Is Democracy Over-rated?

Discussion in 'Modern' started by michaelmaltby, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    In the west we have been taught that our forces fought for Democracy. Yet these governments did some pretty undemocratic things in emergencies (interring the Japanese, interring Ukrainians in WW1, etc).

    On the other hand, in Canada at least, we believe in the notion of "Peace, Order and GOOD Government". (Good Gov't essentially being honest, fair and accountable in some measure).

    So my question in this thread is this: Is it possible to have GOOD government that is NOT Democratic Government.

    (Moderators, please note, I am NOT posting "Is the Democratic Party Over-rated" :))

    MM
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Just remember guys, we have a 0 politics policy on this forum.

    If the mod team decides to stop this thread we will do so.
     
  3. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the East European guys will tell you the ways of non democratic government.

    In the UK we have a monarch who we can't get rid of....unless revolution.

    So hardly democratic. Democracy is the only form of government which is accountable to its people.

    Any form of dictatorship will involve false arrest false imprisonment and general put up against a wall and shot for the good of the people.

    No thanks.
     
  4. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #4 michaelmaltby, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
    "... Democracy is the only form of government which is accountable to its people".

    We in the West are certainly taught that :). But think about Tribal Societies (which we all were once). Tribal Rule could be quite 'arbitrary' yet, unless an Elder, Chief or Councillor were good at their job ... leadership, decision-making, diplomacy in both war and peace .... that leader would be gone. Replaced with one more able and/or competent.

    Tribes have many advantages precisely because they are NOT democratic (in the western sense). Tribes have common blood, common values, common history, common genes. It is easy for members to equate survival of the Individual with survival of the Tribe.

    Forget birthplace-of democracy-Greece. Freed by Slaves from doing any work except sports and fighting, privileged Greek men had the luxury of sitting around and talking about "government" :)

    Democracy's roots lie in societies that have been forced to transition from one stage to another ..... King John was compelled by his nobles to accept Magna Carta (they wanted accountability for their social contract with their king) .... The American Revolution was inspired in an English society transplanted to a New World -- with new challenges and great promises of wealth and achievement. Those who conducted the revolution knew their rights, freedoms and their history -- no taxation without representation.

    Both examples have been brilliant successes - measured in all fields: war, peace, culture, the arts, the media (propaganda), commerce, science. But both countries are vulnerable to attack from within -- which we are seeing with our own eyes in real time. This vulnerability lies in the truth that (like Ju Jitzu) our strengths (freedom) can be used against us.

    Life (survival) teaches that all opinions are not equal. All that is natural is not necessarily benign. All singing voices are not sweet. All people are not inherently good. Why would any right-minded realist pretend otherwise .... unless to walk around in denial and delusional :).

    90.9% of the decision-making done by governments falling into the area of "housekeeping" -- do you need a committee to figure out how it's best done? (But surely you want it done well, safely and cost-effectively) On the other hand, the "critical" decision making (war, peace, migration, alliance, famine, epidemic) requires broad consultation and buy-in. Otherwise no one would volunteer or co-operate, spelling failure of whatever venture.

    The current unravelling of the EU experiment raises serious questions about the ideal political, social, and economic organization of neighboring "tribes" of various sizes, histories and past experiences with each other. Tribalism in Europe has been totally discredited again and again (most recently Kosovo and the sad Balkins breakup) yet Europeans of various tribal origins have what?, to galvanize around: standards of living, security, comfort and protection. Is that good government? Yes .... but ... when you wake up with the wolf in the compound, somebody, somewhere who was responsible for keeping the wolf in check .... screwed the pooch. Good government ...?

    When two companies enter into a binding contract - if it's a good one - there is built-in accountability (costs, delivery dates, disclosures etc). Yet such a contract is not democratic - and not necessarily between two equals - yet accountability can be provided.

    So I ask again: Is it possible to have GOOD government that is NOT Democratic Government.

    MM
     
  5. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    #5 Readie, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
    This has made me think Michael.
    How do you define 'good' ? Do you mean fair, just, accountable, benign ?
    The British Empire could be called a 'good' non democratic governing body. I believe that ultimately it became an altruistic organisation that meant the best for its subjects.
    Perhaps the same could said of the Roman Empire? Obviously there are undesirable parts of any empire, slavery etc. But, does history judge the British Roman Empires as 'good' or 'evil' ?
    Europe is tribal. The UK is tribal. Its not a bad thing and as human beings we need to belong. So, the sense of belongingness that a tribe ( sic country) gives is quite normal and may explain why so many British emigrants to Australia come home after just s few years.

    We are taught that Olivier Cromwell was a great Englishman. He was, but there was a dark side too.

    John
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Try starting a thread like this in an undemocratic state,assuming it allows internet access or any kind of forum in the first place.
    Steve
     
  7. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    You are right Steve

    John
     
  8. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #8 michaelmaltby, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
    "... Try starting a thread like this in an undemocratic state,assuming it allows internet access or any kind of forum in the first place."

    Very true. Of course, :), I could be an agent provocateur - hoping you'll disclose ..... :), Stona.

    Was Rome good, John? -- Lord knows enough people tried to reinstate it after it collapsed ....

    Can a democracy contain slavery ... the US did.

    Tribal provides identity but boy can it ever be claustrophobic. Ask the young Norse who escaped to Iceland (Vineland).

    King John who was censured into Magna Carta is remembered as "Good King John" .

    Olivier Cromwell was a great Englishman ... a great soldier, a charismatic leader and a fanatic .... so was Gengis Khan.

    I will note the following. My wife (born in Canada of the Estonian persuasion) pointed out an article yesterday on how well the Estonians were dealing with the Euro crisis ... there's a natural consensus. Of course they score low on the Good Samaritan Test. Probably as a result of years underSoviet Russia.

    So there you go. "Peace. Order. Good Government" ..... is what you want if you're already happy and confident and mostly agree with your neighbours. You want "strife, crisis, uncertainty, government entitlements and interventions" if you are on the fringes of society, trying to take over:).

    Men don't fight for their countries, they say. They fight for each other (under any political system, it seems).

    Chairs,

    MM
     
  9. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    In my country, choice of democracy was good but the quality of politicians are getting worse election by election.
    Matter is not the political system but the personal qualities of candidates. They easily lie or forget what they said.
    Sooner or later, we would need any checking system in public place by the people for the candidates before they stand for.
    Situation is serious.
     
  10. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Michael.


    King John


    History does not remember King John as particularly 'good'. Its interesting to note that no other King has been called 'John'.

    Civil rights in the USA...umm yes. That's a subject on its own.

    Rome brought a good deal of civilization to Great Britain and we admire the Roman Baths etc in the City of Bath to this day.

    I think that to have a sense of belongingness is vital to human well being. In an historical country such as mine, to be English and provably so does give me a strong sense of identity and pride. Now, I must say that I do not look down my nose at any other country but, equally I do not look up to any either. The symbols of identity can be anything, a Spitfire, QE2, the CoE, legends like King Arthur, the stands we have made, the victories...the list is endless.

    My family emigrated to Tasmania Australia as £10 Poms in 1961, to cut a long story short my mother never settled and wanted to come 'home' which we did in 1970. Our experience is not unique, relatively few stay. Much as the reasons to leave were valid the pull of 'home' was stronger.

    Cromwell is celebrated or despised. It depends on your views on the Royals v Parliament and the power of the church. Was OC a dictator? some say he was....

    I think that people fight to survive, whether its for each other or for their country I don't know as I have not been at war.

    To take up your point about...So there you go. "Peace. Order. Good Government" ..... is what you want if you're already happy and confident and mostly agree with your neighbours. You want "strife, crisis, uncertainty, government entitlements and interventions" if you are on the fringes of society, trying to take over"

    What about those who want orderly change?

    John
     
  11. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Quite right, your situation is replicated in Europe with poor quality candidates and a catalog of shame with provable lies, expenses cheats and indiscretions.

    Not good

    John
     
  12. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    I do think this one says it all.
    Would You like even your SMS's censored??????
    I think not. But there is one country on this planet proposing just That.
     
  13. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... orderly change? " Change is like hot water. One minute it's water and the next it's steam. ( a different puppy). I'm not sure orderly change is natural. :)

    MM
     
  14. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I would hope so but, there needs to be a catalyst for long lasting and far reaching change.

    John
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    What most see as orderly change is, in truth, incremental change ...slow, unnoticed build up along a fault line or in a volcano. :) This continues as a natural outcome until there is sudden, violent change, which is often transformational. And then .... it repeats .... Far reaching change, long lasting change, is usually determined by events rather than by free will, IMHO. :)

    MM
     
  16. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    To say democracy is bad is to say there is an alternative.

    English kings historically were dictators so only armed revolt could get rid of them. King John was no worse than others.

    Rich men rule and get richer. Rupert Murdoch has power totally unelected but power he has. In any society its about one man being the master and one the servant or slave. Politics change but human nature don't.
     
  17. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #17 nuuumannn, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
    Running a country is like running a business on a busy high street. There are many different ways of doing it, but by far the way that is going to keep the staff happy is the one in which they are prosperous and content with their lot. Conflicting issues with other businesses, with whom your business has to trade with, often leads to conflicts of interest and a loss of trade with that party. Alliances with other businesses to ensure continual trade at times of financial crisis is a sensible idea, but essentially in order to run your business successfully, you need trade and good economists. If your money is managed efficiently, this ensures that your workforce is happy because you are bringing in enough to pay them their dues. There will always be discontent, but the alternative, isolation from the trading group, leads to even more discontent and a lack of services for the staff because the money is not there to pay for them. Your range of products available has a considerable impact on your earning power, so branching out into other specialty areas is often recommended, but only if the rewards are tangible for the successful continuation of your business and contentment of your staff.

    I would have to say democracy is not over rated. Sadly, I fear the issue being questioned here is how well governments have run their businesses, rather than the political system itself, because, as many have indicated, the alternative does not bear thinking about. In the West, we don't know how lucky we are, mate. The freedoms that we enjoy have come at a huge cost. :)
     
  18. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Very true. But, the hard won freedoms are in danger of being squandered with un-necessary economic upset and all the resentment that causes.

    In Britain we have a government that no one actually voted into power and who has appointed itself as the crusader of 'reform' (aka massive cuts in services that are without precedent) the effects of this will touch everyone's life unless you are rich enough to enjoy private healthcare education combined with some sort of private personal guards as the state education, healthcare Police are getting a bit frayed at the edges.

    So, we have riots, the increasing divide between and have's and have nots,a failing economy,PC ness that is out of control, public sector employees up in arms,a programme of swinging cuts in public services, a reduction in our armed forces and Police, our border controls in disarray and the PM wants to know if everyone is 'happy'....

    As long as the lager is cheap in the supermarkets I suppose some of will be for an hour or two.

    I despair for my beloved England

    John
     
  19. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Hi John, you have reason to, my friend, but I have to say; objectively, these issues being brought up in this thread are not the sole preserve of democracy. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, i.e. capitalist tendencies are not restricted to democratically elected governments. Look at Mugabe and Idi Amin and how the population under them are/were treated by contrast to how they led their lives. We are essentially debating the failings of governments to effectively govern.

    In a democracy however, we can say "enough is enough"; we can protest with a march on Wall Street. If our politicians over step the mark, like with the Iran Contra scandal or Watergate, we can bring them to task. In terms of Murdoch and the misbehaving CEOs of the big financials in the USA, we can petition the government to enact laws or put in place tighter controls over bad business practice. We can make a difference and we have a voice. Subversive activities under the alternative do not get punished and we have no rights to question those in power regardless of their behaviour. It's likely we would be beaten and our families terrorised if we spoke out of turn. Perhaps this thread should be renamed? It isn't democracy itself that is being questioned, but the incompetence of our leaders.
     
  20. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    If the Pee Emm wants to know if you're happy, then you tell him what you b****y well think! No! For crying out loud!
     
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