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radeng
16th Mar 2014, 01:03
Suppose a situation developed - which isn't that unlikely - where a parliamentary majority representing less than 50% of UK citizens decided that the UK would be a Muslim country and banned the sale of alcohol, would this be a fair representation of democracy? Even if 51% of the population were devout enough Muslims to wish to ban the sale and consumption of pork and alcohol, would this be fair representation of democracy? Or would it be a contravention of human rights?

Discuss.....

galaxy flyer
16th Mar 2014, 01:05
It would be exactly what fans of "democracy", really majoritarianism, would applaud. And exactly what the US Constitution tried to prevent, successfully until 1932.

GF

Wingswinger
16th Mar 2014, 01:09
I think it would be civil war.

Seldomfitforpurpose
16th Mar 2014, 01:16
Suppose a situation developed - which isn't that unlikely - where a parliamentary majority representing less than 50% of UK citizens decided that the UK would be a Muslim country and banned the sale of alcohol, would this be a fair representation of democracy? Even if 51% of the population were devout enough Muslims to wish to ban the sale and consumption of pork and alcohol, would this be fair representation of democracy? Or would it be a contravention of human rights?

Discuss.....


Who would be defining that, if UK has gone to the extreme you suggest surely the rest of those who..............yada yada yada...

10Watt
16th Mar 2014, 01:21
Actually, as we speak, 22% of children have their dietary needs

catered for in some schools by pork being removed from the school menu

entirely.

How far Halal butchery of chicken is concerned l wouldn`t know, but l

suspect it would total. A good question to ask.

M.Mouse
16th Mar 2014, 01:27
Discuss.....

Why?

Is it an exam?

John Hill
16th Mar 2014, 01:29
Democracy is rarely a good idea if you are in the minority.

Wingswinger
16th Mar 2014, 01:32
It then becomes the tyranny of the majority.

awblain
16th Mar 2014, 01:33
And exactly what the US Constitution tried to prevent until 1932

Mr Flyer, your history is as ever, either lacking or selective. You should lobby for the Republicans to put better factoids on their cereal packets/websites.

It made a real dogs breakfast of itself in 1919 with Prohibition. A direct mirror today are the "personhood" jihadis - pushing government small enough to fit into a uterus.

It seems that only certain types of irrational views supposedly supported by particular invisible men in the sky are allowed to mess with your laws.

awblain
16th Mar 2014, 01:37
There's plenty of alcohol for sale in the Gulf. Not much rule of law, but plenty of alcohol.

Switzerland's recent issues with referenda demonstrate the unfortunate consequences of allowing everyone to share in dumb decisions.

Human rights are on the side of pig eaters and drinkers - in that case it really does the offended no harm that someone eats a bacon and vodka sandwich. There are much more important rights that theocracies, of all superstitious origins, oppress.

TomJoad
16th Mar 2014, 01:58
Suppose a situation developed - which isn't that unlikely - where a parliamentary majority representing less than 50% of UK citizens decided that the UK would be a Muslim country and banned the sale of alcohol, would this be a fair representation of democracy? Even if 51% of the population were devout enough Muslims to wish to ban the sale and consumption of pork and alcohol, would this be fair representation of democracy? Or would it be a contravention of human rights? Yes I think it would be fair in context of a first past the post system.

Discuss.....


51% is considered a majority in the first past the post system. Not all democracies use first past the post. Anyway, seeing as we are talking hypothetically, wasn't Britain (well England at least, ok maybe Kent) declared a Christian country without a democratic majority when King Ethelberht converted. Likewise, are we now declared a secular society again without a democratic majority. I'm not really sure that our political system , colour of government defines what we are. Just saying:p

Tom (my comment in red to preserve OP's original text)

Mostly Harmless
16th Mar 2014, 03:46
Democracy, like all political systems, looks great on paper.

I would say democracy is failing around the world as less people turn out to vote and as corporate money and influence outweighs the will of the people...

Welcome the Corpocracy (Trademark pending). Where large corporations tell governments what to do and it gets done. In the coming years, the illusion of government will fade away to just the corporations unless some use is found to keep things like boarders and governments in place.

John Hill
16th Mar 2014, 04:12
Yep, gotta keep those boarders in check or no telling what they might do when they are home alone with your daughter.

Caboclo
16th Mar 2014, 04:45
For democracy to work properly, a very active, educated and informed population is required. As soon as the resulting government is working well, the population becomes fat and lazy, with predictable results. But the cycle does not stop there. Eventually the government also gets fat and lazy, and fails to keep the population in that state. Then the population becomes motivated, and revitalizes their government. Human nature being what it is, there is always opportunity for abuses of rights by all sides throughout the cycle.

Capetonian
16th Mar 2014, 06:04
Democracy as practised in so-called democratic countries of the west is a farcical charade, and even more so when they have the word 'Democratic' in the country's name, you only have to think of the oppressive government of the German 'Democratic' Republic and the other communist dictatorships which people risked their lives to escape from.

A South African satirist, Pieter Dirk Uys, summed up democracy as : "You are entirely free to say whatever you like, and we are entirely free to do what we want to you for saying it."

7x7
16th Mar 2014, 06:31
Wasn't it Winston Churchill who said that Democracy (or was it the Westminster system of Government?) is the worst possible system man could possibly come up with - except every other system man has ever come up with.

He also said something along the lines that it was like two wolves and a lamb voting on what they've have for dinner.

The situation posited in the first post isn't as far away as some might think. And then, many in the UK might have a very different perception of "those awful Serbs" in the early 90s than what they have today.

7x7
16th Mar 2014, 06:38
Around 140 years ago, Alexander Tyler said that history has proved repeatedly that democracies are doomed when a majority of the population realises that they can vote for the State to pay them for doing nothing.

There'd be few - who are still not wearing Socialist welfare state blinkers at least - who could not see that we've pretty much passed that rather important crossroads in our current democracy.

SawMan
16th Mar 2014, 06:53
Democracy works best once the dissenters are hushed up (by whatever means is necessary) :E

For less important things, a true democracy will usually net the best decision, but for important matters it never seems to work very well. In my being affiliated with many diverse groups through time, the one which produced the best results would probably be best described as being an "open benevolent dictatorship", where the one in charge listened to what everyone said, then acted as they thought would best achieve the goals which the most wanted to see. It did not preclude adding other goals or multiple ones (or even them vetoing an idea they thought bad), but realistically there are so very few persons who have the kind of character and intelligence it takes to lead this way, so it's not always a good idea either :ooh: The concept of a representative democracy which the US supposedly has is a good one, but relies on all involved being of good character and that everyone will get involved. Neither of which happens these days :ugh:

I am partial to the way the Boer commandos worked, where once the community got together for a common purpose, they then chose their leaders from among themselves and could change them again anytime the majority thought a new election might be a good idea. It didn't take long to do, it didn't involve anyone who did not personally know the people being chosen, it didn't continue authority past the time it was needed, and it could be readily changed at the will of the majority. That they lost the war had nothing to do with this system, which usually got the right people into the right place the first time round, something which no other method seems to be able to achieve :cool:

The one thing of which I am certain is that complacency kills taking everything and everyone with it, not just the complacent ones.

West Coast
16th Mar 2014, 07:23
In practical terms the only way a democracy looks good is in comparative analysis. Study it in a vacuum and it looks harsh.

Cacophonix
16th Mar 2014, 07:33
Democracy is not perfect and even in a democracy some people are generally more equal than others (to misquote Mr Eric Blair) but what other alternatives do we have?

authoritarianism
totalitarianism
theocracy
demagoguery
kleptocracy
personality cults

add other examples at will...

Better to argue in the play pen than beat the hell out of each in the hall...

Caco

Wingswinger
16th Mar 2014, 08:02
Democracy, in the words of Winston Spencer Churchill is the worst form of government except all the others. It is a fine idea but there are few states where there is a perfect democracy because it requires, as has already been pointed out, a high average standard of education among the electorate, political engagement of that electorate and mutual respect with easy communication between the government and the governed. The physical size and population of the state is also a factor. Too large and government can be remote, too small and the state can be ineffectual. Too few layers of government and it can also seem remote, dictatorial even, too many and there can be conflict between them.

The trouble with democracy is that it contains within it the seeds of its own destruction:

First there is the idea commonly held that everyone's voice must be heard. The problem with that is that only a few have anything intelligent, interesting and pertinent to say with the confidence and articulacy to say it. The majority acquiesce and coalesce behind the persuasive orators. This can easily lead to the rise of demagoguery, an all-to-frequent occurrence in states where the overall standard of education is low. The intelligent and educated do not easily take to being constrained by the stupid and uneducated.

Second most democracies have an adversarial party political system and the application of the simple majority principle in parliaments. They may also have a first-past-the post voting system in which the winner takes all. In these circumstances a situation can easily arise, especially where constituencies are of unequal size, where the party in power is not supported by the majority of the electorate. Unfortunately the party in power then proceeds to act as if it does have such support.

Third, at election time political parties publish a manifesto which few people read. The successful party assumes that voters who support them accept the manifesto in toto. This is not so but it is interpreted by them as a mandate to carry out the policies outlined in the manifesto which may actually be to the disadvantage or distaste of the majority. The manifesto may contain promises which the party finds it cannot fulfil once it has gained power. They were pipe-dreams which cannot survive when the financial reality of power sinks in to the winning party.

Fourth, political parties become self-perpetuating entities where the continued health and success of the party and the careers of the leaders are taken to be more important than the wishes of the people they exist to serve. They need money to organise and to propagate their policies. This money could come from a large, wide membership making frequent small donations but that is rarely the case. Instead donations are sought from wealthy groups or individuals who usually expect some quid pro quo. The door is open to corruption.

Fifth, because of the second and third points above an issue can arise where the decision enacted oppresses an otherwise law-abiding minority. It may or may not have the support of the majority of the electorate but the effect is in fact the tyranny of the majority. A perfect example is the fox-hunting ban in the UK. What has occurred is that one section of the population has imposed its beliefs on another.

Sixth, in order to garner support political parties have a habit of appeasing minorities to the detriment of the majority view and culture which they take for granted (they shouldn't). This leads to acceptance of minority views, practices and cultures which are deemed to be just as valid and important as the mainstream in order to secure the political support of the said minorities and thus contribute to the perpetuation of the party as outlined in the fourth point. This can lead to the watering-down or even denigration of traditional values which have hitherto been the glue which held together the society which gave rise to the state. Counter-cultures can arise which are inimical to the host community.

Seventh, when point six is perceived to have occurred by many of the electorate the state loses their support as a polity can only be held together if the overwhelming majority of its people share the same beliefs, attitudes and behaviour patterns. The greed for votes of the political parties has become the state's weakness.

This is where we are perilously close to being in many Western societies so it is not inconceivable that the situation could arise some time in the future when a hitherto minority culture which has been tolerated, encouraged even, becomes a simple majority which then seeks to impose its beliefs and values on the rest of the population. When those beliefs and values are unpalatable to the rest of the population the result is conflict, violence and chaos. Civil war.

We know this because we in the West have been here before albeit before we had democracy. Such a situation would certainly bring an end to democracy for an unknowable period. We ignore history at our peril.

TomJoad
16th Mar 2014, 13:31
Wow, never knew things were so bad! Bring back the poll tax, we knew what we were up against there.:E

?v=w7RIgs3eygo

vee-tail-1
16th Mar 2014, 14:15
Wingswinger Very many thanks. :ok:

A truly accurate assessment of the present state of democracy in UK. :(

I believe we really are heading towards a future civil war.
In your opinion is there anything we can do to prevent it happening?

airship
16th Mar 2014, 15:13
Excerpt from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate): Pilate appears to have been reluctant to allow the crucifixion of Jesus, finding no fault with him. According to Matthew 27:19, even Pilate's wife spoke to him on Jesus' behalf. According to the gospels, it was the custom of the Roman governor to release one prisoner at Passover, and Pilate brought out Barabbas, identified by Matthew as a "notorious prisoner" and by Mark as a murderer, and told the crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas or Jesus as per the custom, in the hopes of getting them to request the release of Jesus. However, the crowd demanded the release of Barabbas and said of Jesus, "Crucify him!" In Matthew, Pilate responds, "Why? What evil has he done?" The crowd continued shouting, "Crucify him!"

Pilate ordered a sign posted above Jesus on the cross stating "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews" to give public notice of the legal charge against him for his crucifixion. The chief priests protested that the public charge on the sign should read that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews. Pilate refused to change the posted charge, saying "What I have written, I have written." ("Quod scripsi, scripsi"). This may have been to emphasize Rome's supremacy in crucifying a Jewish king; it is likely, though, that Pilate was offended by the Jewish leaders using him as a catspaw and thus compelling him to sentence Jesus to death contrary to his own will.[


So far as I'm concerned, democracy is nothing very special compared to other forms of rule. "When massive crowds give open voice to their feelings" (as in Ukraine recently), everyone from the most open democracies to the most malevolent dictators inevitably tremble in fear when the feelings expressed go against their own dictates... :(

charliegolf
16th Mar 2014, 16:47
Discuss.....
Why?

Is it an exam?

You'd have a right bollocking for having a discussion in an exam when I was in school!

CG

Plazbot
16th Mar 2014, 17:56
I live in a Muslim country and they sell alcohol. Lots of it. And pork.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
16th Mar 2014, 18:24
Wingswinger :ok: A very concise summary.

Here's a good question for the political parties.Why do we still need a representative democracy? The internet would make it very easy for the public to express their views directly. There is absolutely no move towards developing this. Political parties have no interest in more (or indeed any) referendums.

A deeper point about democracy is tolerance - Does one tolerate the intolerant? This is the root of the OPs question, I feel. Islam is, judging by Muslim countries, a deeply intolerant religion. So, it should be noted, was Roman Catholicism (and arguably still is). Any religion that believes in the death penalty for blasphemy shows the fundamental impossibility of having both Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech. Furthermore, any religion which has the death penalty for apostasy (as Islam does) makes Freedom of Religion in itself impossible. Logically, no religion which advocates either of these views should be permitted in a democracy.
Stands back to await fireworks......

llondel
16th Mar 2014, 19:01
Pirate society was more structured and advanced than one might think. The leader was chosen by the group as the one who would give them success and riches - too many failures and you'd be out on your ear.

Metro man
16th Mar 2014, 19:14
Democracy works when the electorate is all of the same race, religion, language, tribe and similar level of wealth. Basically, as long as everyone's interests are the same and any decisions taken will have an equal effect on the electorate.

As soon as different groups appear and they have different agendas things start to unravel.

Why should people be forced to give up their wealth or conform to religious practices they don't believe in, simply because they are outnumbered ?

Unfortunately in a democracy any idiot can get elected by buying off 51% with what he robs from 49%.

PTT
16th Mar 2014, 19:24
Why do we still need a representative democracy? The internet would make it very easy for the public to express their views directly. There is absolutely no move towards developing this. Political parties have no interest in more (or indeed any) referendums.To prevent the tyranny of the masses.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
16th Mar 2014, 19:38
As opposed to the tyranny of the minority of members of political parties? ;)

PTT
16th Mar 2014, 19:42
The aim is to protect the minority rather than empower the majority to act against them.

But then you know this ;)

JimNtexas
16th Mar 2014, 20:02
The designers of the U.S. Constitution had it right I think.

1) A federal government with representatives sent from each state, and executive elected by the states. The Federal government with limited enumerated responsibility for national level issues such as tariffs, national defense, and federal courts for disputes that involve more than one state.

The Constitution amendable only if approved by 3/4's of the states.

1) A bunch of individual states, each with it's own independent legislature, executive, and court system.

2) Within each state a bunch of counties/parishes, each with it's own independent governing body and court system.

3) Within each county/parish towns and cities, each with it's own independent governing body and court system.

By dividing government into so many different units Americans can vote with their feet and live in a place with a government that suits their needs and preferences.

Want a government that will punish private sector employers and prevent you from buying a Big Gulp (https://www.7-eleven.com/Thirsty/Cold/Big-Gulp/) or a gun? Go to New York City.

Want a government that encourages private sector employers and encourages you to buy a gun, and where 64 ounce Big Gulps are commonly available? Move to Texas.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
16th Mar 2014, 20:14
I'm happy with the Canadian version of the federal system. I can likewise choose the Province/Territory which suits me. Perhaps more importantly, I can choose the region which gives me, in practice, the level of freedom (coupled, of course, with the level of personal responsibility that is expected) I desire.

I would still like to reduce, massively, the level of power of political parties. I believe the majority of the electorate will do nothing effective until the abuse of power by said parties get very bad. I have therefore located myself where party/Government influence is minimal.

cattletruck
17th Mar 2014, 11:24
http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/2301/3378/1600/721099/Leunig-democracy-9mar05.jpg

Krystal n chips
17th Mar 2014, 11:44
You were presenting an almost reasonable analysis, until, that is, you provided this less than subtle inclusion.

Not even thinly veiled.

" so it is not inconceivable that the situation could arise some time in the future when a hitherto minority culture which has been tolerated, encouraged even, becomes a simple majority which then seeks to impose its beliefs and values on the rest of the population. When those beliefs and values are unpalatable to the rest of the population the result is conflict, violence and chaos. Civil war.



I take it you will be forming a private army, or battalion if numbers are short, in the near future ?......after all, when this "Civil War" which some are both predicting and almost willing to happen, does actually start, the country will need all the stalwart defenders it can find !.

Let us know when you have a date for the commencement of the "hostilities"..in case they clash with the cricket season for example, or any holidays I may have planned in the UK.

rgbrock1
17th Mar 2014, 15:07
Caco wrote:

Democracy is not perfect and even in a democracy some people are generally more equal than others (to misquote Mr Eric Blair) but what other alternatives do we have?

authoritarianism
totalitarianism
theocracy
demagoguery
kleptocracy
personality cults

A Republic. As the founding fathers of the former colonies envisioned.

Wingswinger
17th Mar 2014, 17:36
VT1

I believe we really are heading towards a future civil war.
In your opinion is there anything we can do to prevent it happening?

I think step one would be officially to ditch multi-culturalism which is now recognised, even by some on the left, to have been a disastrous mistake. It has to be made clear that people who settle here and become citizens are expected to embrace fully British history, culture and our political system. If not, well, there's the door.

K&C,

I take it you will be forming a private army, or battalion if numbers are short, in the near future ?......after all, when this "Civil War" which some are both predicting and almost willing to happen, does actually start, the country will need all the stalwart defenders it can find !.

Not me, guv. I don't expect there will be any serious trouble in my lifetime. Radeng, the thread starter, imagined a scenario concerning a possible muslim majority sometime in the future attempting to change the law to reflect its own beliefs. I merely suggested how it could come about and tied that in to the European experience of religious wars down the centuries. I actually had our own British wars of religion in mind.

Krystal n chips
17th Mar 2014, 18:54
" Not me, guv. I don't expect there will be any serious trouble in my lifetime. Radeng, the thread starter, imagined a scenario concerning a possible muslim majority sometime in the future attempting to change the law to reflect its own beliefs. I merely suggested how it could come about and tied that in to the European experience of religious wars down the centuries. I actually had our own British wars of religion in mind.

I was aware of Radeng's "hypothesis "....or wishful thinking, depending how you view these alarmist and hyperbole riddled posts that is.

However, credit where it's due for a neat and adroit answer.....of course you were thinking of former British Wars of religion....we've had so many over the years, it's difficult to know which one to start with.

awblain
17th Mar 2014, 21:45
A republic? But that could without some care or scrutiny turn into


authoritarianism
totalitarianism
theocracy
demagoguery
kleptocracy
personality cults


All "republic" means is there are elected, or appointed, leaders rather than a born sovereign as head of state. The important aspect is that a republic should have some popular support for the government, at least on election day, but isn't the only way to show that by ballot? What if those balloted wanted


authoritarianism
totalitarianism
theocracy
demagoguery
kleptocracy
personality cults


A democratic republic, or even a democratic constitutional monarchy, is surely to be preferred over one with the properties of the above list.

Lonewolf_50
17th Mar 2014, 22:15
aw, in a land where the citizens can vote, they most often get the government they deserve. ;)

G&T ice n slice
17th Mar 2014, 22:20
Someone, somewhen, somewhere said something along the lines of "No taxation without representation".

But surely it would be just as true to say "No representation without taxation" ?

Thus only those who contribute towards the running of the state should be permitted to vote.

Indeed I would argue that "one man one vote" is also unfair. Surely the votes one should be permitted to cast should reflect the degree to which one supports the state?

Even the concept of a a single vote in a single fixed constituency is discriminatory? Surely if one has a house in town, a rather pleasant retreat on the coast and an estate (or indeed estates) elsewhere, then, providing one holds sufficient votes qualified by the taxes paid, one should be able to distribute those votes appropriately over the various constituencies in which one's various establishments are located?

ex_matelot
17th Mar 2014, 23:00
The problem with democracy is, as pointed out by someone earlier - it requires all people who vote to have a reasonable standard of education and to see "The bigger picture". We need not worry about people like Krystal & Chips though - they tend to vote opposite to the values they proffess to hold dear. That's why the likes of the BNP, and even UKIP had / have thousands more votes than would be apparent in any public or private display of approval.

I know many people who are outwardly virtuous and even religious but - if their daughter brought someone home of a different religion / skin colour then would be physically sick!

Democracy is flawed - it allows thick people to have a say in how other people's lives are governed. On another thread I used our jury services as an example also. Recent case of a judge publically complaining about a jury due to their lack of intelligence / understanding of certain basic concepts.
I see the electoral system as being no different.

Just imagine, and this is perfectly plausible...

You, a smartly dressed, well-spoken successful person finds themself in the dock for...lets say... touching a female inappropriately 35 years prior. The jury comprises of a random selection of the audience of the Jeremy Kyle show.

You will end up having your car torched and house graffito'd - just like that Paediatrician in a Portsmouth estate several years ago.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
18th Mar 2014, 01:54
In Canada, 50% of the adult population has completed tertiary education, easily the highest rate in the OECD.

..neither of the two guys I am currently working with has the equivalent of a school graduation certificate, but they are worldly wise. Today over lunch we were discussing pesticide use in mass agriculture, provincial taxation policy...and hockey, of course! ;)

In 5 years here I have not met anyone I couldn't have an intelligent exchange of views with. I was back in the UK briefly last year - only around a half of people I met could meet that criteria.

I am extremely happy with both the verdicts and sentences I have read about locally. Mind you,one of the reasons the Mounties 'always get their man' is because he usually walks into the station the next morning and says 'it was me', which does make their life somewhat easier.

Krystal n chips
18th Mar 2014, 06:38
" - it requires all people who vote to have a reasonable standard of education and to see "The bigger picture". We need not worry about people like Krystal & Chips though - they tend to vote opposite to the values they proffess to hold dear. That's why the likes of the BNP, and even UKIP had / have thousands more votes than would be apparent in any public or private display of approval.



I am distraught ! Sadly, it would appear that I am not on your Christmas card list !.....however, it would appear, that, with regard to a previous post you made about employment issues, you need have no concerns about a future source of income. I say this, not with any legal training you understand, more a perception, that, you would win substantial damages if you elect to sue your former Local Educational Authority from your formative years. Your career as a political analyst however, does, I regret to say, appear to have foundered somewhat.

"Democracy is flawed - it allows thick people to have a say in how other people's lives are governed. On another thread I used our jury services as an example also. Recent case of a judge publically complaining about a jury due to their lack of intelligence / understanding of certain basic concepts.
I see the electoral system as being no different.



What more can I say !....other than your own erudition, insight, pragmatism and incisive commentary is, well, so beautifully definitive and supportive of your views.


Just imagine, and this is perfectly plausible...

You, a smartly dressed, well-spoken successful person finds themself in the dock for...lets say... touching a female inappropriately 35 years prior. The jury comprises of a random selection of the audience of the Jeremy Kyle show.

You will end up having your car torched and house graffito'd - just like that Paediatrician in a Portsmouth estate several years ago.

I can only commend the eloquence, syntax and grammatical accuracy contained in the above statement, all of which serve to unequivocally exemplify your perceptions outlined previously.

barit1
18th Mar 2014, 15:21
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government".

And that is a 20th-century paraphrase of the Declaration of Independence: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

barit1
18th Mar 2014, 15:34
Winnie had a way with words:
https://scontent-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1.0-9/10001502_632030496845670_494301379_n.png

Keef
18th Mar 2014, 15:44
The test of a "democratic" country is how it treats minorities. I've seen some demonstrations of majority voting that came close to making some very dangerous mistakes, until one wise person spoke out. Individuals should not be compelled to conform to majority views - which is where so many "systems" have caused unnecessary suffering and strife.

There's no perfect system, but a wise and apolitical head of state (such as a constitutional monarchy) can avoid some of the worst excesses. An unsuitable head of state can cause them!

The problem is that power-hungry people go after the positions of power. In centuries past, that was the church, and there were some scandalous things done "in the name of religion". That era is past in the "first world" (but unfortunately not everywhere).

PTT
19th Mar 2014, 08:20
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government".Doesn't specify which people, though...

acbus1
19th Mar 2014, 09:23
Haven't trawled the thread.

Democracy is the best of a bad bunch of alternatives.

Biggest problem is we don't have it in the UK. The last voting sysyem referendum was a farce: 'Do you want the existing system or this wierd concoction we've dreamt up, which nobody will vote for'. Conveniently missed out strict proportional representation, which is as close to democracy we'd have got.

Blacksheep
19th Mar 2014, 09:34
51% is considered a majority in the first past the post system51% of those who bother to cast a vote.

The danger is, that as people become disenchanted with politics, they don't turn out to vote and the voices of the vociferous fringe become more powerful. It is not impossible that we could eventually be governed by a tightly knit group of extremists who captured 51% of a <10% turnout and took power.

SawMan
19th Mar 2014, 10:41
....The danger is, that as people become disenchanted with politics, they don't turn out to vote and the voices of the vociferous fringe become more powerful....

Disenchanted by the seeming inability if their State legislature to get things done, many years ago the people of California instituted a "Proposition" system, where if a given percentage of the people would sign that they wanted a vote on a given issue, there would have to be a State-wide vote taken, sort of bypassing the Legislature. It seemed a sure way for "the people" to have their way with a "true democratic" vote. At first it worked well, but as more and more "propositions" were placed on the agenda by small portions of the whole, many people grew weary of spending time at the polling centers every week voting on issues they thought unimportant. Soon some very unpopular laws were being made (with some being undone in the same manner afterward) because the vast majority simply gave up on that part of the system. And then, with care in advertising and carefully selected words, some zealous minorities were successfully causing unpopular laws to be enacted upon the majority :sad: And many of those laws were far from having any 'common sense' in them with a few having to be struck down in Court appeals because they were simply unworkable. Through it all, it took more time and more Government employees (and their time) thus costing the taxpayers more than ever, who then became even more disenfranchised with the whole thing :ugh:

I feel that this is the closest that anyone hes ever come to having a "true democracy', and yet look at how it failed! Which it wouldn't have if every citizen had cared enough to cast their ballots at every vote. And that is the problem with democracies- too many disenfranchised people simply don't care, believing that their single vote makes no difference at all :( While I am a believer in all having Human Rights, knowing how things work I also believe that if a person is to hold full rights as a citizen (and with that any 'privileges'), then they should be forced to vote on every matter which is balloted, thus guaranteeing their civic involvement. It is not when everyone can have an equal vote that makes for a democracy, but when everyone does vote- small semantics but a big difference!

vee-tail-1
19th Mar 2014, 11:08
They have compulsory voting in Oz ... how well does that work?
Is there proportional representation as well? or 'first past the post'?

Hydromet
19th Mar 2014, 12:22
Proportional representation. In Tasmania they have the Hare-Clark system and multi-member electorates.

probes
19th Mar 2014, 12:46
depends on which side you're on - minority or majority, I guess. If we think about the Crimea, for example. Some would, some wouldn't (greet the recent developments) - so, in a way it's oppressing some anyway. Democratically or otherwise, does it matter actually.

barit1
19th Mar 2014, 14:36
Heard from several Islamic sources:

"Democracy is a trolley that you ride until you reach your destination. Then you step off the trolley."

:*

Blacksheep
19th Mar 2014, 17:00
Ah! They're off their trolley. That explains a lot. ;)

Solid Rust Twotter
19th Mar 2014, 17:45
Heard from several Islamic sources:

"Democracy is a trolley that you ride until you reach your destination. Then you step off the trolley."

They're quite right. The flowery language of democracy is spouted at every opportunity to get those they despise on side to help them achieve their aims. Once they have their hands on the levers of power the entire concept falls by the way and in the case of the religious loons their agenda to promote the Caliphate takes precedence.

In the case of African democracy, once in power things become very undemocratic indeed with a small clique enriching themselves and their cronies at the expense of the country. Zimbabwe is a case in point and SA is rapidly heading the same way.

The destination is one where those in power no longer need democracy to remain there.

The Nip
19th Mar 2014, 18:30
After my father died the RAFBF sent me to a school in London.

My mother and I visited and everything was explained prior to us accepting a place. Once there it was very strict. But, you had to fit in to the system. They expected everyone who CHOSE to go there to accept that. You did not expect everyone else to change to accommodate you.

My next school was the same. Strict and structured. Again you made a CHOICE and fitted in.

Then I joined up. I knew the rules and what was expected. During my 30+ years, young people join up and then decide that the rules should change so that it suits them. Suddenly the minority have a foothold and it has exploded over the last 20 years.

Nowadays there are lots of people who want everything their own way and will not respect whichever system/society they wish to be part of. Old fashioned? Maybe but it worked.

Democracy, it can work but people need to be less selfish.

rgbrock1
19th Mar 2014, 18:40
Democracy, it can work but people need to be less selfish.

And need to have a sense of responsibility as well as discipline. Both character traits which are sadly lacking in so many in democratic-type societies.

airship
19th Mar 2014, 19:11
To which one might add to rgbrock1 comment above, do the World's richest 85 persons have more influence (leaving aside wealth for the moment) in their governments than 50% of the World's (poorest) population...?! See BBC article here (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26613682).

PS. Last week's Economist newspaper had an article entitled "The new age of crony capitalism", see here (http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21598996-political-connections-have-made-many-people-hugely-rich-recent-years-crony-capitalism-may). Unfortunetly their crony article about crony capitalists was based on all those individuals who were "billionaires", leaving out the poorest rich folks with say only a disposable wealth of between US$1 million and US$999.999 million...?! :ugh: Alas, that is what the Economist newspaper has descended to these days, crony comparisons and a shade of the lustre and respect that that newspaper once held... :sad:

But, if there's crony capitalism, there's surely crony democracy too...?! :p

Metro man
19th Mar 2014, 23:30
In the case of African democracy,

One man, one vote, one time. After that it's dictatorship and a one party state.

Australian Federal Elections work on a preference system where you rank the parties from first to last. Deals are done to form coalitions by placing the other partner in second place. All parties give out "How to vote" cards showing the order to place the candidates in.

Pinky the pilot
20th Mar 2014, 02:08
All parties give out "How to vote" cards showing the order to place the candidates in.

Which I never follow. I decide where my preferences go, not some political party.

A bit tedious when filling out the Senate ballot paper in the last Federal election. Ran to over 60 candidates:ooh:. So did the SA Legislative Council paper in the SA state election.

SawMan
20th Mar 2014, 07:40
@ S R Twotter: It ain't just Africa; this always happens everywhere though it's more sublime in other places :ooh:

@Pinky: The system is implemented by the political parties, so it is designed to make it hard to not keep them in power- and most people follow blindly. Glad you don't, neither do I :ok:

@ rgbrock: Yep! Welcome to the modern world, we hope you enjoy your stay with us (well, with the rest of them- not me either!) :sad:

Capetonian
20th Mar 2014, 07:52
Quote:
In the case of African democracy,
One man, one vote, one time. After that it's dictatorship and a one party state.African democracy is a great oxymoron, but in fact it's :
"One man, one vote, one candidate, one party, once."
Zimbabwe is the classic, but not the only example.

Wrex Tarr, a Rhodesian comedian, used to explain the voting process as :
"There are two wooden boxes. You put your vote for us into the wooden box on the left. If you don't, we put you into the wooden box on the right."

Blacksheep
21st Mar 2014, 14:34
. . . the case of the religious loons their agenda to promote the Caliphate takes precedence. The caliphate didn't work first time around. I always wonder what makes them think it would work again? As long as there are two Islams with different rules, they will always end up fighting amongst themselves. :rolleyes:


. . . and there are more than two versions these days.

cattletruck
21st Mar 2014, 15:56
In the West, millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions of dollars are spent running advertising campaigns before a democratic election.

Does that mean the party with the most money or the most obedient servant to the media wins?

What if the campaign costs spiral out of control and they start logging rain forrests, selling government assets, introducing extra taxes, taking out huge loans, etc, etc in order to pay the media bill.

Then when elected there are all the favours to repay and things to cover up.

Thus democracy is just an illusion and the numbers men that run the political parties are its slaves.

airship
21st Mar 2014, 18:58
Hmmm, unless much mistaken, there were at least some elements of democracy common to all these previous civilisations which have since bit the dust: the Greeks, the Holy Roman Empire, even the more recent British Empire...?! :8

And just look where "they" are all today... :{ :(

Nevertheless, a small "slave's warning" to President Vladimir Putin and his current efforts: For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.

Metro man
21st Mar 2014, 22:16
Does that mean the party with the most money or the most obedient servant to the media wins?

There are limits to how much can be spent on advertising in many countries and media ownership is regulated to ensure one person can't control too much e.g. not being able to own a newspaper and a TV station in the same city.