Democracy Republic and ?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by jonwilly, Oct 10, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I don't know if this is the right Forum to bring up this subject but I was hoping that some of the more Learned Members may enlighten little old me.
    Last night in my local I was entertaining some guests and one regular, other side of bar, started a debate on Democracy, Republics and politics in general but with more extreme leanings.
    I didn't catch all of the subject but his argument was along the lines that the US (He is a Yank) is no longer a Democracy but is now a Republic.
    He continued the argument with the statement that Aristotal ( Greece birth place of Democracy), had argued that Only wealthy, educated people should be allowed a vote.
    The ordinary man in the street does not have sufficent grasp of 'Matters of State' and is only intrested in 'Populist events'. The guy was generous in that he readily agreed that the Average man in the street in the States is the Prime example of this attitude, tho I know he has an exceptionally low opinion of ya average UK Dole Wallah.
    Any serious views would be apriciated, I only managed a basic UK state education but hold qualifacations from the University of Life.
    Gents could we keep this as a non Naffi subject ?
  2. The Aristotelian view (if that's what it is) has a lot to say for it. Currently in the UK there's a move, reported a few days ago, to allow the mentally incompetent/intellectually challenged/legally indifferent (not allowed to say 'mad'/'thick'/criminal bastard' any more as it offends them) to vote in national elections. Some may say that they've been doing it for as long as there's been a Labour Party, but surely their influence at the poll has a bearing on the future of the country's prosperity and quality of life of most of us, which may be seriously skewed by their contribution.

    Equally, you could take Northern Ireland's situation; it's reported yesterday that two Magherafelt councillors have taken seats on the local Policing Board. Now, the names Peter Bateson and Ian Milne might ring bells with some of our older members here, and their presence on such a forum, let alone in a municipal council, could give rise to a little scepticism of the values of Western European democratic civilisation. However, given that the 'party' which those two represent and which holds a place in the government of the Province has failed to comply with most of those values even until today (and refuses to take part in any 'historic crimes inquiries', despite their perpetual shrieking for all other parties to the Northern Irish conflict to do so) perhaps the definitions of democracy as we understand them actually need revision?
  3. I'm an American and see the US as a democracy within a republic. The pledge of allegiance, which all school children say (or at least did when I was a child) "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

    A republic to me is any nation that has a president, people entitled to vote for said president and all representatives for the people voted in by the people.

    This goes hand in hand with Democracy where government is decided by the people for the people.

    What I think your friend in the pub was getting at, albeit, with wrong terminology, is that there is a common perception in the US that there is some sort of collusion between all the rich folks to run the country and to a point it's true but I doubt it's as sinister as folks make out.

    For instance, there are roughly 150 democratic candidates running for the democratic bid, most Americans can only name 2 (Osama or Hillary) and that's chiefly due to the media blasting their names every other day. If you have the money, you can run enough ads to make your name a household item and you may have a shot. For instance, Ross Perot. People will vote with who they know and what they hear. I doubt very highly that any significant amount of Americans would take the time to research a presidential candidate on their own as opposed to listening to the news, tv ads, or the candidates themselves.

    Perhaps this is what he was eluding to?
  4. Republicanism is not excusively democractic, nor is democracy excusively republican. Constitutional Monarchy is as democractic, in the modern sense, as a republic is.

    We could largely describe old republicanism as oligarchic (or even aristocractic) rule by a minority, whose leadership is decided by that minority. This was the case with ancient Rome, and the city states of Venice, Milan etc. Very few were actually citizens (mostly wealthy males) and really was only more democractic then abolutism under a monarchy, but can't be described as such in any comparison with modern Western Europe or the US etc.

    Modern concepts are based on the representative model i.e. converting the old instutitions that existed in pre-democractic times, Parliament etc and grafting on the ancient ideal of democracy which was adapted by the developed notions of democracy during the Enlightenment (liberalism etc) to cope within the nation state. Ancient republicanism was useful in this regard as an anti-tryannical precedent and whose core institutions and ideals could be adapted. In practice though much of the US model came from Britian (rather then France, the Dutch republic or Poland-Lithuania) which adapted the old Parliament with democractic virtues.

    Modern 'democracies' are complicated beasts. There are very thin lines between plurist democracy, i.e. having a great number of interest groups that vie for control and influence over decision makers (much like the US model) and which importantly acts to aggregate and channel the 'will of the people' through these groups, to polyarchy that contains most of the democractic basics, free and fair elections, freedom of speech etc but might fall short of being completely democractic (which well describes most modern democracies) i.e. allow individuals to have more then a passing influence on those in pwoer.

    Aristotle was a complete anti-democrat and along with Plato advanced the idea of 'guardianship' where a few naturally talented peple rule over the affairs of the rest of the society as they are born more capable to knowing what is best for all. The argument as to who should or should not vote may come into that, but really is far from the mark in the context of modern democracy. That's a question within the confines of that democracy, not between democracy and guardianship.

    Most agree that modern democracy falls short of whatever normitive judgement everyone seems to wish for from it, historical examples give only very limited avenues for a solution.
  5. That's a slightly dangerous argument. Elements of the British upper-class are notoriously stupid, so under an IQ-based franchise might find themselves turfed from the voting booth, pdq.

    Your friend's confused. A Republic is simply a state where there's no hereditary monarch. It has nothing to do with the alleged IQ of voters.

    Britain = Queen = non-Republic

    Sepville = President = Republic

  6. Of course fact that you dont actually vote for who you want to be president.
    You vote for who the electoral college have decided will be president..
    You have as much say in who is going to be president as the UK has on who is going to be prime minister. Not a lot

    No one lives in a real democracy except perhaps a in few student/wierdo squats.
  7. I have my suspicions that the attempts over the last few years to make it as easy as possible to vote is directly aimed at the 'lower classes' of 'low intelligence'.

    The attempts to introduce postal voting purely because the local chavs couldn't be arrsed to walk to the local polling station are I believe a shallow attempt by labour to keep their seats as lets face it, your average unemployed council house chav is unlikely to vote otherwise are they?

    Personally I like the present system were only those who actually care (or have the intelligence to care) about the result bother to vote.
  8. The guy was confused. Aristotle wrote in a time of direct democracy where people voted on issues. We (UK and USA) are representative democracies where we elect supposedly learned and educated people to do it for us. We chose them for their views to represent us.

    However it does mean with universal suffrage idiots can elect an idiot to represent them. We call this George W.

  9. Why don't they just host the next general election as an 'X Factor' style talent show! Everyones a winner that way, we could hear Broon's much lauded fart jokes, Cameron's lovely Judy Garland impression and Campbell' he does. With the amount of phone votes this tripe usually gets voter numbers would be up 1000% plus there would be lots of extra revenue generated by the phone votes.
  10. I could have sworn I went to my local voting station and pulled the lever on the name I chose to be president?

    Electoral college doesn't "say" who's president or not as directly as your suggesting. Electoral college assigns "point values" if you will to certain states in the union. You can win the election by state vote, not popular vote, but it's still a vote.

    This system is necessary in that it keeps larger states from always deciding elections. If you go by pure popular vote, then you only need to win over texas and california and screw the rest. The electoral college keeps them in check, as need be.

    It's not a perfect system, but so far it's the most efficient.

  11. I suppose this touches it but I'm not convinced.. Essentially we are coerced to vote for the person selected by colleges/ parties etc. Neither the US nor any other democracy votes for a leader....that has already been done for you.

    All you do with your vote is to endorse their selection.

    (Look what we've got handed to us...a tartan kilted berk of a sheep shagging raggedy arsed Scotsman. He of course followed a lying celeb infatuated freeloading dork of an Englishman.) Did I ever vote for them or their poxy party?? No.

    It's nearly always a two horse race....would you put your money on that... never mind put the future of your country on such a farce?

    For example; if Ms. Clinton wins the next US election and serves two terms, that would mean that TWO FAMILIES would have run the government of the most powerful democracy for nearly 28 years.

    Democracy? Shamocracy?

    Having said that ....all other systems have failed and it does at least have checks and balances......but there has to be a better way...any ideas?

    ps: The founder of Democracy was incarcerated for speaking out against the system he what's new?
  12. If Gore wins a nobel prize and decides to run again, Hillary is history. He'd pull republican votes as well for his work. Hell, I would even feel inclined to vote for him just due to the work he's done. Can't get much worse than what we have now, at least he's environmental and would have momentum with this gas crunch.

    I agree with you to an extent. I always bitch about the two party system here in the US. For some reason, other parties have had a hell of a time taking them on. Hard to root out the good ol boy system.

    Only other system I could think of would be a "Technocracy". In order to vote, you would have to qualify, in order to qualify you would need to pass a competency exam on all matters and only vote on subjects in your area of competency. This way people that know what they're voting about can make proper decisions.

    Voting would be done by secure network throughout the country and tallied in a central location. Folks would be able to put an item up for a vote after it's been endorsed by 10% of the voting populace. Think of voting tiers. Once determined its entitled to a vote it's then categorized and placed in the appropriate vote category.

    When you go to vote you could do so at home with 3 key security elements to ensure you are who you say you are. You would log in and be presented with your categories and the items to be voted on within them.

    They should be run for a finite time and then tallied and ratified in a very transparent process.

    Ok, that's all I got for 3 minutes of thinking. A lot of details missing but I think it shows the point.
  13. Another way of looking at is that, in a Democracy, everyone would vote for everything. Countries would come to a standstill if that happened.
    In a Republic, the people vote for those to represent them. Therefore Republic equals representative democracy.
    In which case, Britain is already a Republic, albeit without an elected head of state.
    President Jed Bartlett (Martin Sheen in the West Wing) explained it all in one of the episodes.
    The US is closer to a democracy than we are as they vote in virtually all public servants (police chiefs, fire chiefs, dogcatchers etc) while we only vote for politicians whether it is local or national.
  14. Local Democracy?

    We already have that: Parish Councils /Local /Borough /County Councils plus National/European Parliaments.

    The whole thing is overloaded and just seems a career opportunity for the mouthpieces of society who seem to jump up the chain without actually ever doing a real job. ( Why do we keep voting for these twerps?)

    Party system I suppose..... which is exploited by the smart arses..that is why you could get a monkey elected in the North East as long as you called him the Liabour candidate.

    I would certainly go for locally elected OFFICIALS...don't like the local chief of police and his Brunstrom attitude? Vote the bugger out!
  15. The 'Participants of Tuesday nights debate where not presant last night.
    I brought the subject of Democracy & Republic up with two other mature friends. A Canadien, Oilman vast worldwide knowledge and another person whos views I strongly listen to. A German Dr of Agronomy, a Berliner aged 16 back in 1945 a gentleman of the Old School, who had an 'Intresting' education in the basics of life. Don't ever mention Shock and Awe to him for having been on the receiving end he can write the book on the subject..
    But john that was Federick the Great's belief, the ordinary man is not capable of understanding Serious Politics. As a young man at University after the war we frequently debated these matters.
    Both where of the opinion that Universal Sufferage for all its faults, is still the only way to go.