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Old 01-14-2007, 02:37 AM   #41
Samnmax221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
There's also what jmac mentioned, which is unfortunately quite commonplace nowadays.
The system you love oh so much only encourages behavior like that, even more so than in crony capitalism.
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:48 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samnmax221
The system you love oh so much only encourages behavior like that, even more so than in crony capitalism.
The supposed versions have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrion
In a sense, though, his hard work would have had far more returns if he had put more effort into improving his weakness-in this case, his people skills- and finding someone who could market his product to various companies.
In this case, however, his actual skill in developing the product was irrelevant. Quite the contrary to the capitalist ideal of "Work = $$$."

It wouldn't seem fair to most people that he had ability and suffered for it, but capitalism is hardly a fair system.


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Old 01-14-2007, 03:19 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
In this case, however, his actual skill in developing the product was irrelevant. Quite the contrary to the capitalist ideal of "Work = $$$."
Ability and skill do not equal work. You can be the greatest programmer and you would still earn zero money if you never made a creation. Work would be putting effort into your project and also making sure it can sell as well as it can. Capitalism isn't simply putting a product on the market and assuming it'll sell on its merits; you have to also get it to your customers. The company he sold his product to had put in effort to market his own creation, and therefore earned more.

Quote:
It wouldn't seem fair to most people that he had ability and suffered for it, but capitalism is hardly a fair system.
That isn't a criticism that any other economical system could have fixed- mercantilism would've kept it still unnoticed, except maybe if a competitor program had been artificially kept out. Socialistic communism certainly wouldn't have worked, as he would not have designed the product in the first place if he couldn't get any money for it anyway.



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Old 01-14-2007, 02:57 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

A black and white view of it, indeed. Various figures in our governments are rather partial to big business, though your statement is far from the absolute truth.
You're wrong. My statement "Our governments are subsidised, elected and formed by heads of business" was effectively correct. Let's take the US as an example: In presidential elections, campaigns are expensive. Massively expensive. And it's a general rule that the best funded candidate will win. One single instance: many people (myself included) accurately predicted the result of the last US presidential election based solely on the fact that the Republican advertising budget was larger than that of the Democrats.

This requirement necessitates (directly or indirectly) corporate financial backing. Until 2002, corporate backing of candidates ran rampant, with so-called "soft money" (indirect, single use) donations easily circumventing upper limits on amounts of corporate backing. And as of 2003, despite legislation the year before to combat abuse, parties were still accepting soft money contributions at a local level even if they were not accepting them at a national level.

You may have forgotten the fact that in 1999, the presidential primaries were called by some analysts the "wealth primary" because of the huge amounts of cash that were raised by both front-runners. The Bush campaign had raised $37 million in hard-money private donations alone.

Without money, your candidacy cannot be advertised. It cannot be publicised. Your opponent cannot be as effectively defamed. Money is the defining factor in the contest to see which clique gains candidacy, and the defining factor in which candidate gains the presidency. End of story.

It is therefore axiomatic that those with money to spend will DIRECTLY exert a greater influence on the path of politics than the bulk of the population. Hence, the wealthy, the higher corporate echelons etcetera, will control the political fate of the nation, through their ability to promote the election of candidates whose policies match their wishes.

Heads of business don't have to phone say... Bush's handlers up every day and tell them what they want done. All they have to do is elect people who already want to appease them, and then the system is pretty much self-perpetuating.

-

Now let's move on to indirect financial manipulation. This is far more insidious, and possibly more effective too.

In state-capitalist systems, a "trickle-down" economic model is present. This is a model in which the wealthy are meant to subsidise the society. If the wealthy are happy in a country, they spend more in that country. This means that workers receieve higher wages, and this money then trickles down to the lowest levels, the service industries, entertainment, retailers etcetera. The taxes of the wealthy are also meant to be put back into the system in order to subsidise it.

To the uneducated eye, this model can sound good on paper. But in reality, the wealthy don't like to spend their money, they like to accrue more. So instead of spending lots of money on paying out wages, employing services and dutifully paying their taxes, they hire cheaper and cheaper workers and labourers, and demand huge tax breaks.

And if they don't get these tax breaks? They move to some tax-haven somewhere, or ship a lot of their money out of the country, or whatever. This means that their money is no longer sloshing around in the national economy.

In order to avoid losing the business of the wealthy, governments are forced to hand out the tax breaks and other concessions that the wealthy demand. (The UK is particularly bad for this.)

Which means that less money "trickles down" to the ordinary member of the public. So in the end we have a model in which a homeless person looks at a man riding past in the back of a limo, and is meant to say to himself "If I make that guy happy, my situation might improve". Ha.

So again, the economic policy of the government and therefore indirectly the whole society revolves around the wishes of the wealthy. A great deal of effort goes into keeping business happy.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

You'd think major corporations would run rampant that way.
"Rampant"? No, only a silly person would think so.

Major corporations don't have to "run rampant" when the system is quite literally set up in their favour. They just have to keep chugging along innocuously, happily, while money automatically filters into the pockets of the already wealthy.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Can you verify this? It's elementary school history that the beginnings of the U.S. government decided to revolt against Britain rather than join them in the plundering.
Ha! Like most elementary school history, the idea that the US was founded as a shining beacon of democracy and equality is pure propaganda.

The fathers of the republic of the US were extremely opposed to pure democracy... or even true equality. They wanted a system in which the existing elite could be perpetuated, an oligarchy, plutocracy... whatever you want to call it. They were often quite open about this.

For instance, James Madison (fourth President, known as the "Father of the Constitution" and "Father of the Bill of Rights") famously stated at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, that "the primary function of government is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority."

In other words, to protect the rich, from the poor.

He said lots of other lovely things. And if the history was taught honestly, it would be noted that a pathological fear of democracy ran right through the founding of the US, leading to the eventual decision taken to become a republic, rather than a true democracy.

Ref: http://memory.loc.gov/

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Of course he is. Pure, raw, capitalism is only compatible without a government.
I can make no sense of this statement, so I'm not sure how to respond to it. Perhaps you should rephrase and/or elaborate. If you're saying that pure capitalism cannot function when we have a system of government the like of which we have now, you're correct. But I can't think what else you could be saying.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Entirely incorrect, Spider... Capitalism favors those who can make the most money, to put it simply.
On the contrary, I was entirely correct. Pure capitalism would be effectively a meritocracy. Those who work hardest and/or are most intelligent and innovative would receive compensation according to their efforts and skills.

In contrast, our current state-capitalist system favours those who already have money whether by inheritance or by some hard work in the past which they don't care to repeat... and government deliberately supports them, limiting the compensation of consistently hard-working people who by rights should reap greater benefits under a pure capitalist system. This amoral limiting effect is what our state systems were designed to accomplish.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Those were hardly examples of way to "filter more cash back into the pockets of the already wealthy corporate elite."
Your examples didn't support your assertion that the motives of government are "for the people".

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Spider, in many of your posts, I have seen you describe those who disagree with you in similar manners. Try and remember that the fact that an opinion differs from yours doesn't automatically make it incorrect.
Oh, spare me the standard cop-out, please.

Not all opinions are equally valid. That's a PC nonsense designed to supply those who hold delusional beliefs with an easy get-out clause. An opinion is valid when it is based on logic and evidence, and the reasoning behind it is sound. Of course there are right opinions and wrong opinions. I hold the opinions I hold because I have come to the conclusion that they are right. So of course I view other, opposing opinions as "wrong".

So if you wish to challenge the validity of my evidence, the presence of my logic or the soundness of my reasoning, feel free. But don't wheel out the squeaky old "It's an opinion, you can't argue with opinions!!11" fallacy, because it won't wash.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Toppling the Nazi regime was a nice thing to do. Heck, even the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaskai wasn't too bad. (In retrospect and compared to the alternatives, that is - killing civilians usually isn't the nicest thing to do)

But, my opinion on WWII is quite biased.
I agree... your opinion on WWII is quite biased.

If the reason the US entered the war was to "topple the Nazis", it would have entered it before one of its offshore bases was attacked by the Japanese. So US motives for entering the war were not altruistic. As for the Hiroshima bombings, it's a debate that has been buried a thousand times. The bombings were many things, but they were not moral, nor altruistic, nor were they performed as a last resort. I refer you to this earlier post I typed up specifically on the issue of Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

The U.S.' interestes were tied with Kuwait's, of course, but repelling an evil regime from taking over another country was far from unethical.
The US didn't "repel an evil regime" from another country, the US invited the "evil" regime into the other country before blasting them.

U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met Saddam on July 25, 1990. Saddam asked, "We will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. What is the United States' opinion on this?"

Glaspie replied: "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."

On July 31 1990, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs testified to Congress that the "United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq."

Three days later, after being assured by the US government both directly and indirectly that they would not interfere if Iraq invaded Kuwait... Iraq invaded Kuwait.

The rest is history. These things are a matter of public record, and to call US entry into a conflict they effectively helped to start at all "altruistic" is quite nonsensical.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

I've been interested and studied a good deal of them for years.
Well so far it would appear that your sources have been biased. Perhaps you should read some dissident literature and then go and fact-check the statements therein for yourself. It's easy to be hoodwinked by the mess of propagandistic nonsense that pervades the mainstream media. A focussed eye is necessary to pierce through to the truth.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

If you'd like to discuss them, at least start with a specific one. I don't have time to give a lengthy explanation on the effects of every single one to you in one sitting.
I've already started with two specific examples. We'll move on to the rest shortly.

As for the "effects" of your examples, the "effects" are not strictly relevant to the original question of whether the motives behind their enactment were purely altruistic/humanitarian. Nice try though.

In brief, a selection of responses to several other examples you gave:

Theodore Roosevelt's Square Deal: Essentially a policy of mollifying those who were campaigning against the burgeoning dominance of proto-corporations, without truly fulfilling their desires. These policies effectively locked business and government into a stable and symbiotic relationship of the type I described in my first paragraphs. Therefore, hardly "for the people". If there were any positive aspects intended in this, the sizeable public pressure can account for them.

Antitrust laws: Antitrust laws are not anti-wealth, they're pro-system. They are a weighted substitute for a truly free market. As long as the system chugs along as it currently does, the existing elite will have their positions maintained, by and large. So the financial elite as a whole have no interest in corruption or other unfair practices. In fact, when a single member of the elite steps out of line, it's the elite who have the most interest in curbing their activities.

Great Society: Once again, there was great public pressure in the sixties. The US was undergoing social upheaval at the time. Some of the civil rights / welfare reforms enacted during this period are indicative that popular movements CAN pressure government into abiding by their wishes, at least partially. It does not show that government VOLUNTARILY performs actions purely for the good of the people, as you initially opined.

Add to this the fact that successive governments in both the US and the UK have been doing their level best to destroy whatever reforms public pressure forced into being half a century ago... and it adds up to a confirmation of my opinion on the nature of governments. Not "by the people, for the people", but "by the wealthy, for the wealthy".

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

A common label given to Bush these days.
What, "a substanceless figurehead"? The concept of US/UK political "leaders" as substanceless figureheads is not common, I've only ever heard it used within dissident circles. If it's breaking through to the mainstream somewhere, I'm ecstatic. However, it's undeniable that most people are still deluded into thinking that the public facade of politics is of any importance when compared to the inner workings.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

I'd study some more about the U.S. government if I were you. The role of our Presidents is far different from your Kings and Queens.
Hah! On the contrary, I think you should study more about the US government, if you genuinely believe that doctrine or policy changes in any meaningful way when parties in office switch over, let ALONE when presidents within the same party switch over.

GW's regime is enacting the same policy that Clinton's regime enacted before them, that Bush Sr.'s regime enacted before, that Reagan's regime enacted before that.

Take Iraq as an example. Reaganite policy as regards Iraq was enacted by Bush Sr.'s regime, Iraq happened to become a target thereafter, and later Clinton's lot put regime-change in Iraq on the agenda, and finally GW's handlers (who in the main were Reagan's/Bush Sr.'s handlers) eventually enacted that "Clintonite" policy.

What changed there between Democrats and Republicans? Nothing of note. Georgie Bush is notable because he and his regime are so outspoken about their neoconservatism, but they're effectively no more authoritarian than previous US governments.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Things are rarely so black and white. Hard work does not always equal lots of money.
Not in state-capitalist systems, but in a pure capitalist system it would. And since that's what TK was apparently referring to, he was correct.


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Old 01-15-2007, 12:03 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
You're wrong. My statement "Our governments are subsidised, elected and formed by heads of business" was effectively correct. Let's take the US as an example: In presidential elections, campaigns are expensive. Massively expensive. And it's a general rule that the best funded candidate will win. One single instance: many people (myself included) accurately predicted the result of the last US presidential election based solely on the fact that the Republican advertising budget was larger than that of the Democrats.

This requirement necessitates (directly or indirectly) corporate financial backing. Until 2002, corporate backing of candidates ran rampant, with so-called "soft money" (indirect, single use) donations easily circumventing upper limits on amounts of corporate backing. And as of 2003, despite legislation the year before to combat abuse, parties were still accepting soft money contributions at a local level even if they were not accepting them at a national level.

You may have forgotten the fact that in 1999, the presidential primaries were called by some analysts the "wealth primary" because of the huge amounts of cash that were raised by both front-runners. The Bush campaign had raised $37 million in hard-money private donations alone.

Without money, your candidacy cannot be advertised. It cannot be publicised. Your opponent cannot be as effectively defamed. Money is the defining factor in the contest to see which clique gains candidacy, and the defining factor in which candidate gains the presidency. End of story.

It is therefore axiomatic that those with money to spend will DIRECTLY exert a greater influence on the path of politics than the bulk of the population. Hence, the wealthy, the higher corporate echelons etcetera, will control the political fate of the nation, through their ability to promote the election of candidates whose policies match their wishes.

Heads of business don't have to phone say... Bush's handlers up every day and tell them what they want done. All they have to do is elect people who already want to appease them, and then the system is pretty much self-perpetuating.
Even though Spider is one of my adversaries, I agree with him, here.
It seem to be a lot of evidence that Big Business control the country(U.S.A) and the path of the paper.

Last edited by windu6; 01-15-2007 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:46 AM   #46
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Wait, what? Big business decides who is elected and the government policies? So J Mart for example made Bush President wanted war in Iraq? Why, for what purpose? Bill Gates wants support for Israel? EA demanded the execution of Saddam Hussein? There's just one teeny little detail: there's a vote every four years that decides who is elected and the say goes to about 298 million Americans.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:00 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Wait, what? Big business decides who is elected and the government policies? So J Mart for example made Bush President wanted war in Iraq? Why, for what purpose? Bill Gates wants support for Israel? EA demanded the execution of Saddam Hussein? There's just one teeny little detail: there's a vote every four years that decides who is elected and the say goes to about 298 million Americans.
Actually, it goes to the Electoral College. The average American's vote counts for next to nothing.



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Old 01-15-2007, 07:22 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by jmac7142
Actually, it goes to the Electoral College. The average American's vote counts for next to nothing.
Quite. Add to this the fact that there's a grand choice of two pre-selected establishment-people to vote for (with any efficacy) and you have to come to the conclusion that the elections in our countries are not democratic in the proper sense of the word.

"Blatantly rigged" might be a better term.

Nancy's post just highlights how deeply some people can delude themselves on the subject. I mean, it's not as if the state of our electoral system is any secret. We're not talking conspiracy theory here, we're talking simple, verifiable, commonly known fact.


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Old 01-15-2007, 02:44 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Wait, what? Big business decides who is elected and the government policies? So J Mart for example made Bush President wanted war in Iraq? Why, for what purpose?
Well, that seem to be the case.
The documentary Farenhieght 9/11, called propaganda by the republicans, it is conspiracy theory, that Saudi Arabia have 1 Trillion dollars invested in United States.
And the Iraq invasion was back by the big oil business.
That seem obvious, now.
I'm not sure about Saudi Arabia, though.
Somebody else probably know more about that one.
But who is J mart, Nancy?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Bill Gates wants support for Israel?
Well, hell with all the paper he got, he probably control half the planet anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
EA demanded the execution of Saddam Hussein?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
There's just one teeny little detail: there's a vote every four years that decides who is elected and the say goes to about 298 million Americans.
I'm not sure if that is truly accurate.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:39 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
Actually, it goes to the Electoral College. The average American's vote counts for next to nothing.
Tell me about the Electoral College.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
Well, that seem to be the case.
The documentary Farenhieght 9/11, called propaganda by the republicans, it is conspiracy theory, that Saudi Arabia have 1 Trillion dollars invested in United States.
You might like to have a look at Fahrenhype, a counter docuementary by someone who had studied Moore's film and pointed out, I think it was 58 inaccuracies, manipulations and lies, such as Moore taking an opinion letter from a newspaper, twisting it around, enlarging the font and everything to make it look like a headline stating Al Gore won the election rather than Bush.
Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
But who is J mart, Nancy?
Is it J Mart or Wal Mart I'm thinking of? Anyway, they're big box super superstores that on average would take up a square block. Anything and everything you can buy elsewhere is sold there cheaper. Basically when they come in it's about time for everyone else to ship out as they just cannot compete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
I'm not sure if that is truly accurate.
I'm not sure if the number was accurate either, the point is Americans vote in who they want to be President.

Last edited by Nancy Allen``; 01-15-2007 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Boofhead here copied the same comment three times
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:47 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Tell me about the Electoral College.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Tell me about the Electoral College.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Tell me about the Electoral College.
Okay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...ctoral_College



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Old 01-15-2007, 03:57 PM   #52
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It says that the neutrality of the post is in dispute but I'll leave that one alone. Reading through it quickly I understand that the votes are counted in each state and then the representative comes forward and puts forth who their state had voted for. It's not the worst idea, but there are problems; representatives changing the vote and unrepresented states for example, that should be addressed. Maybe it should be made that all Americans have to vote but that would likely go against the grain of democracy America prides itself in.

Edit: Damn, that was put three times? Better fix that up.

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Old 01-15-2007, 05:45 PM   #53
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Electoral college faqs.


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Old 01-15-2007, 11:40 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The "problems" with the electoral college system- by themselves- render it undemocratic. So I consider it to be quite a bad idea. In fact, I'd really like to hear what you consider the "WORST idea" to be.
I'm sure you'd have to say, perhaps, "divine right of kings" (you are an atheist afterall).

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Old 01-16-2007, 12:10 AM   #55
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I know, a regime where a dictator and tyrant appoints himself ruler without a vote, and anyone who disagrees is tortured and killed. That would be about the worst idea. For some it might rock their world, but the Saddam Hussein type of government, the Taliban government, the warring clans in Somalia, these are the type of government and elections I highly disapprove of.
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Old 01-16-2007, 01:01 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
I know, a regime where a dictator and tyrant appoints himself ruler without a vote, and anyone who disagrees is tortured and killed. That would be about the worst idea. For some it might rock their world, but the Saddam Hussein type of government, the Taliban government, the warring clans in Somalia, these are the type of government and elections I highly disapprove of.
Who the hell would approve of those governments?
Those types of governments is analogous to someone holding a gun to your head ready to blow your brain out, first sign of dissension.
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:23 AM   #57
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Ask around, I'm sure someone would love this style of government.
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Old 01-16-2007, 01:20 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I'm sure you'd have to say, perhaps, "divine right of kings" (you are an atheist afterall).
I was referring specifically to the worst way to run an allegedly democratic election, but that's my fault for not being more specific.

As for a hereditary monarchy... I don't think it would be much worse than what we have in our nations at the moment. The fact is that changes in government do not change policy or doctrine in any meaningful way. The effect is therefore pretty much the same as if we had a king or dictator and his court ruling for life.

Governments are either elected in a manner which is close to democratic... or they're not democratic at all. And our governments cannot be said to be democratically elected.


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Old 01-16-2007, 05:03 PM   #59
Totenkopf
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You do realize that was a joke, right? (hence the )
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:26 PM   #60
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A friend of mine shared this thought with me, if the American government is half as bad as some people claim then why arn't there agents reading forums and the like and seeking to silence those who criticise Bush, Iraq, Israel, ect?
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:19 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
You do realize that was a joke, right? (hence the )
Oh, I realised the statement was flippant, Tot. But despite that, I felt it raised a point worth answering seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
A friend of mine shared this thought with me, if the American government is half as bad as some people claim then why arn't there agents reading forums and the like and seeking to silence those who criticise Bush, Iraq, Israel, ect?
Your friend sounds like quite the silly person.

The fact that we're not all being assassinated in our beds by the FBI or MI5 for speaking out against US/UK policy merely shows that the governmental reactions to criticism aren't as amoral as they could be. It doesn't mean they're not amoral.

And frankly, even if they were the kind of juntas who were routinely willing to assassinate dissidents, they wouldn't have to... because we're not currently a threat to the centres of power. We don't represent a majority, and the majority blindly accepts whatever nonsense is fed to them via the mainstream media. The majority comes out with warped things like:

"A true welfare state? Oh that'd never work. I mean, what little welfare we have is crumbling around us!"

When in fact, the limited welfare systems of our nations are working astonishingly well, considering the amount of governmental effort that goes into trying to kill them.

Or even such nonsense as:

"Oh, the war was definitely a mistake. But our hearts were in the right place!" etcetera, etcetera.


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Old 01-16-2007, 08:45 PM   #62
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What a killjoy. Always looking for an indoctrinal moment there, eh Al?

Now, in actual seriousness, "pray tell" what exactly do you see as the most moral and feasible government option available to mankind? Since pure "pick a type of government" only exists in a textbook anyway, what's your pick?
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:47 AM   #63
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What a killjoy. Always looking for an indoctrinal moment there, eh Al?
I find that last remark more snide, than jovial.

But regardless, I'm certainly not going to apologise for taking our political situation seriously. In fact, I find the sorry state of our electoral system depressing.

Quote:
Now, in actual seriousness, "pray tell" what exactly do you see as the most moral and feasible government option available to mankind? Since pure "pick a type of government" only exists in a textbook anyway, what's your pick?
What would be both feasible and moral? That's easy to answer. It's nothing very revolutionary, Tot. Just a roughly functional democracy.

To divine what we need to change about our systems to make them democratic, we first need to define exactly what is PREVENTING our systems from being democratic. Well, in no particular order, here's a list of some major things:

1. Electoral college (US, although frankly the UK system results in similar effects)
2. Schumpeterian "Representative Democracy" - misnomer (both US & UK)
3. First-past-the-post voting systems (both)
4. PR culture in politics (both)
5. Broadly centralised regimes (both)
6. Major Party affiliations (both)


1. The least radical, most effective change we could make in the US would be to scrap the electoral college system. It's utterly warped, totally undemocratic and there is absolutely no excuse for it. It's laughable. It totally devalues people's votes. People's votes mean almost nothing under this system.

By scrapping it, the US moves a huge step closer to democracy.

*

2. Schumpeterian "democracies" (like ours) are really nothing of the kind. In Schumpeterian systems, the people may elect representatives... but the representatives they elect don't then have to do what the people wanted them to, they don't have to follow through on pre-election promises and they don't have to abide by the results of a public referendum, etcetera. It's like elected monarchy.

By bringing in legislation forcing individual representatives to enact policy directly based on public voting, (effectively changing our abhorrent Schumpeterian system into a far more moral "Direct Democracy") we would move a step closer to democracy.

*

3. First-past-the-post voting systems (FPTP) like ours, are systems in which representatives are chosen based on who "got the most votes." Which sounds fine, until you realise that the person who gets the most votes isn't necessarily the most popular with the most people.

For instance, if 100 people vote, and 50 of them vote for a leftist guy, 40 vote for a rightist guy and 10 vote for a middle guy, under our system, the leftist guy gets in. Okay. But suppose the fifty people who voted for other people really hate this leftist guy. Then half the electorate isn't happy, and NONE of the candidates had the overall majority of electoral votes. (51 or above.)

How can we try to make this situation better? Here we bring in "alternative voting" systems, which are already being employed to some degree in certain UK elections. There are many types, and arguably most of these types are superior in the democratic sense than FPTP systems are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferential_voting - Not a bad list.

So by changing to an alternative system, we could move closer to democracy.

*

4. PR culture in politics: As stated above, the PR culture in politics contributes vastly to the influence of the wealthy on the political scene. By outlawing party-political advertising and purely PR-related appearances (national talk shows, etcetera), we would cut the amount of cash that goes into advertising a candidate, and thus make the election less dependent on who has the money to advertise.

Candidates would then be forced to travel around their prospective constituency more, have more public debates with their opponents, engage more with local people, etcetera.

Thus the people would get to know candidates and their policies better, the culture of pure personality would be crippled, and we would move a step closer to democracy.

*

5. Broadly centralised regimes are a problem, as they rarely reflect the will of the people that they are so disconnected from. We should further de-centralise most of the day-to-day running of our nations. Local government should have far more power, and local government representatives should be the ones to get together and decide national policy. The overriding national executive should be reduced to performing a purely administrative role, in other words, devoted purely to keeping local-level government running smoothly.

Then, we'd be a step closer to democracy, as local representatives would have more leeway to perform the will of their local electorate.

*

6. Major party affiliations are a canker on democracy. Both our nations define themselves by party affiliations to some extent, but whenever I've been in the US I've been shocked at how strongly the line between "democrat" and "republican" is drawn.

Of course, in reality both major parties in both our nations are merely two arms of the "business party". So defining yourself as "left" or "right" is meaningless and counter-productive.

Furthermore, parties have to have "leaders", and leaders focus attention onto one individual, and away from the party. This is a bad thing, as it gets the people looking at one man with limited power, when they should be looking at a party with a great deal of power. So we have a "culture of individuals" in politics, which merely functions as a distraction from the truth.

By totally abolishing party affiliations, individual local representatives would no longer be forced to go along with the will of their party, but would instead go along with the will of their people. A fully independent system of representation might well be more expensive and time-consuming to run than a major-party system, but expense is hardly an issue when you're striving for such an important thing: democracy.

*

So any one of these changes would move us closer to democracy. All of these changes at once would result in quite a democratic system, with people involved with their politicians at a local level, with politicians elected in a more fair and balanced way, with politicians performing the will of their constituents and ONLY the will of their constituents, with the will of each district combining to form the will of the nation, and would result in a nation which really WOULD have a moral right to lecture the rest of the world on freedom and democracy. We currently have no such right.

Could we make it work? We'd have to try to find out. But our current system doesn't "work", unless you happen to be one of the financial elite. Which, judging by the fact that we're all on the internet... we probably are. However, the fact that I do pretty well out of a corrupt system doesn't mean I want it to continue. I have morals, after all.


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Old 01-17-2007, 01:41 PM   #64
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Look what happens when I walk away from the thread...
... the topic walks away from the title ...
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:04 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Look what happens when I walk away from the thread...
... the topic walks away from the title ...
You aren't really surprised, are you (disappointed, I'm sure)?


Quote:
What a killjoy. Always looking for an indoctrinal moment there, eh Al?
Quote:
Originally Posted by spideral
I find that last remark more snide, than jovial.

But regardless, I'm certainly not going to apologise for taking our political situation seriously. In fact, I find the sorry state of our electoral system depressing.

Perhaps you're familiar with the expression "half in jest..." Still, your response is overly sensitive and defensive, but that's your burden I suppose. Lighten up, Spi. Nevertheless, thanks anyway for spelling out your position.
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Old 01-19-2007, 04:29 PM   #66
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All discussion about Civil Rights that seemed to be mainly between Al and Jae has been moved to a new thread. Please keep all such discussions to that thread now. It looks like I might be splitting this discussion off into a discussion about Effective forms of government, but I'll need time to read over it more.



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