FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Does democracy (Amercian-style) work? (Page 1)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Does democracy (Amercian-style) work?
Zophar
Member
Member # 10063

 - posted      Profile for Zophar   Email Zophar         Edit/Delete Post 
Apologies for what is probably a provocative title.

Let me clarify. I am using as my definition of American-style democracy the following: "government by the people, for the people and of the people" (forgive me if I've got the order wrong). Government which the War Between the States was fought to prevent "perish (ing) from the earth".

I want to know what people think this means now, in 2007. We have 70% of the polled people (in the US) opposed to the War in Iraq and the 2006 elections were a rather vocal referendum on that concern. Yet our government is not doing what the majority appears to want. Are we still the democracy we think we are?

Obviously, people in the minority may think that the majority of those polled and/or who cared enough to vote are wrong. They (we) may even, (though I admit I don't believe this myself) be wrong.
BUT, if we ignore the majority view, as measured by a recent election and a poll, I repeat, are we the democracy we think we are?
Does democracy work as we expected it to? Are our expectations naive? Should we be that sort of pure democracy?


In the UK (I am an ex pat American who has lived in the UK for 15 years), the strength of feeling against the war is as high (or higher), but I'm not sure that we expect the same degree of open democracy here that I expect in the US. (As with anything else, I could easily be wrong about this, too...).

Comments?

Posts: 32 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
The reason the terms of some elected officials are so long is to ensure that if they make an unpopular decision the people won't be able to vote him out as soon as the wind turns back the other way. I like it in principle, and really, in practice as well.

The thing is, the people might disapprove of the war, but they don't in high enough numbers. I know this, because if they did, more Republicans would have lost their seats, and the Democrats would have stopped it. But they didn't get the numbers, so the Republicans will quash it. The democracy works just fine, we failed the system, not the other way around.

The only change I would make is to eliminate the electoral college. I've yet to hear a plausible reason against a direct election.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ricree101
Member
Member # 7749

 - posted      Profile for ricree101   Email ricree101         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Zophar:

I want to know what people think this means now, in 2007. We have 70% of the polled people (in the US) opposed to the War in Iraq and the 2006 elections were a rather vocal referendum on that concern. Yet our government is not doing what the majority appears to want.

The thing is, what do most of the people want? I'm sure that if we could go back in time, we'd do things different, but I have yet to see a strong consensus on what should be done at this point. "Opposition to Iraq" isn't exactly a course of action. While opposition to the current state of things in Iraq is widely held, that is not the same thing as wanting to pull out immediately.
Posts: 2437 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zophar
Member
Member # 10063

 - posted      Profile for Zophar   Email Zophar         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:

The only change I would make is to eliminate the electoral college. I've yet to hear a plausible reason against a direct election.

I think this is the only thing I would change, too.

It's more of a hypothetical question, as I don't see anything better we could do, but I'm not sure we're actually doing what we claim to have set out to do. I wondered if anyone had ideas I hadn't come up with, or could convince me it really is government "by the people" etc. I take the point about time scales (esp staggering the Senate, which I'd sort of left out of my earlier thinking tonight). Otherwise it's sort of govt by pop idol, I suppose.

Posts: 32 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
I disagree with that.

You're blaming a government that on paper and I think in practice IS a government made from the will of the people.

So what exactly are the people doing? Look at the statistics on voter participation, on who writes their congressmen, on who gets involved in the process.

Are they failing us, or are we failing them?

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ricree101
Member
Member # 7749

 - posted      Profile for ricree101   Email ricree101         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

The only change I would make is to eliminate the electoral college. I've yet to hear a plausible reason against a direct election.

Honestly, as far as I can see the electoral college is really a minor issue. The biggest problem, as far as I can see, is that the current method of voting strongly encourages a two party system.

Right now, there is a very serious problem that stands in the way of any realistic third party arising.

Basically, it can be summed up with the following scenario. Lets say there are 3 candidates: A, B, and C. You really like candidate C from a third party, but you also sort of like A from a major party. The thing is, you really disagree with B and don't want him elected. You are now faced with a choice. Vote for the candidate you think is best, and risk candidate B winning because the vote was split between C and A, or voting for the mediocre but safe choice.

This is far from hypothetical, though. Perot was faced with this in his 1992 Presidential race. Likewise, Ralph Nader has been accused of causing Bush to be elected due to "splitting the vote". The thing is, there are plenty of good solutions to this problem. To name a few, there are the various two round systems (of which I prefer the instant runoff), binary voting, or preferential voting. Certainly, there can be drawbacks to these methods. After all, nothing is perfect. However, I believe that they would result in more choice in elections, and better government overall.

Posts: 2437 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cheiros do ender
Member
Member # 8849

 - posted      Profile for cheiros do ender   Email cheiros do ender         Edit/Delete Post 
Democracy means government by the majority, for the majority and of the majority. Not "the people". Mob rule in other words.

That's why politicians get so long to do whatever it is they plan to do, instead of putting everything to referendum. Lyrhawn put it better.

America is a Republic, not a Democracy.

[ January 14, 2007, 07:27 AM: Message edited by: cheiros do ender ]

Posts: 1138 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Avatar300
Member
Member # 5108

 - posted      Profile for Avatar300   Email Avatar300         Edit/Delete Post 
I think conducting House voting parliamentary style might open up the door for some third parties. I've also thought it might be a good idea to keep the electoral college, but grant each states' votes proportionately.
Posts: 413 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
James Tiberius Kirk
Member
Member # 2832

 - posted      Profile for James Tiberius Kirk           Edit/Delete Post 
I'd also keep the electoral college (or some type of proportional representation), simply because the states were designed to cast their votes as individual states -- but I'd remove the winner-takes-all system. That's what really steers us toward a two party system.

--j_k

Posts: 3617 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
America is a Republic, not a Democracy.

Ouch. [Eek!]

It is both. A Republic is any country with a President rather than a monarch. A Democracy is a country with some form of elected government. A Republic is a form of government, Democracy is a system of government.

China and North Korea are Republics but not Democracies.
Canada and the U.K are Democracies but not a Republics.
Saudi Arabia is neither a Republic nor a Democracy.
France and the United States are both Republics and Democracies.

The United States is a full-Presidential Republic with Federal Democracy.

What the United States is not is a direct Democracy, it is a representational Democracy. With the possible exception of Switzerland, which governs itself in a bizarre manner, all modern Democratic states are representational Democracies.

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Altáriël of Dorthonion
Member
Member # 6473

 - posted      Profile for Altáriël of Dorthonion   Email Altáriël of Dorthonion         Edit/Delete Post 
God, I hate the electoral college.
Posts: 3389 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zophar
Member
Member # 10063

 - posted      Profile for Zophar   Email Zophar         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks to all who have participated so far (please keep going!) in this string. I asked the question because I 'm confused about the nuances and the implications, and intrigued by the effect of the internet on "democracy". (Are we more of a real democracy now?)
Here in the UK we don't have PR (proportional representation) but rather "first past the post" which I find frustrating, but am not politically literate enough (yet) to know why I am unhappy at times with both systems. For instance: in the last general election I voted for the MP (Parliament member) I really wanted, based on her record (previously she was my Councillor, a local rather than national office). She won (as a lib dem this was a major swing away from labour in that constituency) which pleases me, BUT the head of govt (Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Labour) stayed in power because more constinuencies voted Labour than anything else. We have a viable third party (Lib Dems) but I think the last time they held the government was about 1923. Despite the fact that everyone screams about both Tories and Labour, not enough people vote for this third party (Nationally they average about 20% of the vote, but are never "the Government". NOTE, I'd rather the Greens won, but voting Lib Dem in my (then) constituency was tactical, and unusually, it paid off, but only locally.
I'm frustrated by the fact that I could get the local rep I want and yet still have thrown away my vote nationally. I've since moved, to a seemingly diehard Tory Constituency, so it seems that my vote will never matter now: the Tory will win locally, and that will count as a vote for the national govt. Why vote at all? A system that makes me think "why vote at all" seems fundamentally flawed to me.
My major political frustration here in the UK.
My major frustration in the US is there isn't a real third option. I think (memory weakens at this point) in 2000 I voted Dem, even though I prefered Nader at the time, but it was a tactical vote on my part. Luckily, (for my peace of mind) I'm not from Florida.

Posts: 32 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Comments?
Why does 'democracy' equal 'government must take whatever action the people want any given moment'? It simply doesn't.

Aside from that, the United States of America is not a democracy.

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
crescentsss
Member
Member # 9494

 - posted      Profile for crescentsss   Email crescentsss         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Zophar:

I'm frustrated by the fact that I could get the local rep I want and yet still have thrown away my vote nationally. I've since moved, to a seemingly diehard Tory Constituency, so it seems that my vote will never matter now: the Tory will win locally, and that will count as a vote for the national govt. Why vote at all? A system that makes me think "why vote at all" seems fundamentally flawed to me.

Are you limiting this only to the UK? because in the US it's also very true. If you live in NY why vote republican if you already know the state is going to go to the democrats? Is the American voting system also fundamentally flawed?

And thus we return to the idea of eliminating the electoral college...

Posts: 97 | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
Well, the British government used not to have seats for MPs. That was strongly objected to as un-Democratic. So, you can't win. Mind you, I think I prefer the old British way.

I think the Dáil Éireann is the best-elected government, not the best, just the best-elected. Of course, they let foreigners vote (well, technicaly, they just have a very liberal idea of citizenship which involves being born or naturalized in one of two countries).

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Avatar300
Member
Member # 5108

 - posted      Profile for Avatar300   Email Avatar300         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
A Democracy is a country with some form of elected government
No. A democracy is a country where the voting class votes on everything. In a republic the voters select representatives, who then go off and do whatever they want without regard to the wishes of the voters. Or, they disregard constitutional limits at the behest of supposed majorities.
Posts: 413 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
Crescent hit on why the electoral college is so useless. To put it bluntly, it discourages minorities from voting. I don't mean minority by race, I mean by party affiliation. Why would a Republican in New York or California bother voting? They KNOW it's going to go Democratic. Why would Democrats in the Bible Belt bother with it either?

The electoral college discourages true democracy, where every vote DOESN'T count, not really. To say nothing of the fact that the electoral college keeps candidates focused on battleground states, and allows them to ignore dominantly blue and red states.

Al Gore would have been president under a direct democracy, but instead a system of voting placed the election in Bush's lap. Whenever a system denies the will of the majority, so long as the majority isn't trampling on the rights of the minority, that system is flawed and must be replaced.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlackBlade
Member
Member # 8376

 - posted      Profile for BlackBlade   Email BlackBlade         Edit/Delete Post 
Your “Amercian” style sounds suspiciously like our American style, check your subject line. [Smile] And can I just say writing on the nintendo wii is really obnoxious, and yet, I get this unexpected feeling of accomplishment every time I post using it. You almost feel like a gun slinger as you wave and click that wiimote!! [Big Grin]
Posts: 14316 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds complicated considering the ease of a keyboard.

I just can't wait until I can think the words onto the screen.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, but I bet thought-controlled spellcheck will be a pain. Possibly literally.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
Heh, sensory feedback for misspelled words? Could be a good deterrent to bad grammar from now on. [Smile]
Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jlt
Member
Member # 10088

 - posted      Profile for jlt   Email jlt         Edit/Delete Post 
American democracy works - when its people do. American democracy works if its people take advantage of their power. As you say, many Americans are opposed to the war in Iraq, however, few Americans DO anything significant about their opinon. America has allowed its representatives to make decisions not based on the views of the people and that is why public opinion and government policy are currently inconstant. American government is "by the people" which has been its great strength, but is now a weakness. A majority of Americans vote, but that is the only political power that a majority realizes. Constituents do not compel their representatives to represent their views. "It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration....agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one....against another....it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption...thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another." The electoral college has been controversial since its creation. In my view, it is outdated and should be removed, however, I admit I have yet to understand every intricacy of the institution. In any case, democracy as it is practiced in America "works" in general, however, people need to be more active in it for its function to work well currently.
Posts: 130 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
Amen to most of that.
Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post 
SPECIAL SEMANTICS GRIPE SESSION by sam

The answer to the question "Is the United States a democracy?" is yes. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. The term is not mutually exclusive nor contradictory to our status as a republic. If someone says that 'the United States is not a democracy,' they are strictly incorrect. It's like saying that a Dodge Ram is not an automobile because it is a truck.

The United States is a Democracy. The United States is a Republic. The United States is a Constitutional Republic. The United States is a democratic, constitutional republic. The United States is a representative democracy. Any of these statements is true. One thing that the United States is not is a specific form of democracy known as 'direct democracy.' The United States is not a direct democracy, but this does not make the united states 'not a democracy.'

Thanks for reading this. Totally glad that we have this straight now, yay.

Posts: 15421 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_raven
Member
Member # 3383

 - posted      Profile for Dan_raven   Email Dan_raven         Edit/Delete Post 
While the country is a Democracy (/Republic) the founders realized that you could not run a war by vote. That is why they chose to have a President in the first place, an executive head to be commander and chief.

Usually, however, the Commander and Chief part is not taken as literally as President Bush has. This whole mess in Iraq could be called "Bush's War" as he has taken full credit, and overall responsibility for this war. Usually we have a General or two or three who are put in charge of a given War. They become hero's (Washington, Grant, Eisenhower, Pershing) or they become anti-hero's, forever marked with their failure (McClellen, McArthur in Korea, Clark & Westmorland in Vietnam,) Instead President Bush, possibly to avoid giving anyone else to strong of a political future (as his father had done to his Iraq Generals) is our man in charge of the war. Its ups and downs will determine his future, and those like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc who thought they had political futures.

Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post 
The electoral college does not automatically mean that a state must have a "winner take all" slate. At least a couple of states - Maine and Nebraska maybe? - can have divided slates. If a party gets 30% of the vote, they get 30% of the electors. I think that more states should adopt this.
Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
"In a republic the voters select representatives, who then go off and do whatever they want without regard to the wishes of the voters."

What about in the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?

Do British voters, who do not live in a Republic, get to vote on every issue? My, my how ignorant I was.

I won't restate the definition of Republic and Samprimary has already reiterated the definition of Democracy.

To be technical, the United States is a full-Presidential Republic with Federal Democracy and a Constitution. As oposed to France which is a semi-Presidential Republic with Parlimentary Democracy and a Constitution or Britian which is a Constitutional Monarchy with Parlimentary Democracy and no Constitution.

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
PB: I have a feeling people are talking about a Republic as a form of government, not a Republic as a fashionable word to put in the name of a state (in this case largely arising because the people who chose the name for the USSR rather liked republics, and though that theirs would sort of be a Republic, quickly as that degenerated) [Smile] .
Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
But some countries, like North Korea, are Republics. North Korea claims to be a Democratic Republic, which is false, but they are a Republic. The U.S.S.R. was pretty much a Republic until Kruschev died. There is no relation between being a Republic and being a Democracy. The majority of countries are Republics, but only a few of those are Liberal Democratic Republics.
Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Whenever a system denies the will of the majority, so long as the majority isn't trampling on the rights of the minority, that system is flawed and must be replaced.
Why? I mean, if the will of the majority is what's important, why shouldn't the will of the majority be able to trample the rights of the minority in a legal, law-abiding, democratic way?
Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
If democratically elected representatives have no input in decisions, or there is no choice in representatives, it is not a Republic.

Holding a vote does not mean there was a real election. Being a Republic requires that the representatives be chosen in accordance with the will of the people, and that those representatives then constitute, directly or indirectly, the government, also based on their choices.

North Korea never had that distinction, and the USSR stopped having that well before Stalin.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Blayne Bradley
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
but the USSR at least had checks and balances to political power, Stalin eroded those an made the General Secretary an all powerful post when originally it was meant as anything but.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_raven
Member
Member # 3383

 - posted      Profile for Dan_raven   Email Dan_raven         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
but the USSR at least had checks and balances to political power, Stalin eroded those an made the General Secretary an all powerful post when originally it was meant as anything but.
Then obviously they didn't have enough checks and balances.
Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
"Being a Republic requires that the representatives be chosen in accordance with the will of the people, and that those representatives then constitute, directly or indirectly, the government, also based on their choices."

No, it doesn't. That is Democracy.

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
You know, PrometheusBound, just because you say a word means something, doesn't make it true.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/republic
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy

As you can see, both definitions can be truly applied to the United States and thus you're wrong.

----------

quote:
but the USSR at least had checks and balances to political power, Stalin eroded those an made the General Secretary an all powerful post when originally it was meant as anything but.
I challenge you to find me even one single system of government in history which could not truly be said to have some form of checks and balances.
Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
"As you can see, both definitions can be truly applied to the United States and thus you're wrong."

Wait, how does your saying that the United States is a Democracy and a Republic in any way contradict what I said which is that the United States is a Democracy and a Republic?

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dagonee
Member
Member # 5818

 - posted      Profile for Dagonee           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
To be technical, the United States is a full-Presidential Republic with Federal Democracy and a Constitution. As oposed to France which is a semi-Presidential Republic with Parlimentary Democracy and a Constitution or Britian which is a Constitutional Monarchy with Parlimentary Democracy and no Constitution.
Your "technical" names seem like nothing more than a set of personally selected attributed elevated to be part of the name. And it's done arbitrarily, at that. You mention (accurately) the Federal attribute of the U.S.'s form of democracy, and you list the Parliamentary aspects of other nations' forms of democracy. Why is the federalist attribute elevated to part of the name of the U.S. form of government, and the Parliamentary attribute so elevated in the others?

Technically, all are republics with various attributes associated with their republican forms of government. Your "technical" correction of someone else's various descriptions of our system of government is no more or less accurate than what you were correcting.

Posts: 26071 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
The U.K. is not a Republic.
Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
Would you care to specify the attributes of a Republic you feel the UK lacks?
Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dagonee
Member
Member # 5818

 - posted      Profile for Dagonee           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The U.K. is not a Republic.
Ah, yes, it's called a constitutional monarchy so it can't be a republic.

Except possibly to John Adams and a few other thinkers who, for some strange reason, I happen to respect more than you. Go figure.

Regardless, the rest of my post still stands.

Posts: 26071 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
PrometheusBound,

quote:
"Being a Republic requires that the representatives be chosen in accordance with the will of the people, and that those representatives then constitute, directly or indirectly, the government, also based on their choices."

No, it doesn't. That is Democracy.

-----

Wait, how does your saying that the United States is a Democracy and a Republic in any way contradict what I said which is that the United States is a Democracy and a Republic?

You did not only say that the United States is a democracy and a republic. You also incorrectly corrected someone about what a democracy is or is not.

I too would be interested to hear why the United Kingdom isn't a republic.

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dagonee
Member
Member # 5818

 - posted      Profile for Dagonee           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
BUT, if we ignore the majority view, as measured by a recent election and a poll, I repeat, are we the democracy we think we are?
Does democracy work as we expected it to? Are our expectations naive? Should we be that sort of pure democracy?

Anyone who thinks we are the type of democracy that thinks our government should always reflect the majority opinion has a misconception about the type of democracy we are. Regarding the opening post, American-style democracy, in the sense of our specific form of government, was carefully constructed so that it would, quite often, do things the majority would not vote directly to do.

Some might consider it a failing of our government that it does not implement majority will quickly. But it is not a failure in the sense it is not operating as generally intended - to insulate certain types of decisions from immediate political pressure.

Posts: 26071 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
"Would you care to specify the attributes of a Republic you feel the UK lacks?"

It's not so much what it lacks as what it has. It has a monarch. Both Machiavelli and Websters define a Republic as a country without a monarch. Websters adds that, "In modern times [the head of state] is usually a president."

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nathan B.
Member
Member # 10093

 - posted      Profile for Nathan B.           Edit/Delete Post 
The U.S. is not a Democracy, it's a Republic. The U.S. government was set up so the majority does not always get what it wants. It was set up to prevent the majority from tyranizing the minority and the minority from tyrpanizing the majority. This means that the majority will some times get what they want, the minority will some times get what they want, and sometimes neither group will get what they want.

The founding fathers did this (amazingly enough) on purpose. At the time factions mainly consisted of the land owning minority and the non-land owning majority. The founding fathers had to create a system the majority would like (remember that they're trained soldiers now) and would allow them to keep their land. They believed that the non-land owning majority, if they got the chance, would take the land from the land owning minority. Thus the electoral college was born.

Did you know that when this country was founded the majority didn't even get to elect our own Senators or President? The only people they got to elect was the House Of Representitives. So I believe our system of government still "works" about the same as it used to, maybe even more so.

Posts: 11 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PrometheusBound
Member
Member # 10020

 - posted      Profile for PrometheusBound           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The U.S. is not a Democracy, it's a Republic

Here we go again.... [Roll Eyes] [Wall Bash]

quote:
Each particle of that stone, each mineral flake of that mountain filled with darkness, in its singularity constitutes a world. The struggle itself toward summits is enough alone to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Posts: 211 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
The electoral college does not automatically mean that a state must have a "winner take all" slate. At least a couple of states - Maine and Nebraska maybe? - can have divided slates. If a party gets 30% of the vote, they get 30% of the electors. I think that more states should adopt this.

Sure in theory. Unless that party gets 30% of the vote in every individual district, in which case that district will still give its vote to the other candidate. It's entirely possible for the 70 in the 70/30 to take 100% of the vote. I think that makes it MORE fair, but not close enough.
Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
It's not so much what it lacks as what it has. It has a monarch. Both Machiavelli and Websters define a Republic as a country without a monarch. Websters adds that, "In modern times [the head of state] is usually a president."
So, you're admitting your argument on this hinges on semantics and a technicality of definition, right?

Or do you have something else to add, other than big five-dollar Greek mythology references?

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
Except possibly to John Adams . . .

You're trying to get me to sing the whole song, aren't you? [No No]
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
Aw, now I have it stuck in my head. [Smile]
Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post 
[Evil]
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2