View Poll Results: Where Does Sovereignty Reside?

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  • Aristocracy/ Elite

    3 11.11%
  • Army/ Military

    0 0%
  • Elected Politicians

    0 0%
  • God/ Theocracy

    2 7.41%
  • Monarch/ Single Leader

    5 18.52%
  • People/ Folk

    17 62.96%
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Thread: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    'Sovereignty' is one of the most important political notions.

    It is one that transcends the merely official stuff of politics and goes into the realm of beliefs and meaning.

    So that we can gauge what most members think on this issue, a poll is appended here; please choose ONE option.

    Also give your own ideas here for what sovereignty IS, and where it resides etc.,

    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    Sovereignty resides in he who those with arms dedicate their lives to. Sovereignty is the capacity of unappealable decision.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    So would you choose, from the Poll options, the Army/ military?

    In the sense that every sovereign entity from the People to a king must needs have the FULL backing of the military?

    This means that you place the army above faith in the sovereignty of God though.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    You only have enough sovereignty as The Lord lets you have. Which means none at all. Because we will all have to answer to him for our discretions eventually.So there wasnt enough choices. Folk under The Lord I would say. NOT under secular organizations!
    Some days you just want to holler your head off!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    Quote Originally Posted by kinvolk
    You only have enough sovereignty as The Lord lets you have. Which means none at all. Because we will all have to answer to him for our discretions eventually.So there wasnt enough choices. Folk under The Lord I would say. NOT under secular organizations!
    That is a very Protestant notion, and therefore against the notion of the Divine Right of Kings.
    The Divine Right asserts that the King is a direct descendent of god - his representative on earth.
    Just as the king is a servant of his Lord god, then so are the Folk servants of the Monarch - as above so below.
    There can be no sovereignty without this direct chain of Command in the following Order;

    God(s)
    King(s)
    Warrior Aristocracy
    Clergy
    Farmers
    Peasants
    Slaves
    Untouchables etc.,
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

  6. #6
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    I see your point but I have never been a big fan of Kings, Presidents, Church Elders and so forth. So I'll stick with getting my ordeers from The Lord directly. Cut out the middle-man.
    Some days you just want to holler your head off!!!

  7. #7
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    I would think of 'sovereignty' as the ultimate formal right or authority to make the laws, enforced by the state, which shape society and govern people's conduct. By definition, the sovereign is accountable to itself for its conduct, not to others.

    This would have both positive and normative dimensions. Positively, the sovereign is whatever individual or institution is sovereign according to a country's constitution. In Britain, for instance, the Queen-in-Parliament is the sovereign. The MP's are elected by the people, and individually held accountable through elections, but Parliament as an institution per se is not accountable to the people as it is itself sovereign. (And of course the monarch, notwithstanding her lack of real political relevance, occupies an important formal role as sovereign accountable only to herself).

    In other countries, it might positively be implied that the 'people' are sovereign (e.g. under the US constitution), which would formally imply that the people directly have the ultimate right to make the laws, while the representative legislature itself is not soverign per se (and therefore is accountable, as an institution, to the people). It would follow that (very formally speaking) an attempt by the sovereign people in the US to abolish the Congress as an institution could theoretically be constitutionally legitimate, whereas an attempt by the people in Britain to abolish the sovereign Parliament as an institution could never be constitutionally legitimate (unless Parliament committed 'suicide' by formally dissolving itself as an institution - and even then it's not clear how that would affect the 'sovereign' status of the monarch).

    As for where sovereignty normatively should reside, that question would seem directly tied to one's views on democracy versus authoritarianism and on how political society ought to be organized. If you believe in direct democracy, the people must be sovereign. If you believe in traditional absolute monarchy (in the European style), the monarch must be sovereign.

    If you believe in representative democracy, the situation is less clear; it could be the representative institution is sovereign (the UK Parliament) or that the people themselves are still sovereign (as is theoretically the case in the US). The situation is also less clear in the case of what one might call a populist dictatorship or sort of representative Caesardom (argubly of the sort that existed in N-S Germany) - was this a case where the people/folk were still the sovereign, in the sense that the leadership was accountable to the folk (broadly speaking) for its leadership in the interests of the folk, even if there wasn't a specific institutional mechanism of accountability? That would seem to be quite distinct from leadership by a Platonic-style aristocratic elite that was formally accountable to no one but itself. Can we say that a 'monarch' or 'aristocracy' is not sovereign if it is, somehow, formally obliged to safeguard the interests of the folk, and so is accountable to them in that sense, or is it not meaningful to say the folk are sovereign if there isn't a specific institutional mechanism by which to hold individual leaders to account?

    Well, there are some questions for discussion anyway.
    Last edited by Telperion; Saturday, May 22nd, 2004 at 02:04 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jove's Avatar
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    This truly is an interesting question; one that compels the reader to reassess the basics of power dynamics.

    Taking a higher ground via the necessary action of setting aside the somewhat marginal issues of formality (i.e. abolishing time-frames), sovereignty cannot be in the possession of a sole entity – whether a man or a group of men – since the power that comes with such position is predisposed to change. Taking into account the imperfect state which was the beginning of the locomotion of power in the overall historic power-play from earliest human affairs, the act of tenure of power, along with its expression, took the form of compulsion. The progress of expression of power in human history constitutes the equation of subjects under power, and the elimination of opposition – the progress towards supreme power. As such, polarity in power - since it has always existed, exist, and will arguably exist forever - is a constant.

    This being said, there should be no mistake with regards to the relativity of power and its proclivity to perpetuate itself via shift in expression, and it alone. Moving forward, we are to acknowledge the truth, that power is a hierarchical construct, and the position of definitive (ultimate) power is thus defined by the interrelation between the various positions of power, allocated throughout that which accounts for the infrastructure in every society or government:

    Theoretically speaking, the power in a democracy, for instance, is in the hands of the people; of folk, and is expressed by their ability to maneuver the ballot box. In the inevitable afterthought, the power is held by him who devises a technique which enables him to manipulate the people – shifting power to his hands. Hence, every theorem whatsoever of power allocation is not without its human flaw, i.e. a loose end – meaning that any particular societal control theory is prone to improvement, and change.

    Thus, the question of where sovereignty resides is relative to the theorem (i.e. government) at hand; being absent in your question as a necessary criteria, I was forced to remain indecisive.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    So would you choose, from the Poll options, the Army/ military?
    No, because the army is a tool. Whoever wields the power to make a decision no one can appeal - be that the Pope, the Emporer, the King, the President, the Führer, or the General (that's if the General has the administrators of a country at his disposal).
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Where does Sovereignty Reside?

    But what a tool!
    Wonderment was expressed in the days of the British Raj at how a relatively tiny force of British soldiers was able to rule a huge Indian populace.

    How is it that a single sovereign and his family are able to wield a mighty military tool which could obilterate him in a thrice?

    So we find ourselves, at what ever angle we approach it, faced with a kind of hall and mirrors trick.
    Telperion talks of sovereignty as the "ultimate authority which is accountable only to itself"; this sounds like God ... but is there anything on earth like this?
    Is there any truly ultimate authority which is only accountable to itself?

    We seem to be staring into the abyss of Power - a Power which eludes our grasp, whether we be monarchists or democrats.

    I believe the problem is due to the absence in this discussion so far of one of the most important concepts in this connexion: that of OWNERSHIP.

    I recall that Madison is supposed to have said something like;'let he that owns the country run the country'.

    [We might cross reference to the thread on 'who owns your body?' to get a perspective which must be extrapolated to the political]
    That thread linked here;
    http://www.forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=6563


    Last edited by Moody; Monday, May 24th, 2004 at 06:56 PM. Reason: added link/ quote
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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