If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

This is a forum for discussing philosophical theories of government and social structure. It is not a venue for partisan rants or plugging favored candidates.

If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 8th, 2017, 9:43 pm 

Of all the political parties with their build of policies, there's always one or two policies that make me cringe and would not support.
I don't believe in voting For the lesser evil, so until I find a political party who I agree with 100%, I have no one to vote for.

It seems to me, there are people willing to vote for the lesser evil.
People willing to sacrifice some morals in order to implement changes for the better.
There are other types of voters (blind voters, vote the same as friends and vote for the best personality etc) but I want to focus on the "do better" voters who make moral sacrifice.
These people want to "have their say" but their voice can be silenced by the outcome.

Here's a scenario.
Two candidates are running for world wide presidency. (or domination depending on how you look at it)
Jesus Christ, and Adolf Hitler.
Many might not agree with everything Jesus says but I'm sure the people who vote for better changes would want to vote for Jesus.
They make their vote, but Hitler wins.

I think All voters are responsible for the outcome.
By voting, you acknowledge that the winner is going to inplement changes.
When Hitler starts implementing his changes, can I not argue, he does so with the "do better" voters concent?
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby wolfhnd on February 8th, 2017, 10:07 pm 

A better question is if the people who tried to pay off their war debt by putting unrealistic burdens on Germany were voting for Hitler. I would say that the fact that so many politicians and elites from liberal democracies initially supported Hitler the answer is yes. If you want to moralize political issues you have to dig deeper.

While it is certainly true that the people who voted for Hitler were not voting for world war and genocide many of those who joined the Nazi party would after the war deny they had done so. People tend to vote their immediate interests with little concern for long term consequences. Take welfare for example it did more or less wipe out absolute poverty but it was implemented so poorly that it destroyed the family structure and lead to widespread violence in the inner cities. Just as people did not vote for world war and genocide in Germany people were not voting for the destruction of families when they supported welfare. You can get hell if you vote for jesus or Hitler.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4737
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 10:09 pm 

edy420 » February 9th, 2017, 2:43 am wrote:When Hitler starts implementing his changes, can I not argue, he does so with the "do better" voters concent?

This is the Russell Brand argument which caused (and continues to cause) controversy in the UK. I've never thought of it as a matter of consent - Hitler isn't waiting for your permission. He's waiting for the permission of those who vote for him. I do understand that people of your non-voting persuasion argue that "the system" is "legitimised" by larger turnouts, but I think this is a back-to-front argument. Are abstainers complaining that they're too well represented, or not well represented enough? A smaller turnout - a lesser engagement with democratic structures - sends the message that you don't want a say in how you're represented, not that you do. It seems to me like Russell Brand and whoever else (I can't actually think of anybody high-profile who agrees with him; even anarchist Chomsky disagrees) expect "the system" to be replaced with a "better" (ie. more representative of Russell Brand's views) one if nobody turns up to vote. What makes them think this is going to happen? Fewer and fewer Nigerians bother to vote, and the government there becomes more and more autocratic. They see the electorate as saying "do what you want, we don't care".

So I would argue: if you want to organise a revolt, organise a revolt. If you want to organise a protest, or a union, or a charity, or whatever would further your political needs, get on it. If you want to write or lobby in defense of a better political platform, do it. If you want to try and run for office, try it. In the meantime, if any candidate is better than any other, you may as well vote.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK
Braininvat liked this post


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 10:40 pm 

wolfhnd » February 9th, 2017, 3:07 am wrote:A better question is if the people who tried to pay off their war debt by putting unrealistic burdens on Germany were voting for Hitler. I would say that the fact that so many politicians and elites from liberal democracies initially supported Hitler the answer is yes.

In doing so, you gloss over the fact that two decades passed between the wars, and that the leaders were from different countries with different aims. The Treaty of Versailles was principally authored by the Clemenceau administration - France wanted revenge for all it had lost in the war, as well as the humiliation of losing Alsace-Lorraine half a century previously. Woodrow Wilson was unsettled by the arrangement, because he preferred to recuperate Germany according to his 14 points. Lloyd George wanted reparations from Germany but understood that the Treaty was absurdly harsh and hard to justify - on his return to England he lamented that there would probably have to be another war within 25 years. Prescient, to say the least.

It is the understanding of how unfair the treaty was which caused Chamberlaine to act with such chagrin. When Hitler effectively said "Germany is not going to pay these reparations anymore. And we are going to build up our navy" Chamberlaine felt he hardly had the right to protest. The point being that Hitler's appeasers were so, precisely because they disagreed with the terms of Versailles - and therefore, with those who imposed them. To lump the Treaty and the appeasement together into a single consciousness, and cite this as a proof that Europe wanted to bring fascism upon itself, is a factual error.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 9th, 2017, 1:56 am 

Lomax » 09 Feb 2017, 11:09 wrote:
edy420 » February 9th, 2017, 2:43 am wrote:When Hitler starts implementing his changes, can I not argue, he does so with the "do better" voters concent?

This is the Russell Brand argument which caused (and continues to cause) controversy in the UK. I've never thought of it as a matter of consent - Hitler isn't waiting for your permission. He's waiting for the permission of those who vote for him. I do understand that people of your non-voting persuasion argue that "the system" is "legitimised" by larger turnouts, but I think this is a back-to-front argument. Are abstainers complaining that they're too well represented, or not well represented enough? A smaller turnout - a lesser engagement with democratic structures - sends the message that you don't want a say in how you're represented, not that you do. It seems to me like Russell Brand and whoever else (I can't actually think of anybody high-profile who agrees with him; even anarchist Chomsky disagrees) expect "the system" to be replaced with a "better" (ie. more representative of Russell Brand's views) one if nobody turns up to vote. What makes them think this is going to happen? Fewer and fewer Nigerians bother to vote, and the government there becomes more and more autocratic. They see the electorate as saying "do what you want, we don't care".

So I would argue: if you want to organise a revolt, organise a revolt. If you want to organise a protest, or a union, or a charity, or whatever would further your political needs, get on it. If you want to write or lobby in defense of a better political platform, do it. If you want to try and run for office, try it. In the meantime, if any candidate is better than any other, you may as well vote.


Hi Lomax,

It's not that I'm a non-voter or against the system, it's that I haven't found the perfect compilation of policies. Although I like the sound of Russell's argument do you have a link?

There is one party I like the most, let's say I agree with 98% of their policies.
The 2% I don't agree with, will have people imprisoned, even families destroyed for reasons I don't believe are crimes.
By voting for this party, I feel I may as well hand cuff these innocent people myself and drive them to prison.
I refuse to make that moral sacrifice for the greater good.

My view being what it is, I'm given the same perspective as "non-voters" by default.
But if the perfect compilation of policies were to be presented, I would definitely vote for them, and also realise that I am not only responsible but directly support the winner of the election, even if it's the opposition.

In which case, I don't have the right to complain about the choices the elected nominee makes.
I can evaluate, critisize and spread awareness for the next election, but not complain.

I don't understand why so many voters are upset with Trumps decisions, when they are responsible for his position of power.
Do they expect that only their vote is important and not the votes of others?
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 9th, 2017, 2:09 am 

edy420 » February 9th, 2017, 6:56 am wrote:There is one party I like the most, let's say I agree with 98% of their policies.
The 2% I don't agree with, will have people imprisoned, even families destroyed for reasons I don't believe are crimes.
By voting for this party, I feel I may as well hand cuff these innocent people myself and drive them to prison.
I refuse to make that moral sacrifice for the greater good.

I'm half-sympathetic; which is to say I have no truck with people who are willing to let things fall apart around them so that they can keep their hands clean, which is a far cry from my own utilitarian concept of morality. But I have spent years arguing that the death penalty makes everybody complicit in murder, so I at least concede that those 2% of policies will dirty your hands.

The Russell Brand thing started with his Paxman interview. He followed it up with a New Statesman article which is intelligent and well-argued (just not well enough) and then expanded it into a book (which I haven't read. He seemed to be getting less thoughtful and more aggressive and the whole thing ended up looking like a vanity project. Nevertheless, he has many supporters on this issue - even people who previously disliked him - and he exhales the sigh of the disenfranchised millions).

Brand is a fan of the Monarchy and deeply scornful of atheism, and dictates what policies we should be revolting for; so his position seems to me like a call for less democratic representation, not more. That's one of the reasons I part ways with him. Bizarrely, it only took a short interview with born loser Ed Miliband in 2015 to make him decide that Ed was actually pretty alright and maybe we should vote Labour after all. If my convictions were that weak, I wouldn't go to the trouble of writing a book.

Robert Webb (of Peep Show fame) wrote an Orwell-inspired counter-argument for the New Statesman. So a core question of political theory, which I have never seen a journalist address apart from Chomsky and Hitchens, had to be brought into the public consciousness and thoughtfully debated, in the end, by two comedians.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 9th, 2017, 2:30 am 

Hi Wolfhnd,

I think of politicians as parents of society.
Everyone will critisize parenting strategies but until they raise a young adult, they can't really say what is best.
Also, different children will be influenced differently by various parenting strategies.
The same can be said for different societies.

Hitler was a parent of society who would lie cheat and steal to make society grow into what he had envisioned.
He had an inhumane disciplinary strategy and was bad for society.

The real difference between parenting and politics is we can choose our authority.
That authority may have the best parenting strategy, but they may be bad parents in general.

With Hitler, we have historical documentation of how well he did, and are able to critisize his methods.
But with future/present authorities we can't really say how well they are going to do.

On a side not, here's an interesting thought.
Had Hitler succeeded in his goals, would the people of 2017 demonise or worship him?
History being bias, I wonder if he would have been historically a legend.
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 9th, 2017, 2:36 am 

Are leaders the parents of society, or the children? Or both - each moulds the other. Now there's a Back to the Future-esque family dynamic.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK
edy420 liked this post


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby wolfhnd on February 9th, 2017, 2:49 am 

There are a few distortions being suggested here. Yes Wilson initially had his 14 points but he campaigned heavily for the Versailles treaty.

Lloyd George said "Germany does not want war, but she is afraid of an attack by Russia, and is suspicious of the Franco-Russian Pact. I have never seen a happier people than the Germans, and Hitler is one of the greatest of the many great men I have met.”

I can find more but you get the idea.

What is more important is the difference between wanting to bring fascism and wanting to avoid the financial consequences of national debt. Within a few years of the end of WWI the world was in the grip of financial chaos. It's not surprising that Hitler in bringing stability to Germany gained a bit of respect. It is also worth noting that anti Semitic views did not carry the same stigma as today.

The other factor is that the economic crisis had softened the anti socialist sentiments of the general population. The socialism in National Socialist Party cannot be that easily dismissed. The nationalistic nature of German socialism is not an excuse to deny the similarities between what we call fascism and what at the time was considered socialism. The fact that Hitler was adamantly anti communist was easily ignore in a world where many leaders were instigating socialist policies and calling themselves capitalists.

Next we need to examine how the definition of fascism has changed to support a political narrative. People are talking about how Google recently changed it's definition to include the words "right wing" to be fair they were just conforming to Oxford. The objection is that right wing is not only nebulous but includes a wide range of political beliefs. For a good definition of fascism see the following article.

http://www.anesi.com/Fascism-TheUltimateDefinition.htm

“Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a massed-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external explansion.”

Sounds a lot like politically correct activists on college campuses today.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4737
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 9th, 2017, 2:52 am 

Lomax,

I feel society ignores the current problems with the political system, the biggest problem being the fact that we have to get our hands dirty.

It's always neck and neck between two parties, so many people will vote for one just to stop the other getting in. (How many people despised Hillery but voted her to stop Trump and vise versa?)
In my scenario, Jesus is Hitlers competition but in real life, a better analogical representative would be the devil.
When my choices are the Devil or Hitler then no thanks, this is a problem with the political system that needs urgent attention.

Another reason I don't vote is because I can think of a simple solution to this major problem of limited choice.
I want any flaws in any system to be both identified and addressed.
By voting, this problem isn't just ignored, it's welcomed and acceptable and therefore no problem can be identified, which deminishes any hope of a solution to this problem.

The problem I identify, is with fixed sets of policy compilations.
Why can't I just tick all the policies I agree with, ie. 98% and leave the last 2% unticked.
If the rest of society still ticks that last 2% then it was their choice, maybe they know better than I, and can live with that.
If No One ticks that last 2% then that party will have to drop those policies.. perhaps another topic but my main point is this problem is not even identified let alone addressed by voting my support.
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby wolfhnd on February 9th, 2017, 2:53 am 

Edy I like your insights on national character and parenting. I'm tired and will comment later.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4737
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 9th, 2017, 4:09 am 

Sure Wolfhnd.

Lomax,
A little more thought and I think we need to define, getting our hands dirty.
In reference to my previous post, I'm more than happy to wrap a chain around a pedophiles neck and drag him ten km to the nearest prison, stopping for the occasional break and a kick or two to the guts.
I call that getting my hands dirty and if it were legal I would do it if I found someone red handed.

But taking an innocent father and imprisoning him?
Allowing him to watch his children fall into despair and turning to troubled lifestyles..
I have many descriptions for advocating this, and none of them relate to "getting my hands dirty."
"Less than intelligent" is the only description I can share without sensorship.

I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, and my biggest problem with trying to understand your argument, is I think I understand your argument better than you.

I've asked a couple questions to try and clarify my confusion, but I feel they go overlooked, leaving me confused still.
If you can answer a simple yes or no, it would help me a lot.

1. Are voters who complain about the opposition winning, not saying that only their vote is important?

2. Are you willing to handcuff the innocent and drive them to prison, for the greater good?
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Braininvat on February 9th, 2017, 11:44 am 

One reason I'm confused is that, in this country, you can always vote for an alternative, even if it's what we call a "write-in candidate." I get the idea that not voting at all, if enough people do that, can be a referendum on the whole party system, e.g. "both candidates stink, we need better choices." But here, it seems to me, you can always send a stronger and less ambiguous message by writing in someone who you feel is by far the best choice, and encourage other people to do so, too. Or you can put a clothespin on your nose and vote for the one who stinks slightly less and then join in political demonstrations, petitions, etc. when they get elected and do things that smell bad to you. By this means, citizens can make a vote that gives only qualified approval and is not carte blanche.

Putting odious policy positions in terms of a percentage may not be a useful approach, if the "2 percent" you don't like include rounding up people and putting them in concentration camps. Different policies carry different weight, in terms of their effects on the general welfare and survival of democracy.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6859
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 9th, 2017, 12:54 pm 

Brainvat,

Lets say I can choose 5 parties in a row.
One party makes most the change I want and then the following parties make the other change I want in the following elections, until finally I have the law 100% the way I want it.
Then great, the system works and I'm more than happy to peg my nose and vote for the less stinky party each election.

But the system doesn't work, instead I vote one party, they make some changes I agree with and then some changes I don't. Then the next party I choose, makes some changes I agree with and some I don't, and it continues like that for all 5 parties I choose.
At the end of it, I'm back at square one with a system I agree with in some areas and not agree with in others.

Trump undoing a lot of Obamas life work is a good example, then next election, they undo what Trump did, reintroduce the TPP and tear down that rediculous Mexican wall.
This is why a simple change like allowing me to select a percentage of a parties policies are important.
Maybe people want the TPP And the Mexican wall, or don't want either.

Until I find a party with a set of policies I 100% agree with Or I'm allowed to select a percentage, then there really is no power in voting for change.

BTW Russel Brand is a very interesting character.
Hes able to articulate witty well constructed sentence and is very charismatic, but where I'm from that's called the gift of the gab.
He makes some great points about not voting but I don't agree we need a revolution.

Inaction has a consequence, I agree but when the outcome of action is more dubious than the consequence of inaction, then it's upto me to make the choice.

With inaction in a civilised society, I hope politicians can see they aren't being listened too, and then recognise that some simple changes need to be made.
I would agree with Russel Brand and his revolution if no one voted and then the politicians still put someone in power, someone like Hitler.

But if the 99% just didn't vote, the politicians have no choice but to start listening instead.
The longer people keep saying the system is fine, with their votes, the longer it will continue like this.

If the system were a car, it would have no doors, no gears except reverse and smashed windows.
Just because other people are willing to drive it, I don't feel it's safe enough.
I'm willing to drive it, just get it fixed first!
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Braininvat on February 9th, 2017, 1:17 pm 

But if the 99% just didn't vote, the politicians have no choice but to start listening instead....


I read that, and was going to suggest that politicians might see that non-voting figure and figure, what the hell, we can do whatever we want, nobody gives a s--t. I see now that Lomax already pointed that out.

My point was "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." IOW, it's still better to weight individual issues and say something like "I don't agree with Mr. Whiplash on labor unions, but right now what the country really needs is someone with his vision on the pressing matters of the environment and new energy infrastructure. He's better than Mr. Scrooge, who is entirely obsessed with lowering taxes and gutting all public services that help the poor." If Whiplash gets elected, you can support his eco/energy initiatives and also march with the abused unions, petition legislators or MPs or whatever you call them in Kiwi Land, and support all judicial checks on executive actions that weaken unions. There are no guarantees, of course, but if you keep voting for the candidate that shows the greatest overall concern for the wellbeing of the nation, your choices, however imperfect, would seem to in the long run to steer towards better government. You are never going to agree with a candidate on every issue, unless you are terribly fortunate. So you have to decide which issues are the most important and give them more weighting in your pick.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6859
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 9th, 2017, 1:28 pm 

wolfhnd » February 9th, 2017, 7:49 am wrote:There are a few distortions being suggested here. Yes Wilson initially had his 14 points but he campaigned heavily for the Versailles treaty.

Lloyd George said "Germany does not want war, but she is afraid of an attack by Russia, and is suspicious of the Franco-Russian Pact. I have never seen a happier people than the Germans, and Hitler is one of the greatest of the many great men I have met.”

Distortions indeed. Wilson campaigned to have a treaty, based on his 14 points. The treaty was not based on these points, and in fact banned Germany from the League of Nations. It's a matter of historical record that Wilson opposed the harshness of the terms imposed. You can pick up Cooper's biography.

Lloyd George's quotation, which again is a matter of historical record and won't be hard to find if you read up, was "We shall have to fight another war again in 25 years time." John Maynard Keynes correctly predicted the entire European economy would suffer. The entire administration was concerned that we had effectively removed one of our main trading partners from economic viability. British diplomat Harold Nicolson referred to the Treaty as "neither just nor wise". Lloyd George's attempt at diplomacy which you misquoted is from 17 years later and - did the "but" pass you by? - reinforces his claim that there will be another war.

Wolfhnd wrote:The other factor is that the economic crisis had softened the anti socialist sentiments of the general population. The socialism in National Socialist Party cannot be that easily dismissed.

Socialism means control of the means of production by the workers, so it passes me by how any autocracy - which, don't forget, held parliament at gunpoint, and banned the Communist opposition party - can have the right to call itself socialist. I'm inclined to agree with Trotksy's highly prescient analysis of European fascism, that it was a mobilisation of the middle class against the working class. He points out that Mussolini was a Marxist before he was a fascist, and had learned how to use the philosophy against itself.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 9th, 2017, 1:45 pm 

edy420 » February 9th, 2017, 9:09 am wrote:1. Are voters who complain about the opposition winning, not saying that only their vote is important?

2. Are you willing to handcuff the innocent and drive them to prison, for the greater good?

1. Some of them are. There are many people trying to overturn the "Brexit" vote even though, when they were smug Remain would win, they showed no discomfort with the idea of the public being asked. But it's not necessary to be this petulant - I voted Remain but accept the results of the referendum. That doesn't mean I have to agree with the people who voted Leave, or be optimistic. It just means I think preserving British democracy (by respecting plebiscite results) is more important than being in the EU.

If I may turn the argument around: are you saying that you're equally happy for any candidate to win, as long as there isn't a candidate who 100% represents you? I mean: when Brand says "we need socialism, spiritualism, Monarchy, environmentalism", blah blah blah, it reads to me like he's saying "democracy is illegitimate because its results don't wholly represent me". In other words: "Only my vote should be important."

2. Yes, reluctantly. Really I think what you're proposing is the trolley problem. If my answer sounds callous, consider that nothing you do in life really keeps your hands clean. I don't like killing animals but I kill them every time I walk on the grass, or wash my clothes, or even eat vegetables (I'm funding the use of pesticides). I don't like killing the planet but here I am on a computer, using electricity, much of which is created from fossil fuels. And so are you. Taking responsibility is life. The only way to avoid it is to do what Dr. Manhattan did and go and live on Mars. And I don't consider the non-voters hands clean of political dirt, either.

As to your earlier question about why you can't vote on a policy-by-policy basis: that's a question of direct vs. representative democracy, about which I'm on the fence. My feeling is you'd be happier with direct democracy. I don't know what would prevent people from voting for contradictory policies, what sets the policy agenda, or who carries the policy out, but perhaps there are answers to these questions.

In my home country, when the UK introduced the system by which, if a petition gets enough signatures, they have to consider it in parliament, the first popular motion was to bring back the death penalty. So I am quite glad we have people to hold back the tyranny of the majority. If you think politicians are stupid or cruel, just try talking to the average citizen.

I'll just close up with Edmund Burke's famous defense of parliamentarianism:

Edmund Burke wrote:Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby wolfhnd on February 9th, 2017, 9:07 pm 

On August 19, 1919 Wilson appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to argue in favor of ratification of the Versailles Treaty. He may have done that only to promote the league of nations but he still did it and you can look it up. Politics is full of compromises and you can make of it what you want but the important point is that he did campaign for ratification.

Many people are making the same mistake today and focusing on the feel good superficial aspect of politics and ignoring the economic issues. The League of Nations was never going to be a body sufficiently powerful to bring lasting peace just as the United Nations has been unable to do so. It wasn't the U.N. that brought down the Soviet Union it was a communist state trying to compete economically with liberal democracies.

Was the Versailles Treaty the cause of WWII? I wouldn't say it was the only cause but it was a factor. Could Germany have descended into the same economic crisis without it maybe. The rest of the world was in a sorry state after the great depression engulfed every industrialized nation. What is clear is that the U.S. was not going to let Europe descend into the same state of affairs that existed after WWI following WWII. The rebuilding of Europe and Japan are remarkable success stories.

The question I raised is if the consequences of monumental debt as a moral concern. If your world view is that of someone who believes in virtue ethics then you may reject all consequentialist arguments. If people were universally virtuous then the role of government would be very small. Interestingly virtue ethics are the central arguments of both capitalist anarchists and communists who both believe in a utopia where government fades away. I would argue that public and private morality are two different animals. While one may depend on the other the rules as a practical matter must be different. Complex chaotic system such as societies are not predictable and constant corrections are needed as consequences of supposed ethical policies are discovered. Personal ethics can be fairly rigid because there are fewer unintended consequences to deal with. The primary goal from a consequentialist position is the preservation of civilization. As Steven Pinker points out in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined violence has steadily decline as civilization has advanced. The glue that holds any civilization together is economic well being. It is the Roman concept of civic duty or morality that creates the conditions for economic well being. Strong families, responsible work ethics, public works, low taxes, private ownership, rule of law, strong army, secure borders and social integration are the bases for Roman Morality. Your personal morality can be as simple as treat others the way you would want to be treated but your public morality requires you to contribute to society and not introduce chaos by being licentious etc.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4737
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 12th, 2017, 1:13 pm 

So the adverse outcome of not voting, outweighs the moral sacrifice in voting?
Society is evolving and so too should its Government.
We become more intelligent overall, compared to the less educated 50 years ago, when we had more hands on jobs and didn't require so much education.
The input from people today is more relevant than a few generations ago when Government was formed.
Out of curiosity, did the death penalty get in,

I don't see the downside of implementing a petition system.
What if the majority wants the death penalty?
I think it's a bad idea, but I'm not society, I'm just a member.
Democracy is not about what I want, although I do prefer democracy.

Realistically the non-voters need their own poll to determine what it is they want to say.
Russel Brand wants a complete Government overhaul and rebuild in his image.
I just want it to be a little more mailable, and apply some simple tweaks.
Im trying to make sense of a few rambles I started, I'll come back to this.
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 12th, 2017, 3:02 pm 

Lomax, thanks for elaborating.
I'll get to your point about Nigeria but first,

Before democracy is formed, there's two types of people.
Those in Government, and those who aren't.
There's no meeting between the two, instead there's either war or the threat of war.
In the U.K. There was marches protests and riots, next was war.
In my country and in America, we skipped all that and went straight to war.

It seems there's 3 ingredients to forming a democracy, first intelligence, awareness and the threat of war.
I wager these ingredients are required to maintain democracy too, as I doubt Nigeria had these ingredients.
I don't fear an autocratic transition, because we have these ingredients in my country. (Not the standards Id like, but good enough)
While there's no need for a revolution, I think it important to have the threat of one as protection.
A bully Government will only prey on the weak.

This is why I don't see the danger in not voting.
Yes it becomes more likely the Government will become something I don't want it to be, but it becomes that even if I do vote.
Let's look at my picks for America.

I would have voted Obama, he wanted to bring the troops home.
Between Trump and Hillary, it's Trump.
Now my votes are self cancelling because Trump is undoing Obamas work, but lets continue.
Let's say I agree with 98% of Trumps policies.
I like that he wants to make it easier for the working man and he turned down the TPP, woot woot to Trump!
But that Mexican wall is a reason I wouldn't vote at all, it's a major moral sacrifice.
He wants the Mexicans to pay for it, meaning he wants to cripple their economy.
This is where a petition system is important, but it's not enough for me.

The changes I'd like are only slightly more of a direct democracy.
NZs parliamentary Government is self evaluating and self auditing because the opposition is always looking for cracks and pointing out the flaws in anything the leader does.
This could still be maintained by allowing me to tick the policies I like.
The Mexican wall gets big cross!
By not having this system I am putting a big tick next to it by default.
Being a working class man, 10 hours plus a day, I don't have time to protest.
With 7 kids I don't have time to spread awareness and get people to sign a petition.
But I do have time to put down a cross instead of a tick.

The masses could still just tick who they vote for and not bother with going into each policy, it's not a radical change but I think it fits with our evolving societies needs an for capabilities.
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 12th, 2017, 9:08 pm 

edy420 » February 12th, 2017, 6:13 pm wrote:So the adverse outcome of not voting, outweighs the moral sacrifice in voting?

Being a consequentialist, I measure the morality of an action by its outcome, so I can't really accept the grammar of your question. From a deontological point of view I can imagine your point being valid, but I have problems with deontological ethics overall. They don't tend to tell us non-arbitrarily how to distinguish moral issues from non-moral ones, for instance. And I think if everybody had always taken the "no blood on my hands" approach there'd be nothing like a democracy for us to debate this question within, in the first place.

edy420 » February 12th, 2017, 6:13 pm wrote:Out of curiosity, did the death penalty get in,

I don't see the downside of implementing a petition system.
What if the majority wants the death penalty?

It did not get in, but not for want of popularity. Besides being in bad standing with the UN, and beside its moral problems, it doesn't work very well. There is ample evidence of the brutalisation effect - that is, violent crime increases after the implementation of the death penalty - and it was abolished in the UK partly because juries were refusing to convict defendants they secretly believed to be guilty, because the jurors themselves did not want such blood on their hands. Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote of the "tyranny of the majority" as an argument against majoritarianism: if the masses voted for the death penalty, and to criminalise drug use, and to persecute Jews, blacks, women, gays, ad nauseum, as they well might, the few remaining might soon find there's nobody left to protect them in return. It's a "tragedy of the commons" type situation. Sometimes it's in everybody's interest (whether they realise it or not) to afford them basic, inalienable freedoms which are not subject to popular vote. I offered the petition example as a reason I'm probably more comfortable with representative, than with direct, democracy.

edy420 » February 12th, 2017, 6:13 pm wrote:Realistically the non-voters need their own poll to determine what it is they want to say.

When George Gallup innovated opinion polls he argued that it would be the next step in direct democratic representation: that finally the public will could be known on a constant basis. The main problems are these: that somebody has to conduct those polls, so somebody has to choose what the polls say - which means not just the agenda, but how it's worded, and then how the results are interpreted - and that polls don't just reflect opinions but form them, until "public opinion" just becomes "what everybody thinks everybody else thinks". I think there is also something to be said for the integrity and principle of a leader who won't act against their own wishes because the electorate wills it. After all, world leaders often have to deal with situations which don't give them time to consult the entire country before acting. We might want the right sort of person in charge in these moments. If every politician was just acting on public opinion - and by the way, I think this would give us all the machinery to end up with a one-party state in no time at all - how would we gauge their character and behaviour in unpredictable, urgent situations?

edy420 » February 12th, 2017, 8:02 pm wrote:Before democracy is formed, there's two types of people.
Those in Government, and those who aren't.
There's no meeting between the two, instead there's either war or the threat of war.
In the U.K. There was marches protests and riots, next was war.
In my country and in America, we skipped all that and went straight to war.

It seems there's 3 ingredients to forming a democracy, first intelligence, awareness and the threat of war.
I wager these ingredients are required to maintain democracy too, as I doubt Nigeria had these ingredients.
I don't fear an autocratic transition, because we have these ingredients in my country. (Not the standards Id like, but good enough)
While there's no need for a revolution, I think it important to have the threat of one as protection.
A bully Government will only prey on the weak.

By all means - but I refer you to my first post. Maintaining the threat of revolution isn't inconsistent with enforcing the existing democratic apparatus. Malcolm X offered the threat of revolution while MLK benefited from this by being able to get things done democratically. The Japanese empire offered the threat of revolution and Gandhi was thus allowed to make gentle suggestions. If you want to be cynical - and I wouldn't blame you - the suffragists gave the government the excuse that they were listening to the masses, when secretly they may have just been afraid of the more violent and disruptive suffragettes.

edy420 » February 12th, 2017, 8:02 pm wrote:This is why I don't see the danger in not voting.
Yes it becomes more likely the Government will become something I don't want it to be, but it becomes that even if I do vote.
Let's look at my picks for America.

I would have voted Obama, he wanted to bring the troops home.
Between Trump and Hillary, it's Trump.
Now my votes are self cancelling because Trump is undoing Obamas work


Okay, but Bernie was up for the vote. And his work wouldn't particularly, as far as I can see, have canceled out Obama's. So I don't necessarily think this one can be blamed on the system. Either way there's a very definite confusion in what you say: Obama and Trump are not the exact mirror image of each other, are they? Unless your voting desires have changed from what they were eight years ago. So perhaps there's something that makes you think Clinton would be even worse than a man who cancels out everything your previous vote for Obama helped achieve; in which case it would be absurd to pass up the chance to vote against her. In other words you seem to be arguing from your own inconsistency.

Luckily for you, the electoral system kept Clinton out of the Oval Office, so whatever she would have done that's worse than crippling the Mexican economy has been averted.

As for the need for the electoral system to evolve with society: I have no objections. I only argue that there's no reason - logical or historical - to suppose that low voter turnouts will achieve this.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Eclogite on February 13th, 2017, 4:18 am 

Lomax » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:08 am wrote:As for the need for the electoral system to evolve with society: I have no objections. I only argue that there's no reason - logical or historical - to suppose that low voter turnouts will achieve this.
I think a very sound argument could be made for the opposite.

Braininvat (I think it was) noted the option to write in a candidate in the US system. In all systems there is the option of spoiling the ballot paper. If enough voters scrawled "A pox on both your houses" across the paper it would have an effect. (Or in the UK vote for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate.)
Eclogite
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1388
Joined: 07 Feb 2007
Location: Around and about


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 13th, 2017, 5:04 am 

Eclogite » February 13th, 2017, 9:18 am wrote:
Lomax » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:08 am wrote:As for the need for the electoral system to evolve with society: I have no objections. I only argue that there's no reason - logical or historical - to suppose that low voter turnouts will achieve this.
I think a very sound argument could be made for the opposite.

Braininvat (I think it was) noted the option to write in a candidate in the US system. In all systems there is the option of spoiling the ballot paper. If enough voters scrawled "A pox on both your houses" across the paper it would have an effect. (Or in the UK vote for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate.)

What effect? I cited the Nigerian case as an example of disengagement having no detectable positive effect on the government, which acts more and more roguishly. If anyone disagrees that's fine, but counterargument - rather than counterassumption - is now incumbent on them.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Eclogite on February 13th, 2017, 6:40 am 

Lomax » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:04 am wrote:
Eclogite » February 13th, 2017, 9:18 am wrote:
Lomax » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:08 am wrote:As for the need for the electoral system to evolve with society: I have no objections. I only argue that there's no reason - logical or historical - to suppose that low voter turnouts will achieve this.
I think a very sound argument could be made for the opposite.

Braininvat (I think it was) noted the option to write in a candidate in the US system. In all systems there is the option of spoiling the ballot paper. If enough voters scrawled "A pox on both your houses" across the paper it would have an effect. (Or in the UK vote for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate.)

What effect? I cited the Nigerian case as an example of disengagement having no detectable positive effect on the government, which acts more and more roguishly. If anyone disagrees that's fine, but counterargument - rather than counterassumption - is now incumbent on them.
I am perplexed. As far as I can tell I am agreeing with you. Here is the sequence of my thinking:

1. You state that "there's no reason to suppose that low voter turnout will encourage the electoral system to evolve". If I have misunderstood you could you rephrase your last sentence.
2. I agree with this statement.
3. My agreement is so strong that I believe a good case can be made for the opposite. i.e low voter turnout will do nothing to encourage evolution of the electoral system.
4. I demonstrate this by offering ways in which voter involvement can encourage a change. I offer three examples of active protest: write in candidates; spoiled ballot papers; voting Monster Raving Loony.

What am I missing?
Eclogite
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1388
Joined: 07 Feb 2007
Location: Around and about
Lomax liked this post


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 13th, 2017, 7:11 am 

Apologies; the missing was mine. I thought by "the opposite" you meant the opposite of my position.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK
Eclogite liked this post


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Eclogite on February 13th, 2017, 7:20 am 

Lomax » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:11 am wrote:Apologies; the missing was mine. I thought by "the opposite" you meant the opposite of my position.
Got you. Thanks.

I am reminded of the story of the English lecturer who declares that while double negatives are common in English there is no such thing as a double positive. From the back of the lecture theatre comes a rather disheartened "Yeah......Right."
Eclogite
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1388
Joined: 07 Feb 2007
Location: Around and about
Lomax liked this post


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 13th, 2017, 2:41 pm 

Isn't Nigeria evidence that a low voter turnout Will evolve the electoral system?
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 13th, 2017, 3:11 pm 

edy420 » February 13th, 2017, 7:41 pm wrote:Isn't Nigeria evidence that a low voter turnout Will evolve the electoral system?

Well I took your use of "evolve" to mean something forward-moving; it sounds to me like you're asking for a government that makes more effort to listen to its people, rather than spiral in corruption and cronyism, and collude with racist factions to commit genocide.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby edy420 on February 13th, 2017, 5:53 pm 

As for the need for the electoral system to evolve with society: I have no objections. I only argue that there's no reason - logical or historical - to suppose that low voter turnouts will achieve this.


History shows a few similarities between pre-democracy and today's non voters, in the U.K. At least.
The non voters wanted a change, but had no idea where if an alternative.
The irony is it took an author to write a book about the idea of democracy and what effect it had in other counties, which led to marches and protest.
Im beginning to wonder if a revolution is necessary for a change.

Looking at your statement, we can replace the words "low voter turnout" with high or "max voter turnout" and it seems a little more accurate to me.

But like I say, I'm not a non voter I just want the right person to vote for, I'll get back to that next smoko
User avatar
edy420
Active Member
 
Posts: 1190
Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Location: Fergusson st, Tokoroa, NZ


Re: If Hitler is voted, are you responsible?

Postby Lomax on February 13th, 2017, 6:32 pm 

edy420 » February 13th, 2017, 10:53 pm wrote:History shows a few similarities between pre-democracy and today's non voters, in the U.K. At least.
The non voters wanted a change, but had no idea where if an alternative.
The irony is it took an author to write a book about the idea of democracy and what effect it had in other counties, which led to marches and protest.

I confess historical ignorance: what book are you talking about? Are we defining UK democracy as beginning with Cromwell (notwithstanding that there was no UK back then)?

edy420 » February 13th, 2017, 10:53 pm wrote:Looking at your statement, we can replace the words "low voter turnout" with high or "max voter turnout" and it seems a little more accurate to me.

Very good. I remember Mona Charon arguing that studies show that non-voters would vote roughly the same as voters do, if they voted, so the vote-share would be the same. But this is just luck: it doesn't change the fact that if one political half of non-voters voted they'd alter the election results. In other words by not voting you are playing your share of power into the opposition's hands; luckily for you, non-voters on that side are playing it back. But that is a matter of bad strategy, not good, cancelling itself out.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Next

Return to Political Theory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests

cron