the most influential forces on government and the corruption of Communism by capitalist ideals (particularly desires for status, power, rank, etc.) among the leaders was instrumental in the failure of Communism.

Ideally communism can only work in small governments of band size. For stratified societies in modern times, capitalism is the necessary driving force.


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Old 02-03-2004, 06:28 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by SkinWalker
Hmmm... I agree as well.
Well, there you have it, the Trifecta!


Communism is a beautiful form of government on paper. It just doesn't pan out well when human desires and instincts get ahold of it. There's always going to be at least ONE rotten tomato who decides to take advantage and rise to power...



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Old 02-03-2004, 11:30 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by rccar328
The US economic system is capitalism, but capitalism isn't a form of government (unless the corporations take control of our government). The corportations that trade under our capitalist economic system are still subject to the laws of our republic.
Agreed, but i think you would find that the corporations do wield an amazing influence over those in power. A lot of people would find it hard to distinguish between capitalism and government.
I think you may find that less than half of the ten biggest companies in america pay any tax... that doesn't sound like they are subject to the same laws to me.

Quote:
Originally posted by ET Warrior
Communism is a beautiful form of government on paper. It just doesn't pan out well when human desires and instincts get ahold of it. There's always going to be at least ONE rotten tomato who decides to take advantage and rise to power...
Agreed again, but I think people seem to miss the fact that the exact same thing occurs in democracy, it is just less overt. There is no way that you would think someone who got poor exam results would get into harvard, or that someone with a string of failed buisnesses would become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world.
But there has basically become a "ruling elite" in democracy in the same way that there was in communism, and they spend a lot of their time and effort protecting their position in the same way that they did in communism.



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Old 02-05-2004, 07:49 PM   #24
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Agreed, but i think you would find that the corporations do wield an amazing influence over those in power. A lot of people would find it hard to distinguish between capitalism and government.
I'm not saying that a lot of corporations try to influence those in power, and by no means am I saying that a lot of corporations do what they can to get out of paying taxes.
What I'm saying is that capitalism is an economic system, not a governmental system. They are separate entities, although interaction between them does occur.

Communism, on the other hand, is both an economic and governmental system - the two are tied together. This is what (if I understand it right) makes the system in China a sort of pseudo-communism - they have kept the governmental portion (to a certain extent), but have adopted a largely capitalist economy in order to avoid a Soviet Union-style collapse.

(I could be totally wrong on my analysis of China, as I have not studied modern China much at all.)
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:06 PM   #25
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Well they've opened their borders to capitalist countries so they would be able to make more money. They're interior economic system isn't capitalist at all.


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Old 02-06-2004, 03:44 PM   #26
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Okay...that makes sense. Like I said, I don't know a lot about modern China. I did know that they were moving somewhat closer to capitalism, though.
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:11 PM   #27
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Intriguingly enough, it has been noted that China in the past few years has been allowing more and more capitalism within the country. It's still nothing like America, but clearly they recognized that communism is now a means of maintaining power - not a realistic vision of life. Some guys like Lenin may have really believed in in, but I think most modern Communist dictators actually do realize that it's a failed dream and are simply keeping themselves in power.

Anyway, on topic: the thing is, democracy isn't dying, per se. However, it is changing drastically. While I mostly agree with President Bush, some of the things he has done would have been shocking even a few years ago; moreover, the power of the government is increasing exponentially every year. And that doesn't matter whether it's a Republican or a Democrat. I think that that is the danger; in a situation where the people depend on the government instead of the other way around, it is very easy for the government to suspend rights if "it has become necessary." For example, the Patriot Act in the US. A good idea, but even though it hasn't been used wrongly (yet) it was reactive, and gave the government way too much power.

I think the greatest threat to democracy, at least in America, but probably in general, is judicial fiat. In America, it's liberal judges (see the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals) that are doing it, but it would be just as bad and dangerous to have conservative judges doing it: legislating. It is not the place of the courts to make law, but that is what they are doing. For example (and don't get a debate on this started here, please), the Massachusetts Supreme Court has decided - against the will of the majority - that gay marriage is not only legal but, in essence, mandatory. These are unelected officials who, at this point, have no check on their power to legislate except that the case has to get to them. In our sue-happy society, that means they get to touch almost every part of society. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison explicitly warned against the problems with such a situation, noting that if it ever happened, America - and any democracy - would be in serious trouble. The only check on judges is impeachment and/or constitutional amendments - and impeachmetn is not an option now, because what they are doing is not technically illegal...

Such a governmental institution - an oligarchy of the judicial branch, if you will - is the greatest threat to democracy that there can be, unless a President were ever able to completely seize power, which is unlikely for many years.


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Old 02-06-2004, 07:49 PM   #28
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You're exactly right - that's why the court system was set up to interpret laws in light of the Constution, but they've oversteped their bounds and are legislating from the bench, which is in itself unconstitutional.
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Old 02-06-2004, 09:31 PM   #29
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Literally, by Greek definition democracy means "people power". To be fair, only the Greeks ever implemented a system of democracy that came right out of that definition. A system of direct democracy has never been seen in any liberal democracy of modern times. Which leads me on to my next pondering...
I normally do not like the notion that the Greek had it all figured out. Primus, because it was still only the nobility who had any real influence. Secundus, because "Greece", in the classical era, means "Athens". Take a look at Sparta, and you'll se a quite different picture. And I'm not even getting started on Platon; every fascist movement since Christianity is copied right out of 'The Republic'.

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I don't think it did. I see it in (and bear with me here) a similar light to Communism - with regard to the fact it has been tried, but never implemented successfully.
The one major difference being that democracy will not be as rapid to degenerate, because it has built-in failsaves to limit the concentration of individual power. Communism lacks these, and hence goes to pot very swiftly. Capitalism, on the other hand, is designed to take advantage of humanity's base emotions; lust, fear, greed and so on, and hence is less likely to destabilize. Wether it is just is an entirely different discussion.

Care must be taken, however, to avoid mixing up the economic system with the mode of government. Communism, Nationalism, Patriotism, u.s.w. are not ways of governing a country. Rather they are policies that can be implemented under different forms of government.

A form of government is a model that describes the relations of the three fundamental powers (Ruling, Executive, and Judging) to each other, the people and the burocracy.

But I am rambling... To get back to the topic at hand: Is Democracy dying? Did it ever exist?

To pose a qualified answer to those questions, we must first arrive at a definition of Democracy. Personally, I find Democracy to be a very relative issue. When the term was coined, it covered only the upper class. When it was taken up in the US, it originally covered only the WASPs. Today, it covers every H. S. Sapiens (or so we like to think).

In the end, I have arrived at the conclusion, that Democracy means that every human in the administrative unit in question is granted influence on the administrative process, namely in electing the ruling power (direct democracy is problematic for a lot of practical reasons).

The operative word in this regard is human. The citizens of Athens defined a human as a citizen of Athens, the Founding Fathers defined a human as a WASP. Modern democrats define a human as a member of the species H. S. Sapiens.

What I am trying to say, is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to gauge the level of democracy in an administrative unit on any absolute scale, because the definition of democracy involves an inherently subjective parameter.

One could however talk about the degree to which the population of a country is able to influence the ruling and/or executive powers. This may provide a qualified answer to our original question, because we use the modern defintion of democracy.

When it comes to this parameter, the US has never impressed me. Why not? Well for one because it's impossible to get an american politician to tell the people what he wants to do with the power that he wants to have. It is common knowledge that concrete political initiatives in the election campaigns can only substract from ones chances, never add to them. Because you can't please everyone it's safer to shut up. That way you avoid offending anyone (other than those who use the inside of their head). Which of course means that the people cannot make an informed choice, which in turn means that their influence is largely superficial. So, in a sense, democracy isn't on the wane in the US, because, if you'll excuse my bluntness, it never really existed.

Apart from the lack of relevant information (undemocratic behavior on the part of the politicians/the press/both) being a problem, passivity on part of the citizens is a major problem. Inability or refusal to make a decision, even when all the neccesairy information is present, is the other major threat to Democracy. This threat is very fundamental, as it touches upon one of our greatest fears: The fear of solitude. With choice comes solitude. It is inescapable. The appeal of Fascist ideologies is that they remove the need to choose, and thus the nessecity of solitude, by removing the ability to think. The fundamental challenge of Democracy is therefore to motivate the people to not take the easy way out, and lay their thought, and thus their very humanity, at the feet of fascism.

Personally I fear that Democracy is loosing the battle. Never have I so hoped that I am wrong.

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Old 02-08-2004, 06:25 PM   #30
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I have to remember people that democracy has once elected bad people too. Hitler was democratically elected. He just used the people's anger and hate to get elected. This kind of tampering with people's feelings can happen again in any democracy.
I agree, and I believe that America, in some ways, is moving toward this, but whether we would elect someone on the basis of anger and hate is iffy (I surely hope we don't).

Look at the current Presidential campaign: Many of the Democratic presidential candidates are running on a hatred for Bush. There are some issue-based complaints, but for the most part they're running on a platform of hatred. (And I know, many of you disagree with my analysis).

This has been tried before, the most notable instance being Bob Dole running against President Clinton. Senator Dole tried and failed to be elected, because he was running on a platform of hatred.

Hitler was elected on a platform of hatred because the people were starving. In the aftermath of WWI, Germany's reparations payments crippled their economy, and the subsequent depression made it even worse. If Germany's economy had not been in such ruins, it is possible that Hitler woule not have been elected (though there is no way of knowing for sure). Hitler gave them someone to blame for their troubles, and they went for it.

Today in America, however, I don't know how possible it is that the people would elect someone on a platform of hatred. Many of the current candidates are transparently power-hungry; they see that many people disagree with President Bush, and they work to turn that disagreement into hatred, without offering a true positive alternative. It would be a mistake for America to elect most of these candidates, as their policies will move our country closer and closer to socialism, which is a stepping-stone toward communism. And when it comes to communism, I'm inclined to agree with SkinWalker - it may work in smaller countries, but it just can't work in one as large as the US.

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I normally do not like the notion that the Greek had it all figured out. Primus, because it was still only the nobility who had any real influence. Secundus, because "Greece", in the classical era, means "Athens". Take a look at Sparta, and you'll se a quite different picture.
I agree - we do give the Greeks (or rather, the Athenians) a bit too much credit. They had a great idea in democracy, but they limited it to a fault.

However, it was the Greek notion of Democracy that our democratic system in the US is loosely based on - our Founding Fathers had studied Greece, and sought to modify the Greek system (and even they didn't get it right at first).

Our Founding Fathers had also studied Rome, and they understood that in order to avoid a fall similer to that of the Roman Empire, two things were necessary: morality and education. (there are more than just these two, but these are the biggies).

First, we must have morals in order to allow our free way of life to continue. Without them, we become a society where anything goes. Moral codes have no meaning, and neither do our government's laws (which are based, for the most part, on moral codes). Governmental anarchy springs from moral anarchy.

Second, we must be educated on current issues. This education, combined with our understanding of moral values, will allow us to vote responsibly, and keep us from allowing the wrong person to take power.

So, is democracy dying? In a way, yes. It is easy to see the decline in moral values taking place in America's society today. Just take this year's Superbowl half-time show and imagine it being shown during the 1950s. Or even the 1980s. Or even 1990. Moral values in America have been degenerating for quite some time, and unless the people of America realize the importance of morals, disaster will result.
Likewise, voter education is declining. Many people simply don't care anymore - the way they see it, all politicians are corrupt, and nothing they do will change the way the government is being run. What's more, these people are mainly middle-of-the-road when it comes to liberal or conservative, and when they cease to educate themselves on the issues, and cease to vote, they leave our nation in the hands of the right- and left-wing extremist minority.
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Old 02-08-2004, 07:09 PM   #31
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It's true most of the democrat candidates are using hatred to get themselves into power. Much like Bush used your hatred to go to war...

Socialism doesn't necessarily lead to communism. Canada is a half socialist country and we aren't close to communism.

Morals change, you have to agree with this. If morals don't change, we'll just keep on stalling and live like we did 100 yrs ago with religion dominating everything and without any scientific achievement.

As for the Super Bowl half time show, you americans should really sit down and think. Your media talks about murders and killing all the time(just watch America's Most wanted or any other show) and oh that's ok.
We see a breast on tv, something that's not harmful to anyone, won't traumatize any kid(don't you dare say that kids in the 50's did not think about sex) unlike violence that actually kills people.

Which is worst? Talk about morals...

But nevertheless, there's also the universal morals that is linked to education. If your parents didn't teach you the basics, you're in deep sh!t...


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Old 02-08-2004, 07:51 PM   #32
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Look at the current Presidential campaign: Many of the Democratic presidential candidates are running on a hatred for Bush. There are some issue-based complaints, but for the most part they're running on a platform of hatred. (And I know, many of you disagree with my analysis).
I like Wesley Clark. At least he had the brains and fingerspitzgefühl to suvive in NATO. He might be able to undo some of the trash dubya made in the international community.

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If Germany's economy had not been in such ruins, it is possible that Hitler woule not have been elected (though there is no way of knowing for sure). Hitler gave them someone to blame for their troubles, and they went for it.
And if the Commies hadn't been complete idiots, he'd never gotten anywhere near power. The Conservatives didn't like him. The Social Democrats didn't like him. The Commies certainly didn't like him. But the Commies threatened the Conservatives, and hated the Social Democrats even more than the Nazis, so there was no effective front against the Nazis. If the Commies and Social Democrats had worked together, then the Nazis could perhaps have been kept from power. But then again... the Weimar Republic was called 'the republic without republicans'.

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Today in America, however, I don't know how possible it is that the people would elect someone on a platform of hatred.
Dubya does. Agains Islam. And against anyone who is opposed to his insane judeo-christian fundamentalist dogma.

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It would be a mistake for America to elect most of these candidates, as their policies will move our country closer and closer to socialism, which is a stepping-stone toward communism.
Are you really buying that neo-conservative rubbish? USA? Socialist? Now that's something I'd like to see! The extreme left of US politics may come close to the middle of the European political spectrum. Which is still a far cry from Communism.

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And when it comes to communism, I'm inclined to agree with SkinWalker - it may work in smaller countries, but it just can't work in one as large as the US.
I'm inclined to disagree with Skin here. Communism doesn't work. Period. But as I stated before, Europe is social-liberal, not socialistic. One of the things that irks me about Americans, if I'm to make an only slightly unreasonable generalization, is that they can't tell a Social Democrat from a Baader-Meinhoff-supporter.

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However, it was the Greek notion of Democracy that our democratic system in the US is loosely based on
Not true. The American Constitution is based on the doctrines of French intelectuals who fled persecution at the hands of the French monarchy. Before said monarchy... lost its head, so to say.

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First, we must have morals in order to allow our free way of life to continue. Without them, we become a society where anything goes. Moral codes have no meaning, and neither do our government's laws (which are based, for the most part, on moral codes). Governmental anarchy springs from moral anarchy.
Are you quoting the 'Fathers here, or is this more of your neo propaganda?

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Second, we must be educated on current issues. This education, combined with our understanding of moral values, will allow us to vote responsibly, and keep us from allowing the wrong person to take power.
Second, we must be educated on current issues. Educated. Period. One cannot make an informed decision, if one's 'education' extends no further back than the last election.

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So, is democracy dying? In a way, yes. It is easy to see the decline in moral values taking place in America's society today. Just take this year's Superbowl half-time show and imagine it being shown during the 1950s. Or even the 1980s. Or even 1990. Moral values in America have been degenerating for quite some time, and unless the people of America realize the importance of morals, disaster will result.
A very... decorative addition. But if you want to see moral decline, look at dubya's circumventing the Security Counsil. Or stashing suspects on a remote military base and leaving them there to rot. Showing a breast during SuperBowl is not moral decline. Getting all worked up about it really is just... silly.

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Likewise, voter education is declining.
Likewise, voter education is declining.

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Old 02-08-2004, 09:05 PM   #33
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Originally posted by ShadowTemplar

I'm inclined to disagree with Skin here. Communism doesn't work. Period. [/B]
What I actually said was that communism works only at the band level of society. I don't think it is possible to have communism in state-level societies becuase of the necessary stratification.

But at the band-level, it can work. After all, isn't egalitarism a basic form of communism? Everyone shares in everything, etc.

By the way, welcome back, Shadow T!


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Old 02-08-2004, 09:34 PM   #34
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Originally posted by SkinWalker
What I actually said was that communism works only at the band level of society. I don't think it is possible to have communism in state-level societies becuase of the necessary stratification.

But at the band-level, it can work. After all, isn't egalitarism a basic form of communism? Everyone shares in everything, etc.

By the way, welcome back, Shadow T!
Aah, but then you're not talking about Communism as Marx defined it. Besides... I still don't think that i'd work. And if it was to be put to the test, we'd have to gamble for who'd be within the 5-10% to be allowed to see it. The rest would have to die, or the hunter-gatherer model would irreversibly destroy the land that it occiupied...

Oh, and thanks for the welcome...

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Old 02-08-2004, 11:25 PM   #35
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I like Wesley Clark. At least he had the brains and fingerspitzgefühl to suvive in NATO.
And yet, when Michael Moore stands up next to him and lies about George W. Bush's military record, he doesn't have the brains or the guts to disagree. And besides that, the man's an egomaniac :

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No one can accuse me of being soft on defense, and no one can accuse me of not knowing about what the armed forces are about. And when I say, “It’s OK,” then it’s OK, period.
If he says it's OK, then it's OK? Period? Gee, that's pretty darn reassuring (and if you couldn't hear the sarcasm, it was there).

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If the Commies and Social Democrats had worked together, then the Nazis could perhaps have been kept from power.
Yeah...but they didn't. Also, if England had listened to Churchill long before WWII, they probably could've stopped him. But they didn't. The simple truth is, Hitler's message of hatred appealed to the masses, and that's what got him elected.

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Dubya does. Agains Islam. And against anyone who is opposed to his insane judeo-christian fundamentalist dogma.
Now, this is just pure, unthinking, ignorant Bush-bashing.
If the President hated Islam so much, why not just order all of the troops to go around killing all of the Muslims? Why even go to the trouble of freeing Iraq? If the President hated Islam as much as you say, wouldn't it have been more to his liking to leave Hussein in power to torture, rape and murder the Muslims in Iraq? If he hated Islam so much, you'd think he'd be supporting Hussein and giving his regime funding to build more rape rooms to torture more Muslims. Maybe he'd fly down on weekends and torture & rape a couple himself. What's more, the President isn't running (and hasn't run) on a platform of hatred. If you remember, 9/11 happened after Bush was elected. Just because we're fighting and killing fundamentalist Islamic terrorists (that want to kill us) and we deposed the tyrannical leader of an Islamic nation doesn't mean that the President hates Islam. Or anyone opposed to his supposed "insane judeo-christian fundamentalist dogma." What's more, Bush didn't cite hatred as a reason to go to war. He cited many reasons, including national defense and compassion for oppressed people, but not hatred.

And another thing - so many people these days are so willing to buy into the myth that Christianity is a religion of hatred because we believe that there is a moral standard, and if you don't meet that standard and believe in Jesus, you're going to Hell. Well, we don't decide what's true, we just try to live by it. And if you don't agree with me, maybe you should try reading the Bible with an open mind and finding out just what Christianity is all about before you spout your insane liberal-athiest fundamentalist nonsense.

The lie that Christianity is a religion of hatred is perpetrated by those people who look at the fringes of Christians and assume that all Christians are like that (it's also spread by those people who say they are Christians in order to look like good, moral people, but don't actually practice the religion). Well, you can't appropriately judge an entire faith based on a small group of extremists.

Really, it's just like buying into the lie that Islam is a violent, hateful faith based on the fact that there are fundamentalist Islamic terrorists. Real Islam isn't like that at all, but a few extremists who have perverted the religion into what they want it to be have soiled Islam's reputation.

The truth is, both of these religions are religions of peace and love, but the few extremists out there get all of the press and give the rest of us a bad name.

And now, I know that somebody is going to say, "If Christianity is based on peace and love, why is Bush (a Christian) going to war?" Well, the Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt. 19:19), and it also says, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you." (Luke 6:27). But is also says, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven...a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 8).

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The extreme left of US politics may come close to the middle of the European political spectrum. Which is still a far cry from Communism.
True. But it's an undeniable fact that the extreme left (which includes each and every democratic presidential candidate) is moving closer and closer to socialism. And according to the dictionary definition of socialism (if you even cared to check out the link), it is a step toward communism.

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Are you quoting the 'Fathers here, or is this more of your neo propaganda?
Well, I would provide a direct quote, but I left my copy of the Federalist at home. When I find quotes, though, I'll be sure to give them to you.

Really, all it takes is a little thought, though, to see how moral anarchy leads to governmental anarchy. Especially when so many of our basic laws are based on a basic moral code (murder, rape, assault, lying under oath, etc.). Without morality, our laws have no meaning, and therefore no purpose.

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Not true. The American Constitution is based on the doctrines of French intelectuals who fled persecution at the hands of the French monarchy. Before said monarchy... lost its head, so to say.
True...but the American Constitution isn't based on any one source. The idea of democracy came from Greece, and the American system is a modification of that (and also includes elements from France).

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Second, we must be educated. Educated. Period. One cannot make an informed decision, if one's 'education' extends no further back than the last election.
Agreed - which is why we have schools (even though we do have problems in our educational system). However, the point I was making is that if we are not educated on current issues (and, yes, past issues), we cannot intelligently vote on those issues.

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A very... decorative addition. But if you want to see moral decline, look at dubya's circumventing the Security Counsil. Or stashing suspects on a remote military base and leaving them there to rot. Showing a breast during SuperBowl is not moral decline. Getting all worked up about it really is just... silly.
Well...first of all, "dubya's" circumventing the Security Counsil is a diplomatic matter more than a moral one. If anything, the President made the correct moral choice, choosing both to eliminate a threat to America and liberate an oppressed people, despite the pathetic whinings of the UN's ever-impotent Security Council.

Showing a breast on network television in front of millions of people may not seem like moral decline to you, but your reaction in and of itself shows that our morals are declining. Going back 50 years, there would be no question as to whether the Superbowl halftime show was immoral - and the debate wouldn't have started over a breast, it would've been about the whole show - it was basically as much of a sex-fest as they could get away with without being totally shut down by the FCC. The fact that the moral outrage is just about a breast and not about the lyrics to the songs & the dancers shows the moral decline of our nation. The amount of promiscuous sex and teen pregnancies in our nation shows the moral decline of our nation. The prevalence of obscenities in our young peoples's language shows the moral decline of our nation. If you can't see this, it's because you, like many others, have been desensitized to it. And it's not just the Superbowl half-time show, that's only a blatent example of the moral degrigation that runs rampant throughout modern television and music across America. What was once black-and-white morality has been justified over time into a gigantic grey-area by a society that wants to say, "anything goes." But anyone with a clear sense of morality can see that the moral decline is there, and it is undeniable.

Yeah, we aren't outraged (for the most part) by things like murder on TV or sex scenes in movies or trashy shows like the Osbournes. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be. These things don't outrage us anymore because we are so surrounded by them that we become desensitized to them until we move the line of what we are repulsed by a little farther away. Then, the entertainment industry turns it up a little, and we're outraged for a little while, but we become desensitized again and quiet down. After a while, the moral depravity that we see on television and hear in modern music gets us so desensitized that people have no problem committing or defending in real life the things that they see on television or hear in music. It's not a change in morals, it's an erasure of morals from our society.

And I'm not saying by any stretch of the imagination that kids in the 50s didn't think about sex. I'm saying that back then the majority of people didn't have such a gigantic grey area between right and wrong because they weren't surrounded by the immorality that is so prevalent in today's society.

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Old 02-09-2004, 01:42 PM   #36
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Aah, but then you're not talking about Communism as Marx defined it. Besides... I still don't think that i'd work. And if it was to be put to the test, we'd have to gamble for who'd be within the 5-10% to be allowed to see it. The rest would have to die, or the hunter-gatherer model would irreversibly destroy the land that it occiupied...
Yes but communist Russia was not communism as Marx defined it either. Neither is China, North Korea ect. What I've infered from Skin's is that if communism was put to the test the only way that it would'nt end with pandemic brutality, or ubiquitous oppression, is if the society was small enough to give the greatest amount of people the greatest amount of space, or whatever it is people want in a marxist system. This may in fact turn out to be an very small society indeed: like the size of a clan or any other basic familial unit, and that is a valid form of communism under certaim conditions.

As for the top 5-10% being allowed to see it, that is not a description of a marxist system. A marxist system invites all working peoples to partake in the system, although, eventually after the period of time in which a marxist regime is formed there will be those that lead the party. It seems you assume that communism will always be conducted by rulers capable of the greatest despotism and taste for injustice, but in my mind it all depends on the situational variables which are too numerous to even begin to mention here. Size of society, technological advancement, educational level of average "comrade", intent of the top memebers of the party, are these memebers susceptible to corruptive forces ect.


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Old 02-12-2004, 12:06 AM   #37
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Government, to me is all the same...as in there is no democracy, no feudalism, no autocracies...All forms of government are based on one another, so it is likely that the governments we are firmilliar with are nothing but our interpretations of one, flexible government.


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Old 03-10-2004, 02:08 PM   #38
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And besides that, the man's an egomaniac :
In case you didn't notice, Nato was in its worst crisis ever a few years ago (Kosova, anyone?). I hardly think that an egomaniac would have survived in the upper echelons during such a turmoilous time.

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The simple truth is, Hitler's message of hatred appealed to the masses, and that's what got him elected.
Considering the grasp of European history that you have so far demonstrated, I'd advise you against making hard-and-fast statements about complicated issues like this.

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If the President hated Islam so much, why not just order all of the troops to go around killing all of the Muslims?
You know the answer to that question. It begins with 'war' and ends with 'crimes'. Besides I didn't say that he hates muslims. In fact I didn't even say that he hates Islam, merely that he is riding on a wave of unthinking anti-islamism. Not that that's my biggest beef with him anyway.

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Why even go to the trouble of freeing Iraq?
Oil. Military bases. Turns away focus from a crappy economy. Power gaming. There are lots of reasons.

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If you remember, 9/11 happened after Bush was elected.
I know, and I mourn that fact. But I was talking about this election.

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Just because we're fighting and killing fundamentalist Islamic terrorists (that want to kill us) and we deposed the tyrannical leader of an Islamic nation doesn't mean that the President hates Islam.
But he is still playing upon an anti-islamistic wave. But, frankly, I'm not here to defend Islam. It's no more civilized than Christianity.

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Or anyone opposed to his supposed "insane judeo-christian fundamentalist dogma."
That is an entirely seperate issue, involving women's rights, homosexuals' rights, etc.

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And another thing - so many people these days are so willing to buy into the myth that Christianity is a religion of hatred because we believe that there is a moral standard, and if you don't meet that standard and believe in Jesus, you're going to Hell.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. Cut the crap. Chritianity is a hateful and totalitarian organisation because the vast majority of Christians who ever lived were religiocentric, racist totalitarians. And every government founded on Christianity throughout history has been totalitarian. Same can be said for every other religion, but that's beside the point.

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Well, we don't decide what's true, we just try to live by it. And if you don't agree with me, maybe you should try reading the Bible with an open mind and finding out just what Christianity is all about before you spout your insane liberal-athiest fundamentalist nonsense.
Touché. But 'open mind' means 'willing to accept what can be proven', not ' willing to accept whatever a stupid, old book says, just because its followers have multiplied enormously over the years'. I don't see any proof in the bible, and no there is sensible way in which one can defend a point that has no proof.

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True. But it's an undeniable fact that the extreme left (which includes each and every democratic presidential candidate) is moving closer and closer to socialism. And according to the dictionary definition of socialism (if you even cared to check out the link), it is a step toward communism.
This is a game of words, nothing more. In Marx's theories, socialism was a stepping stone towards Communism. But you aren't telling be that you, as a neo-conservative, are subscribing to Marxist nonsense, are you?

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Without morality, our laws have no meaning, and therefore no purpose.
A philosophical debate best left to another time and place. Suffice is to say that I disagree vehemently.

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If anything, the President made the correct moral choice, choosing both to eliminate a threat to America and liberate an oppressed people, despite the pathetic whinings of the UN's ever-impotent Security Council.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. I've heard that one before. And I've told you why you're wrong before. And I get really tired of having to repeat myself, so those interested can look my points up in one of the mulititudes of threads where I have explained my views already.

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Showing a breast on network television in front of millions of people may not seem like moral decline to you, but your reaction in and of itself shows that our morals are declining.
Or that the Bible Belt is living in the past. The totalitarian-dark-age-kind-of-past.

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The amount of promiscuous sex and teen pregnancies in our nation shows the moral decline of our nation.
Or that the dark numbers have declined.

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The prevalence of obscenities in our young peoples's language shows the moral decline of our nation.
Correct. But I hardly see how this is relevant to the breast in the SuperBowl halftime.

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If you can't see this, it's because you, like many others, have been desensitized to it.
Or because I am not a follower of puritan, Victorian morals.

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But anyone with a clear sense of morality can see that the moral decline is there, and it is undeniable.
I pride myself in having a high moral standard. But I find your idea of morals disgusting.

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Yeah, we aren't outraged (for the most part) by things like murder on TV or sex scenes in movies or trashy shows like the Osbournes.
I'm not going to stand up for American television. From what I've seen of it, it's utter crap.

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And I'm not saying by any stretch of the imagination that kids in the 50s didn't think about sex. I'm saying that back then the majority of people didn't have such a gigantic grey area between right and wrong because they weren't surrounded by the immorality that is so prevalent in today's society.
What I'm saying is that sex is not immoral. And that those who claim that it is, do so with the intent of oppressing others. "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."

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As for the top 5-10% being allowed to see it, that is not a description of a marxist system.
Nope, it's a description of a hunter-gatherer system.

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Old 03-16-2004, 10:17 PM   #39
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Hey, let's be clear about the relative success of Communism here.

You can't make the unsubstantiated claim that "Communism doesn't work" - that simply has no grounding. The "best" model of Communism we have as a point of reference is that of the Soviet Union.

Now, Marxist theory - as illustrated in the Communist Manifesto - suggests that over a slow period of time there will be an evolution of economic/political systems. This will originate from a feudalistic system, then over time will become more capitalistic – this is the stage we are at now. Eventually, capitalism is predicted to break down, and from that shattered foundation, a system of Communism can be established.

None of the Communist systems that have existed over the last hundred years have fitted with this model. Marx and Engels suggest that the move to Communism will be more of a gradual - perhaps evolutionary - change.

Back to our case in point, the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917 (or November, depending on your preference of calendar) and imposed a system of “Communism” on Russia. Indeed, Lenin had to introduce the capitalistic NEP on the country just to restore the economy, before any kind of socialist economic system could be introduced. Essentially, the "capitalist" stage of Marxist theory was rushed through in under 10 years, and none of the slow progression was ever seen. The country, to all intents and purposes, went straight from a Feudal system to a Communist system. And then, if you look at Lenin, he was pretty out of touch with Marx, and Stalin had practically nothing in common with either Marx or Lenin - he is more readily compared to Peter the Great, than his predecessor.

Now, that is just one country, and I am using this as an example to make one simple point: there has never been a true system of Communism ever. If it ever does happen, there won't be some "uprising" or "mass revolution", it will be a gradual change, and move away from capitalism towards the ideals of Communism. Also, let us not forget that Marxist-Leninist theory (of which I am a great admirer) suggests that "world revolution" is required for Communism to succeed - unlike the ideal of "socialism in one country" that Stalin pushed for – and a worldwide system of Communism is required for it to actually get anywhere.

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.



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Old 03-17-2004, 12:21 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aries077
Government, to me is all the same...as in there is no democracy, no feudalism, no autocracies...All forms of government are based on one another, so it is likely that the governments we are firmilliar with are nothing but our interpretations of one, flexible government.
yup. It doesn't matter what system you go with, it is still a case of a few people with the right friends, family, influence and backers making all the decisions, and doing so in a way that benefits those same friends, family, influence and backers and not the people as a whole. depressing huh?

Democracy has almost become a joke. We vote in party A, complain about them not fixing stuff that generally isn't fixable without paying way more taxes (which we won't do) and then vote them out and vote for party B, then we do exactly the same.

This whole moral decline thing is a load of rubbish. Morally the US (or UK) is no worse off than it was 50 years ago (probably better) or 100 years ago.

Hell, there are writings from roman times which have the older generation complaining about the moral decline in the youth of today and exactly the same stuff that the older generation complains about now. It has been going on since civilisation started and today's youth that people are so worried about now will be complaining about exactly the same thing in forty years.



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