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'[OT]: [POLITICAL] Democracy bah humbug'
2005\07\09@131757 by Gus Salavatore Calabrese

face picon face
I could scream   and sometimes I do.........

When I see the word democracy bandied about
there are at least as many assumed defintions
for the word as there is for LOVE.  ( another word
I refuse to utter except in reference to cinema )
At  the bottom of this rant are definitions of democracy from  dictionaries
and wikipedia.

Now, my definition of democracy is ... MOB RULE
( at least as practiced in the USA)

I ask of you intelligent PICoids out there to not use
the word democracy as a substitute word for....
duty
bravery
freedom
individual rights
self-actualization
respect for others
sharing power
best government possible
.
.
.
.


Choose your words carefully and precisely
or I will go mad...utterly mad  hahhahahahhaaaaaa


mad.bear




DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS  DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS
DEFINITIONS......  SKIP this section if you wish
de·moc·ra·cy   Audio pronunciation of "democracy" ( P )   Pronunciation Key  (d-mkr-s)
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies

   1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through  elected representatives.
   2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
   3. The common people, considered as the primary source of  political power.
   4. Majority rule.
   5. The principles of social equality and respect for the  individual within a community.


[French démocratie, from Late Latin dmocratia, from Greek dmokrati :  dmos, people; see d- in Indo-European Roots + -krati, -cracy.]

Main Entry: de·moc·ra·cy
Pronunciation: di-'mä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from  Greek dEmokratia, from dEmos + -kratia -cracy
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b :  a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and  exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of  representation usually involving periodically held free elections
2 : a political unit that has a democratic government
3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party  in the U.S.
4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of  political authority
5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or  privileges


WIKIPEDIA
Etymology

The word democracy originates from the Greek δημοκρατíα  from δημος meaning "the people," plus κρατειν meaning "to  rule," and the suffix íα; the term therefore means "rule by the  people."
[edit]

Real world meaning and definition
[edit]

Evolution of 'democracy'

    Main article: History of democracy

The term 'democracy'—or more precisely, the original (ancient Greek)  version of the word—was coined in ancient Athens in the 5th century  BC. That state is generally seen as the earliest example of a system  corresponding to some of the modern notions of democratic rule.  However, many do not see ancient Athens as a democracy since only a  minority had the right to vote; women, slaves, and foreigners being  excluded from the franchise. Only an estimated 16% of the total  population had the right to vote. However, the ancient Athenian vote  applied to making decisions directly, rather than voting for  representatives as is seen with modern democracy.

Over time, the meaning of 'democracy' has changed, and the modern  definition has largely evolved since the 18th century, alongside the  successive introduction of "democratic" systems in many nations.

Freedom House argues that there was not a single liberal democracy  with universal suffrage in the world in 1900, but that today 120  (62.5%) of the world's 192 nations are such democracies. They count  25 (19.2%) nations with restricted democratic practices in 1900 and  16 (8.3%) today. They find 19 (14.6%) constitutional monarchies in  1900 in which a constitution delineates the powers of the monarch and  in which some power may have devolved to elected legislatures, and no  such nations today. Other nations had and have various forms of non- democratic rule. [1]

Today, there are many refined categorizations of the term  'democracy', some hypothetical and some realized.
[edit]

Elections as rituals

Elections are not in themselves a sufficient condition for the  existence of democracy.

Elections have often been used by authoritarian regimes or  dictatorships to give a false sense of democracy. This can happen in  a variety of different ways:

    * restrictions on who is allowed to stand for election
    * restrictions on the true amount of power that elected  representatives are allowed to hold, or the policies that they are  permitted to choose while in office
    * voting which is not truly free and fair (e.g., through  intimidation of those voting for particular candidates)
    * falsification of the results

Historical examples of this include the USSR under the CPSU before  its collapse in 1991, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and the Philippines  under Ferdinand Marcos.
[edit]

Liberal democracy

    Main article: Liberal democracy

In common usage, democracy is often understood to be the same as  liberal democracy. While democracy itself is a system of government  defined and legitimized by elections, liberal democracy can be  characterized by the incorporation of constitutional liberalism,  where certain culturally subjective individual rights are protected  from a simple majority vote, inversely; in illiberal democracies no  such restrictions exist. Qualities of many liberal democracies include:

    * A constitution that limits the authority of the government and  protects many civil rights
    * Universal suffrage, granting all citizens the right to vote  regardless of race, gender or property ownership (See also elective  rights)
    * Freedom of expression, including speech, assembly and protest
    * Freedom of the press and access to alternative information  sources
    * Freedom of association
    * Equality before the law and due process under the rule of law
    * The right to private property and privacy
    * Educated citizens informed of their rights and civic  responsibilities
    * A broadly and deeply entrenched civil society
    * An independent judiciary
    * A system of checks and balances between branches of government

This definition generally comes with qualifications. The decisions  taken through elections are taken not by all of the citizenry, but  rather by those who choose to participate by voting. In addition, not  all citizens are generally permitted to vote. Most democratic nations  extend voting rights to those who are above a certain age, typically  18. Some nations also do not permit other categories of people to  vote (e.g., current or previously convicted prisoners).

Liberal democracy is sometimes the de facto form of government, while  other forms are technically the case; for example, Canada has a  monarchy, but is in fact ruled by a democratically elected Parliament.

Some summarize the definition of democracy as being "majority rule  with minority rights."
[edit]

Direct versus representative democracy or 'democracy' versus 'republic'

The definition of the word 'democracy' from the time of ancient  Greece up to now has not been constant. In contemporary usage, the  term 'democracy' refers to a government chosen by the people, whether  it is direct or representative.

There is another definition of democracy, particularly in  constitutional theory and in historical usages and especially when  considering the works of the American "Founding Fathers." According  to this usage, the word 'democracy' refers solely to direct  democracy, whilst a representative democracy where representatives of  the people govern in accordance with a constitution is referred to as  a 'republic.' This older terminology retains some popularity in U.S.  conservative and Libertarian debate.

The original framers of the U.S. Constitution were notably cognizant  of what they perceived as a danger of majority rule in oppressing  freedom of the individual. (See Tyranny of the majority below). For  example, James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10 advocates a  republic over a democracy precisely to protect the individual from  the majority. [2] However, at the same time, the framers carefully  created democratic institutions and major open society reforms within  the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They kept what they believed  were the best elements of democracy, but mitigated by a balance of  power and a layered federal structure.

Modern definitions of the term 'republic,' however, refer to any  state with an elective head of state serving for a limited term, in  contrast to most contemporary hereditary monarchies which are  representative democracies and constitutional monarchies adhering to  parliamentarism. (Older elective monarchies are also not considered  to be republics.)
[edit]

Socialist democracy

Anarchism and communism (as in the ultimate stage of social  development according to Marxist theory) are political theories that  (in theory) employ a form of direct democracy and have no state  independent of the people themselves.

However, most states governed by a communist party have become  dictatorships and remain thus as long as the party stays in power.  Socialist theorists such as Tony Cliff have argued that most  communist states become dictatorships because the countries in which  communist parties came to power were largely societies in which the  productive forces of development did not reach a level sufficient to  support socialism.
[edit]

Democratic culture

For countries without a strong tradition of democratic majority rule,  the introduction of free elections alone has rarely been sufficient  to achieve a transition from dictatorship to democracy; a wider shift  in the political culture and gradual formation of the institutions of  democratic government are needed. There are various examples (i.e.,  Revolutionary France, modern Uganda and Iran) of countries that were  able to sustain democracy only in limited form until wider cultural  changes occurred to allow true majority rule.

One of the key aspects of democratic culture is the concept of a  "loyal opposition". This is an especially difficult cultural shift to  achieve in nations where transitions of power have historically taken  place through violence. The term means, in essence, that all sides in  a democracy share a common commitment to its basic values. Political  competitors may disagree, but they must tolerate one another and  acknowledge the legitimate and important roles that each play. The  ground rules of the society must encourage tolerance and civility in  public debate. In such a society, the losers accept the judgment of  the voters when the election is over, and allow for the peaceful  transfer of power. The losers are safe in the knowledge that they  will neither lose their lives nor their liberty, and will continue to  participate in public life. They are loyal not to the specific  policies of the government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the  state and to the democratic process itself.
[edit]

Proportional versus majoritarian representation

Some electoral systems, such as the various forms of proportional  representation, attempt to ensure that all political groups  (including minority groups that vote for minor parties), are  represented "fairly" in the nation's legislative bodies, according to  the proportion of total votes they cast; rather than the proportion  of electorates in which they can achieve a regional majority  (majoritarian representation).

This proportional versus majoritarian dichotomy is a not just a  theoretical problem, as both forms of electoral system are common  around the world, and each creates a very different kind of  government. One of the main points of contention is having someone  who directly represents your little region in your country, versus  having everyone's vote count the same, regardless of where in the  country you happen to live. Some countries such as Germany and New  Zealand attempt to have both regional representation, and  proportional representation, in such a way that one doesn't encroach  on the other. This system is commonly called Mixed Member Proportional.
[edit]

Advantages and disadvantages of democracy
[edit]

Plutocracy?

The cost of political campaigning in representative democracies may  mean that the system favours the already rich, or else may encourage  candidates to make deals with the wealthy for legislation favorable  to those supporters once the candidate is elected. On the other hand,  the very wealthy are only a very small minority of the voters.

Public media in a democracy has to be non-partisan. Partisan voices  that are heard widely - through broadcasts or publication - are often  owned by private companies. Some critics argue that serious arguments  against capitalism tend to be suppressed by such companies, to  protect their own self-interests. Proponents respond that  constitutionally protected Freedom of speech makes it possible for  both for-profit and non-profit organizations to start media arguing  against capitalism. They argue that the little success of such media  reflects public preferences and not censorship.

Actual data shows a very large increase in government spending as  percentage of GDP during the last century in democratic Western  nations [3].
[edit]

Short term focus

The relatively short time period before a government stands for re- election may encourage a preference for proposing policies that will  bring only short term benefits to the electorate, rather than  implementing legislation that may be onerous in the short term, but  would be beneficial in decades or centuries to come.
[edit]

Tyranny of the Majority

This issue is also discussed in the article on Majoritarianism.

Whether or not there is a very broad and inclusive franchise,  majority rule may lead to a fear of so-called "tyranny of the  majority." This refers to the possibility that a democratic system  can empower elected representatives acting on behalf of the majority  view to take action that oppresses a particular minority. This  clearly has the potential to undermine the aspiration of democracy as  empowerment of the citizenry as a whole. For example, it is possible  in a democracy to elect a representative body that will decide that a  certain minority (religion, political belief, etc.) should be  criminalized (either directly or indirectly).

Here are some examples of claimed instances in which a majority has  acted controversially against the wishes of a minority in relation to  specific issues:

    * In France, some consider current bans on personal religious  symbols in public schools to be a violation of religious peoples'  rights.
    * In the United States:
          o distribution of pornography is declared illegal if the  material violates "community standards" of decency.
          o "pro-life" (anti-abortion) activists have characterized  unborn children as an oppressed, helpless and disenfranchised minority.
          o the draft early in the Vietnam War was criticized as  oppression of a disenfranchised minority, 18 to 21 year olds. In  response to this, the draft age was raised to 19 and the voting age  was lowered nationwide (along with the drinking age in many states).  While no longer disenfranchised, those subject to the draft remained  significantly outnumbered.
    * The majority often taxes the minority who are wealthy at  progressively higher rates, with the intention that the wealthy will  incur a larger tax burden for social purposes.
    * Recreational drug users are seen by some as a sizable minority  oppressed by the tyranny of the majority in many countries, through  criminalization of drug use. In many countries, those convicted of  drug use also lose the right to vote.
    * Society's treatment of homosexuals is also cited in this  context. One example is the criminalization of gay sex in Britain  during the 19th and much of the 20th century, made famous by the  prosecutions of Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing.
    * Athenian democracy executed Socrates for impiety, i.e., for  dissent. Whether this is pertinent to the dangers of modern  democracies is itself a continuing matter of contention.
    * Adolf Hitler, who gained the largest minority vote in the  democratic Weimar republic in 1933. Some might consider this an  example of "tyranny of a minority" since Hitler never gained a  majority vote. On the other hand, democratic systems endemically, and  perhaps necessarily, end up putting power into the hands of a person  or faction that commands the largest minority, so the rise of Hitler  can not a priori be considered irrelevant to the merits of democracy.  However, the large scale human rights violations took place after the  democratic system had been abolished. Also, the Weimar constitution  in an "emergency" allowed dictatorial powers and suspension of the  essentials of the constitution itself without any vote or election,  something not possible in most liberal democracies.

Proponents of democracy make a number of defenses to this. One is to  argue that the presence of a constitution in many democratic  countries acts as a safeguard against the tyranny of the majority.  Generally, changes in these constitutions require the agreement of a  supermajority of the elected representatives, or require a judge and  jury to agree that evidentiary and procedural standards have been  fulfilled by the state, or two different votes by the representatives  separated by an election, or, very rarely, a referendum. These  requirements are often combined. The separation of powers into  legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch also makes it  more difficult for a small majority to impose their will. This means  a majority can still legitimately coerce a minority (which is still  ethically questionable), but such a minority would be very small and,  as a practical matter, it is harder to get a larger proportion of the  people to agree to such actions.

Another argument is that majorities and minorities can take a  markedly different shape on different issues. People often agree with  the majority view on some issues and agree with a minority view on  other issues. One's view may also change. Thus, the members of a  majority may limit oppression of a minority since they may well in  the future themselves be in a minority.

A third common argument is that, despite the risks, majority rule is  preferable to other systems, and the "tyranny of the majority" is in  any case an improvement on a "tyranny of a minority." Proponents of  democracy argue that empirical statistical evidence strongly shows  that more democracy leads to less internal violence and democide.  This is sometimes formulated as Rummel's Law, which states that the  less democratic freedom a people have, the more likely their rulers  are to murder them.
[edit]

Political stability

One argument for democracy is that by creating a system where the  public can remove administrations, without changing the legal basis  for government, democracy aims at reducing political uncertainty and  instability, and assuring citizens that however much they may  disagree with present policies, they will be given a regular chance  to change those who are in power, or change policies with which they  disagree. This is preferable to a system where political change takes  place through violence.
[edit]

Poverty

More democracy correlates with a higher GDP per capita, a higher  score on the human development index and a lower score on the human  poverty index.

However, there is disagreement regarding how much credit the  democratic system can take for this. It has been argued that most  evidence support the theory that more capitalism, measured for  example with the Index of Economic Freedom, increases economic growth  and that this in turn increases general prosperity, reduces poverty,  and causes democratization.

A prominent economist, Amartya Sen, has noted that no functioning  democracy has ever suffered a large scale famine. This includes  democracies that have not been very prosperous historically, like  India, which had its last great famine in 1943 and many other large  scale famines before that in the late nineteenth century, all under  British rule. However, some others ascribe the Bengal famine of 1943  to the effects of World War II. (It should be added that the  government of India had been becoming progressively more democratic  for years; and that provincial government had been entirely so since  the Government of India Act of 1935.)
[edit]

Wars

The democratic peace theory claims that empirical evidence shows that  democracies never or almost never make war against each other. One  example is a study of all wars from 1816 to 1991 where war was  defined as any military action with more than 1000 killed in battle  and democracy was defined as voting rights for at least 2/3 of all  adult males. The study found 198 wars between non-democracies, 155  wars between democracies and non-democracies, and 0 wars between  democracies. [4] However, this theory remains controversial in some  circles and is the subject of much academic research and debate.

Democracies are sometimes slow to react when in war situations,  because of the bureaucratic and legislative requirements for making  decisions. In a democracy, the legislature usually must pass a  declaration of war before hostilities can be commenced or joined,  although sometimes the executive has some power to take the  initiative while keeping the legislature informed. Further, if  conscription is instituted, people can protest it. Monarchies and  dictatorships can in theory act immediately, but often do not; and  historic monarchies generally also issued declarations of war. In  spite of these things, or perhaps because of them, democracies  historically have been generally able to maintain their security.
[edit]

See also

    * List of politics-related topics

    * Corporatocracy
    * Demarchy
    * Democracy, an 1880 novel by Henry Adams.
    * Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville's famous political  and cultural analysis of American democracy.
    * Democratic globalization
    * Democratization
    * Disapproval voting
    * E-democracy/Internet democracy
    * Freedom House — scores all nations on civil liberties and  political rights
    * The Kyklos
    * Liberalism
    * Meritocracy
    * Plutocracy
    * Sortition
    * Students for global democracy
    * Theocracy
    * Totalitarian democracy

[edit]


2005\07\09@144124 by Carey Fisher - NCS

face picon face
Wow.

What he said...


  > -----Original Message-----
  > From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu]On Behalf
  > Of Gus Salavatore Calabrese
  > Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2005 1:18 PM
  > To: piclistspamKILLspammit.edu
  > Subject: [spam] [OT]: [POLITICAL] Democracy bah humbug
  >    >    > I could scream   and sometimes I do.........
  >    > When I see the word democracy bandied about
  > there are at least as many assumed defintions
  > for the word as there is for LOVE.  ( another word
  > I refuse to utter except in reference to cinema )
  > At  the bottom of this rant are definitions of democracy from     > dictionaries
  > and wikipedia.
  >    > Now, my definition of democracy is ... MOB RULE
  > ( at least as practiced in the USA)
  >    > I ask of you intelligent PICoids out there to not use
  > the word democracy as a substitute word for....
  > duty
  > bravery
  > freedom
  > individual rights
  > self-actualization
  > respect for others
  > sharing power
  > best government possible
  > .
  > .
  > .
  > .
  >    >    > Choose your words carefully and precisely
  > or I will go mad...utterly mad  hahhahahahhaaaaaa
  >    >    > mad.bear
  >    >    >    >    > DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS     > DEFINITIONS DEFINITIONS
  > DEFINITIONS......  SKIP this section if you wish
  > de·moc·ra·cy   Audio pronunciation of "democracy" ( P )      > Pronunciation Key  (d-mkr-s)
  > n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
  >    >     1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through     > elected representatives.
  >     2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
  >     3. The common people, considered as the primary source of     > political power.
  >     4. Majority rule.
  >     5. The principles of social equality and respect for the     > individual within a community.
  >    >    > [French démocratie, from Late Latin dmocratia, from Greek dmokrati :     > dmos, people; see d- in Indo-European Roots + -krati, -cracy.]
  >    > Main Entry: de·moc·ra·cy
  > Pronunciation: di-'mä-kr&-sE
  > Function: noun
  > Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
  > Etymology: Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from     > Greek dEmokratia, from dEmos + -kratia -cracy
  > 1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b :     > a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and     > exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of     > representation usually involving periodically held free elections
  > 2 : a political unit that has a democratic government
  > 3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party     > in the U.S.
  > 4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of     > political authority
  > 5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or     > privileges
  >    >    > WIKIPEDIA
  > Etymology
  >    > The word democracy originates from the Greek δηµοκρατíα     > from δηµος meaning "the people," plus κρατειν meaning "to     > rule," and the suffix íα; the term therefore means "rule by the     > people."
  > [edit]
  >    > Real world meaning and definition
  > [edit]
  >    > Evolution of 'democracy'
  >    >      Main article: History of democracy
  >    > The term 'democracy'—or more precisely, the original (ancient Greek)     > version of the word—was coined in ancient Athens in the 5th century     > BC. That state is generally seen as the earliest example of a system     > corresponding to some of the modern notions of democratic rule.     > However, many do not see ancient Athens as a democracy since only a     > minority had the right to vote; women, slaves, and foreigners being     > excluded from the franchise. Only an estimated 16% of the total     > population had the right to vote. However, the ancient Athenian vote     > applied to making decisions directly, rather than voting for     > representatives as is seen with modern democracy.
  >    > Over time, the meaning of 'democracy' has changed, and the modern     > definition has largely evolved since the 18th century, alongside the     > successive introduction of "democratic" systems in many nations.
  >    > Freedom House argues that there was not a single liberal democracy     > with universal suffrage in the world in 1900, but that today 120     > (62.5%) of the world's 192 nations are such democracies. They count     > 25 (19.2%) nations with restricted democratic practices in 1900 and     > 16 (8.3%) today. They find 19 (14.6%) constitutional monarchies in     > 1900 in which a constitution delineates the powers of the monarch and     > in which some power may have devolved to elected legislatures, and no     > such nations today. Other nations had and have various forms of non-    > democratic rule. [1]
  >    > Today, there are many refined categorizations of the term     > 'democracy', some hypothetical and some realized.
  > [edit]
  >    > Elections as rituals
  >    > Elections are not in themselves a sufficient condition for the     > existence of democracy.
  >    > Elections have often been used by authoritarian regimes or     > dictatorships to give a false sense of democracy. This can happen in     > a variety of different ways:
  >    >      * restrictions on who is allowed to stand for election
  >      * restrictions on the true amount of power that elected     > representatives are allowed to hold, or the policies that they are     > permitted to choose while in office
  >      * voting which is not truly free and fair (e.g., through     > intimidation of those voting for particular candidates)
  >      * falsification of the results
  >    > Historical examples of this include the USSR under the CPSU before     > its collapse in 1991, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and the Philippines     > under Ferdinand Marcos.
  > [edit]
  >    > Liberal democracy
  >    >      Main article: Liberal democracy
  >    > In common usage, democracy is often understood to be the same as     > liberal democracy. While democracy itself is a system of government     > defined and legitimized by elections, liberal democracy can be     > characterized by the incorporation of constitutional liberalism,     > where certain culturally subjective individual rights are protected     > from a simple majority vote, inversely; in illiberal democracies no     > such restrictions exist. Qualities of many liberal democracies include:
  >    >      * A constitution that limits the authority of the government and     > protects many civil rights
  >      * Universal suffrage, granting all citizens the right to vote     > regardless of race, gender or property ownership (See also elective     > rights)
  >      * Freedom of expression, including speech, assembly and protest
  >      * Freedom of the press and access to alternative information     > sources
  >      * Freedom of association
  >      * Equality before the law and due process under the rule of law
  >      * The right to private property and privacy
  >      * Educated citizens informed of their rights and civic     > responsibilities
  >      * A broadly and deeply entrenched civil society
  >      * An independent judiciary
  >      * A system of checks and balances between branches of government
  >    > This definition generally comes with qualifications. The decisions     > taken through elections are taken not by all of the citizenry, but     > rather by those who choose to participate by voting. In addition, not     > all citizens are generally permitted to vote. Most democratic nations     > extend voting rights to those who are above a certain age, typically     > 18. Some nations also do not permit other categories of people to     > vote (e.g., current or previously convicted prisoners).
  >    > Liberal democracy is sometimes the de facto form of government, while     > other forms are technically the case; for example, Canada has a     > monarchy, but is in fact ruled by a democratically elected Parliament.
  >    > Some summarize the definition of democracy as being "majority rule     > with minority rights."
  > [edit]
  >    > Direct versus representative democracy or 'democracy' versus 'republic'
  >    > The definition of the word 'democracy' from the time of ancient     > Greece up to now has not been constant. In contemporary usage, the     > term 'democracy' refers to a government chosen by the people, whether     > it is direct or representative.
  >    > There is another definition of democracy, particularly in     > constitutional theory and in historical usages and especially when     > considering the works of the American "Founding Fathers." According     > to this usage, the word 'democracy' refers solely to direct     > democracy, whilst a representative democracy where representatives of     > the people govern in accordance with a constitution is referred to as     > a 'republic.' This older terminology retains some popularity in U.S.     > conservative and Libertarian debate.
  >    > The original framers of the U.S. Constitution were notably cognizant     > of what they perceived as a danger of majority rule in oppressing     > freedom of the individual. (See Tyranny of the majority below). For     > example, James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10 advocates a     > republic over a democracy precisely to protect the individual from     > the majority. [2] However, at the same time, the framers carefully     > created democratic institutions and major open society reforms within     > the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They kept what they believed     > were the best elements of democracy, but mitigated by a balance of     > power and a layered federal structure.
  >    > Modern definitions of the term 'republic,' however, refer to any     > state with an elective head of state serving for a limited term, in     > contrast to most contemporary hereditary monarchies which are     > representative democracies and constitutional monarchies adhering to     > parliamentarism. (Older elective monarchies are also not considered     > to be republics.)
  > [edit]
  >    > Socialist democracy
  >    > Anarchism and communism (as in the ultimate stage of social     > development according to Marxist theory) are political theories that     > (in theory) employ a form of direct democracy and have no state     > independent of the people themselves.
  >    > However, most states governed by a communist party have become     > dictatorships and remain thus as long as the party stays in power.     > Socialist theorists such as Tony Cliff have argued that most     > communist states become dictatorships because the countries in which     > communist parties came to power were largely societies in which the     > productive forces of development did not reach a level sufficient to     > support socialism.
  > [edit]
  >    > Democratic culture
  >    > For countries without a strong tradition of democratic majority rule,     > the introduction of free elections alone has rarely been sufficient     > to achieve a transition from dictatorship to democracy; a wider shift     > in the political culture and gradual formation of the institutions of     > democratic government are needed. There are various examples (i.e.,     > Revolutionary France, modern Uganda and Iran) of countries that were     > able to sustain democracy only in limited form until wider cultural     > changes occurred to allow true majority rule.
  >    > One of the key aspects of democratic culture is the concept of a     > "loyal opposition". This is an especially difficult cultural shift to     > achieve in nations where transitions of power have historically taken     > place through violence. The term means, in essence, that all sides in     > a democracy share a common commitment to its basic values. Political     > competitors may disagree, but they must tolerate one another and     > acknowledge the legitimate and important roles that each play. The     > ground rules of the society must encourage tolerance and civility in     > public debate. In such a society, the losers accept the judgment of     > the voters when the election is over, and allow for the peaceful     > transfer of power. The losers are safe in the knowledge that they     > will neither lose their lives nor their liberty, and will continue to     > participate in public life. They are loyal not to the specific     > policies of the government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the     > state and to the democratic process itself.
  > [edit]
  >    > Proportional versus majoritarian representation
  >    > Some electoral systems, such as the various forms of proportional     > representation, attempt to ensure that all political groups     > (including minority groups that vote for minor parties), are     > represented "fairly" in the nation's legislative bodies, according to     > the proportion of total votes they cast; rather than the proportion     > of electorates in which they can achieve a regional majority     > (majoritarian representation).
  >    > This proportional versus majoritarian dichotomy is a not just a     > theoretical problem, as both forms of electoral system are common     > around the world, and each creates a very different kind of     > government. One of the main points of contention is having someone     > who directly represents your little region in your country, versus     > having everyone's vote count the same, regardless of where in the     > country you happen to live. Some countries such as Germany and New     > Zealand attempt to have both regional representation, and     > proportional representation, in such a way that one doesn't encroach     > on the other. This system is commonly called Mixed Member Proportional.
  > [edit]
  >    > Advantages and disadvantages of democracy
  > [edit]
  >    > Plutocracy?
  >    > The cost of political campaigning in representative democracies may     > mean that the system favours the already rich, or else may encourage     > candidates to make deals with the wealthy for legislation favorable     > to those supporters once the candidate is elected. On the other hand,     > the very wealthy are only a very small minority of the voters.
  >    > Public media in a democracy has to be non-partisan. Partisan voices     > that are heard widely - through broadcasts or publication - are often     > owned by private companies. Some critics argue that serious arguments     > against capitalism tend to be suppressed by such companies, to     > protect their own self-interests. Proponents respond that     > constitutionally protected Freedom of speech makes it possible for     > both for-profit and non-profit organizations to start media arguing     > against capitalism. They argue that the little success of such media     > reflects public preferences and not censorship.
  >    > Actual data shows a very large increase in government spending as     > percentage of GDP during the last century in democratic Western     > nations [3].
  > [edit]
  >    > Short term focus
  >    > The relatively short time period before a government stands for re-    > election may encourage a preference for proposing policies that will     > bring only short term benefits to the electorate, rather than     > implementing legislation that may be onerous in the short term, but     > would be beneficial in decades or centuries to come.
  > [edit]
  >    > Tyranny of the Majority
  >    > This issue is also discussed in the article on Majoritarianism.
  >    > Whether or not there is a very broad and inclusive franchise,     > majority rule may lead to a fear of so-called "tyranny of the     > majority." This refers to the possibility that a democratic system     > can empower elected representatives acting on behalf of the majority     > view to take action that oppresses a particular minority. This     > clearly has the potential to undermine the aspiration of democracy as     > empowerment of the citizenry as a whole. For example, it is possible     > in a democracy to elect a representative body that will decide that a     > certain minority (religion, political belief, etc.) should be     > criminalized (either directly or indirectly).
  >    > Here are some examples of claimed instances in which a majority has     > acted controversially against the wishes of a minority in relation to     > specific issues:
  >    >      * In France, some consider current bans on personal religious     > symbols in public schools to be a violation of religious peoples'     > rights.
  >      * In the United States:
  >            o distribution of pornography is declared illegal if the     > material violates "community standards" of decency.
  >            o "pro-life" (anti-abortion) activists have characterized     > unborn children as an oppressed, helpless and disenfranchised minority.
  >            o the draft early in the Vietnam War was criticized as     > oppression of a disenfranchised minority, 18 to 21 year olds. In     > response to this, the draft age was raised to 19 and the voting age     > was lowered nationwide (along with the drinking age in many states).     > While no longer disenfranchised, those subject to the draft remained     > significantly outnumbered.
  >      * The majority often taxes the minority who are wealthy at     > progressively higher rates, with the intention that the wealthy will     > incur a larger tax burden for social purposes.
  >      * Recreational drug users are seen by some as a sizable minority     > oppressed by the tyranny of the majority in many countries, through     > criminalization of drug use. In many countries, those convicted of     > drug use also lose the right to vote.
  >      * Society's treatment of homosexuals is also cited in this     > context. One example is the criminalization of gay sex in Britain     > during the 19th and much of the 20th century, made famous by the     > prosecutions of Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing.
  >      * Athenian democracy executed Socrates for impiety, i.e., for     > dissent. Whether this is pertinent to the dangers of modern     > democracies is itself a continuing matter of contention.
  >      * Adolf Hitler, who gained the largest minority vote in the     > democratic Weimar republic in 1933. Some might consider this an     > example of "tyranny of a minority" since Hitler never gained a     > majority vote. On the other hand, democratic systems endemically, and     > perhaps necessarily, end up putting power into the hands of a person     > or faction that commands the largest minority, so the rise of Hitler     > can not a priori be considered irrelevant to the merits of democracy.     > However, the large scale human rights violations took place after the     > democratic system had been abolished. Also, the Weimar constitution     > in an "emergency" allowed dictatorial powers and suspension of the     > essentials of the constitution itself without any vote or election,     > something not possible in most liberal democracies.
  >    > Proponents of democracy make a number of defenses to this. One is to     > argue that the presence of a constitution in many democratic     > countries acts as a safeguard against the tyranny of the majority.     > Generally, changes in these constitutions require the agreement of a     > supermajority of the elected representatives, or require a judge and     > jury to agree that evidentiary and procedural standards have been     > fulfilled by the state, or two different votes by the representatives     > separated by an election, or, very rarely, a referendum. These     > requirements are often combined. The separation of powers into     > legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch also makes it     > more difficult for a small majority to impose their will. This means     > a majority can still legitimately coerce a minority (which is still     > ethically questionable), but such a minority would be very small and,     > as a practical matter, it is harder to get a larger proportion of the     > people to agree to such actions.
  >    > Another argument is that majorities and minorities can take a     > markedly different shape on different issues. People often agree with     > the majority view on some issues and agree with a minority view on     > other issues. One's view may also change. Thus, the members of a     > majority may limit oppression of a minority since they may well in     > the future themselves be in a minority.
  >    > A third common argument is that, despite the risks, majority rule is     > preferable to other systems, and the "tyranny of the majority" is in     > any case an improvement on a "tyranny of a minority." Proponents of     > democracy argue that empirical statistical evidence strongly shows     > that more democracy leads to less internal violence and democide.     > This is sometimes formulated as Rummel's Law, which states that the     > less democratic freedom a people have, the more likely their rulers     > are to murder them.
  > [edit]
  >    > Political stability
  >    > One argument for democracy is that by creating a system where the     > public can remove administrations, without changing the legal basis     > for government, democracy aims at reducing political uncertainty and     > instability, and assuring citizens that however much they may     > disagree with present policies, they will be given a regular chance     > to change those who are in power, or change policies with which they     > disagree. This is preferable to a system where political change takes     > place through violence.
  > [edit]
  >    > Poverty
  >    > More democracy correlates with a higher GDP per capita, a higher     > score on the human development index and a lower score on the human     > poverty index.
  >    > However, there is disagreement regarding how much credit the     > democratic system can take for this. It has been argued that most     > evidence support the theory that more capitalism, measured for     > example with the Index of Economic Freedom, increases economic growth     > and that this in turn increases general prosperity, reduces poverty,     > and causes democratization.
  >    > A prominent economist, Amartya Sen, has noted that no functioning     > democracy has ever suffered a large scale famine. This includes     > democracies that have not been very prosperous historically, like     > India, which had its last great famine in 1943 and many other large     > scale famines before that in the late nineteenth century, all under     > British rule. However, some others ascribe the Bengal famine of 1943     > to the effects of World War II. (It should be added that the     > government of India had been becoming progressively more democratic     > for years; and that provincial government had been entirely so since     > the Government of India Act of 1935.)
  > [edit]
  >    > Wars
  >    > The democratic peace theory claims that empirical evidence shows that     > democracies never or almost never make war against each other. One     > example is a study of all wars from 1816 to 1991 where war was     > defined as any military action with more than 1000 killed in battle     > and democracy was defined as voting rights for at least 2/3 of all     > adult males. The study found 198 wars between non-democracies, 155     > wars between democracies and non-democracies, and 0 wars between     > democracies. [4] However, this theory remains controversial in some     > circles and is the subject of much academic research and debate.
  >    > Democracies are sometimes slow to react when in war situations,     > because of the bureaucratic and legislative requirements for making     > decisions. In a democracy, the legislature usually must pass a     > declaration of war before hostilities can be commenced or joined,     > although sometimes the executive has some power to take the     > initiative while keeping the legislature informed. Further, if     > conscription is instituted, people can protest it. Monarchies and     > dictatorships can in theory act immediately, but often do not; and     > historic monarchies generally also issued declarations of war. In     > spite of these things, or perhaps because of them, democracies     > historically have been generally able to maintain their security.
  > [edit]
  >    > See also
  >    >      * List of politics-related topics
  >    >      * Corporatocracy
  >      * Demarchy
  >      * Democracy, an 1880 novel by Henry Adams.
  >      * Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville's famous political     > and cultural analysis of American democracy.
  >      * Democratic globalization
  >      * Democratization
  >      * Disapproval voting
  >      * E-democracy/Internet democracy
  >      * Freedom House — scores all nations on civil liberties and     > political rights
  >      * The Kyklos
  >      * Liberalism
  >      * Meritocracy
  >      * Plutocracy
  >      * Sortition
  >      * Students for global democracy
  >      * Theocracy
  >      * Totalitarian democracy
  >    > [edit]
  >    >    >    >    > --

2005\07\09@160245 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
Well said. And as far as I can tell, all statements of fact, not opinion or the unknowable.

I'll listen to complaints OFF LIST if there are any, and in the mean time enjoy the thread.

---
James.
 
> {Original Message removed}

2005\07\09@210849 by John Ferrell

face picon face
Thanks for the [POLITICAL] tag, the Outlook Express filter works fine, I can
dig them out of the deletes if I want, but they are now invisible to me.
Y'all have fun!

PS: Remember to trim your posts to reduce unneccessary bandwidth... :-)

John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

----- Original Message -----
From: "James Newton, Host" <.....jamesnewtonKILLspamspam.....piclist.com>
To: "'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'" <EraseMEpiclistspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu>
Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2005 4:02 PM
Subject: RE: [OT]: [POLITICAL] Democracy bah humbug


> Well said. And as far as I can tell, all statements of fact, not opinion
> or the unknowable.


2005\07\09@214833 by Ling SM

picon face
> Now, my definition of democracy is ... MOB RULE
> ( at least as practiced in the USA)

Normally I avoid the political minefield.  But...

The quality of democracy as shown and peached by CNN probably has
reached the end of its path.

If I contrast the quality of democracy at the time when US constitution
 was draft and now, I think the quality is very bad now.  Democracy as
a concept might not differ much, but the quality of citizenship has
deteriorated.  I think it is not easy, almost impossible, to get back is
because there is not enough effort put in by both the citizen as well as
the rulers/politicians to improve the quality of citizenship.  In most
cases better citizenship is not to the advantages of the politicians,
and a lot of hard work by the citizenship.  With high cost of living in
the modern world, it is only natural to have absentee citizen.  And
since the politicians control the resources, it is more likely they will
keep the people on weak addictions so to maintain the position.  It is
returning to the old game.

My 2 cents.

Ling SM

2005\07\10@120750 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Ling SM wrote:

> In most cases better citizenship is [...] a lot of hard work by the
> citizenship.  With high cost of living in the modern world, it is only
> natural to have absentee citizen.  

I respectfully disagree with the second affirmation, and partially with the
first.

The modern world has AFAIK the lowest cost of living for the large majority
-- at least in most of the countries where we do have a reasonably working
democracy. In pretty much all of USA, Canada, Japan, most of the EU
countries, most people can live quite well (not wealthy, but well) with
some 40 hours of work per week. And this includes many goodies people in
earlier times didn't have.

So IMO the "high cost of living" is not that high, and if people wanted to,
they could easily take upon the "hard work" of being more of a citizen.
It's the choice between watching a show on Friday evening or going to a
town meeting. Or between watching another show on Tuesday evening or
researching an issue that's up for discussion in congress (or whatever the
country's parliament is called) and writing an email or letter to the
representative. Doesn't sound like real hard work to me.

To be absent from the political process may be natural, but it has nothing
to do with high cost of living. The majority of the absentee citizens in
the cited countries have /much/ more than they need, including relax time.
It's their free choice to be absent from the process.

Gerhard

2005\07\10@122929 by Gus Salavatore Calabrese

face picon face

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gus Salavatore Calabrese" <gscspamspam_OUTomegadogs.com>
To: <@spam@piclistKILLspamspammit.edu>
Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2005 12:17 PM
Subject: [OT]: [POLITICAL] Democracy bah humbug



{Quote hidden}

I have read all the rants about the London subway and bus bombings
 and I think every Idiot has a right to their opinion.  But when these
Idiots set themselves up to judge my country (which is judging me)
then I will speak up.  I live in the USA an am proud of it.  I have
 watched the so called third world countries killing and being killed
and it appears it is generally a minority of people in each country that
does the killing.  IF we can help the oppressed in any way I am happy
 to help.  From what I see these countries want our money
(which the needy never get) and then for us to bug out until they  
need more
money.
  This (the needy never get the money) and a misguided religious  
belief is
causing
 most of the world problems today. I know I can not solve these  
problems but
 will do what I can.  NOW to the mob rule in the USA, you are out of  
your
mind or very stupid.

Derward myrick

Hi Derward

I can offer evidence that USA democracy is mob rule.
Can you offer countering evidence ?
I do not think I am out of my mind or stupid.   I think I can offer  
evidence
to those facts as well.


regards    Gus


2005\07\10@125253 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On July 10, 2005 09:29 am, Gus Salavatore Calabrese wrote:
> I can offer evidence that USA democracy is mob rule.
> Can you offer countering evidence ?
> I do not think I am out of my mind or stupid.   I think I can offer
> evidence
> to those facts as well.

Al Gore lost the presidential seat since he only had 51% of the vote.

2005\07\10@150910 by Bob Barr

flavicon
face
On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 09:55:55 -0700, Jose Da Silva wrote:

<snip>
>
>Al Gore lost the presidential seat since he only had 51% of the vote.

No, Al Gore lost the presidency since he had fewer presidential
electors than GWB in the Electoral College.

The US presidential election is not (and never has been) decided by
the results of the national popular vote.


Regards, Bob

2005\07\10@151629 by Carey Fisher - NCS

face picon face
  > On July 10, 2005 09:29 am, Gus Salavatore Calabrese wrote:
  > > I can offer evidence that USA democracy is mob rule.
  > > Can you offer countering evidence ?
  > > I do not think I am out of my mind or stupid.   I think I can offer
  > > evidence
  > > to those facts as well.
  >

Counter Evidence:
OJ Simpson wasn't dragged from his
jail cell and hanged for murder.
Elian Gonzales wasn't rescued from
the imperial federal government goons
by a mob of Cuban-Americans. (why not?)
Child molesters have court trials,
are sentenced according to the law,
serve their sentences, get out of jail
and are not hung by mobs.

What more counter evidence do you need?



2005\07\10@202714 by Ling SM

picon face

{Quote hidden}

I was trying to resolve why the widespread low voting rate across the
modern world.  We starting to see an unhealthy sign:  Japan is now ruled
by two right wing parties, both ruling and opposition parties are right
wings.  For the high cost of living, I was trying to cost the needs of a
family with kids, for all their educational, health and insurance
expenditures.  I suppose they form the middle-class and majority that
are not voting.

Effective citizenship I don't think is easy.  Even for simple writing,
you have to research enough and write the right stuff to right persons,
and making sure you don't give the impression that you are carrying the
opposition flag.  All these so that some politicians will be interested
to take up your points so their positions can be enhanced.  Personally I
wrote a few times trying to change the direction of some policies and
succeed I did, but I had to ensure my points were not mere echoes and
simplistic for what the papers or CNN were reporting, and following up
with the counter points as the debate progresses.

Ling SM

2005\07\11@172020 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 12:09:16 -0700, Bob Barr wrote:

> The US presidential election is not (and never has
been) decided by the results of the national popular
vote.

Why is that?

Cheers,



Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2005\07\11@194823 by Bob Barr

flavicon
face
On Mon, 11 Jul 2005 22:20:17 +0100 (BST), "Howard Winter" wrote:

>On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 12:09:16 -0700, Bob Barr wrote:
>
>> The US presidential election is not (and never has
>been) decided by the results of the national popular
>vote.
>
>Why is that?
>

The Electoral College was established by the U.S. Constitution and,
IIRC, resulted primarily as a compromise between larger states and
smaller ones.

Each state has a number of electors based on the total number of
senators (always 2 per state) plus congressional representataives
(generally a larger number but since it's based on population, some
states have the minimum of one).

For the most part, it's winner-take-all done on a state-by-state basis
but a few states have recently opted to apportion their electors'
votes between candidates.

I think a prime advantage to the system is that contested elections
are isolated to specific states rather than the entire country.


Regards, Bob

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