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This is a discussion on Vote! within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by VirtualAce I am interested to hear what those from other countries think about what would happen in ...

  1. #31
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VirtualAce View Post
    I am interested to hear what those from other countries think about what would happen in their country if the US economy collapsed? Would it affect you that much or would your companies and country find other investments to shore up your own economy? I know what it would do here but I still do not have an understanding of just how much the US economy affects the world.
    This is central to my argument and the reason why elections in USA concern me and why I feel entitled to openly (possibly also brutally so) comment on them without the level of courtesy usually expect of someone commenting on the domestic policies of a foreign country.

    As a starting point to your question, I'll give you this piece of information: The current economical crisis that is devastating Europe is a direct consequence of the subprime crisis in the USA some 5 years ago.

    That crisis foretold the immediate future of worldwide business and worldwide jobs depending on the strong USA economy for their maintenance. Such was the impact it had on USA economy, which immediately retracted to unheard levels since the Great Depression, that any business in the world depending on USA imports, was gravely affected. Millions have been estimated to have lost their jobs, while hundreds of thousands of business simply either dissapeared or had to face serious and irrecoverable losses. Asia was particularly affected. It is important to remember that this crisis is now called the 2007-2012 Global Economic Crisis. That alone should answer your question.

    I shall enter into why exactly the current Euro crisis that is devastating Europe (and that forced me out of my own country and to immigrate to Africa) is a direct consequence of the subprime crisis, if you wish so. For now, I'll leave that statement for you to take at face value, to avoid making this post bigger than it should be.

    The simple matter of fact is that, like mentioned before by others (me included) the world economy and world finances are deeply globalized. Weaker economies have little chance to make an impact. In fact they are potential targets for orchestrated attacks on bigger economies (which would lead us back to the Euro crisis, but let's proceed). But stronger economies hold the grave responsibility of maintaining the health of the economical and financial worldwide status. Because their are big, their every decision impacts on millions of jobs and businesses outside their borders.

    USA is the biggest of them all. With its strong globalized economy, USA-based business have been dictating not just only employment levels on other countries, but also, indirectly, affecting it by way of its imports (USA is the biggest importer in the world). More, USA financial system as well as worldwide markets are today strongly globalized, with public and private debts of nations and private businesses being held by foreign countries. And while USA is not by far the biggest money lender, its financial health will affect any country of the world, by way of the effect the financial system has today on the economic system (a corruption of values that I'm strongly opposed, but it was in fact USA who systematically created the conditions for financial institutions and not economic ones to be today the prime responsible for economic growth).

    The matter of fact is that, an USA economic crisis based on its national debt could plummet the world to an economic dark age. Hyperbole, you think? Remember the subprime world crisis and think of how insignificant that crisis actually is to your economy compared to a national debt crisis. We are talking of a crisis provoked by no money being lent to a government, which is then imcapable of fulfilling its many economic and social obligations. Now multiply the impact it would have on your own country with the rest of the world. USA has yet to experiment a national debt crisis in its history. But can look to Europe's history to learn how devastating that type of crisis is to a country.

    USA debt is largely held by the Chinese and the Middle East (most significantly among these, Saudi Arabia). None of these countries are particularly friendly towards USA foreign policies, neither they have ever shared similiar views on politics. China can even be considered an opponent to Western diplomacy, considering its political agenda on the UN that constantly blocks resolutions supported by pro-western diplomacy. For anyone watching on the sidelines -- that includes Europe -- the current financial situation of USA is explosive and deeply worrying. There's a real fear that USA will default sooner or later. When that happens we are in for the first and largest truly wordwide economic crisis humankind has experienced.

    Maybe I sound like a prophet of the apocalypse. But don't take my word for it. Read it yourself. Search the answers to your question yourself. None of what I have said is coming from my own head. The information is out there. Just don't look for it on CNN or Fox news. You know who you can trust for information. Your country is full of economic studies, papers, journals and other material written by some of the most well respect economists. In fact USA itself has been the greatest contributor to an understanding of the advantages and perils of the current economic models. Many of these authors have actually predicted the subprime crisis well before it happened. The only reason I don't present you with links or references is because I never bothered to collect them.

    The point is that countries in the G7 are today the all-powerful catalysts of the world economy. Whatever agreements go on those meetings of theirs may be voided by an explosive outburst, provoked by some badly received foreign policy or event (or by a hidden agenda). The reason USA has been immune to a default or the markets hysteria is certainly because of the agreements made in those meetings. No one wants a worldwide crisis that will affect everyone. But not for one moment trust mankind not to capable to shoot its own foot.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #32
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by std10093 View Post
    PS - Because i am Greek and we invented all these that many countries rely on (liberty,vote and other perfect political concepts) i feel deeply disappointed with the fact that world leaders like the ones of USA for example present these concepts not as they were stated back in ancient Greece, in order to gain power...
    Oh please, spare me your condescending words!

    * You mean ancient Greece, the same that with its democratic principles would nonetheless accept and exercise slavery? What "liberty" exactly are you talking about?
    * You mean that Greece in which only men could participate in the entire democratic principle and only men where considered citizens? What "perfect political concept" is this?
    * You mean that Greece which could only hold on to these incipient democratic principles for 200 years, before falling back to despotism well into the 20th century? What "vote" are you talking about?
    * Or you mean the modern Greece, the one whose government lied to the European Union about their national debt and initiated the European Euro Crisis? Who exactly do you think is "deeply disappointed" here?

    There's this general criticism of Americans for not knowing heir history. For having it being taught to them through rose tinted glasses. But let me tell you, everyone is guilty of the same, including your little highschool speech there. Learn your history well before trying to make yours concepts that never were.

    We can admire ancient Greece (and let me tell you I'm a big fan of ancient Greece for different reasons altogether) for having created an initial draft of what we call Democracy today. And only for reasons of it's direct voting system; by no accounts were ancient greeks the first to have tried systems to give power to the people. But by no means you should think you created modern democracy or even came close to define it. For all that matters, we could also thank ancient Greece for having created it and then immediately throw it in the rubbish bin of history.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 11-10-2012 at 08:46 AM.
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    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #33
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    And let me tell you that "modern democracy" isn't all that old. Women didn't vote until after the 1920s in America. Neither did blacks share an equal vote until after 1965. Yet we still struggle with disenfranchisement. I'd like to think it doesn't happen on purpose, but it still worries me that people aren't able to vote when I hear such claims in the news.

  4. #34
    SAMARAS std10093's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Oh please, spare me your condescending words!

    * You mean ancient Greece, the same that with its democratic principles would nonetheless accept and exercise slavery? What "liberty" exactly are you talking about?
    * You mean that Greece in which only men could participate in the entire democratic principle and only men where considered citizens? What "perfect political concept" is this?
    I was waiting for comments like that.These was actually made by myself too, to my mother.Think of what were the global situation and global ideas where back then and you will answer your questions by yourself
    Check the importance of women in Sparta.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Oh please, spare me your condescending words!
    * You mean that Greece which could only hold on to these incipient democratic principles for 200 years, before falling back to despotism well into the 20th century? What "vote" are you talking about?
    * Or you mean the modern Greece, the one whose government lied to the European Union about their national debt and initiated the European Euro Crisis? Who exactly do you think is "deeply disappointed" here?
    So you think that the reason you are in crisis is me.I won't blame you.Media influence.When i arrived in Switzerland for my scholarship i was asked from a local girl if i pay taxes?!?!?! :P And she did not have any bad intentions for me, she was just influenced by the media.But did i say something about modern politicians of my country?What i said is that they are so bad, that make USA's politicians to look good :P
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    There's this general criticism of Americans for not knowing heir history. For having it being taught to them through rose tinted glasses. But let me tell you, everyone is guilty of the same, including your little highschool speech there. Learn your history well before trying to make yours concepts that never were.
    I do not seem to understand well what you are saying.America has no history.Greece has history.Egypt has history.America has no history.It has only modern history.
    If you are saying that i am not able to state correct the greatness of ancient Greece, you are totally right.But do not get this greatness underestimated because of a child that can not present all these as they should be It's unfair.

    Democracy is that old.

    EDIT : My posts lead to off topic conversations.
    I remind what virtualace asked :

    I am interested to hear what those from other countries think about what would happen in their country if the US economy collapsed? Would it affect you that much or would your companies and country find other investments to shore up your own economy? I know what it would do here but I still do not have an understanding of just how much the US economy affects the world.
    Last edited by std10093; 11-10-2012 at 11:16 AM.

  5. #35
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by std10093 View Post
    America has no history.Greece has history.Egypt has history.America has no history.It has only modern history.
    Really? By what account do you formulate such an extraordinary opinion? Because the nation was formed in the 18th century?

    By that account Greece has no history, because Greece was actually formed one century later. Having never been a truly independent state before that (first being made up of city-states, then ruled by the Romans, then the Byzantine, then the Ottoman) until it finally become an independent state in 1830, some 60 years after USA.

    You should be happy to know, no one denies Greece its history. So do everyone else a favor and extend the same courtesy to every other nation in the world. Contrary to your narrow-minded mentality born of an European grudge that only makes us look bad, uneducated and rather cretins, USA has a rich history that spans from well before its foundation as a nation to the present day. Deny that, and you'll be denying your own country history.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #36
    SAMARAS std10093's Avatar
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    So Egyptian,Greek history and culture is equivalent to the one of America.The thing is that history does not start from when the country is declared as an independent state, but from where the roots of the nation begun.Byzantine where Greeks.Why do you separate them?
    Yes we were captured by Romans,Ottomans but the nation , the people stayed united.

    For America, what i know is that when the spanish people discovered this continent, they killed the natives and then you know what happened.
    I mean that there is almost no connection between the people that were living in pro-Columbus era and the modern Americans , because they do not have the same roots.I mean remember who traveled to America when it was discovered by Columbus and started to getting its shape as we know her today

    And yes i respect the history of the other countries more than you think.I have travelled to many countries and have learn the culture and history of them.

    I do not say that Greek history is better from Egyptian or vice verse because there can be no comparison between histories.

    But yes ,America has modern history and if you think that this comes from my narrow-mind , then i suggest asking a historical professor or something like that.

    And please do not extend this thematology .I mean it is very interested, but it is not the theme of the this tread.You can create one if you want and i would like to participate in that.

  7. #37
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    IANAL, but juries have to reach a consensus after deliberating or it is a mistrial. The whole point of a jury is to decide which argument won the trial and provided the most compelling evidence. You do not vote on what is supposed to be a reasoned conclusion.
    Of course they are different cases, the point is WHO decides. You can also have a judge vote on who has the most compelling evidence. You can have a group of lawyers. The point is that you choose to have a jury of ordinary people for a reason. And as you said, if they don't consent it is a mistrial. There is no alternative like having the judge decide if the jury can't. The jury or another jury must decide either they like it or not.

    In politics the people do not vote for the decision. They vote on the body of people which they and only they have the right to vote for that decision. And again, as you said, it is not even that people need to vote what is a reasoned conclusion. They need to vote what they want. I find that much simpler and much more straightforward. Even worse, having politicians vote what people want is just weird. Inefficient. Dangerous. Most likely it will fail and you will end up having to choose between Obama and Romney.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    We can admire ancient Greece (and let me tell you I'm a big fan of ancient Greece for different reasons altogether) for having created an initial draft of what we call Democracy today. And only for reasons of it's direct voting system; by no accounts were ancient greeks the first to have tried systems to give power to the people. But by no means you should think you created modern democracy or even came close to define it. For all that matters, we could also thank ancient Greece for having created it and then immediately throw it in the rubbish bin of history
    The reason ancient Athens (not entirely Greece) is famous for its democracy is in comparison on what you had in the rest of the world at that time and the scale it was deployed, as ancient Athens was one of the biggest powers. Democracy wasn't the major political system at that time. Meaning that the idea that people should have the power wasn't the obvious choice as it is today. In the contrary. That is why it wasn't even followed afterwards nor was it followed by the rest of Greece that could view what Athens was doing.

    Today the whole western world accepts democracy as an idea. Each country has its own reason, that doesn't matter. The implementation on the other hand is worse than what you had in ancient Athens. The fact that people's voting power today is significantly less than back then means that you have less political power as an individual. Which just means you are further away from democracy as ancient Athens were thousands of years ago. My expectations are that humanity progresses in all areas.

    I could well claim that we have socially (women can vote as men can) improved but not politically.
    Last edited by C_ntua; 11-10-2012 at 05:12 PM.

  8. #38
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by std10093 View Post
    So Egyptian,Greek history and culture is equivalent to the one of America.The thing is that history does not start from when the country is declared as an independent state, but from where the roots of the nation begun.Byzantine where Greeks.Why do you separate them?
    Yes we were captured by Romans,Ottomans but the nation , the people stayed united.

    For America, what i know is that when the spanish people discovered this continent, they killed the natives and then you know what happened.
    I mean that there is almost no connection between the people that were living in pro-Columbus era and the modern Americans , because they do not have the same roots.I mean remember who traveled to America when it was discovered by Columbus and started to getting its shape as we know her today

    And yes i respect the history of the other countries more than you think.I have travelled to many countries and have learn the culture and history of them.

    I do not say that Greek history is better from Egyptian or vice verse because there can be no comparison between histories.

    But yes ,America has modern history and if you think that this comes from my narrow-mind , then i suggest asking a historical professor or something like that.

    And please do not extend this thematology .I mean it is very interested, but it is not the theme of the this tread.You can create one if you want and i would like to participate in that.
    Ooooh, be careful with that line of reasoning. History and culture are different things.

    I blow up whenever I hear someone claim something along these lines. America does have a history, you're just being partial to the fact that the people residing in America have little connection to the natives. You're basically saying that because citizens probably don't have an ethnic connection to the natives that there is no reason to learn our history, that no such history exists. I don't care how civil you are about it or where you've been, I'm very offended because your remark is ethnocentric. By the way, you're ignoring the fact that decendants of the natives are still around. We did not completely eradicate them.

    Look, if you want to, you can study the Hopewell or any other group of people that existed here before the pilgrimage. We do care.

    236 years or thousands of years, the difference is largely depth and how you use it. And not a lot of it is useful since for a lot of ancient history, you're lucky if there is ONE written record of a war or something. Not a whole lot of it is reliable. So don't pretend it's some sort of deep understanding of human history that we have on our hands. If Americans can preserve their government with the help by studying the history of the nation as opposed to the history of humanity as a whole, we win.

    So yeah, ........ you.

  9. #39
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Today the whole western world accepts democracy as an idea. Each country has its own reason, that doesn't matter. The implementation on the other hand is worse than what you had in ancient Athens. The fact that people's voting power today is significantly less than back then means that you have less political power as an individual. Which just means you are further away from democracy as ancient Athens were thousands of years ago. My expectations are that humanity progresses in all areas.
    I don't trust this to be true at all. Ancient Greece democratic values were incipient, to say the least, since the only real interest was in securing "power to the people". The added baggage of free speech, equal rights, or representation were not well exercised, if at all. Other than the limitations I discussed on a prior post, one of the common problems faced by democratic Greece was that peasants couldn't normally be represented, could hardly ever vote and neither would they have access to courts, despite being citizens of full right, since everything was managed and decided at the populous centers; at that time out of reach for an ox driven chariot. Essentially there was no effort to create local democratic institutions or to make democracy reach the rural areas.

    But more important than that, is what we tend to call today "bad democracy" and how "politicians are ruining it" and etc.

    I'm paraphrasing a post I made recently on a different place:

    Not for one moment forget us, the voters, are the main responsible for the current state of affairs. If politicians and their lobbies are the active arm of the fall of democracy as a valid and inherently good form of governance, then we the voters are its silent architects.

    I'm never sympathetic to the general cries of politicians are destroying our country, etc. Them are an extension of We. We defined who we want Them to be. And we do that every time we put a cross on that ballot. So, if I hear this or that politician is corrupt or a scoundrel, so are the ones who voted form him. Even if they didn't know what this person actually would turn out to be. As you can tell, I'm not sympathetic either to the Pilate that then wash their hands by claiming "I didn't know. How could I know?". Well, you should have known.

    It should be about time the voting branch of the population -- granted this means everyone, including politicians and their lobbies. But lets agree their vote isn't statistically representative -- actually does their job in a democratic society; To participate. And "participate" means a whole lot more than getting our best Sunday clothes to go out and vote when the day comes. It actually means being and staying informed, including strip-searching their candidates. Democracy isn't easy. No form of government that actually tries to create a happy society will ever be. Voters have to do a whole lot of work. And that includes being well informed about all candidates.

    If voters leave all political dogmas for the politicians and instead vote on a candidate skills and how they believe that candidate uses those skills, basing their choices on known data, instead of any bias towards or against the candidate race, sex or political party, we will be finally building a just and healthy democratic society. The politicians we elect will be the ones that will make sure of it.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 11-10-2012 at 06:15 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  10. #40
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    If voters leave all political dogmas for the politicians and instead vote on a candidate skills and how they believe that candidate uses those skills, basing their choices on known data, instead of any bias towards or against the candidate race, sex or political party, we will be finally building a just and healthy democratic society. The politicians we elect will be the ones that will make sure of it.
    I would still see two issues to achieve this.

    1. There is a paradox. If the people get educated enough to be able to vote for a representative, aren't they educated enough to vote directly? At least for something as simple as "do you want to go to war, yes or no?". I talk about politics at least once a month and give my opinions among friends. I have my opinion, I thought and researched about it. Is it that hard to also login a webpage and cast my vote? I just don't see why I even need to bother thinking and researching on top of that the representative I want to have to cast that said vote.

    2. The problem of that is that it is very hard to achieve in an already corrupted system.

    I give you a recent example (sorry again from Greece). In the elections made a few months ago with the hot topic of the economic crisis people participated (70%). There closest equivalent of the democratic party that was previously in power got like 13%. Its rival, the closest to the republican party got around 18%. Then you had some new parties getting even up to 10% and some previously 3rd grade parties getting up to 17%. People did show up and sought to find alternatives.
    But what happened? Since their is no majority the parties tried to form a combined government. And failed. The reason is that the alternative parties didn't want to form a government with the two big groups that always had the power, since those groups were responsible for the bankruptcy of the country. And here comes the tricky part. There is this law voted that gives the first group a big bonus on seats in the parliament which you need majority to form a government. This means that the group that got 18% got actually a bonus of 17% of the seats, jumping around 35%. And who do you think voted for this "sly" law? The groups that had already the political power all the years before. So the two major parties jumped around 40% in total. Then you add also the 10% of all the smaller groups (which were a lot!) people voted for. The rest were the groups that had actually the chance to form a combined alternative government, but even if they agreed, which is hard in 3 days, they didn't have enough combined seats. It requires much more than participation to change things. And what happened after that? People needed a government. Without a government simple things as paying the public employees are not even done. So under this pressure and since the alternative parties weren't as good as to take the chance, people voted again the classical two groups. Meaning simply that there will be no change. A nice vicious circle.

    A system were the majority of the people, the vast majority, was fed up and wanted a change and yet there was no change, it not good. Of course, if there was a better political group, if the people were more patience etc etc things will have worked out. I don't disagree that the people are always the ones to blame. No excuses whatsoever. But when you talk about the political system its responsibility is to make things work. If you require for the people more than their willingness to participate then your system is doomed to fail.


    Bottom line: unfortunately, I believe that there is no hope for the current system to become healthy or just. We still need to vote as to get the best out of it, but I wouldn't want people to settle on what we have today as democracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I don't trust this to be true at all. Ancient Greece democratic values were incipient, to say the least, since the only real interest was in securing "power to the people". The added baggage of free speech, equal rights, or representation were not well exercised, if at all. Other than the limitations I discussed on a prior post, one of the common problems faced by democratic Greece was that peasants couldn't normally be represented, could hardly ever vote and neither would they have access to courts, despite being citizens of full right, since everything was managed and decided at the populous centers; at that time out of reach for an ox driven chariot. Essentially there was no effort to create local democratic institutions or to make democracy reach the rural areas.
    Free speech, the right to vote etc etc are not democracy. Democracy is just the "power to the people". "Who" is the people is a different topic, what you would consider social, gender and racial equality, individual rights etc etc. I don't consider ancient Athens being socially or politically better in general than today, I consider their idea of democracy being better. The focus on the people voting for a law, at least the important ones, is the key for me. Key enough to simply to state that modern democracy is worse than then.

    To put it otherwise, a political system is a sum of a lot of things. Some of those things contribute to the "democratic" part of the political system, the idea that people, as a body, are in charge of the decision making. That part is voting for representatives today. And that part I believe is greatly flawed today in the western world.

  11. #41
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    1. There is a paradox. If the people get educated enough to be able to vote for a representative, aren't they educated enough to vote directly? At least for something as simple as "do you want to go to war, yes or no?"
    If you believe our Founding fathers, the answer is surprisingly, no. This is a running theme by the way. The founding fathers had little trust in the unwashed masses understanding of politics. The Federalist Papers, which are essentially news articles published before our Constitution was decided, is an important focus on how our democracy works. They dealt with many of the issues you raised. I'd suggest you read some of them, because I will fail to bring up all of the points the fathers did most likely. But remember std190003 says that you can't because we have no history. (I sympathize if it is too difficult for non-native speakers to read 200+ year old English. I'm doing my very best.)

    Basically, Madison argued that pure democracy led to fights between political factions. Violent ones. Pure democracy is not pretty, it is more or less might makes right.

    Why not ask Madison to explain it himself?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bold!Madison

    The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.


    NOTE: The early history of the American colonies was filled with numerous practice runs on self-governance. The Mayflower Compact was one of the earliest examples, but many, if not all of the states also had their own constitutions. Consequently, the colonists had many opportunities to see what worked and what did not. They had some success in constructing democratic systems. However, according to Madison, they were far from having perfected the art of government. Everywhere good solid citizens were of the opinion that the rule of law was not sovereign. Instead, conditions were unstable and rules were being made by “interested and overbearing majorities”.

    An “interested’ majority in this context is someone who seeks personal benefit from employment in government or champions some act of government for the same reason.

    [...]

    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

    Factions might comprise either a minority or a majority of the whole and what they advocate may not be in the best or long term interests of the community as a whole.

    [...]

    There are only two ways to prevent the abuse of power by the majority. The first is to simply hope that the majority faction won’t behave badly when it is in the majority. The second is to provide a mechanism that prevents abuse through the distribution of power. It’s well known that, if impulse and opportunity coincide, “neither moral nor religious motives can be relied upon as an adequate control.” The larger the group, the more these attributes are needed, and conversely the shorter they are in supply.

    From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

    Consequently, one must conclude that a pure democracy, one in which laws are directly passed through the will of the people, can’t deal with the evils of factions. It is inevitable that some issue or passion will sway the majority and induce it to “sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.” And in such a system, there is no remedy, nothing to stop this from occurring. Democracies have always been found to be incompatible with personal security and the rights of property. Democracies are consequently short-lived and “violent in their deaths”. Those who theorize on the efficacy of this form of government erroneously suppose that if you make everyone equal in their political voice, everyone would also be equal “in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”
    To address this problem, Madison said that you can't legally stop political factions from forming. People are too different and they will find something to fight over. Restricting the people to such an extent that they can't form a group and participate is about as far from democratic as you can get. You have to minimize the effects they have on government.

    The voters were expected to choose a number of people that represented a cross section of the whole society, big enough to do the job but small enough to prevent in-fighting. Rather than a large collection of parties, you have a few large parties who are less likely to act in the interest of a focused, small group of people over the greater society. The strongest opinions of all sides would be represented, producing effective majorities. Plus, the hope was that people would elect good people for office, people who won't sacrifice everyone's rights just to get X filed into law. It is supposed to be better than expecting absolutely everyone to cooperate.

    There was also the idea that politicians would have a hard time tricking the public at large in order to get elected. If they were bad people for whatever reason, you would find out about it during campaign time.

    Now is not 200 years ago, the system may be broken, but I don't yet disagree with the Federalist Papers. Maybe there are too many people in congress. If not that, then we are definitely electing the wrong people, who aren't even "in touch." If you agreed with me earlier, mainstream parties either need to be ousted or change their platforms. Maybe, with the advent of technology enabling propaganda, we need to consider more deeply how easy it is to trick people, and what we can do to empower ourselves again. It is being discussed passionately, if infrequently. Check it out. What Madison talked about are problems that you cannot completely solve, though. It is our responsibility to check individual branches of government with reality.

    My source: Federalist No. 10 | What Would The Founders Think?
    Last edited by whiteflags; 11-11-2012 at 01:08 AM.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    But remember std190003 says that you can't because we have no history. (I sympathize if it is too difficult for non-native speakers to read 200+ year old English. I'm doing my very best.)
    It's hard to take seriously anyone lecturing on the history of other nations (or lack of it thereof) while showing a remarkable lack of ability to understand his own ("Byzantines where Greeks" and some other utter nonsense).

    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    Basically, Madison argued that pure democracy led to fights between political factions. Violent ones. Pure democracy is not pretty, it is more or less might makes right.
    I need to read that source more closely. Just skimmed through it after reading your post. But loved the reference. I find it remarkable the idea that even then these thoughts were already being discussed. The idea of political parties being somewhat detrimental (or a necessary evil, perhaps?) to democracy, I always thought was a sophisticated line of reasoning born out of the few hundred years of democratic experience. And yet, here the "Father of the Constitution" is speaking of these matters (or as close to them as his reality at the time permitted) as if he was a 21st century citizen.

    Through the years, since I decided to awaken my political conscious -- which had been dormant throughout most of my teenager and younger adult days, which is sadly representative of our secular societies which paradoxically favor a religious upbringing to a civic one (and which constitutes a big part of the problems faced by modern democracies) -- through the years, I was saying, I developed this rationale that the real motor for the constant chipping away of Democracy as a valid and good form of government, has been exactly this terrifically damaging idea of political parties and political dogma. I won't enter into any details. Suffice to say I'm becoming an apologist of a "new order"; a new form of governance, not based on political dogma, but the actual ideas being thrown to deal with the immediate problems of a society. That is to say, a form of governance where one understands that for certain issues, depending on their causes and effects, a liberal must adopt conservative measures and vice versa. More interesting, that they do it without actually thinking in terms of dogmatic principles being defended or fought against.

    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Free speech, the right to vote etc etc are not democracy.
    If you read what you quote from me more carefully, you'll realize I didn't link the two.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 11-11-2012 at 03:29 AM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    If you believe our Founding fathers, the answer is surprisingly, no.
    This is indeed interesting, I wasn't aware of it. I would focus from the link on this phrase:
    Consequently, one must conclude that a pure democracy, one in which laws are directly passed through the will of the people, can’t deal with the evils of factions
    What this means is that the majority of people shouldn't form and decide on laws, because minority groups will be ignored. So what do we do? We have the majority vote for representatives that design and vote for laws. That is better according to Madison than the majority having full power as it is more balanced.

    What if I take one more step? The majority votes for representatives, the representatives design the laws, the majority decides on the laws proposed by the representatives. The representatives will ensure that the laws proposed to the public don’t abuse minorities.

    Pure democracy is not anarchy, were the majority just rules. It is based on laws, rules and procedures. I believe that Madison oversimplifies pure democracy and underestimates the fact that Law is above everyone. Even the majority. It is Law that will protect from abuse, humans will always be impulsive, quick to decide and quick to mess up. What Law provides is a barrier.

    Think of the classic example with the villagers taking pitchforks and rallying to kill the village “witch”. The villagers are the majority, the witch the minority. Now ask those villagers to first sit down, form a law, vote upon it and then trial the so called witch and see if the law applies to her. The picture will be completely different.

    So going to
    There are two ways to deal with factions, you can remove its causes or control the effects. Similarly, there are but two ways to remove the causes of factions. One is to remove all freedoms. The other mechanism is to force every citizen to have the same opinions, passions and interests.
    ....
    The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity.... [and goes on]
    I disagree that to control its effects you need to go to that extreme. As I claimed above, practically you just need to control their power, not their impulse. You also put the laws under the right context. I might have my own religious believes, don't ask me if I am against or pro abortion. Ask me if I think that there should be a strict law against abortions. Because you will get two completely different answers.

    The main point is that the majority has its weaknesses and its advantages. We know what they are. We can design the system to favor the advantages. At that time there was no time to design the system, granted. There are numerous other such examples in history. But when you have the time, as we do today in the US, there is no reason not to. I would agree on Madison then, disagree with these ideas today for developed western countries.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Pure democracy is not anarchy, were the majority just rules. It is based on laws, rules and procedures. I believe that Madison oversimplifies pure democracy and underestimates the fact that Law is above everyone. Even the majority. It is Law that will protect from abuse, humans will always be impulsive, quick to decide and quick to mess up. What Law provides is a barrier.
    I think you are over simplifying Madison's text. This is simply his a priori analysis on the "evils of factions" or, what we would call today political parties and political philosophies. It's this rationale that will then be used to draft the Constitution which tries exactly to protect the rights of minorities.

    Under modern democracy the minority rights are protected. However, the same can't be said of their will. This is what Madison finds "evil" about democracies (because according to him this will invariably lend democracy to violence) and what he finds to be without a solution. Laws can't be passed to address a minority desire if that desire clashes with the majority. And they never will, since this would be a subversion of the whole system. However, this also means there's a significant percentage of the population who doesn't feel represented.

    We have democratic institutions like your senate that should represent all of the population. Opposing parties are given some amount of power to influence or even bar the elected power from some decisions. Under ideal conditions this is our possible answer to the problem. Unfortunately democracy seems to slowly move towards a two-party system, which invariably leaves out a large part of the population. This "corruption" of the values of the legislative body of a country (and another of the evils of political factions) is, as I see it, one of the contributors to the general dissatisfaction and loss of faith in politics.

    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    I disagree that to control its effects you need to go to that extreme. As I claimed above, practically you just need to control their power, not their impulse.
    And that's precisely what has been done and what Madison suggested hundreds of years ago. But careful with the word impulse. read on...

    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    You also put the laws under the right context. I might have my own religious believes, don't ask me if I am against or pro abortion. Ask me if I think that there should be a strict law against abortions.
    This falls back to the previous discussion. We can't unfortunately expect "political factions" to behave scrupulously about matters that are deeply ingrained in their political doctrine. We should ask that much, but don't expect your wish to be granted. This is an human trait, not something that can be dealt with that easily.

    The only way you could enforce that would then be to "control their impulse". Precisely what you wisely chose to make clear it shouldn't be done. Because, obviously, sooner or later (sooner than later) we would be threading on the muddy civil rights grounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Because you will get two completely different answers.
    Yes, but that should indicate that person, the voter, also has unfinished business. You shouldn't get two answers, you should get just one, no matter how the question is formulated. The propensity of the human being for duality (especially when it comes to their values) has been noted before to be our greatest limitation to intellectual advancement and why humanity has been so slow in embracing a higher social order.

    How about we drop the religion equation from our thoughts and decide instead basing our rationale according to the secular principles of our nations? It needs to come to a point when society itself must understand that their are the maintenance dudes of the democratic principles. And for that, it's important that once and for all, society approaches democracy by dropping everything that is not a part of democracy.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 11-11-2012 at 12:09 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post

    Under modern democracy the minority rights are protected. However, the same can't be said of their will. This is what Madison finds "evil" about democracies (because according to him this will invariably lend democracy to violence) and what he finds to be without a solution. Laws can't be passed to address a minority desire if that desire clashes with the majority. And they never will, since this would be a subversion of the whole system. However, this also means there's a significant percentage of the population who doesn't feel represented.
    ...
    We have democratic institutions like your senate that should represent all of the population. Opposing parties are given some amount of power to influence or even bar the elected power from some decisions. Under ideal conditions this is our possible answer to the problem. Unfortunately democracy seems to slowly move towards a two-party system, which invariably leaves out a large part of the population. This "corruption" of the values of the legislative body of a country (and another of the evils of political factions) is, as I see it, one of the contributors to the general dissatisfaction and loss of faith in politics.
    Laws can't be passed from the senate either if the majority of the senate doesn't agree on them. And the majority of the senate comes from the majority of the people which will vote for representatives that should, ideally, represent their will. You might think that because you have one senator representing a minority that minority is represented, but they don't have the power to anyway pass a law what good is this representation? In the end the minority group gains nothing.

    The will of the minority not being represented is also misleading. People are not (usually) divided in distinct groups. We can disagree on a social matter but agree on a political matter. As an individual it is not that all my ideas will not be represented.

    It is not always the case that a minorities will "clashes" with majority either. If you ask the people to double their taxes to pay for the poor then indeed my previous statement will most likely be false. If they are to pay a small percentage they are likely to accept. People are willingly to compromise. Good or bad, it is in their nature.

    Representatives are also not de facto excluded by "evils". Corruption and greed are all things you need to worry with politicians. So there is a trade-off.

    So you can say that people indeed are biased, no disagreement:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    How about we drop the religion equation from our thoughts and decide instead basing our rationale according to the secular principles of our nations? It needs to come to a point when society itself must understand that their are the maintenance dudes of the democratic principles. And for that, it's important that once and for all, society approaches democracy by dropping everything that is not a part of democracy.
    Let see how our representatives did. They asked the candidates of the US for vice presidency how religion affects their lives. They both used religions to gain some "public points". None of them claimed that religion shouldn't be part of their decision making in a country where there is a freedom of religion. In the contrary. So I don't see again what benefit they practically have. What I see is that they have the evils of the majority along with the evils of the politicians despite what theoretically you would have expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    And that's precisely what has been done and what Madison suggested hundreds of years ago
    I don't disagree on the idea. I just believe that replacing the majority's power, with anything, is doom to fail. This is what I see today. And I can (maybe) tolerate the US elections, I cannot tolerate the Greek ones though. Having people that bankrupted the country be re-elected is a complete failure of the system. I fail to see what the majority could have done worse. You can control the power of the majority but not replace it. It is that fine line that is key for the health of a democracy in my point of view.
    Unless you find a way to elect good representatives. But for that you need good people to vote for them. In which case all of Madison's arguments for example are nulled. It is a chicken and egg problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Yes, but that should indicate that person, the voter, also has unfinished business. You shouldn't get two answers, you should get just one, no matter how the question is formulated. The propensity of the human being for duality (especially when it comes to their values) has been noted before to be our greatest limitation to intellectual advancement and why humanity has been so slow in embracing a higher social order.
    Yes, but that is how people are today. But giving them less power also means they will never improve. If our representatives put everything in a context of political dogma, if they use arguments that awaken our emotions and religion sensitivities, if their speech makes not rational then how do we expect the people also to progress politically? No one matures by not having responsibilities. I don't want people to vote for someone and then blame them for their decisions. I want them to make the decision and if they mess up blame themselves, learn and improve. If I don't have to make a decision I will never "finish my business". Which means I will always have a way to be manipulated if you ask me in the way you want to ask me. And if I have to educate myself and search a subject, the least I expect is at the end to get to vote for it directly. Doing all the work in order to have an opinion so I can better vote for someone else that I hope is going to decide well, is simply far way less motivational.

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