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Problems With Democracy  
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 992 times:

I would like to say something about democracy.

Sometimes (not often, but it happens) democracy falls on its face. Hitler was democratically elected. In Algeria, in 1991, The Islamic fundementalist party won the first round of elections, after having said that democracy and Islam were not compatible, and that they planned to put in place a non-democratic theocracy. The military had to step in and put a stop to them, unfortunately causing the terrorism to continue another decade.

In each case, people voted in the elimination of their democratic freedoms and the imposition of dictatorship. In Germany, the voters were generally well-educated, if somewhat desperate. In Algeria, most voters were relatively backward and uneducated, driven partly by fear and partly by ignorance (the word of an Imam is not necessarily the word of God).

But it shows what a democracy in times of desperation can do. SO my question is, what should the international community do about it when they see a country going down this path? What should the local people do, when a majority decide to do away with the most important right of all - the right to have a say in government - a decision which is often irreversable without a lot of bloodshed and suffering if tolerated?

Charles

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineImonti From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 977 times:

Hitler was not democratically elected, less than 50% of eligible voters turned out to the polls, he used fear and intimidation to win the elections. There is no way on gods green earth did Hitler win fair and square.

User currently offlineJasepl From India, joined Jul 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 39
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 949 times:

Sometimes (not often, but it happens) democracy falls on its face.

Just as it happened in Florida. People were denied their right to vote. And a bunch of his sympathisers appointed George Bush to the presidency.

Of course, we would never hear you actually admit this. Much more convenient to point fingers at Germany and Algeria.


User currently offlineRussophile From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 945 times:

Just as it happened in Florida. People were denied their right to vote. And a bunch of his sympathisers appointed George Bush to the presidency.

Now, now, Jasepl. That isn't fair to do.

Because you should know that the US isn't a democracy, but a republic.

But they both have something in common, in that they are both systems in which "the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them."  Big grin


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21406 posts, RR: 54
Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 941 times:

In Algeria it might actually have been better to let the islamist party form a government than basically nullifying the election instead which has contributed to the terror and chaos they have now.

The turkish "islamist" government, for instance, has pushed for an unprecedented series of democratic reforms in their bid for EU membership, with uncharacteristic support for civil rights reforms among other things.

I don´t know all the details about the algerian situation, but the coup we´ve seen doesn´t look like a really good idea in hindsight...


User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 933 times:

OK, let's put this to bed. Read the Supreme Court ruling:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&navby=case&vol=000&invol=00-949

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&navby=case&vol=000&invol=00-836

By the way:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/media_watch/jan-june01/recount_4-3.html. PBS, hardly a conservative beacon.

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/4/4/164421.shtml
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/3/22/160828.shtml

Now, on to the question of flawed democracy. People in a democracy have the right to self determination.

If a fair vote is cast, then the people choose to come under a dictator and surrender their right to remove the dictator. In this case the "world community" should leave it alone unless (until) the atrocities start. Then the UN can start its long process of sanctions, resolutions, etc.

But votes like that are rarely fair (see Germany and Hitler). What is the "world community" to do? Any pre-emptive action would be greeted by protests, calls for sanctions against the "aggressor" and invites a dim view from that same "world community".

Nope, you gotta let it happen, lodge your protests with the UN and wait for the blood to flow, as it probably will.



User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 926 times:

Electing a government using a democratic system is one thing, whether that government will listen to its people while in office is another.
If the Spanish government had listened to the overwhelming majority of the Spanish population, Spain would have never involved itself in the Iraq war and we wouldn´t have been hit by the Madrid bombings. But then of course we have the support of Mr Bush, who greets "the people of the Republic of Spain".


User currently offlineKellmark From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 691 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 918 times:

Also, regarding Florida, "suppressing the vote" that is another hoax.

1. There was one organized campaign to suppress the vote in Florida, and that was a blatant attempt by the Democratic Party to prevent military absentee ballots from being counted. They even sent out a memo on how these ballots could be disqualified. On the other hand, a full investigation was done on charges that the Republicans had "suppressed the black vote', but nothing ever came of it. Only unfounded charges.

2. The left leaning main stream media announced that Florida was won by Gore even before the polls were closed in the Florida panhandle,which is on a different time zone, where a large number of Republican voters then stayed home when they thought that their vote would make no difference.

3. The vote counting itself in certain counties that was attacked by the Democrats was all counted by Democrats in those same counties that they objected to. They held those offices. They also designed the infamous "butterfly ballot" in Palm Beach county. Both parties had the opportunity to approve or object to the ballot prior to the election and the Democrats who later screamed about it said nothing.


User currently offlineJasepl From India, joined Jul 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 916 times:

But then of course we have the support of Mr Bush, who greets "the people of the Republic of Spain"

And what did President Juan Carlos have to say about that?


User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 914 times:

Just like anything else, everyone has their own definition of "democracy". The term is twisted and amended to point that it has little meaning.

Two countries that declare they are "democracies" often have very little in common and have conflicting views on several issues.

The word has very little meaning to me anymore.


User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 909 times:

In Algeria it might actually have been better to let the islamist party form a government than basically nullifying the election instead which has contributed to the terror and chaos they have now.
The turkish "islamist" government, for instance, has pushed for an unprecedented series of democratic reforms in their bid for EU membership, with uncharacteristic support for civil rights reforms among other things.
I don´t know all the details about the algerian situation, but the coup we´ve seen doesn´t look like a really good idea in hindsight...


From what I understand, the Algerian Islamists were far, far more extreme than the ones in Turkey, the country had much less of a democratic tradition, and of course there was no "look good for the EU" issue. Algeria was in danger of turning into a classic "one man, one vote, one time" situation that often is cited as a reason why democracy and Islam are incompatible (though it's not clear whether such a scenario actually has happened anywhere).



"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 906 times:

In Algeria it might actually have been better to let the islamist party form a government than basically nullifying the election instead which has contributed to the terror and chaos they have now.

The turkish "islamist" government, for instance, has pushed for an unprecedented series of democratic reforms in their bid for EU membership, with uncharacteristic support for civil rights reforms among other things.


Turkey and Algeria are two different countries, Klaus. You know as well as I do that there's all shades of "Islamist" parties. It's impossible to tell if the Algerian "Islamist" party would have turned out as Turkey's Justice and Development Party has, or more in line with the Taleban of Afghanistan; since Algeria has suffered from terrorism and near-civil war for decades, my own opinion leans towards the latter. But it's a What-If scenario.

But I don't think that recent moves in Turkey to ban adultery (alas, that has been dropped after Turkey received external pressure against it), and the fact that some 'key' legislation to Turkey's penal code, apparently a necessary requisite for accession to the EU, was also withdrawn, gives me a feeling that - maybe - the Justice and Development Party isn't as progressive as you would describe them, after all.


I don´t know all the details about the algerian situation, but the coup we´ve seen doesn´t look like a really good idea in hindsight

Hindsight is always 20-20.

Besides, I have a difficult time believing that you would trust any political group that resorts to violence or terrorism to achieve its aims, to effectively run a country. I wouldn't... it usually shows poorly upon that political movement to actually govern fairly and without violence once they've met their aims and control the country.

So far, rebel movements and groups that utilize terrorism have a less-than-stellar track record when it comes to governance - the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Communists in China, Isaias Afewerki in Eritrea, the Kabilas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe..... And FARC in Columbia, even though they do not control the entire country, have an integral part in the cocaine trade in the autonomous region which they run.

So, how about the Basque ETA? Or Sinn Fein? Could they effectively run a government? Judging by the factionalism and infighting amongst their own supporters, I have serious doubts.

In my opinion, the Algerian military made a move to protect the government and nation which they had ultimately sworn loyalty to - a system of government which would have been fundamentally changed had the Islamic party came to power.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 900 times:

Just like anything else, everyone has their own definition of "democracy". The term is twisted and amended to point that it has little meaning.

Two countries that declare they are "democracies" often have very little in common and have conflicting views on several issues.

The word has very little meaning to me anymore.


Saddam Hussein said that he was supported by a democratic vote - receiving nearly 100% of the popular support. Of course, the ballot sort of lended itself to that.....



 Big grin

Ultimately, though, governments have more in common with each other than they do with their citizenry - the few governing and making decisions for the many.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 900 times:

"But then of course we have the support of Mr Bush, who greets "the people of the Republic of Spain". "And what did President Juan Carlos have to say about that?"

President Juan Carlos complained, but King Aznar was too busy riding horses on GWB´s ranch.


User currently offlineJasepl From India, joined Jul 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 39
Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 888 times:

Saddam Hussein said that he was supported by a democratic vote - receiving nearly 100% of the popular support. Of course, the ballot sort of lended itself to that.....

As did Pakistan's dictator - sorry, president. But he's still running around freely, doing whatever it is he does. If the 100% vote he got in the general elections (or the General's Elections, as some said) is considered perfectly valid, why not Saddam's?


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21406 posts, RR: 54
Reply 15, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 882 times:

No doubt Algeria is very different from Turkey; But even algerian moderates have voiced the opinion that the coup may have been worse than having the political islamists form a government.

Sure, we can´t know for sure, but if even some moderates make comments like that it deserves attention.

And of course the turkish islamists aren´t my favourite civil rights proponents; But relative to the widespread fears after the elections they have turned out to be much, much more pragmatic and even more progressive than expected.


User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 851 times:

But I don't think that recent moves in Turkey to ban adultery (alas, that has been dropped after Turkey received external pressure against it), and the fact that some 'key' legislation to Turkey's penal code, apparently a necessary requisite for accession to the EU, was also withdrawn, gives me a feeling that - maybe - the Justice and Development Party isn't as progressive as you would describe them, after all.

Until the past few decades, adultery was a crime in most states in the United States. Laws may still be on the books in some Southern states.



"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlineN6376M From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 841 times:

Cfalk raises a very interesting point. But I think we need to examine the US model as it was created - not as how it was evolved. The historical revisionist have succeed in convincing young children in the US that our country was created on the concept that all men are created equal, and that the phrase should be interpreted as "everyone is created equal."

Well that's a very good and noble idea, but the framers of the US Constitution and the writers of the Declaration of Independence did not ever intend that everyone is created equal.

To start with blacks weren't even counted as a whole person for census issues, let alone equal enough to have a vote in who governed them. Women were also not equal. Though they were counted, they didn't get the vote until the country was almost 150 years old.

While we're on the subject, white males who didn't own land got counted and had a vote, as long as they could pass the exams given to voters and pay the poll tax that was imposed to keep the poor from participating in the process.

The framers distrusted the will of the people so much that they didn't even allow the citizenry the right to directly elect their president - the electoral college did that. But why stop there, the people couldn't be trusted to elect their Senators. No, the state legislatures had that responsibility, further insulating the government from the will of the people.

So originally, our framers created a "democracy" where white, male landowners got to elect their representative to the House and state leaders. Nobody else even got a say.

While we now go around saying "all men are created equal" that's not what was intended. While I certainly believe in the inherent value of all human life - someone is not inherently better or worse because of their sex or skin color or whether they own land or are rich or are poor (those are factors determined by the big celestial lottery of life) - there is something to be said about the logic of not allowing people who can't figure out how to fill out a ballot pick the President of the United States.

For all the finger pointing, about whether GWB stole the 2000 election or not, let us not forget that the West Palm Beach ballot was designed by a democratic supervisor of elections. The votes Pat Buchanan got were mostly cast by people so stupid that they couldn't pay enough attention to complete a punch card ballot correctly. Should these "geniuses" have the right to determine who my president is? Well I'd argue that our founding fathers didn't think so.


User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6785 posts, RR: 34
Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 815 times:

The problem with democracy is, typically, there isn't enough of it in the world.  Smile

User currently offlineJpetekYXMD80 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 4375 posts, RR: 27
Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 782 times:

"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. "
-Winston Churchill



The Best Care in the Air, 1984-2009
User currently offlineImonti From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 10 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 769 times:

Well South Africa is possibly an example, for a democacy to work the people need a rough idea of happenings and things and an education.

Unfortunately the majority of the population is black people and they dont have an education the majority of them but they have right to vote, a lot of them, millions of them will never vote for a white person because of apartheid? Not on the grounds of something failing or corruption or anything in the government they/that has been elected. Is it their fault no as they have never been told or taught otherwise and I can see where they are coming from on their dstance although I do disagree with it. So is that an example where democracy fails? Well the majority of the population choose the president and stuff yet some policies that come out of their are crazy.

I do love my country and so many productive things have come out of the governement, being young and learning about the world I suppose that is politicis and yes it is a bitter pill to swallow im just going to have to learn to swallow it.

As we say "Here is to 10 years of democracy and freedom"

SOUTH AFRICA


User currently offlineJutes85 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 754 times:



 Big grin


User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 740 times:

Cfalk, by your own admission, the problems with democracy lies in the people. How can we scapegoat a medium to order from chaos when free people determine their own destiny regardless of how ignorant they are with the consequences?

Unless those issues spill over into another country, how is it any other country's sore thumb? I see it as an embarrassment to live next to them until they get too emotional and drag me into their soapbox.




The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
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