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Thread: Your Opinion on Democracy?

  1. #1
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    Question Your Opinion on Democracy?

    I'd like to ask you all what you think about Democracy.

    Now, I'm in two minds about this:

    1, OK, the masses are weak minded and will vote for any pretty face with a slick spin appeal, as Queen Amidala said in Attack of the Clones :

    ' Democracy allows people to vote for what they want not what they need!'

    So that's athe negative 'anti' side of Democracy.

    2, I sit at home and I see endless amounts of commercials for well meaning charities, I have discussed before hand that I contribute to two main UK ones, one for children and the other for animals. But what gets me is the adverts for cancer etc., they are very heart tugging and very emotive, it sickens me to think that some organisations rely on chartity hand outs to exist.

    Then I think of the £20 million given to Ass-y-Slum seekers from the National Lottery. This is not including the immense amount given to them from the British tax payer. This act is NOT Democracy, the main contributors have NOT been asked where their money goes.

    I have spoken to many British people from many different age groups, mostly family, and they think that when you pay your taxes, a certain amount should automatically go to services which everybody uses, roads, schools, water etc. but that you should have a 'tick box' where you can say where the rest of your contributions go.

    Do you want your money going towads foreign aid [] yes [] no

    Do you want your money going towards a specific charity [] yes [] no State which one _________________

    Do you want your money going towards housing asylum seekers [] yes [] no

    etc... etc...

    Although I am rather dubious about Democracy as it is, I am very much for 'the will of the common people' as I have often thought that your average man or woamn in the street has a better grasp of 'realism' than any bought career oriented politician.

    I look forward you any ideas you might wnat to contribute.

    Last edited by Moody; Monday, March 29th, 2004 at 05:22 PM.
    "Only through a re-integration of Humanity into the whole of Nature can our People be made stronger."

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    Of course, Western Democracy is REPRESENTATIVE Democracy, and not POPULAR Democracy.

    Therefore we in the West are merely allowed to vote for a selected few, who do the will of the Establishment, not the people.

    The votes of the less than enthusiastic, and ever more apolitical masses are only a sop to 'legitimise' what is really an Plutocratic Oligarchy [rule of the rich few].

    As someone said - "if voting changed anything, they'd ban it".

    I think we know who "they" are!

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    Post Democracy. The God That Failed.

    An attack on democracy from a paleo perspective.

    ‘Demokratie. Der Gott, Der Keiner Ist’
    by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

    Translation of the preface to the just-published German edition [Leipzig: Manuscriptum] of Democracy. The God That Failed.

    It gives me great satisfaction and confidence to see my most recent book published in Germany.

    That is not quite as obvious as it may appear, for Germany is not a free country. Not even freedom of speech exists in Germany. Here, whoever publicly contradicts certain governmentally approved pronouncements will be jailed, and whoever expresses "politically incorrect" ideas will be neutralized and silenced.

    In recent years, for the first time noticeable resistance against this saddening state of affairs has surfaced.1

    "Politically incorrect" is what the rulers and in particular the victors among the rulers proclaim. The great victor of the 20th century, in particular as far as Germany is concerned, is the USA. Hence, the USA has determined the "correct" interpretation especially of recent history. Defeated Germany was not only occupied, but also reeducated. Germany's schools and universities, under almost complete government control, and the governmentally licensed mass media, have proclaimed to this day the official American view of history and in particular of the 20th century as a triumph of good over evil.

    Yet after more than 50 years of occupation and reeducation, themes and subjects are publicly discussed again in Germany, which do not easily fit the American world view and hence were taboo for a long time (even more so in defeated Germany than in the victorious USA): the bloodthirsty beginning of the modern USA with the military conquest, devastation, and lasting occupation of the secessionist South by the Union government in the second American War of Independence), the intentional entanglement of the USA in World War I, the fall of the Czar, the German and Austrian Kaiser and the Versailles peace dictate, the extent of the crimes of Lenin and Stalin and their role in the rise of Mussolini and Hitler, the friendly association between Roosevelt and Stalin and the decades-long communist takeover of all of Eastern and Middle Europe that resulted from it, the Allied terror bombing of German civilians and the American mistreatment of German prisoners of war, the delivery of Western prisoners of war to Stalin for execution, and the expulsion of millions of Germans.

  4. #4

    Post Democracy and Industrialism

    Democracy and Industrialism

    G. K. Chesterton


    It grows plainer, every day, that those of us who cling to crumbling
    creeds and dogmas, and defend the dying traditions of the Dark Ages,
    will soon be left alone defending the most obviously decaying of all
    those ancient dogmas: the idea called Democracy. It has taken not
    quite a lifetime, roughly my own lifetime, to bring it from the top
    of its success, or alleged success, to the bottom of its failure,
    or reputed failure. By the end of the nineteenth century,
    millions of men were accepting democracy without knowing why.
    By the end of the twentieth century, it looks as if millions
    of people will be rejecting democracy, also without knowing why.
    In such a straight, strictly logical and unwavering line does
    the Mind of Man advance along the great Path of Progress.

    Anyhow, at the moment, democracy is not only being abused,
    but being very unfairly abused. Men are blaming universal suffrage,
    merely because they are not enlightened enough to blame original sin.
    There is one simple test for deciding whether popular political
    evils are due to original sin. And that is to do what none
    or very few of these modern malcontents are doing; to state
    any sort of moral claim for any other sort of political system.
    The essence of democracy is very simple and, as Jefferson said,
    self-evident. If ten men are wrecked together on a desert island,
    the community consists of those ten men, their welfare is
    the social object, and normally their will is the social law.
    If they have not a natural claim to rule themselves, which of them
    has a natural claim to rule the rest? To say that the cleverest
    or boldest will rule is to beg the moral question. If his talents
    are used for the community, in planning voyages or distilling water,
    then he is the servant of the community; which is, in that sense,
    his sovereign. If his talents are used against the community
    by stealing rum or poisoning water, why should the community
    submit to him? And is it in the least likely that it will?
    In such a simple case as that, everybody can see the popular
    basis of the thing, and the advantage of government by consent.
    The trouble with democracy is that it has never, in modern times,
    had to do with such a simple case as that. In other words,
    the trouble with democracy is not democracy. It is certain artificial
    anti-democratic things that have, in fact, thrust themselves into
    the modern world to thwart and destroy democracy.

    Modernity is not democracy; machinery is not democracy;
    the surrender of everything to trade and commerce is not democracy.
    Capitalism is not democracy; and is admittedly, by trend and savour,
    rather against democracy. Plutocracy by definition is not democracy.
    But all these modern things forced themselves into the world at
    about the time, or shortly after the time, when great idealists
    like Rousseau and Jefferson happened to have been thinking about
    the democratic ideal of democracy. It is tenable that the ideal
    was too idealist to succeed. It is not tenable that the ideal
    that failed was the same as the realities that did succeed.
    It is one thing to say that a fool went into a jungle and was devoured
    by wild beasts; it is quite another to say that he himself survives
    as the one and only wild beast. Democracy has had everything against it
    in practice, and that very fact may be something against it in theory.
    It may be argued that it has human life against it. But, at any rate,
    it is quite certain that it has modern life against it.
    The industrial and scientific world of the last hundred years has
    been much more unsuitable a setting for the experiment of the
    self-government than would have been found in old conditions of agrarian
    or even nomadic life. Feudal manorial life was a not a democracy;
    but it could have been much more easily turned into a democracy.
    Later peasant life, as in France or Switzerland, actually has been
    quite easily turned into a democracy. But it is horribly hard
    to turn what is called modern industrial democracy into a democracy.

    That is why many men are now beginning to say that the democratic
    ideal is no longer in touch with the modern spirit.
    I strongly agree; and I naturally prefer the democratic ideal,
    which is at least an ideal, and therefore, an idea, to the modern spirit,
    which is simply modern, therefore, already becoming ancient.
    I notice that the cranks, whom it would be more polite to call
    the idealists, are already hastening to shed this ideal.
    A well-known Pacifist, with whom I argued in Radical papers
    in my Radical days, and who then passed as a pattern Republican
    of the new Republic, went out of his way the other day to say,
    'The voice of the people is commonly the voice of Satan.' The truth
    is that these Liberals never did really believe in popular government,
    any more than in anything else that was popular, such as pubs or the
    Dublin Sweepstake. They did not believe in the democracy they invoked
    against kings and priests. But I did believe in it; and I do believe
    in it, though I much preferred to invoke it against prigs and faddists.
    I still believe it would be the most human sort of government,
    if it could be once more attempted in a more human time.

    Unfortunately, humanitarianism has been the mark of an inhuman time.
    And by inhumanity I do not mean merely cruelty; I mean
    the condition in which even cruelty ceases to be human.
    I mean the condition in which the rich man, instead of hanging six
    or seven of his enemies because he hates them, merely beggars and
    starves to death six or seven thousand people whom he does not hate,
    and has never seen, because they live at the other side of the world.
    I mean the condition in which the courtier or pander of the rich man,
    instead of excitedly mixing a rare, original poison for the Borgias,
    or carving exquisite ornamental poignard for the political purposes
    of the Medici, works monotonously in a factory turning out a small
    type of screw, which will fit into a plate he will never see;
    to form part of a gun he will never see; to be used in a battle
    he will never see, and about the merits of which he knows far less
    than the Renaissance rascal knew about the purposes of the poison
    and the dagger. In short, what is the matter with industrialism
    is indirection; the fact that nothing is straightforward; that all
    its ways are crooked even when they are meant to be straight.
    Into this most indirect of all systems we tried to fit the most
    direct of all ideas. Democracy, an ideal which is simple to excess,
    was vainly applied to a society which was complex to the point
    of craziness. It is not so very surprising that such a vision
    has faded in such an environment. Personally, I like the vision;
    but it takes all sorts to make a world, and there actually
    are human beings, walking about quite calmly in the daylight,
    who appear to like the environment.

    -- from All I Survey

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    Post Buy your way into democracy

    The jews are a smart group of people no matter who wants to admit it. They own most of America. If everyone was caught up in there own problems of inefficiencies and deficiencies in relationships the Jews have done a great job to show there dedication to their race. America is a democracy bought by those who are willing to put their will into preservation. As a huge fighting force of extortion, the country of Israel has bought their own freedom. As everyone else is stupid looking for small measures to fight against each other they have formed a group called PAC Israel where they buy foreign policy in the interest of their own country. They have managed to control the media and dominate the society. Everyone else distracted by there own problems no other nation on the earth tried to buy American politicians the great extortionists of the earth. Now look what we face. Open your eyes the ones with best arms willing to use them are paid off by Israel do you think it is an alliance but no they own America. So stupid are those who think anything different. If this is the strongest to survive they will be happy to see white race die for they worked and paid there dues and they deserve it while the rest of the world sleeps so now it is time to wake up to the reality. Or you will face the fate they hold in their hands…

  6. #6

    Post Democracy

    Last Words

    by: H. L. Mencken (1926)

    I have alluded somewhat vaguely to the merits of democracy. One of them is quite obvious: it is, perhaps, the most charming form of government ever devised by man. The reason is not far to seek. It is based upon propositions that are palpably not true and what is not true, as everyone knows, is always immensely more fascinating and satisfying to the vast majority of men than what is true. Truth has a harshness that alarms them, and an air of finality that collides with their incurable romanticism. They turn, in all the great emergencies of life, to the ancient promises, transparently false but immensely comforting, and of all those ancient promises there is none more comforting than the one to the effect that the lowly shall inherit the earth. It is at the bottom of the dominant religious system of the modern world, and it is at the bottom of the dominant political system. The latter, which is democracy, gives it an even higher credit and authority than the former, which is Christianity. More, democracy gives it a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world - that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters - which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

    All these forms of happiness, of course, are illusory. They don't last. The democrat, leaping into the air to flap his wings and praise God, is for ever coming down with a thump. The seeds of his disaster, as I have shown, lie in his own stupidity: he can never get rid of the naive delusion - so beautifully Christian - that happiness is something to be got by taking it away from the other fellow. But there are seeds, too, in the very nature of things: a promise, after all, is only a promise, even when it is supported by divine revelation, and the chances against its fulfillment may be put into a depressing mathematical formula. Here the irony that lies under all human aspiration shows itself: the quest for happiness, as always, brings only unhappiness in the end. But saying that is merely saying that the true charm of democracy is not for the democrat but for the spectator. That spectator, it seems to me, is favoured with a show of the first cut and calibre. Try to imagine anything more heroically absurd! What grotesque false pretenses! What a parade of obvious imbecilities! What a welter of fraud! But is fraud unamusing? Then I retire forthwith as a psychologist. The fraud of democracy, I contend, is more amusing than any other, more amusing even, and by miles, than the fraud of religion. Go into your praying-chamber and give sober thought to any of the more characteristic democratic inventions: say, Law Enforcement. Or to any of the typical democratic prophets: say, the late Archangel Bryan. If you don't come out paled and palsied by mirth then you will not laugh on the Last Day itself, when Presbyterians step out of the grave like chicks from the egg, and wings blossom from their scapulae, and they leap into interstellar space with roars of joy.

    I have spoken hitherto of the possibility that democracy may be a self-limiting disease, like measles. It is, perhaps, something more: it is self-devouring. One cannot observe it objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself—its apparently ineradicable tendency to abandon its whole philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what happens invariably in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves, by a process as simple as taking a deep breath, into despots of an almost fabulous ferocity. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Wilson come instantly to mind: Jackson and Cleveland are in the background, waiting to be recalled. Nor is this process confined to times of alarm and terror: it is going on day in and day out. Democracy always seems bent upon killing the thing it theoretically loves. I have rehearsed some of its operations against liberty, the very cornerstone of its political metaphysic. It not only wars upon the thing itself; it even wars upon mere academic advocacy of it. I offer the spectacle of Americans jailed for reading the Bill of Rights as perhaps the most gaudily humorous ever witnessed in the modern world. Try to imagine monarchy jailing subjects for maintaining the divine right of Kings! Or Christianity damning a believer for arguing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! This last, perhaps, has been done: anything is possible in that direction. But under democracy the remotest and most fantastic possibility is a common-place of every day. All the axioms resolve themselves into thundering paradoxes, many amounting to downright contradictions in terms. The mob is competent to rule the rest of us—but it must be rigorously policed itself. There is a government, not of men, but of laws - but men are set upon benches to decide finally what the law is and may be. The highest function of the citizen is to serve the state - but the first assumption that meets him, when he essays to discharge it, is an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonour. Is that assumption commonly sound? Then the farce only grows the more glorious.

    I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself - that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can't make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat?

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    Democracy we Presume?

    A very interesting article with many good points in my opinion.

    Democracy we Presume?

    Michael Walker asks himself what democracy really is in theory and in practice

    Two fundamental questions belong to every consideration of
    democracy: -do we have democracy and do we want it? In the course of
    this essay, which is an attempt to help towards an understanding of
    different approaches to the subject, the two questions should be
    kept in mind. If we are unaware of them, discussion about democracy
    and everything associated with it is likely to become a polemical
    tool in a debate in which protagonists speak past one another,
    because they are arguing on different premises.

    In 1985 Alain de Benoist published a work entitled Democratie le
    Probleme, (Le Labyrinth Paris). He starts by underscoring some facts
    about the meaning of the word and the original form of democracy in
    Greece. Democracy means the rule of the demos and demos notes de
    Benoist, comes originally from the Dorian dialect of Ancient Greece
    and meant a people or a commons, that is, a people on and belonging
    to, a territory. Democracy for the Ancient Greeks was not linked to
    the individual but to the polis, to the city state, a rule by
    citizens. Slaves, he notes, were not included because they were, as
    slaves, non-citizens, which meant not a part of the polis at all.
    The citizen (polites) was entitled to participate in the affairs of
    state, in contrast to the non-citizen (idiotes). The word freedom,
    etymologically related to the word friend just as liberty is related
    to liberi (Latin children) indicates not freedom from tyranny but a
    state of belonging to the ethnos. Democracy is dependent, according
    to de Benoist, on what Otto von Gierke called the Daseinseinheit
    eines Volkes, the entity of a people. In other words, in its origins
    democracy does not refer to individual sovereignty but to popular

    For Aristotle, democracy was one of the three principle forms of
    government, the other two being aristocracy and tyranny, which we
    can understand in modern terms as respectively: rule by a group
    whose legtimacy is based on an accepted meretriciousness and rule by
    individuals whose legitimacy is primarily founded on force. The
    characteristic of democracy was and supposedly still is that by
    means of the equality of citizens, all members of the community of
    the polis participate in ruling the state. Because democracy, in
    contrast to aristocracy or tyranny, implicates all citizens as
    decision makers, the supreme source of authority under democracy is
    the same law equally applied to all citizens. What is "right" is
    decided by the law. Law has precedence over whim, will and custom.

    The sovereignty which democracy grants to law (higher than custom or
    the whim of individuals or the rights of groups) creates a moral
    problem. If I think that a law is morally wrong, am I ethically
    obliged to follow it? If I am a full bloodied democrat, then I am
    morally so obliged, the law being the source of all legitimacy and
    morality. This was why Socrates chose not to escape drinking
    hemlock. "The law, right or wrong", says the democrat. Rousseau in
    Le Contrat Social demands supreme respect for the law. People may
    make bad laws, even cruel ones, but in a pure democracy all laws if
    passed with due procedure, are legitimate. If the people is the
    ultimate source of legitimacy, then we must logically accept a
    decision of the people to make a law which approves abortion, or for
    that matter, public torture. I am not consistent as a democrat, if I
    appeal to a higher morality when civic duty bids me accept such
    laws. Should I nevertheless rebel by appealing to what I claim is
    a "higher authority", then I am opposing democracy in the name of
    extra-democratic values, religious or ethical or of another
    political order as the case may be. My ethical hierarchy is at that
    moment ipso-facto, not democratic.

    Although the people are seen as the ultimate source of legitimacy in
    democracy and make the laws, they clearly cannot all foregather in
    one place to propose legislation. A democracy in any complex society
    necessitates a system of elective representation. The election of
    representatives of the people is termed the "the democratic
    process". This process is subject to so many divergent influences
    and variegations and abuses that the possibility that a large
    section of society may dispute the democratic credentials of their
    society is ever present.

    Democracy is popularly associated with the principle of majority
    rule. While it is the case that democracy per definition is the
    expression of the sovereign will of the people, there is nothing per
    definition to say that the method by which that will is deemed to be
    defined must consist of majority rule, or as some would dismissively
    term it, "head counting". Numerical equality in the matter of
    decision making, as has been many times pointed out, leads to a
    levelling of standards to a mediocre level, the level fixed by the
    average. The majority principle is however not a prerequisite of
    democracy. The underlying principle of democratic procedure is not
    that the majority votes on every decision but that the genuine
    choice of rulers by the ruled is the basis of political legitimacy,
    in other words, that those who rule either are the people or are
    truly representative of the people. The key to the health of a
    democracy lies not in this or that right but in the level of
    participation of the people in the decisions which decide the course
    of their own destiny. Majority rule is a means among possible
    others, to arrive at an expression of what Rousseau called the
    general will. For Rousseau the general will was the source of
    legitimate democratic decisions, that is: not the sum of individual
    wills, and not a dominating will or wills imposing itself but the
    expression of the will of the people as a political body.

    The drawbacks of majority rule, for example that it swamps quality
    with quantity, are drawbacks which are often ascribed to democracy
    as such. They constitute however the drawbacks of any system which
    operates on the principle that the "majority knows best" and which
    does not adequately educate its citizens or where (which amounts to
    the same thing) it is not possible to educate the citizens.

    Rule by a majority may easily constitute a tyranny of its own. If a
    majority constitutes the exclusive source of political legitimacy,
    then it can be legitimate and legal to expropriate or exterminate
    minorities if the majority so wishes. If Tom Dick and Harry are a
    democracy which has to decide how four eyes are distributed among
    them, it is democratically fair in a system of absolute majority
    rule, if Tom and Dick decide to have two eyes each and Harry go
    blind. As modern democracies tend indeed in the direction of, at
    least theoretically, claiming that majorities are the source of all
    political legitimacy, they are compelled to insist on human rights
    and civil liberties beyond or outside democratic power, in order to
    protect minorities. In the example given of Tom, Dick and Harry,
    there may be for example, an "inalienable right" to the power of
    sight. Thus it is that liberalism is often identified with
    democracy, not because liberalism and democracy are necessarily
    linked, but because individual rights are needed to protect the
    individual from a tyrannical sovereign "democratic" will of majority

    Alain de Benoist writing on democracy draws a sharp distinction
    between democracy and liberalism. He argues that they are not
    complementary but fundamentally opposed to one another. In
    Democratie le Problème, we read that while democracy is based on the
    sovereignty of the people, liberalism is based on the sovereignty of
    the individual. If the sovereignty of the individual arguably leads
    to the destruction of the collective, then it follows that the
    sovereignty of the individual brings with it the destruction of
    true "republican" democracy (a democracy as Rousseau understood it,
    one which seeks to maintain the health of the body of the citizens
    defined as members of a given political organism).

    Early theoreticians of individual rights were not concerned with
    more than the security and prosperity of the individual. Since the
    collapse of Marxist doctrine as a serious challenge, the idea that
    democracy is an umbrella of enshrined human rights has become an
    indispensable part of so-called "Western values". For early
    theoreticians of the individual rights that the Western world now
    takes for granted, such as John Locke, the individual precedes the
    community; the state serves the individual. Democracy is interpreted
    as the means of helping the individual and protecting his property
    (ownership in liberal systems defines the man). In this perspective,
    democracy is not established to serve a people because a people is
    in any case a mere collection of individuals. Politics is then
    little more than the art of settling their differences, reconciling
    interests and mediating in disputes. For de Benoist, the sovereignty
    of the individual necessitates the abdication of the rights of the
    collective. The individual being the source of political
    justification of any kind, the collective inevitably gives ground
    until it is nothing more than an adjudicator in disputes between
    individuals. On the other hand, and overlooked by de Benoist,
    liberal rights emerge at least in part to protect the individual
    against the absolutism of a fully democratic state laying claim to
    the law as supreme authority.

    Liberalism is associated with freedom and freedom is associated with
    democracy, which are therefore linked in popular perceptions to the
    extent that the two terms are presented as more or less
    interchangeable and identical by Western
    media: "freedomandemocracy", but freedom, as Schopenhauer pointed
    out (Die Freiheit des Willens) is a negative concept (unlike
    democracy, even if democracy has realised itself historically as a
    negative phenomenon). Freedom is a negative concept because if we
    define freedom, we find that we are defining the removal or the
    absence of hindrances to action or thought.

    Most people, including its passionate supporters, will agree that
    democracy is not a system which should be applied in all
    circumstances. As Plato's Socrates pointed out in The Republic, we
    do not want the first choice of the people to be our doctor, we want
    the best doctor to be our doctor. We should be unhappy if a plane in
    which we were flying were piloted by the first choice of a group of
    schoolgirls, or if our hospital surgeons were elected by the votes
    of local rate payers. Why would we be uneasy? Because we might
    reasonably doubt the qualification in both cases of the schoolgirls
    or ratepayers to decide on the issue in question with adequate
    knowledge and experience. Those who choose or vote must be qualified
    to do so, they must be equipped with sufficient knowledge to make a
    choice in awareness of what it is they are doing. In addition to
    that, their motives should be disinterested: otherwise they will
    vote out of self interest and not for the general good and their
    chosen representatives will be no more than lucky individuals who
    have reached positions of power and influence through the support of
    their friends-they will not be humble representatives of any popular
    will. Instead, they will be ciphers of a lobby.

    It logically follows that the more general, the more national, the
    more a matter of principle, the decision to be made, the stronger
    the claim, in democratic terms, of the entire people to make their
    voice heard directly. In democratic states today the reverse is the
    case. Crucial decisions affecting the very survival of a race, a
    nation, a people, or indeed a democratic system, are taken out of
    the people's hands with the time-honoured anti-democratic argument,
    that the issue is "too complex" for the man in the street to cast
    his vote upon. It is a matter for "the experts"; "experts" are
    commonly invoked in democracies. The people need "experts" to make
    the "right decision" on their behalf. Experts replace the rulers of
    non democracies in taking decisions on behalf of the people without
    consulting the people. An example of such disingenuous argument was
    the refusal by the Federal Government of Germany to allow the voters
    to decide in a referendum whether to abandon the post-war Federal
    constitution in the interests of European integration (Treaty of
    Maastricht). The reason which politicians gave for their refusal was
    that a referendum was contrary to the spirit of the very post-war
    constitution whose fate was being decided!

    Modern Western democracy, with its official acceptance of, but
    growing hostility towards, the right to demonstrate, referenda,
    grass roots activism and populism, increasingly discourages
    participation or interest in the important decisions of state.
    Furthermore, the machinations leading to the election of
    representatives in modern representative democracy who are expected
    to make such decisions "in the name of the people" works against
    such civic virtue. Representative democracy favours instead
    showmanship, eye-catching but superficial presentation and the "hard
    sell". This is particularly the case to the extent that power is
    weighed in favour of central party leadership against local party
    organizations. In Britain the defeat of the far left's attempt to
    control local party sections of the Labour Party, lead to a small
    group of modernizers seizing power, whose aims include the stifling
    of grass roots party democracy and the growth of a more
    paternalistic style of government in which widespread political
    activism is neither required nor expected from the population.
    Greek democracy, which differed notably from Western democracy in
    insisting on civic virtue and responsibility as the measure of
    democratic health, and in which the citizens were expected above all
    to decide on the crucial issues of state, consisted of four
    principle elements: isonomy-equality before the law, isotimy-
    equality of opportunity, isegory-freedom of expression and ekklesia-
    the right of assembly.

    In these constituent parts there is something of a syllogism, namely
    to the extent that I believe that person x is my equal, I must, if
    at least I wish to be fair, agree that x enjoys the same rights as I
    before the law and so on. If I do not believe that x is equal to me,
    then I do not believe that x should enjoy the same rights before the
    law. Clearly, there have to be limits, based on intelligence and
    knowledge, to the extent to which individuals are allowed to
    participate in decision making. To take an extreme example, not the
    most fervent and uncompromising democrat believes that non-human
    animals should have the right to vote. In respect of the ability to
    participate in decision making, everyone agrees that the mental
    powers of a dog are considerably inferior to those of a human. There
    is a point to consider here. Many people would nevertheless argue
    that a dog should be granted certain rights-the right not be subject
    to a gratuitous and prolonged taking of its life, for example. The
    exclusion of dogs from the democratic decision making process of the
    state does not exclude the possibility of permitting a dog such
    rights, rights which might not be accorded to a lesser animal, such
    as a flea.

    The existence of rights is therefore not dependent upon membership
    of a democracy. The granting or withholding of rights may apply to
    human beings as well without those human beings necessarily enjoying
    democratic rights. Democracies themselves acknowledge this insofar
    as they do not to this day permit children, prisoners or lunatics to
    vote. Only those have the right to participate in the decision
    making process, who belong unequivocally and entirely, as members,
    to the polis. The rights of the citizen and the rights of the human
    being are not the same in a democracy. It is a tyranny which claims
    that the individual and the citizen are the same. Democracy qua
    democracy presupposes no right whatsoever, other than the right of a
    citizen to be free and free from fear of doing the "wrong" thing, to
    participate in the expression of the will of the community to which
    he belongs to create or reject new laws, obligations and decisions.
    All those who believe in fairness believe in democratic equality for
    those who are equal.

    But as Plato realised, equality provokes the crucial question: equal
    in what? For a democracy, the answer is equal in the power to
    actively participate in decisions. As members of the same polis or
    res publica or for that matter, school, housing estate, association,
    club or business, a wholly democratic constitution would demand that
    all members would have an equal right to give their voice to the
    general will in their expression of the direction and destiny of the
    community to which they are bound.

    Equality is certainly a vague term which always requires
    specification. If participation in the decision making process of
    the polis is the defining right of a democracy, political equality
    in a democracy is the right of those and those alone who share an
    equal ability to participate in the decision making process, to make
    decisions. Given the strong tendency to for an elite to exclude
    legitimate persons from decision making on grounds of incompetence,
    it is in the interests of effective democracy to aim at a definition
    of the polis and who shall be members of it and to educate and
    improve those who already are, ensuring that nobody is unfairly
    excluded. But modern democracies with increasing frequency are
    weakening and blurring the definition of who is to be called a
    member of the polis (everyone is my brother or sister now) while at
    the same time depriving citizens of their right to make political
    (as opposed to personal) choices.
    Magna Europa est patria nostra

  8. #8
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    Re: Democracy we Presume?

    I add a link to a very good site which goes in a similar direction - but more in detail and on current issues:
    Magna Europa est patria nostra

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    I wanted to know if all of you perceive ''Democracy'' as road to Utopia? As - Winston Churchill quoted,Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.
    Jeg er over gjennomsnittet bitter, og liker stort sett ingen andre enn meg selv

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    Certainly not, see my signature.
    And another one: "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." - H.L. Mencken
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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