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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A brief history lesson on democracy...American Style (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RNK
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That's because you are not American and do not truly understand our history and what our constitution was founded and written on. But I will try to give you an example- over 60% of the American people did not want the US government to pass the Healthcare Act, this was well known- well the government passed it anyway. That is a democracy- if we were truly a republic- then the government would not have passed it and listened to the majority of the "people of America".
landmark
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So the fact that representatives passed laws that you say a majority of people didn't want, means that we have democracy and not a republic??? Even by your own definitions of republic and democracy that's the most confused pointless example I've ever heard.

Your whole point before was that the majority shouldn't be able to impose their will. You were complaining tht democfacy allowed the majority to impose their will. Then you give an example of the degradation of American life by pointing to an example where the majority didn't get their way.

Are you sure you live in the US and this isn't a prank?
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On Jan 13, 2015, RNK wrote:
That's because you are not American and do not truly understand our history and what our constitution was founded and written on.


A truly bizarre statement. Does one have to be an American to be knowledgeable about history and politics?


Quote:
But I will try to give you an example- over 60% of the American people did not want the US government to pass the Healthcare Act, this was well known- well the government passed it anyway. That is a democracy- if we were truly a republic- then the government would not have passed it and listened to the majority of the "people of America".


Also bizarre. By anyone's definition, the majority of the "people" having political power would be a "democracy". That the government "passed it anyway" would be an indication of a government of less-than-a-majority, but with representative power; i.e., a "republic".

So you are literally switching the terms around--not by my definition, but by anyone's definition.

Let's try to be clear (though these aren't necessarily traditional definitions):

DEMOCRACY = "rule of the people"
REPUBLIC = "rule of representatives of the people"

As Lobo pointed out, some prefer to make the distinction between democracy and republic because a republic--due to representation rather than direct involvement--would by necessity require few people involved; i.e., the ruling class is smaller.

Let's go back to the history lesson:

Back in ancient Greece, to be a true "citizen" in a "democracy" would mean actually participating at some point in one's life. Not all the time, because that wouldn't be possible. At some point, you might have to go downtown to join the "Boule" for six months and vote on public business. It was kind of like jury duty. Everyone might have to do it. Democracy meant that all the citizens might have to do "voting duty".

In a village with a few hundred people, this might be something an adult, native-born male would do regularly. In a big city like Athens, it might be something an adult, native-born male might do once or twice. Like jury duty, not everyone would want to neglect daily business to do it, so not everyone did. What was important was your RIGHT to do it. You had the RIGHT to be there in the Boule making decisions about the polis's business.

When things became wild and agitated, then adult, native-born males demanded to have a say, and it became something like a mob, I suppose.

But the USA is a country with 300+ million people, and there is no mechanism for all of them to demand to have a say. They can only do it through voting for representatives. This system is not literally a democracy in the ancient Greek sense. But neither could it be. Period. So those who wish to see the use of the word "democracy" as something wrong and misguided are themselves missing the point: it doesn't matter what you call it. American isn't and CANNOT BE a democracy in the original sense of the word. So nobody is fooling anybody.

Of course, we could try to create some kind of weird, electronic-Internet-giant-town-hall decision-making system for all the big issues, like, say, the next war. But I don't recall anyone suggesting such a thing, ever.
Salguod Nairb
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I think it is not that a majority of people didn't want the law, but rather that a majority of people did not take any action to prevent it.

Lots of opinions available but very few have the conviction to follow through.
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
landmark
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Quote:
But I don't recall anyone suggesting such a thing, ever.

Pretty sure you're wrong about that. Not your recollection, but the suggestion.
landmark
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Quote:
As Lobo pointed out, some prefer to make the distinction between democracy and republic because a republic--due to representation rather than direct involvement--would by necessity require few people involved; i.e., the ruling class is smaller.

No, the ruling class is not smaller if those representatives are chosen democratically and accountable democratically. It does require much thought though.
Magnus Eisengrim
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As I understand it, conventional modern use of "republic" makes reference to states that do not have titular heads of state such as kings, queens, czars, etc. I have no idea what the historical precedents for this usage are.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On Jan 13, 2015, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 13, 2015, RNK wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 12, 2015, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Strikes me as a big/small government issue.



Bingo!


I'm confused, RNK and Lobo. What does arguing over which of the terms "republic" and "democracy" better describes the USA have to do with the size of government? I don't see a connection.


Arguing over the terms doesn't matter at all; that's just semantics.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
LobowolfXXX
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Note that in the American representative system of government, one of the legislative bodies is arguably "anti-democratic,"in that small states have the same number of representatives as large states.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
landmark
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Let's do away with the semantics then as best we can, though I doubt it possible.

I'll be blunt: do you (the responders to this thread) believe that all people living in a country should have equal say over the policies that affect them?
If not, what exceptions would you make? Or do you think this an undesirable goal in the first place.
LobowolfXXX
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No; as a couple of for instances, I think that citizenship and age requirements on voting are entirely appropriate.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Salguod Nairb
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Citizens yes...
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
LobowolfXXX
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Note that in a representative democracy/republic, we can't all have equal say anyway. As a Californian, my vote is worth a much smaller fraction of a senator than a Rhode Island er ' s vote. Similarly, congressional districts are of different sizes. And in the judicial system (arbiter of all things constitutional), I don't get a vote at all.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
stoneunhinged
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I would agree with citizenship and age requirements.

On a side note: I once had a student who was a member of the youth group of Germany's Social Democratic party. She told me that one of the points on their recent platform (of the youth coalition, rather than the whole party) was to eliminate age requirements for voting. She was completely serious.
landmark
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Quote:
On Jan 13, 2015, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Note that in a representative democracy/republic, we can't all have equal say anyway. As a Californian, my vote is worth a much smaller fraction of a senator than a Rhode Island er ' s vote. Similarly, congressional districts are of different sizes. And in the judicial system (arbiter of all things constitutional), I don't get a vote at all.

Agreed as to what is. I am asking what should.
slowkneenuh
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No equality at state level for sure. As an example, any legislation/policies affecting property taxes should only be voted upon by property owners.
John

"A poor workman always blames his tools"
mastermindreader
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Why? You don't think that property taxes directly effect renters? (in higher rent)

PS- There once was a time when ONLY male property owners were allowed to vote.
slowkneenuh
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I'm sick and tired of folks deciding to move to New Hampshire because of no sales and income tax. After the move, those that can't or decide not to purchase property still demand increased services and the best education that money will buy for their children which then leads to spiraling property taxes. My responsibility is to see that everyone receives an education, not the best education in the world with the latest and greatest in technology, nor the most modern schools and the latest teacher to pupil ratio being touted by their union. I don't need my road plowed to bare pavement minutes after a snowfall. I could go on and on but won't (at least until provoked).

When taxes are absorbed in the rent people pay, they are masked and the repercussions of expenditures are not as obvious to them.

Some of my concerns apply to new property owners as well who want others to share in the burden of meeting their expectations. They move for the same reasons and demand comparable services to the place they left not realizing that's why they had higher taxes in their previous location.
John

"A poor workman always blames his tools"
landmark
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So that's a good example slowkneenuh. With this issue, there are several groups of stakeholders--property owners, renters, parents with children, residents who have a stake in having an educated populace even if they don't have children, and probably other groups too. To my mind, democracy means that people in all these groups should have an equal say in what happens. And it's important to note that most people belong to more than one group. For example property owners might also have children and might have to balance one set of interests with another.
tommy
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American Indians had a good system as there was enough Indians in the tribe to kill the chief if they did not like his rules.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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