Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

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Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby TheVat on September 9th, 2019, 9:02 am 

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... acy-228045

What caused the stir? Rosenberg, a professor at UC Irvine, was challenging a core assumption about America and the West. His theory? Democracy is devouring itself—his phrase — and it won’t last.

As much as President Donald Trump’s liberal critics might want to lay America’s ills at his door, Rosenberg says the president is not the cause of democracy’s fall—even if Trump’s successful anti-immigrant populist campaign may have been a symptom of democracy’s decline.

We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people.”

Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists.

His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.”
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby Serpent on September 9th, 2019, 10:39 am 

Okay--- not wrong, as far as it goes --
but I think that's a fairly small-picture view. I believe civilization is fundamentally anti-democratic, and the more complex, industrial and technological civilization grows, the harder it is to govern at all, never mind govern by consensus. We've done astonishingly well for so many heavily populated nations to maintain any semblance of democracy this long, in a rigidly monetized global economy. When an economy breaks, so does the governance, and vice versa: no stable underpinnings, no continuity.
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby Fuqin on September 10th, 2019, 8:13 am 

Politics whatever cracy or ism you subscribe or adhear too are essentially belife systems, and belife systems are notriously fictional, go figer why the z#!T dont work
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby Serpent on September 10th, 2019, 10:12 am 

Fuqin » September 10th, 2019, 7:13 am wrote:Politics whatever cracy or ism you subscribe or adhear too are essentially belife systems, and belife systems are notriously fictional, go figer why the z#!T dont work

Can there be a reality-based social organization that contains no belief-system or politics?
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby TheVat on September 10th, 2019, 12:29 pm 

I believe the Earth will still be orbiting the sun tomorrow, and still rotating. And that water will still be wet. And that narcissist autocrats will still be trying to enrich themselves while tearing down democracy and establishing crony plutocracy.

( Fuqin: Please use the spellchecker: it is your friend. )

And yes, large-scale corporate capitalism does drive an amoral system of incentives and rewards that do not really foster a true self-governing political entity. It's possible that the United States is simply too large to continue as a democracy, and will break down into several independent confederations of states, some more democratic than others. States where there is a longer tradition of public activism and protest and corporate watchdogging, like say Massachusetts, may fare better than states where obedience to authority and "law and order" are more highly valued, e.g. Nebraska.
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby Serpent on September 10th, 2019, 2:59 pm 

TheVat » September 10th, 2019, 11:29 am wrote:And yes, large-scale corporate capitalism does drive an amoral system of incentives and rewards that do not really foster a true self-governing political entity. It's possible that the United States is simply too large to continue as a democracy, and will break down into several independent confederations of states, some more democratic than others. States where there is a longer tradition of public activism and protest and corporate watchdogging, like say Massachusetts, may fare better than states where obedience to authority and "law and order" are more highly valued, e.g. Nebraska.


I've been predicting, and speculating on, that development for a couple of decades. Since the GWB contested election result. Really, when you consider the history, the union was never all that solid - and it seems to me, has been far too costly, in human and other lives, to maintain.
Humans tend to go for bigness without much reflection. Size has advantages, but we rarely weigh the pluses and minuses objectively. I figure Canada should be five countries; the contiguous States, maybe six - minus First nations territories. There would have to be room for negotiation regarding overlaps of political temperament at that arbitrary line at 49 N, and I don't know what the Arctic would prefer. Complicated, but doable.
Once you had like-minded majorities in control of their area, they could trade misfits. Then, whatever form of government each new country chose would work better without the constant strife.
Far too many resources are squandered on stalemate!

(Of course, some of those new countries would be... what's that picturesque description your head honcho favours? But at least the refugees from those places would have someplace to go.)
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby SciameriKen on September 10th, 2019, 3:15 pm 

TheVat » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:29 pm wrote:I believe the Earth will still be orbiting the sun tomorrow, and still rotating. And that water will still be wet. And that narcissist autocrats will still be trying to enrich themselves while tearing down democracy and establishing crony plutocracy.

( Fuqin: Please use the spellchecker: it is your friend. )

And yes, large-scale corporate capitalism does drive an amoral system of incentives and rewards that do not really foster a true self-governing political entity. It's possible that the United States is simply too large to continue as a democracy, and will break down into several independent confederations of states, some more democratic than others. States where there is a longer tradition of public activism and protest and corporate watchdogging, like say Massachusetts, may fare better than states where obedience to authority and "law and order" are more highly valued, e.g. Nebraska.


Perhaps this is the fear the founders have had the whole time about a strong federal government, which has been seemingly growing exponentially these past few decades. Perhaps the issue is the concentration of power? One federal source means those who can need only manipulate this main entity instead of having to do it 50 times in the different states. Is the answer to reduce the power of the federal government -- and not just that, but break up the large companies for which in a sense are as powerful as tiny nations all operating within our borders?!
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby doogles on September 10th, 2019, 5:30 pm 

I think ‘democracy’ needs classifying in this debate. There may be many types of democracy in the world. I can think of two main types – the President-led type and the Westminster type.

My impression (and that’s all it is) is that Presidential-led styles tend to have too many problems.

The Westminster type which we have here in Australia seems to have worked during my lifetime at Federal and State Government levels.

Essentially, we have a heredity-referee system controlling the overall function of our Parliaments. We have Governors of every State and a Governor-General at Federal level. Each represents the Queen who ultimately is the Chief referee of the Commonwealth of Nations. Since Oliver Cromwell’s day, the Queen (and the Governors) no longer have the power to have any say in the direct daily activities of Parliaments, but no parliament can be formed without their consent and approval; they also have the power to dissolve Parliaments that reach deadlocks, and to call for new elections.

As distinct from a stand-alone man acting as a President, the Queen or her hereditary replacement, and their representative Governors (along with their advisors) have hundreds of years of tradition and experience in Constitutional Law to guide them in their decision-making.

We had one occasion when a Governor (John Kerr) dissolved Parliament in 1975 (I think), appointed the Opposition Party as stand-in Government when there was a stand-off in the Supply Act. There was great unrest across the country over his decision, but he did call for a new election within a month. Fortunately, the election was clearly won by the Opposition Party, and this tended to justify the Governor-General’s decision. But at least, we had a referee who was able to dissolve a Parliament in which the Senate produced a stand-off by not passing an Act that was vital to the function of the country.

I find it curious that we have many people in our country who are urging us to become a Republic with a stand-alone man acting as a President. You all know the old saying -- "If a system is not broke, why fix it?"

But the point I'm making is that we need to classify systems of 'democracy' when we are talking about their sustainability.
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby Serpent on September 10th, 2019, 6:16 pm 

SciameriKen » September 10th, 2019, 2:15 pm wrote:
Perhaps this is the fear the founders have had the whole time about a strong federal government, which has been seemingly growing exponentially these past few decades.

A lot of that is down to militarism. You can't carry on thirty or more wars at any given time without a huge, well-equipped and mobile army and all the power to finance such an army. That's a very large-scale, long-term operation.
Perhaps the issue is the concentration of power? One federal source means those who can need only manipulate this main entity instead of having to do it 50 times in the different states. Is the answer to reduce the power of the federal government -- and not just that, but break up the large companies for which in a sense are as powerful as tiny nations all operating within our borders?!

I don't see how state-level governments can control nation-sized corporations: that kind of regulation takes a strong central power: a federal government. The Kochs already [effectively] own and rule... how many state legislatures? Twenty? Twenty-five? Plus their big red hands in federal politics. https://truthout.org/articles/tax-forms-reveal-koch-brothers-spent-millions-to-shape-state-politics-in-2017/
Of course, disbanding the federal administration would deprive them of a major target, but it would also free up massive funds to invest in the state-level dismantling of environmental protection, trade unions, public schools and all forms of social welfare. Their fiefdoms don't look terrific now. Imagine no opposition at all.
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby -1- on November 8th, 2019, 9:45 pm 

doogles » September 10th, 2019, 5:30 pm wrote:I think ‘democracy’ needs classifying in this debate. There may be many types of democracy in the world. I can think of two main types – the President-led type and the Westminster type.

My impression (and that’s all it is) is that Presidential-led styles tend to have too many problems.

The Westminster type which we have here in Australia seems to have worked during my lifetime at Federal and State Government levels.

The governor was a smart person who made the right decision.

Had the governor been a lesser person in terms of ability to make the right judgments, the Westminster type system would have had a lot of problems, too.

I don't think that from that one example a right thinker would extrapolate and generalize that the Westminster style is superior and has fewer and lesser problems. Whereas your article, here presented above, and liked by TheVat and by SciameriKen, did precisely that.
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby -1- on November 14th, 2019, 4:39 am 

Serpent » September 10th, 2019, 10:12 am wrote:
Fuqin » September 10th, 2019, 7:13 am wrote:Politics whatever cracy or ism you subscribe or adhear too are essentially belife systems, and belife systems are notriously fictional, go figer why the z#!T dont work

Can there be a reality-based social organization that contains no belief-system or politics?

I am curious what your answer is to this question, Serpent.
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Re: Are humans just not able to sustain democracy?

Postby Serpent on November 14th, 2019, 7:48 pm 

-1- » November 14th, 2019, 3:39 am wrote:
I am curious what your answer is to this question, Serpent.

This one?
[Can there be a reality-based social organization that contains no belief-system or politics?]
I can't imagine anarchy sustained, on any scale, one day past the group hangover, when they realize just how much damage they've done. Even units as small as a nuclear family are political, have a shared world-view and operate on a definable social principle.
If at the center of that principle is the idea that all members are of equal worth, the group can work democratically. Other ideas can work equally well - so long as the members of the society all hold the same belief and follow the same rules.
If some pigs make themselves more equal than other horses, the society goes to the dogs.
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