Why Democracy Will Fail

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by one_raven, May 29, 2008.

  1. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

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    Madanthonywayne:

    You Aristotilean timocratic bastard, you.

    It's a preferrable system to mob-based democracy, though.
     
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  3. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

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    EmmZ:

    The Venetian Republic took a widerange of intelligence types, and not merely "intelligence". Thus great artists, sculptors, carpenters, sportsmen, military men, et cetera, were chosen for government position, not simply scholars, priests, and succesful merchants.

    Considering meritocracy rules in practically every other position in society, it stands to reason that it ought to be adopted for our political leaders. Certainly businesses, schools, sports teams, militaries, et cetera, work under a mostly meritocratic system.
     
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  5. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    Would this system not lead to a very elitist government, much akin to a monarchy and their close circle of luvies and darlings? I fear the ones appointed in the fields of science would assume they deserved more sway than those in carpentry, being the snobs scientists can be. Again, it's a nice idea, and I see how it worked for as long as it did until Napoleon put the kibosh on it, but could it work today? It would certainly be a better option than what's on offer on the political platter in this climate.
     
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  7. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

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    EmmZ:

    If it worked once, it surely could work again, says I. Especially as it worked for a thousand years with remarkable vitality. Venice was, after all, a world power, who pretty much forced Europe to go on the Crusades for its own benefit.

    As to elitism, I do not think so. The Venetian Republic also worked within a very strong climate of "if you fuck up, we have your head on a platter". The Doge (the ducal title for the executive), and the men who supported him, would be killed if he failed to assure them victory in a war. In like manner, there were consequences to corruption and inefficiency. Sure, some scientists might be slightly "snobbish", but clearly it can be understood how needed both science and carpentry is.

    Moreover, we again have situations in society which essentially show that meritocracy is widely implementable. Consider the military. Generals become generals through talent. Sometimes they fail, yes, but they reach their goals through a long process of being good officers. Cronyism and such is limited, especially as the posts in the military exist outside of political oversight for the most part.
     
  8. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    Oooh, does it really? I've often thought those with access to a better education, or rather the "right" education are favoured above those who crawl their way up the ranks and those who have a piece of paper signed by Oxford slot immediately into positions that those who have bleed next to men of whom they'd give their life for often settle, or are given a compensatory title and not real clout.

    And what over Napoleon? If the Venetian Republic's meritocracy was such a well favoured system why once Napoleon had been ousted wasn't the former government restored? I do like the sounds of this system, alas I fear even though I would be a wonderful and valuable member of the commitee I'd be discounted for lack of the right credentials on paper, aside from the fact I might be better suited to making decisions in certain areas. Are meritocracy and socialism something like first cousins of the political family?
     
  9. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

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    EmmZ:

    Academies have always served to make officers, but this has been understood on the premise that an officer requires a higher degree of education. That being said, most militaries have routinely permitted enlisted men to be commissioned as officers. This is most common in war time (less so in peace), where enlisted men were often quickly given commissions based on their merit.

    Suffice it to say, few people lay unused in the lower-ranks that deserve to be higher. A good commander and good soldier at any rank is generally given the recognition he deserves.

    Venetian power was destroyed fairly utterly by Napoleon. Once the government loses all its social structures and civil government, it is simply too difficult to reconstruct that. Austria took almost all her land and Venice simply was not in a position to come out of the ashes reborn.

    A thousand year meritocracy fell. As time approaches infinity, the likelyhood of a government failing approaches 1.

    As for socialism, I would find it hard to reconcile Marxist socialism with meritocracy, based on the contrary principles they are founded upon.

    Socialism: From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. (Take from those who do, give to those who do not).

    Meritocracy: To each according to his abilities, from each according to his needs. (Give to those who do, expect 'payment' from those who need).

    If you are speaking of say...social welfare, a meritocratic system can work with those. It is highly unlikely that any society could exist without taking care of its elderly and such.

    Finally, to address your notion of being unappreciated, that is something that I would argue is less so amongst meritocracies. Unless you're absolutely inept, "credentials" would not matter. Those who are worthy get recognition: It is in the interest of the State and the self-interest of the statesmen, to recognize talent and merit, and place people in those positions. As noted in Venice, this included all sorts of things, from sportsmen, military men, artists, writers, et cetera. Not one class of man predominated over the other, simply one was looking for the "best of the fields". This also had the benefit of actually going to experts to have them decide what would be best for their expertise. How silly it is that rich men in congress or parliament decide on matters of road policy and not a road builder, for instance.
     
  10. Letticia Registered Senior Member

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    300
    First, many (most?) people are more self-centered than EmmZ claims to be, and the smartest of them always manage to "play the system" for their own ends. Socialism is more suited for it than capitalism, because with government monopolizing services, whoever decides the appropriation of services has more services to skim off. Of course, EmmZ wants government by presumably honest "idealistic socialists" who would no such thing (IOW, a fantasy).

    But then you get the second, and far worse problem. By their nature, idealists are unwilling to admit mistakes. If you have an idea, a vision of How Things Should Be, and you work toward it selflessly, and then your idea turns out to have harmful unintended consequences (and Big Ideas always, have harmful unintended consequences), you will not admit your fault. I had the perfect plan, and something went wrong! Can not be my fault! Must be someone else's! Find them and punish them! At best, the idealist would concede that he did not work hard enough, and would try to implement his idea even harder. Until the consequences got so bad that someone else kicks him out of power. Whereas if you work toward selfish goal of enriching yourself by providing other people some service they want, and bad things happen, guess what -- people will stop buying your service, and you have to change strategies or go bankrupt, no matter how fervently you believed you were doing the right thing.

    Finally, idealists tend to overlook details. They look at the "big picture" and do not think of small things that make life worth living. No socialist ever invented, or would have invented a tampon. That alone proves to me the superiority of capitalism.
     
  11. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    That is essentially the situation we have now in the US. To raise the money need for Congress or the White House you have to be approved by corporate America. They vote with their money. The average citizen can then choose BETWEEN the choices made for them by the financial elite. I am not sure what would be gained by eliminating this last primarily ritual step - ie. the apparant democracy of all adult non-imprisoned citizens - except that it would be more honest.

    So I have done a 180. Let's be honest. Let's let the CEO's of American owned corporations have the only vote. Let's say those with bonuses over 100,000. In the name of candor.
     
  12. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    3,535
    What country has a democracy?
     
  13. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    While the US federal government is a Republic, every state is a Representative Democracy with many aspects of Direct Democracy (such as public referendums). Likewise, many municipalities have many more aspects of Direct Democracy, such as weekly/monthly town meetings in which every citizen has a vote on matters that affect them directly.
    While there has never been such thing as a "pure" Direct Democracy, nor was one ever intended - the idea is ludicrous to have every citizen of a large State vote on every issue.

    The ideal of Democracy is rule by the people and a government that is responsible to the people and accountable for its actions.
    While in practice, many lazy Americans do not take advantage of the great privelage that our Democratic system offers them, it most certainly IS offered.
     
  14. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Granted.
    But this was intended to spark a discussion on what will make it fail.
    WHY it will fail.
    How it will fail (catastrophic, dying ember, through orderly implementation, etc).
    What would be the consequences said failure.
    What could be changed about its shortcomings to keep it from failing, or how it can be adjusted to a different system.

    In other words, I wanted to spark a discussion.
    As opposed to simple, unqualified statements of "fact" such as:


    What makes you say that?
    Do you have any reasoning behind that statement?
    This is a discussion board... Discuss.
     
  15. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

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    At this point I would support complete and total Anarchy......no rules, no laws, no leaders, and no charity. Survival of the fittest, natural selection.

    Sound like good entertainment.

    At least those left (if there are any) would deserve their spot on this planet. Seems pretty hard to move society/human race forward with any efficiency while carrying half the population along because they can't/won't do it themselves.

    Eugenics is an Idea but will ultimately fail....weak genes will slip through the cracks somehow and man in his self righteous compassionate self will carry onward that weak gene to cripple himself for all eternity.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  16. DiamondHearts Registered Senior Member

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    2,557
    Democracy (as in the present usage of the term for representative government) will fail simply because of the uncontrollable greed which it encourages in its adherents. Companies will prey on consumers, majority will prey on minorities, rich nations shall prey on weak, exploited nation (such as Afghanistan and Iraq now), and thus the world continues how it has always been. There needs to be a balance of power and true understanding on human level for there to be equality.

    Historically humanity's greed and selfish nature has been the end of most previous political systems in the past, and this will be the end of the present "democratic" republic system as well.
     
  17. tim840 Registered Senior Member

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    1,653
    Democracy certainly isn't a perfect system, but it's far preferable to the other options. Yes, I agree, people will naturally by selfish. But every once in a while, you get a selfless, honorable, and idealistic person who finds his way into politics, and revives the credibility of democracy - people like Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, etc. The very fact that these people have a chance to become president offers democracy's salvation. When it gets REALLY bad, an honest man will come along and make the people believe in democracy again. After Ulysses Grant's incredibility corrupt administration, Rutherford Hayes ruled with dignity and honor. Grover Cleveland showed up in 1884 to run against a corrupt and arrogant Republican party, and won because he was a reformer, a man who genuinely wanted to help. That's why democracy will live on. Because of people like that.
     
  18. ronan Only Consciousness Exists Registered Senior Member

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    433
    In fact it has always been this and always be that : anarchy,
    survival of the fittest is an inesacable truth

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    government are the one who makes you forgot that anarchy is the rule.
    It does not make the rule dispear
     
  19. lepustimidus Banned Banned

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  20. Simply Joe Registered Member

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    19
    @OP
    I don't believe there is a truly democratic society. This would require every person in the whole country to vote on every issue. The closest thing to democracy right now is a republic. A republic is a government of elected officials who make decisions so that the whole country doesn't need to take a poll on every issue. Because of the diversity in office it is almost impossible for the "mob mentality" to form on issues. Sure, people who are not in office can get the mob mentality going but that doesn't pass laws, it can only influence congressmen.

    @EmmZ
    In order for Capitalism to work there needs to be honesty, without honesty it can very easily become the most corrupt system of governing around. Also, as of now it is the best system when it come to economics and quality of goods. In socialism and communism because there is no competition there is no incentive to create the best good or create the most efficiently. This leads to all sorts of fun stuff like lead covered toys from China and low standards of living.
     
  21. Noone special Registered Member

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    39
    Hi, I ran across this discussion and was too intrigued to pass it by. I thought that I might voice my humble opinion on the matter of democracy.

    I think there are at least two things wrong with the democratic republic we have set up in America. First the nature of democracy is a divided will, a monarchy provides a much strong leader who is free to carry out single minded achievements, whereas when we choose a new executive every 4 or 8 years they could be in total disunity with the plans of the previous president.
    I think this point can be seen especially in war. If one president begins a war he might have to leave another president to finish it ect.
    Also the people themselves are fickle minded. After all, there is no way to represent the views of every individual in one representative. So it becomes very easy for the majority to just change their minds whenever something goes wrong. This leads to a very week government indeed, a division of power at what cost?

    The second problem I see is almost unavoidable; that is the reliance on the ethics of the people. We allow free economy on the reliance of charity of the business owners. We allow freedom of speech with the hopes of common sense. So every government has some kind of problem similar to this. The problem with socialism is laziness, and the problem with democracy is greed and irresponsibility.

    Well thats just what I think anyway.
     
  22. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I addreessed this above:

    While the US federal government is a Republic, every state is a Representative Democracy with many aspects of Direct Democracy (such as public referendums). Likewise, many municipalities have many more aspects of Direct Democracy, such as weekly/monthly town meetings in which every citizen has a vote on matters that affect them directly.
    While there has never been such thing as a "pure" Direct Democracy, nor was one ever intended - the idea is ludicrous to have every citizen of a large State vote on every issue.

    The ideal of Democracy is rule by the people and a government that is responsible to the people and accountable for its actions.
    While in practice, many lazy Americans do not take advantage of the great privelage that our Democratic system offers them, it most certainly IS offered.
     
  23. xvortexbladex Registered Member

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    17
    Haaahaa damn those broccolis!

    But in all seriousness, pure democracy fails because everyone has their own opinions and more often than none, they ever can decide on one course of action. That is why we have only democratic republics as the closest thing to a pure democracy. We entrust our opinions to those who will advocate them, if they fail to do so, we can change them and find one more suitable. This way, there will be no abuse of power by the government. Communism seems great in theory, but when people get paid level, there will be those who takes advantage of the system and slack off, thus making it a very ineffective way of governing. Autocratic governments control too much of the aspects of a nation from industries to social livelihoods. Such government have a great potential of infringing on the rights how human beings and lead society closer to something out of a 1984 novel. Must be moderate about everything.
     

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