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This is a discussion on Vote! within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by C_ntua The will of the minority not being represented is also misleading. People are not (usually) divided ...

  1. #46
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    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.
    I believe you are misinterpreting minority in this context (or maybe I am). Madison refers to it as any faction who isn't favored in a political decision. He isn't concerned with the broader context of a political party (I believe that's the reason why he carefully chooses the word "faction"). A political party is simply the more or less cohesive materialization of several factions. A political party is essentially a memeplex. Instead, here the concept of minority is exactly being used to define specific ideas or dogmas that aren't being represented and that could lead to instability.

    The idea of abortion for instance, can be decided by the legislative branch one way or another. Usually by will of the majority (as it should). However, whatever the decision, it has the potential of bringing social unrest and instability. This is the weakness of democracy. The double bind of democracy.

    Unless you live in an unstable political regime, you won't notice social unrest from the decision of electing one party or the other. But even under stable political regimes, social unrest, violence and the failure of governments can be attributed to a faction and a decision of the majority.

    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    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?
    I'm forced to quote Nietzsche in his Preface to The Antichrist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Friedrich Nietzsche
    He must be accustomed to living on mountain tops—and to looking upon the wretched gabble of politics and nationalism as beneath him. He must have become indifferent; he must never ask of the truth whether it brings profit to him or a fatality to him.... He must have an inclination, born of strength, for questions that no one has the courage for; the courage for the forbidden; predestination for the labyrinth. The experience of seven solitudes. New ears for new music. New eyes for what is most distant. A new conscience for truths that have hitherto remained unheard. And the will to economize in the grand manner—to hold together his strength, his enthusiasm.... Reverence for self; love of self; absolute freedom of self...
    [...]
    One must make one’s self superior to humanity, in power, in loftiness of soul, in contempt.
    I won't cease to be amazed at how easily we wash our hands of our responsibilities in the political process we call democracy. And how easily we attribute to others those responsibilities. It pays to think real hard on the definition of Democracy, and what "Power to the People" is this if we constantly cave in to conformism and the blame game.

    Let me be clear, in its broader sense it's never the politician fault. It's our fault. If we for once try to elevate ourselves we will finally hold the power democracy gives us. Your dogmatic, intellectually dishonest politician will have no power over anyone. It's a simple process that of elevating oneself over the rat scouring humanity. Of being deaf to that which limits our thinking. Why we insist on hiding in the hole of mediocrity of religious and political dogma thinking is something that baffles me.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 11-11-2012 at 04:50 PM.
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  2. #47
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Unless you live in an unstable political regime, you won't notice social unrest from the decision of electing one party or the other. But even under stable political regimes, social unrest, violence and the failure of governments can be attributed to a faction and a decision of the majority.
    You see unrest (riots are like a common thing in Athens lately...) though when the people are unhappy with their government. They feel betrayed, disappointed, cheated. I see that potential violence greater than the one you have because of a minority, idea or group. As you have the majority in unrest, something unlikely to happen in democracy. There were even civil wars because of political parties. Uniting people under a political dogma represented by a party is essentially separating people into groups. Parties create or fuel rival ideas.

    If the people favor communism it is likely that the capitalistic ideas will be hard to be voted. People favoring capitalism can be upset. It is only, though, when you had political groups organized and supporting these ideas that you ended up in war.

    What people have in mind is that it is best if you elect some people to discuss and decide rather than having the masses fighting over it. I don't disagree on the discuss part, I disagree on the decide part. People fight during discussions, if you instead present them with specific propositions to vote for then there is nothing to fight over. They can perceive that it is a fair choice.

    I just don't see why the majority of people voting poses more risks that having a group of representatives. Theoretically speaking, in a civilized and developed country. Because history has of course examples for both and depending one circumstances one choice was better than the other.

  3. #48
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    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.
    This is actually a special case in the US Congress. If one party cannot be stopped because they won so many seats in the Senate, then in theory the majority cannot be stopped there. But we have a bicameral legislature. The minority has to seek to kill bills drafted in the Senate in the House. Bills frequently lose their teeth before they're finished and voted on in both Houses. In the normal case, neither party has enough members in the Senate to actually make the 3/5 majority "aye" vote, required by the Constitution, to pass the bill. This means that the minority party has the ability to be really uncooperative if it wants to be.

    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.
    You're such a unique snowflake. I know that is awfully flippant, I think people just forget that politics is happening all the time. You don't vote and then become a peasant until you have to vote again. If you really care, you communicate with your congresspeople (or at least their staff). There really is no excuse for this.

    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.

    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.
    I don't see a point here. Evidently, you do not plan a government around the likelihood of easy compromises because you can't predict them. If the minority does clash with the majority (say because the majority bankrupted your country) you have to empower the minority somehow before the process is over, or their rights will too quickly dissolved. In a normal situation where people might be reasonable, then the will of the majority still happens, just more slowly. I don't see that as a replacement of anyone's power, I see it as an appeal to the virtue of patience. And if you don't think people are good enough to rule themselves, you're left with crap choices. I don't want to entertain the idea, I think I'll just suffer.
    Last edited by whiteflags; 11-12-2012 at 07:33 PM.

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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    This is actually a special case in the US Congress. If one party cannot be stopped because they won so many seats in the Senate, then in theory the majority cannot be stopped there. But we have a bicameral legislature. The minority has to seek to kill bills drafted in the Senate in the House. Bills frequently lose their teeth before they're finished and voted on in both Houses. In the normal case, neither party has enough members in the Senate to actually make the 3/5 majority "aye" vote, required by the Constitution, to pass the bill. This means that the minority party has the ability to be really uncooperative if it wants to be.
    Yes, you are talking about a two party government, which means by definition all the rest of the minor parties (and ideas) were completely ignored! The 1% minority in a direct democracy will get 1%. In a two party government they get absolutely no representation. The whole idea of was that representatives will avoid building "factions" like the population would. Today in the US the absolutely opposite has happen. We only have 2. Which is completely different than expected by the way:

    It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.
    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    You're such a unique snowflake. I know that is awfully flippant, I think people just forget that politics is happening all the time. You don't vote and then become a peasant until you have to vote again. If you really care, you communicate with your congresspeople (or at least their staff). There really is no excuse for this.
    Communicate for what purpose? To express my opinion? I could do that by directly voting, why do I need to do that through a representative?
    To discuss maybe? If people really cared as you say and wanted to discuss, do you know how many discussions we talking about the congresspeople (and their staff) receiving? Practically impossible.
    So now I need to be involved in politics, do my research and spend the time to know the candidates to vote for my representatives, then communicate with those representatives so they can decide. That opposed to be involved in politics and directly voting. Which people don't even do once every couple of years today. The question is not if the system can work somehow. The question is if there is a better system that can work better.

    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    I don't see a point here. Evidently, you do not plan a government around the likelihood of easy compromises because you can't predict them. If the minority does clash with the majority (say because the majority bankrupted your country) you have to empower the minority somehow before the process is over, or their rights will too quickly dissolved. In a normal situation where people might be reasonable, then the will of the majority still happens, just more slowly. I don't see that as a replacement of anyone's power, I see it as an appeal to the virtue of patience. And if you don't think people are good enough to rule themselves, you're left with crap choices. I don't want to entertain the idea, I think I'll just suffer.
    The problem is that the minority (the government) bankrupts the country. I think people are good enough to rule themselves, I don't think people are good enough to rule others. I don't think I even have to worry about the minority being ignored in a democracy when I don't even see the majority being represented today.

  5. #50
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Yes, you are talking about a two party government,
    Not true. That's how it is now. That's not how it's required to work at all. The system is not impeding the rise of any particular party. And a bicameral legislature only means there are two different legislatures to make bills -- the Senate and the House.

    Communicate for what purpose? To express my opinion? I could do that by directly voting, why do I need to do that through a representative?

    To discuss maybe? If people really cared as you say and wanted to discuss, do you know how many discussions we talking about the congresspeople (and their staff) receiving? Practically impossible.
    Not really. They have mailboxes and email addresses and telephones. Remember SOPA? The volume of mail received by congress probably more than doubled. So even if you think it's a stupid idea, people do it. And I'm not going to back away from my criticism that people don't do it enough just because you think it's stupid. That's your problem.

    I don't think I even have to worry about the minority being ignored in a democracy when I don't even see the majority being represented today.
    I think it's very easy to feel like you are part of a big group of people but not actually be, so I don't worry about how much power I actually have.
    Last edited by whiteflags; 11-13-2012 at 12:51 AM.

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