Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

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.

Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 1st, 2017, 10:22 pm 

Some recent democratic decisions (made by a minority of a population) have brought what could be termed long-term catastrophic economic consequences for America and Britain (via Trump and Brexit), and France is breathing a sigh of relief after their own far-right movement was obstructed from power (possibly in the wake of the Trump and Brexit shocks), with Netherlands not far behind.

That 'blind democracy' (let's say; faith in the power of group think over conventional wisdom), as a primary socio-political philosophy, could apparently be failing the West in such a severe way seems anathema to all that The West traditionally sees as intelligent and wise. However, it is arguable that this is just a 'meme' that westerners have been blindly swallowing, like coolaid administered from trusted elders.

Here are some quotes from The Cambridge Companion to Socrates, for example, suggesting that there were once highly respected elders in the West - elders who arguably positioned the West in the most intelligent and positive direction, who did not venerate blind democracy in the way that westerners do today. Unfortunately, however, like Jesus and Gandhi, they were severely persecuted for trying to help:
Editor’s preface, p.xiii wrote:Socrates is the patron saint of philosophy. Although he was preceded by certain philosophical poets and surrounded by some learned sophists, he was the first real philosopher. If you wish to know “What is philosophy?” one good answer is that philosophy is what Socrates did and what he started.”

p12 wrote:“We know, for example, that Socrates was born in Athens in 470, that he came from the deme of Alopeke, and that he was sentenced to drink hemlock after he was judged guilty in 399 of each of the three charges that Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon accused him of: corrupting youth, introducing new divinities, and not believing in the state gods.”

p339 wrote:“Socrates goes on to comment on the rare souls who have “tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is, and at the same time they’ve also seen the madness of the majority and realized, in a word, that hardly anyone acts sanely in public affairs and that there is no ally with whom they might go to the aid of justice and survive, that instead they’d perish before they could profit either their city or their friends and be useless both to themselves and to others, just like a man who has fallen among wild animals and is neither willing to join them in doing injustice nor sufficiently strong to oppose the general savagery alone. Taking all this into account, they lead a quiet life and do their own work. Thus, like someone who takes refuge under a little wall from a storm of dust or hail driven by the wind, the philosopher – seeing others filled with lawlessness – is satisfied if he can somehow lead his present life free from injustice and impious acts and depart from it with good hope, blameless and content.” (Republic 496c5-e2) It would be hard to imagine a more extreme statement of the hostility between philosophy and politics as they exist in the non-ideal world.”

p340 wrote:“In effect, he demands that politics be based on knowledge of what is best for the community, and this means what is best for the “souls” of the citizens. Statecraft ought to be based on a philosophically defensible understanding of what is best for human beings. Socrates was famous, correspondingly, for leading every question back to an examination of his interlocutor’s way of living (e.g., Apology 36c3-d1, 39c6-d2, Laches 187e6–188a5, Symposium 215e6–216c3), and for being concerned above all about how he should live his own life. One of the key methods Socrates used to raise the question of the justifiability of an individual’s or community’s modus vivendi was the paradigm of expert knowledge.”

p348-349 wrote:“Some interpreters have suggested that of the next-best regimes Socrates sketches in the Republic , a slight and surprising preference for democracy might be indicated for the sorts of derivative considerations just sketched. Democracy is characterized by its liberty (including freedom of speech, 557b5), license ( 557b5), the leave given to each to arrange his private life as he judges best ( 557b4–10), and therewith its permissiveness with respect to the pursuit of wisdom as well as luxury and decadence. Strikingly, even the democratic soul is said to be attracted to “philosophy” at times ( 561d2). Socrates at one point remarks that democracy is “a convenient place to look for a constitution” for the reason that “it contains all kinds of constitutions on account of the license it gives its citizens. So it looks as though anyone who wants to put a city in order, as we were doing, should probably go to a democracy, as to a supermarket of constitutions, pick out whatever pleases him, and establish that” ( 557d1–9).”


Do you think it is time to go beyond democracy as a primary socio-political tool?
Do you think this western blind democracy is still such a worthy export to 'impose' on other nations, as has been the fashion, at this current developmental stage?
Do you see any necessary change to the present western democratic vision? If so, what? - A return to noble kingship, for example? Philosopher kings?
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 1st, 2017, 10:43 pm 

Mossling » July 1st, 2017, 9:22 pm wrote:Do you think it is time to go beyond democracy as a primary socio-political tool?

Unless we set up a really good computer program to run things, i don't see what's "beyond" some form of democratic decision-making.
Do you think this western blind democracy is still such a worthy export to 'impose' on other nations, as has been the fashion, at this current developmental stage?

I've never thought it was a good idea to impose any form of government on anybody. Every kind of government works for the people who practice it in good faith; no kind of government works for people who abuse and debase it.
DO you see any necessary change to the present western democratic vision? If so, what A return to noble kingship, for example? Philosopher kings?

No, the vision is fine. It's the corruption that needs curing.
There may have been noble kings and even philosopher kings, but there has never been any way to instill nobility and wisdom in a monarch. For one thing, they keep falling under the influence of clerics; for another, the royal gene-pool tends to grow shallower over generations. I know of no way to preserve the nobility or wisdom of a monarchy.
Democracy could work quite well, if 1. it started from a society of equals 2. better safeguards were put in place, both for the legislative process and for the election process and 3. there were no economic ideology at its center and no financial interests in its administration.
I mean: if it were really the population that made the decisions, rather than a ruling class.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
d30 liked this post


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby someguy1 on July 2nd, 2017, 1:38 am 

Mossling » July 1st, 2017, 8:22 pm wrote:Some recent democratic decisions (made by a minority of a population) have brought what could be termed long-term catastrophic economic consequences for America and Britain (via Trump and Brexit) ...


Can you explain how you know that Brexit, which hasn't even happened yet and at the rate they're going may never happen, is a long term economic catastrophe? Wouldn't that be an opinion rather than established fact? After all, the global stock markets went down right after the Brexit vote, only to shoot up after people realized that Brexit means a net increase of economic freedom in the world.

Likewise Trump. Sure he's a boor and all the liberals hate him (and a lot of conservatives hate him too!), but the stock market's been booming because people who put their actual money on the line (as opposed to their riskless opinion) think that opposition to the status quo represents an increase in net economic freedom.

The future may well be catastrophic. But as of the present moment, I don't see the evidence for your opinion, which you stated as fact. I'd like to point that out and invite you to back up your opinion with facts. But that's hard to do, because the future often surprises us. Certainly the actual economic data since Brexit and Trump does not support your claim. And actual hard data shows that Obama's eight years produced historically low economic growth. Wasn't that a catastrophe? The economic condition of African-Americans got worse under Obama.

As I always need to say at moments like this, I hold no brief for Trump. I would just like to see some evidence for your claim, which is actually the direct opposite of the facts on the ground.
someguy1
Member
 
Posts: 582
Joined: 08 Nov 2013


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 2nd, 2017, 1:48 am 

Serpent » July 2nd, 2017, 11:43 am wrote:
Mossling » July 1st, 2017, 9:22 pm wrote:Do you think it is time to go beyond democracy as a primary socio-political tool?

Unless we set up a really good computer program to run things, i don't see what's "beyond" some form of democratic decision-making.

Ha, yes, I hadn't thought about computers running a society more efficiently. Thanks for that.

By a primary sociopolitical tool beyond democracy, I mean, for example, making democracy secondary, and something like the Socratic method and thus philosophical exploration of social ideas such as virtue the primary tool for a happier society.

DO you see any necessary change to the present western democratic vision? If so, what A return to noble kingship, for example? Philosopher kings?

No, the vision is fine. It's the corruption that needs curing.

But doesn't the corruption come from a lack of social wisdom?

Democracy could work quite well, if 1. it started from a society of equals 2. better safeguards were put in place, both for the legislative process and for the election process and 3. there were no economic ideology at its center and no financial interests in its administration.
I mean: if it were really the population that made the decisions, rather than a ruling class.

Agreed, and yet there's the small problem here of not understanding virtue well enough, it seems, and without virtue being explored by a significant enough portion of the democratic population, it will always be seemingly open to spin, and thus corruption.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 2nd, 2017, 9:13 am 

Mossling » July 2nd, 2017, 12:48 am wrote:By a primary sociopolitical tool beyond democracy, I mean, for example, making democracy secondary, and something like the Socratic method and thus philosophical exploration of social ideas such as virtue the primary tool for a happier society.

That sounds nice. How do you propose to put it in effect? The central question is:
Who Does What? Specifically, practically - not theoretically.
If the purpose of government were to promote the happiness of society, it could already have done that, and democracy, unhampered, tends that way. But if we don't ask what the primary purpose of a government is, or how that purpose might best be achieved, no amount of exploration will help.


But doesn't the corruption come from a lack of social wisdom?

No. In fact lack of social wisdom is a direct and deliberate result of corruption. If you asked the general population whether they want a sound education for their children, whether they want to raise smart, informed and responsible citizens, they would overwhelmingly say yes. They might hold varying opinions as to what constitutes sufficient information, on what subjects, and how a responsible citizen makes his or her decisions, but such differences can be negotiated through trained educators, and with the students themselves.
So, the next question is: Who benefits from an uniformed, or misinformed population?
(And why have we not started by asking: What is the purpose of education?)

The corruption comes from the self-interest of unprincipled persons who see an opportunity for financial gain and/or power in the perversion of the democratic principle.

[if it were really the population that made the decisions, rather than a ruling class.]
Agreed, and yet there's the small problem here of not understanding virtue well enough, it seems, and without virtue being explored by a significant enough portion of the democratic population, it will always be seemingly open to spin, and thus corruption.

Of what use is civic virtue to a majority brainwashed and browbeaten into thinking and feeling like an underclass - the great unwashed, the masses, the mob, the consumers, the cannon-fodder and labour-force? You're only ever going to be told - not asked; told - what's good for you you; what to do, what to buy, what to fear, what to be angry about, whom to resent, whom to shoot.
Virtue is a product of self-respect. Self-respect comes from validation.
(You now have a population so starved for validation that it will cheer for anyone who, even transparently, fraudulently, facilely, fleetingly pretends to consider them important.)
Understanding virtue is the luxury of philosophers, not wage-slaves.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 2nd, 2017, 7:38 pm 

someguy1 » July 2nd, 2017, 2:38 pm wrote:
Can you explain how you know that Brexit, which hasn't even happened yet and at the rate they're going may never happen, is a long term economic catastrophe? Wouldn't that be an opinion rather than established fact? After all, the global stock markets went down right after the Brexit vote, only to shoot up after people realized that Brexit means a net increase of economic freedom in the world.

Likewise Trump. Sure he's a boor and all the liberals hate him (and a lot of conservatives hate him too!), but the stock market's been booming because people who put their actual money on the line (as opposed to their riskless opinion) think that opposition to the status quo represents an increase in net economic freedom.

The future may well be catastrophic. But as of the present moment, I don't see the evidence for your opinion, which you stated as fact. I'd like to point that out and invite you to back up your opinion with facts. But that's hard to do, because the future often surprises us. Certainly the actual economic data since Brexit and Trump does not support your claim.

Thanks for asking this question and I did try to qualify my assertion with a "could", and yet the main premise I am working from is the apparent sociopolitical source of the democratic decisions that have lead to Brexit and Trump - conservative panic regarding maintaining US and UK global economic advantage; a retreat into 'white' nationalism, and so forth. Sure, the Nazis got a whole bunch of wealth at the beginning, however their fortunes changed as the world responded.

Some current facts for you - 60% of British people want to hold on to their European 'passport', and major banks are looking to move out of London to Dublin, while the world sees America in a less and less politically favorable and stable light, since a conservative government that traditionally champions free markets is now engaging in anti-globalist protectionism.

When the tide changes, of course there are opportunities to harpoon large fish, but in terms of globally-friendly nations open for honest business, the US and UK are not presenting their shop fronts as such at the moment - democratically-so, and therefore negative long-term economic forecasts seem rational enough.

If you are of a different race, would you rather do long-term business with a racist protectionist, or someone less like that? It affects the potential to be cheated, to be forgiven for driving a hard bargain, and for enjoying basic human interaction.

Another fact is that many advertisers have pulled their ads from Breitbart. You could say that this is a microcosm of what I am suggesting the world will do in response to the blind democracy that has championed Breitbart's social values.

I don't want to go off on a tangent to the main drive of this thread really, and I'm aware that it is possible to debate this long-term economic forecast until the cows come home, so I ask that we can work with this assumption; that protectionist, anti-globalist, 'white culture' nationalism is not the most business-friendly ideology to elect to the forefront of a nation's global interface.

It does not seem an accident, either, that these countries host so many of the 1% who currently own half of all global household wealth and grow fatter every year - even at the expense of many people in their host-nations also. British people are using food banks and suffering zero-hour contracts, for example. They may have not used their votes wisely, and somehow still believe in trickledown economics, and vote in facilitators of the 1%'s endless fattening, but in the end they are just blind to the truth of their predicament, and their problem is therefore their blind democratic decisions.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 2nd, 2017, 10:52 pm 

Serpent » July 2nd, 2017, 10:13 pm wrote:
Mossling » July 2nd, 2017, 12:48 am wrote:By a primary sociopolitical tool beyond democracy, I mean, for example, making democracy secondary, and something like the Socratic method and thus philosophical exploration of social ideas such as virtue the primary tool for a happier society.

That sounds nice. How do you propose to put it in effect? The central question is:
Who Does What? Specifically, practically - not theoretically.
If the purpose of government were to promote the happiness of society, it could already have done that, and democracy, unhampered, tends that way. But if we don't ask what the primary purpose of a government is, or how that purpose might best be achieved, no amount of exploration will help.

It was just an example, not a proposed plan, however it does appeal to me.
Check out the few minutes socratic method (elenchus) dialogue that the two people have here from 24:40 onwards:



Maybe this kind of thing could be brought into schools, for example?

But doesn't the corruption come from a lack of social wisdom?

No. In fact lack of social wisdom is a direct and deliberate result of corruption.

Well I would agree that they can feed one another, and yet the first act of corruption that benefits the individual - where would you say that emerges from? I would say efficiency - why do a job for so many hours if you can just steal the equivalent salary from your neighbour over a few minutes? And wisdom, I would say, makes our life more efficient. So a corrupt individual may think that it is wise to cheat someone, and yet of course, the more they do it, the more their 'confidence comes before a fall', and the more their corrupt acts leave traces within their community. In the long-term, then, corruption becomes less and less wise. This is why I say that it begins with a lack of social wisdom - because social wisdom tends to involve long-term interaction within a relatively unchanging community. This is all founded in, and apparently confirmed by, Robert Axelrod's work on models of iterative cooperative interactions via various strategies and the net economic outcomes over the long-term.

So, the next question is: Who benefits from an uniformed, or misinformed population?
(And why have we not started by asking: What is the purpose of education?)

Indeed, and I would, as in my post above, make reference to the wealthiest 'corrupt' 1%. Now according to some reports, 5 individual people apparently hold 50% of the world's wealth, and it seems that they are happy with that, and would like to keep it that way. They also of course have the means to influence global policy and media in their favour.

The corruption comes from the self-interest of unprincipled persons who see an opportunity for financial gain and/or power in the perversion of the democratic principle.

Agreed. Socrates also stated that such criminal behaviour comes from ignorance - in modern terms, one could say ignorance of the basic raw economic strategies employed by cooperative organisms. This ignorance can be removed quite simply if the Marxian opium of the masses can be expunged from hearts and minds. Now that AI and robot automation are going to be delivering a post-work society where all the basics are provided, there will, I am guessing, be less need for desperate prayers for survival - begging the random yet mysteriously cyclical (and therefore often deemed intelligent) forces of nature for basic economic rewards - and there will be a huge shift away from religion and superstition towards philosophy and rational ethics.

Of what use is civic virtue to a majority brainwashed and browbeaten into thinking and feeling like an underclass - the great unwashed, the masses, the mob, the consumers, the cannon-fodder and labour-force? You're only ever going to be told - not asked; told - what's good for you you; what to do, what to buy, what to fear, what to be angry about, whom to resent, whom to shoot.
Virtue is a product of self-respect. Self-respect comes from validation.

According to Axelrodian basic cooperative economics, virtue (he termed 'nice' behaviour) is simply cooperating honestly on one's first interaction with a stranger, unconditionally forgiving a stranger who previously cheated one but is tangibly making amends, and possibly only administering 90% of a necessary retaliatory punishment in order to encourage more peace in society. Interestingly, such a 'nice' perspective appears to be in harmony with Socrates' view on punishing crimes:

The Cambridge Companion to Socrates, p106 wrote:…he was critical of principles that seem to have been fundamental to Greek culture, most notably of the rule that one should help one’s friends and harm one’s enemies. Rather, one should do harm to no one; but if someone is acting badly, one should administer punishment not as harm but as a means of moral improvement. Socrates shared with other new thinkers the radical idea that the aim of punishment should be to educate or improve people in virtue, never to harm them (Republic 1.335d, Protagoras 324c).
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Braininvat on July 3rd, 2017, 9:15 am 

Democracy is okay, it's the influence of oligarchs and corporate forces that distort and warp it. For governance to embody wisdom, it should be drastically separated from the marketplace. Philosophical exploration is a good idea, so long as it doesn't become code talk for "an intellectual elite that keeps slaves and assures them it's all for the best." One good bulwark might be a Supreme Court that is not politically appointed but entirely promoted on professional criteria of merit.
User avatar
Braininvat
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5839
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills
d30Serpent liked this post


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 3rd, 2017, 12:31 pm 

Mossling » July 2nd, 2017, 9:52 pm wrote:[ But if we don't ask what the primary purpose of a government is, or how that purpose might best be achieved, no amount of exploration will help.]
It was just an example, not a proposed plan, however it does appeal to me.
....socratic method (elenchus)
Maybe this kind of thing could be brought into schools, for example?

Well, obviously! Don't you wonder who wants to keep it - and any form of critical thinking, and any competing ideologies - out of the schools? And why?
Ask the fundamental questions, rather than begin a dissertation in the middle, standing on air - e.g. "The stock market is booming." (Oh, but doesn't it always, just before a bust? What causes the boom? What triggers the bust? How does the stock market operate? What is its relationship to the welfare of the citizenry?)

Well I would agree that they can feed one another, and yet the first act of corruption that benefits the individual - where would you say that emerges from?

Infancy. Wahhhh! Gimme! And that comes from the animal impulse to survive at any cost. Baby wolves have to be socialized, to be taught co-operation, just like baby humans. Think about how their training or education can be perverted to produce obedient, frightened dogs, instead of an effective wolf-pack.

... So a corrupt individual may think that it is wise to cheat someone, and yet of course, the more they do it, the more their 'confidence comes before a fall', and the more their corrupt acts leave traces within their community.

Yes, and when it is their community - a unit small enough to name its individual members - they either have to give some of it back, perform some extraordinary service or declare themselves anointed chieftain and thus entitled to the best. (Gods come in handy at this stage.)
But civilization, even an ancient one numbering no more than 500,000 citizens at its peak - is stratified and segregated: the community being wrecked does not belong to the wrecker, or vice versa. And the larger the scale, the more an advantage-taker can distance himself from the people he uses and ruins. On the scale of empires, the harm is so widely spread, so far from the center, it's invisible to the felon himself - and even to his great-grandchildren. When you get up to the global corporate scale, the community and the thief might as well be on different planets.
And they don't care.
Another (I'm not sure which is the primary and secondary) consideration is that it's so very much easier to steal money than any real commodity. And when money itself becomes mere numbers on a screen, and when the numbers are brain-numbingly large, theft can not only be carried out quickly, safely and easily on a massive scale, but it can even be passed off as good and necessary commerce. (It'll trickle down.... float all the boats.... just wait for the tide to rise on all the shores of all the oceans at once....)

[Who benefits?]
Indeed, and I would, as in my post above, make reference to the wealthiest 'corrupt' 1%.

Be careful of the arithmetic! To belong to the top 1% of Americans, you only need a surgeon's or lawyer's income. Granted, this social stratum does benefit from the structure and mechanics of the economic system, and many of its members are, indeed, criminal - but I don't think they, as a class, are against good education. They probably send their own children to private school and are not much concerned with the quality of public schools, but they pay their taxes, contribute to charities, and often vote for democratic, socially beneficial policies; many of this class are liberal progressives.
The grand corruption is far more concentrated - closer to 0.001%.

Now according to some reports, 5 individual people apparently hold 50% of the world's wealth,

Really? Last count I heard was 82. They must be eating their young faster than anticipated.
and it seems that they are happy with that, and would like to keep it that way. They also of course have the means to influence global policy and media in their favour.

Of course. And if they can turn peon against peon - which they always can! - they'll always be immune.

This ignorance can be removed quite simply if the Marxian opium of the masses can be expunged from hearts and minds.

Why do you think they fight so hard against democracy? Any reasonably clean democratic process tends toward socialism. You can see why: if people get to vote for their own interests, they do, even in spite of superstition. And the self-interest of decent people is pretty much all the same: to have enough of the necessities, to be safe and secure; to be respected and valued; to be happy. Nowhere in there is a desire for flammable drinking water, for billionnaire bosses screaming "Ye're fired!!" in one's face, or a letter summoning one's son to blow up strangers on the far side of the globe.
Now that AI and robot automation are going to be delivering a post-work society where all the basics are provided, there will, I am guessing, be less need for desperate prayers for survival - begging the random yet mysteriously cyclical (and therefore often deemed intelligent) forces of nature for basic economic rewards - and there will be a huge shift away from religion and superstition towards philosophy and rational ethics.

Fervently to be wished!
But it comes only after the economic and social collapse. Because they're not going to relinquish control and fade away quietly, those bosses of the world - not the money-lenders, nor the industrialists, not the military or the religious czars. Power is too addictive to give up without a struggle, and people are crazy enough and stupid enough to fight one another, and die, for their masters.
Religious madness is not a product of natural scarcity. The deities and spirits of nature may have demanded some kinds of sacrifice we find icky, but they never demanded the expurgation of entire eco-systems or a generation or race or species. Civilized religion, and especially this latest virulently psychotic European strain, is a manufactured tool of power elites.

[virtue].... Rather, one should do harm to no one; but if someone is acting badly, one should administer punishment not as harm but as a means of moral improvement.

Ah, but this is thinking from a position of effectiveness. A confident person, who knows his place in society, knows his own value and capability, can 'afford' such a generous attitude to his fellow citizens. The well-functioning wolf-pack would hold such a view, because in it, every member counts; non can be wasted.
In a sick and perverted society, one third of the membership is 'surplus'. People are suspicious, jealous and resentful of one another; they expect harm from their fellow citizens, as well as from outsiders; from all sides. They expect protection and patronage from above - and accept the kicks that are the prerogative of masters. They relish the kicks administered to the misbehaving cur on their left, in that they themselves escaped it - and the one on their right, in that it prevents him from taking the table-scrap they hope to snatch.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 6th, 2017, 6:28 am 

Braininvat » July 3rd, 2017, 10:15 pm wrote:Democracy is okay, it's the influence of oligarchs and corporate forces that distort and warp it. For governance to embody wisdom, it should be drastically separated from the marketplace.

But the government can never be separated from the marketplace, and those with power want to lead efficient lives just like the rest of the population. So if and when they lose sight of the where and why of virtue, no regulated method of governance is ever safe from such abuse of power. It seems that a firm grasp of virtue - mentally and lived in daily life is the only saviour - no matter whether for a king, a chairman, president, prime minister, village chieftain, and so on.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 6th, 2017, 10:47 am 

Mossling » July 6th, 2017, 5:28 am wrote:But the government can never be separated from the marketplace,

Why? What binds them inextricably together? Jesus is reputed to have taken exception to the temple being used as a marketplace; he seemed to think that administration and commerce should be separate.
Would he have been correct in a theocracy? In a monarchy? In a democracy?
Is one kind model of governance more money-involved than another? How and why?

and those with power want to lead efficient lives just like the rest of the population.

There's a sweeping assumption I have yet to see in practice!

So if and when they lose sight of the where and why of virtue, no regulated method of governance is ever safe from such abuse of power. It seems that a firm grasp of virtue - mentally and lived in daily life is the only saviour - no matter whether for a king, a chairman, president, prime minister, village chieftain, and so on.

This is true. So far, nobody's found a cure for virtue-amnesia.
The best we've been able to do is set up systems in which virtue is less punished and vice, less rewarded.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 6th, 2017, 10:08 pm 

Serpent » July 6th, 2017, 11:47 pm wrote:
Mossling » July 6th, 2017, 5:28 am wrote:But the government can never be separated from the marketplace,

Why? What binds them inextricably together?

Capitalism. Members of government purchase and consume just like everyone else must.

Is one kind model of governance more money-involved than another? How and why?

No, but it seems that capitalism is unavoidable - if Ben's icecream tastes better than Jerry's then I know where I'm going to buy my icecream. And even if they form a cooperative, a new producer may appear on the other side of town. It doesn't matter whether it's food, legal advice, or massage, these market dynamics seem unavoidable.

and those with power want to lead efficient lives just like the rest of the population.

There's a sweeping assumption I have yet to see in practice!

A famous quote:
Socrates in Plato's Gorgias (509E5–7) wrote:no one does what is unjust because he wants to, but everyone who does injustice does so unwillingly.

This is apparently in line with the trend towards efficiency we see within the physical makeup of living organisms - especially those who have engaged in evolutionary 'arms races', where energy management and usage becomes optimized. Think of a cheetah - it can't afford to burn calories just running around for the sake of it. Thus, most living organisms, including humans, who have competed for resources in highly scarce environments at times, seek the most efficient routes - which includes prosocial behaviours, since 'many hands make light work', and so forth. These prosocial efforts are most efficient when virtue is present in the hearts of those humans who are cooperating.

Unfortunately shades of virtue arise - for example in criminal gangs loyalty is prized only between members, not between humans in general.

It still remains, however, that there is an innate intention (a subconscious "will" rooted in basic existential logic) operating behind all the social memes that cloud the true 'wisdom' of our biology - a drive towards efficiency, which virtue is perfectly in harmony with, and which can make a society become a smooth-running cooperative heaven of sorts.... if people can break through the shades by recognizing the long-term inefficiency of 'them and us' thinking.... otherwise called "otherization".

So if and when they lose sight of the where and why of virtue, no regulated method of governance is ever safe from such abuse of power. It seems that a firm grasp of virtue - mentally and lived in daily life is the only saviour - no matter whether for a king, a chairman, president, prime minister, village chieftain, and so on.

This is true. So far, nobody's found a cure for virtue-amnesia.
The best we've been able to do is set up systems in which virtue is less punished and vice, less rewarded.

Indeed - and yet science is constantly breaking down myths and adding credence to what the wise ancients harped on about. Just like round-earthism, there should come a tipping point. For even then it doesn't mean the challenges are over - there are still the cold forces of entropy and impending heat death of the universe to contend with!

Personally I think humans need to stop aligning themselves with entropy, via nukes and guns, and get with the space program more. Plenty of room in the universe - if you don't like your neighbour then move to your own terraformed planetoid. That's freedom of speech expressed in body language. And yet the issues arising would always be the same - virtue needs to be cultivated no matter the habitat. Investing in space exploration is just seemingly so much more prosocial than war.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 6th, 2017, 11:42 pm 

Mossling » July 6th, 2017, 9:08 pm wrote:[What binds them inextricably together?]
Capitalism. Members of government purchase and consume just like everyone else must.

Capitalism isn't about consuming or purchasing; that's just trade. Trade can be done on equal terms, value for value: neither participant makes a profit, neither takes a loss.
Capitalism is about borrowing and investing: getting more out than you put in.

[Is one kind model of governance more money-involved than another?]
No, but it seems that capitalism is unavoidable - if Ben's icecream tastes better than Jerry's then I know where I'm going to buy my icecream. And even if they form a cooperative, a new producer may appear on the other side of town. It doesn't matter whether it's food, legal advice, or massage, these market dynamics seem unavoidable.

You're mixing three different things. I'm not surprised, since the apologists of capitalism have worked very hard to conflate and confuse those things in everyone's minds.
Governance isn't about commerce; it's about organizing a social structure.
Capital wasn't invented until 30,000 or so years after trade and commerce.
You seem to think that competition on the basis of quality and consumer satisfaction is the driving force of a marketplace, without looking behind the scenes at who owns the fairgrounds, who gets to participate, how the rules are made, how much the duke can interfere in whether Ben and/or Jerry are barred from competition, because of their race, class, nationality, religion, gender, personal relationship... etc.

A famous quote:
Socrates in Plato's Gorgias (509E5–7) wrote:no one does what is unjust because he wants to, but everyone who does injustice does so unwillingly.

This is apparently in line with the trend towards efficiency we see within the physical makeup of living organisms - especially those who have engaged in evolutionary 'arms races', where energy management and usage becomes optimized. Think of a cheetah - it can't afford to burn calories just running around for the sake of it.

Cheetahs have quite small brains. They lack the imagination to be persuaded to waste a humungous number of calories genuflecting, bowing to toward Mecca or turning prayer wheels. Not to mention inventing, designing, manufacturing, transporting, storing, maintaining.... then decommissioning, disarming, dismantling and disposing of armaments as they come in and go out of style. Human craziness doesn't conform to biological imperatives: we make up crap that supersedes reason, logic and the will to live.

Unfortunately shades of virtue arise - for example in criminal gangs loyalty is prized only between members, not between humans in general.

That's just a variant of tribalism. It's not unhealthy, just myopic.

It still remains, however, that there is an innate intention ... which can make a society become a smooth-running cooperative heaven of sorts.... if people can break through the shades by recognizing the long-term inefficiency of 'them and us' thinking

Yes. A number of schools of sociology and psychology have tried to overcome this obstacle. It's not that nobody's figured it out - it's that the forces arrayed against any such endeavour are far more powerful and aggressive than the proponents. We tend to get lynched, jailed, disenfranchised and held up to ridicule. Sometimes, all in a single session.


Indeed - and yet science is constantly breaking down myths and adding credence to what the wise ancients harped on about. Just like round-earthism, there should come a tipping point. For even then it doesn't mean the challenges are over - there are still the cold forces of entropy and impending heat death of the universe to contend with!

I freely confess:on the list of all the things that bring on cold sweats at 4 am, the eventual heat-death of the universe comes in at about 4887th - and a full bladder or hungry cat will have woken me by 345.

Personally I think humans need to stop aligning themselves with entropy, via nukes and guns, and get with the space program more.

Ditch Jehovah, Mars and Allah; embrace Mercury and Aurora - check.
... And yet the issues arising would always be the same - virtue needs to be cultivated no matter the habitat.

Only if you take along at least one companion. If you go alone, you can be totally antisocial. The up-side is, no progeny.... unless you took along a coning kit...

Investing in space exploration is just seemingly so much more prosocial than war.

Sounds okay to me. I also approve of school lunches, rooftop gardens, free solar panels for seniors and training ex-cons to build water reclamation plants.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 7th, 2017, 1:34 am 

Serpent » July 7th, 2017, 12:42 pm wrote:
Mossling » July 6th, 2017, 9:08 pm wrote:[What binds them inextricably together?]
Capitalism. Members of government purchase and consume just like everyone else must.

Capitalism isn't about consuming or purchasing; that's just trade. Trade can be done on equal terms, value for value: neither participant makes a profit, neither takes a loss.
Capitalism is about borrowing and investing: getting more out than you put in.

[Is one kind model of governance more money-involved than another?]
No, but it seems that capitalism is unavoidable - if Ben's icecream tastes better than Jerry's then I know where I'm going to buy my icecream. And even if they form a cooperative, a new producer may appear on the other side of town. It doesn't matter whether it's food, legal advice, or massage, these market dynamics seem unavoidable.

You're mixing three different things. I'm not surprised, since the apologists of capitalism have worked very hard to conflate and confuse those things in everyone's minds.

Merriam Webster's definition:
an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

So it begins with private ownership of capital goods, icecream for sale, in my example, the profits of sales are then reinvested into the business, with prices, production, and distribution of different icecream brands within a free market.

Governance isn't about commerce; it's about organizing a social structure.
Capital wasn't invented until 30,000 or so years after trade and commerce.

The term wasn't being used, but the basic economic mechanisms were all alive and pumping, it seems there's little doubt about that. You make good product, you get more customers, and then you invest in more good product.

You seem to think that competition on the basis of quality and consumer satisfaction is the driving force of a marketplace, without looking behind the scenes at who owns the fairgrounds, who gets to participate, how the rules are made, how much the duke can interfere in whether Ben and/or Jerry are barred from competition, because of their race, class, nationality, religion, gender, personal relationship... etc.

Sure governing bodies can interfere in the mechanisms, but good quality is good quality, and that 'speaks' for itself. This is the root of capitalist economics. Kim Jong-il still had an extensive movie collection and many other consumer comforts. He was a global market consumer of high quality goods, no matter their "imperialist" origins.

Unfortunately shades of virtue arise - for example in criminal gangs loyalty is prized only between members, not between humans in general.

That's just a variant of tribalism. It's not unhealthy, just myopic.

Myopic=unhealthy from the perspective of long-term social outlooks. If society is not a long-term affair, then a race to the bottom of the cheating pool ensues.

I freely confess:on the list of all the things that bring on cold sweats at 4 am, the eventual heat-death of the universe comes in at about 4887th - and a full bladder or hungry cat will have woken me by 345.

Haha, maybe you are just distracted by other apparently more important memes? Your life process inside your body I can pretty much guarantee is super-interested, but maybe there are immortality fantasies of sorts keeping it sedated ;P

... And yet the issues arising would always be the same - virtue needs to be cultivated no matter the habitat.

Only if you take along at least one companion. If you go alone, you can be totally antisocial.

You're never alone - gut flora need love and respect also, not to mention your community of cells that make up the very neurons that can recognize that such a community exists. If you don't get virtuous towards your own inner community, there are studies to suggest that the community members will 'defect' - revert to a more ancient single-celled survival strategy, and hey-presto: cancer.

So virtue is not just for others, it's for 'ourselves' also. The way we govern our bodies and minds could also be said to be a blueprint for society. The ancient Greeks considered the condition of one's body a reflection of one's social habits - of one's soul and thus one's exercise of virtue. As the saying goes: 'a healthy body, a healthy mind' - no matter the body politic, or individual.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 7th, 2017, 10:21 am 

Mossling » July 7th, 2017, 12:34 am wrote:So it begins with private ownership of capital goods


"Capital Goods' Capital goods are tangible assets such as buildings, machinery, equipment, vehicles and tools that an organization uses to produce goods or services"
http://www.investopedia.com/terms
That is: the means of production, not the product.

the profits of sales

"a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something:"
Extra money. Where does it come from?

are then reinvested into the business,

"expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit"
More extra money. Where does it come from?

If you came and helped me stack firewood for two hours and I rewarded you with a gallon of ice cream that took me two hours to produce, we would have made an even trade: no loss, no profit.
If you then trade that same ice cream to BadgerJelly for four hours of fence painting, you make a profit. You are getting two extra hours of work for your investment of two hours. The extra comes out of Badger's life: he takes the loss.

There is no such thing as a free market. That's a giant con. Whoever owns the means of production controls the market. Whoever doesn't have capital to invest does the extra work.

The term wasn't being used, but the basic economic mechanisms were all alive and pumping, it seems there's little doubt about that. You make good product, you get more customers, and then you invest in more good product.

Even if that were true (You ever use Windows 8?) what's that to do with governing and organizing society?

Sure governing bodies can interfere in the mechanisms, but good quality is good quality, and that 'speaks' for itself. This is the root of capitalist economics.

No it's not. Competition may or may not be real and/or fair. Consumers may or may not have a choice. Employees and tenants may or may not have a choice. Government may or may not interfere, regulate, tax and license private operations. Those are variables.
The root of capitalist economics is debt. Investment is simply lending money with the expectation of getting back more money. The extra has to come from somewhere. It comes from the use of resources, the exploitation of labour, the conquest of territories, the downloading of waste and environmental degradation. The capitalist's gain is somebody else's loss.

And, of course he doesn't reinvest the profits in making a better product or lowering the price for his customers. He invests it in advertising, lobbying and funding the political campaigns of legislators he thinks will regulate in his favour, in manipulating law courts, buying out or undercutting the competition - all with the aim of maximizing his profit, expanding his market, gaining more. Also in yachts, mansions, banquets, antique wines, gun collections and huge portraits of self on a gold throne.

Myopic=unhealthy from the perspective of long-term social outlooks. If society is not a long-term affair, then a race to the bottom of the cheating pool ensues.

Tribalism isn't cheating or dishonest; it's natural, the way things have always been. Tribes compete for territory and resources. Sometimes tribes and clans have to compete for survival, even within a single nation. Who gets labelled "criminal" is partly a matter of which tribe rules. Of course, this doesn't preclude co-operation between tribes; alliance, trade, intermarriage, confederation, etc.
There has not yet been any pan-human social organization, except the UN, which isn't getting as much support as it deserves. That's pretty much our only long-term hope.

So virtue is not just for others, it's for 'ourselves' also. The way we govern our bodies and minds could also be said to be a blueprint for society. The ancient Greeks considered the condition of one's body a reflection of one's social habits - of one's soul and thus one's exercise of virtue. As the saying goes: 'a healthy body, a healthy mind' - no matter the body politic, or individual.

Juvenal --
You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,
and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts
that can endure any kind of toil,
that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks
the woes and hard labors of Hercules better than
the loves and banquets and downy cushions of Sardanapalus.
What I commend to you, you can give to yourself;
For assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.

Roman, not Greek. "mens sana in corpore sano" was also taken up as a slogan by English public schools, where boys were molded for leadership through cold showers, sports and caning. They, too, were militaristic and aggressive, just like the Greeks and Romans they so admired.
The ideal is fine; the practice never matches. We could do better.

You speak much about 'virtue' in the abstract, but have only mentioned one concrete example: loyalty.
What virtues, in what order of importance, would constitute a healthy individual?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 8th, 2017, 3:41 am 

Serpent » July 7th, 2017, 11:21 pm wrote:"Capital Goods' Capital goods are tangible assets such as buildings, machinery, equipment, vehicles and tools that an organization uses to produce goods or services"
http://www.investopedia.com/terms
That is: the means of production, not the product.

You know what I meant though. Means of production then provide consumer goods (of icecream in my example).

the profits of sales

"a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something:"
Extra money. Where does it come from?

My uncle Scrooge became an ascetic in his final years, and left me an inheritance.

are then reinvested into the business,

"expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit"
More extra money. Where does it come from?

See above. Also excess consumer goods left over from random 'bumper harvests' from nature of various sorts.

There is no such thing as a free market. That's a giant con. Whoever owns the means of production controls the market. Whoever doesn't have capital to invest does the extra work.

Whoever stumbles across the nuggets of gold can take as many as they can carry upon their person and protect adequately while sleeping.

It's not a con - it's just luck. A line of hunters comb a forest as a cooperative and the hunter who catches the prey shares it with the rest. If they go out into no-man's land individually, however, then that's a different story.

There are many examples in hunter-gatherer societies even, of clear lines being drawn between mutual efforts, allocated territories, and distribution of obtained benefits.

The term wasn't being used, but the basic economic mechanisms were all alive and pumping, it seems there's little doubt about that. You make good product, you get more customers, and then you invest in more good product.

Even if that were true (You ever use Windows 8?) what's that to do with governing and organizing society?

It means that universal capitalism and thus market involvement are automatic factors for all members of society - governors and governed - that need to be taken into account and accepted as unavoidable. Thus, corruption cannot be avoided through seeming to separate government from markets. Only virtue studies and living through virtuous acts can apparently solve it.

Sure governing bodies can interfere in the mechanisms, but good quality is good quality, and that 'speaks' for itself. This is the root of capitalist economics.

No it's not. Competition may or may not be real and/or fair. Consumers may or may not have a choice. Employees and tenants may or may not have a choice. Government may or may not interfere, regulate, tax and license private operations. Those are variables.

Yes, just like keen eyesight, good toolcraft, hand-eye coordination, tracking skills, and so on, are for hunters. As are sunny days and rainy days, falling rocks, stormy winds, and so forth. The variables can never always be in every person's favour equally. Long-sighted cooperatives can smooth those kinks out, however - through insurance policies, for example.

The root of capitalist economics is debt.

One person's good fortune is potentially another person's debt, if the other person prefers not to go out and seek their own fortune instead. As I've said above, nature doesn't distribute advantages equally. However, the greatest advantage of all could be said to be virtuous cooperation insuring significantly more benefits than when acting alone, and the more cooperators 'the merrier' the mutual gains.

The virtuous interaction becomes the ultimate equalizer that far outweighs random distribution of benefits, because randomness is seen as just that - you may be lucky for the first few years, but then there may be a landslide or a potato famine, or whatever, and suddenly you'll be calling for help. This is why virtuous capitalism is wise for long-term societies. If uncle Scrooge kept all his luck to himself all his life and then suddenly it was washed away in a tsunami, society's virtuous response would be a Tit for his lifelong Tat. In fact, he had never really been a member of that society in the first place - he had been a parasite enjoying the roads, protection, lighting, and so on.

This is why the UK government freaked out about companies like Amazon paying no tax, but enjoying the national infrastructure in order to deliver their goods. It is unvirtuous for them to do so, and thus parasitic.

He invests it in advertising, lobbying and funding the political campaigns of legislators he thinks will regulate in his favour, in manipulating law courts, buying out or undercutting the competition - all with the aim of maximizing his profit, expanding his market, gaining more. Also in yachts, mansions, banquets, antique wines, gun collections and huge portraits of self on a gold throne.

Yes - in lacking virtue that is all inevitable. However, it is an empire built on shaky civil foundations. Look what happened to the wolf of Wall Street, for example. Society has little sympathy for non-virtuous capitalists.

Myopic=unhealthy from the perspective of long-term social outlooks. If society is not a long-term affair, then a race to the bottom of the cheating pool ensues.

Tribalism isn't cheating or dishonest; it's natural, the way things have always been.

Not for everyone. Diogenes of Sinope's cosmopolitanism, for example, is one attitude that is still embraced with vigour by many people on this planet.

You speak much about 'virtue' in the abstract, but have only mentioned one concrete example: loyalty.What virtues, in what order of importance, would constitute a healthy individual?

I speak of Virtue as a single behaviour, since it is a social meme apparently arising from cooperative economics. I think that I have perhaps mentioned already that for me it is the Axelrodian 'nice' Tit-for-Tat cooperative interaction strategy - be honest and prosocial on your first interaction and then emulate that person's last behaviour thereafter. It sort of follows the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto yourself (at first), but with the addition of cheating a cheater back if they interact with one again.

Axelrod discusses this very difference between Tit-for-Tat and the Golden Rule in his book The Evolution of Cooperative Behaviour.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 8th, 2017, 6:47 am 

Mossling » July 8th, 2017, 2:41 am wrote:My uncle Scrooge became an ascetic in his final years, and left me an inheritance.

Thus endeth democracy.
Once you have inherited wealth and power, you have aristocracy by birth, not merit; equality of any kind becomes a fairy-tale.

It means that universal capitalism and thus market involvement are automatic factors for all members of society - governors and governed - that need to be taken into account and accepted as unavoidable. Thus, corruption cannot be avoided through seeming to separate government from markets. Only virtue studies and living through virtuous acts can apparently solve it.

So it's hopeless.
Those who seek virtue do not seek power; those who desire to rule do not desire to be virtuous.

[The root of capitalist economics is debt. ]
One person's good fortune is potentially another person's debt, if the other person prefers not to go out and seek their own fortune instead.

Do the math. How many can make a profit?
Those serfs who preferred to stay home and work their liege lord's fields instead of building ships and kidnapping people from Africa to sell in America deserved to fall behind on the rent of their hovels. Yea.
Maaaan - you didn't need to swallow the sinker; hook and line would have sufficed.
As I've said above, nature doesn't distribute advantages equally. However, the greatest advantage of all could be said to be virtuous cooperation insuring significantly more benefits than when acting alone, and the more cooperators 'the merrier' the mutual gains.

And that is the exact opposite of capitalism.

I speak of Virtue as a single behaviour,

All right. Axelrod it is then. Put it on the curriculum.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 9th, 2017, 7:35 am 

Serpent » July 8th, 2017, 7:47 pm wrote:
Mossling » July 8th, 2017, 2:41 am wrote:My uncle Scrooge became an ascetic in his final years, and left me an inheritance.

Thus endeth democracy.
Once you have inherited wealth and power, you have aristocracy by birth, not merit; equality of any kind becomes a fairy-tale.

Indeed, if the wisdom of virtue is not prioritised. This is basically the message that Socrates, Confucius, LaoTzu, and the Buddha all promoted - from Greece to India, to China, all the same core philosophy - if one prioritises a virtuous life, then everything else falls into place.

It means that universal capitalism and thus market involvement are automatic factors for all members of society - governors and governed - that need to be taken into account and accepted as unavoidable. Thus, corruption cannot be avoided through seeming to separate government from markets. Only virtue studies and living through virtuous acts can apparently solve it.

So it's hopeless.
Those who seek virtue do not seek power; those who desire to rule do not desire to be virtuous.

Even if the virtuous do not seek power, it can be awarded to them, and they may accept it. It was for the power awarded to Socrates due to his considerable logical faculties and their application in daily life - the young questioning their parents, that he was put on trial and executed, for example.

[The root of capitalist economics is debt. ]
One person's good fortune is potentially another person's debt, if the other person prefers not to go out and seek their own fortune instead.

Do the math. How many can make a profit?
Those serfs who preferred to stay home and work their liege lord's fields instead of building ships and kidnapping people from Africa to sell in America deserved to fall behind on the rent of their hovels. Yea.
Maaaan - you didn't need to swallow the sinker; hook and line would have sufficed.

Without the championing of virtue ethics, no social situation is ever going to be harmonious. The luck of inheritance or any other good fortune is balanced out by the virtuous - by them recognizing that cooperatives are far more beneficial in the long-term than superstitious 'lady luck' stories that provide only short-term shelfishness-driven efficiency.

The young think that they'll never grow old, the beautiful believe that they'll never look ugly, and the healthy can't imagine growing sick. One could probably even say that this kind of foolishness is the beginning of all corruption. Just short-sightedness. Maybe the core of education should be the innate transciency of the shallow pleasures of life, and thus long-sightedness could be made the backdrop to 'wisdom studies'.

As I've said above, nature doesn't distribute advantages equally. However, the greatest advantage of all could be said to be virtuous cooperation insuring significantly more benefits than when acting alone, and the more cooperators 'the merrier' the mutual gains.

And that is the exact opposite of capitalism.

Every charybdis needs a complementary scylla, my friend. That's apparently how things stay balanced - the frail remind the brutish of the need for civil fineness, and the brutish remind the frail of the need to respect the feral world. The eternal balances of the society; the yin and the yang, driving humans ever forward.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 9th, 2017, 11:40 am 

Mossling » July 9th, 2017, 6:35 am wrote:Indeed, if the wisdom of virtue is not prioritised. This is basically the message that Socrates, Confucius, LaoTzu, and the Buddha all promoted - from Greece to India, to China, all the same core philosophy - if one prioritises a virtuous life, then everything else falls into place.

And they were elected emperor, were they?
Come on! Who does the prioritizing in society?
Not the scribblers in their barrels, loin-cloths and grass huts.

Even if the virtuous do not seek power, it can be awarded to them, and they may accept it. It was for the power awarded to Socrates due to his considerable logical faculties and their application in daily life - the young questioning their parents, that he was put on trial and executed, for example.

Well, there's an example to all of us! Get smart, get killed.
I'm not sure how this addresses the problems of governance.
Solon and Havel had to accept power, did a pretty good job while they lived, and had all their work undone five minutes after the funeral. Obama didn't have to die - just as well! - to have his work undone.

The luck of inheritance or any other good fortune is balanced out by the virtuous - by them recognizing that cooperatives are far more beneficial in the long-term than superstitious 'lady luck' stories that provide only short-term shelfishness-driven efficiency.

I don't know of which species you speak. Humans have not been sitting around waiting for luck to drop packets of gold in their laps: they've gone forth and slaughtered everything from seahorses, through beavers and elephants to whales, and incidentally, millions of their fellow humans, in order to make their fortunes.
Virtue never stopped a single one of them.
No, wait - there was that Francis of Assisi... but they never put him in charge.

Maybe the core of education should be the innate transciency of the shallow pleasures of life, and thus long-sightedness could be made the backdrop to 'wisdom studies'.

I'll go along with that. World literature, history and philosophy would be good subjects for extensive discussion in classrooms.

Every charybdis needs a complementary scylla, my friend.

You know they're both monsters, right?

That's apparently how things stay balanced - the frail remind the brutish of the need for civil fineness, and the brutish remind the frail of the need to respect the feral world. The eternal balances of the society; the yin and the yang, driving humans ever forward.

Oh, yes? Forward...?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 9th, 2017, 10:50 pm 

Serpent » July 10th, 2017, 12:40 am wrote:
This is basically the message that Socrates, Confucius, LaoTzu, and the Buddha all promoted - from Greece to India, to China, all the same core philosophy - if one prioritises a virtuous life, then everything else falls into place.

And they were elected emperor, were they?
Come on! Who does the prioritizing in society?
Not the scribblers in their barrels, loin-cloths and grass huts.

Indeed their noble ideas were and still are 'elected' - they rule from beyond the grave! Directives are sent out symbolically through memes, and those memes are immortal as long as they are not forgotten. See Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene regarding the Judic 'God' meme, for example.

The prophet Muhammed's memes are apparently still dictating policy throughout the Middle East. If he were alive today, he would indeed be elected 'emperor', would he not?

If a political leader follows the philosophy of Socrates or Confucius or the Buddha, is that living politician really the leader? I think not - they are following the true leader's handbook as a result of their own free philosophical deferrence.

Of course, if such philosophy is empowered while the root philosopher is still alive - like in the prophet Muhammed's case, then all the more significant the outcome for the society.

The Indian king Ashoka, for example, is said to be reponsible for the significant promotion and preservation of Buddhist ideas - to the point that he changed the governance of his empire to fit in with Buddhist ethics as he understood them. He was no Buddha, however, so he fell short in so many ways.

Even if the virtuous do not seek power, it can be awarded to them, and they may accept it. It was for the power awarded to Socrates due to his considerable logical faculties and their application in daily life - the young questioning their parents, that he was put on trial and executed, for example.

Well, there's an example to all of us! Get smart, get killed.

Plenty of examples where this did not happen (the Buddha, Confucius, and LaoTzu, for starters). But your sentiment rings true in the West especially, I think - there is this idea that any nail that stands taller is just asking to be hammered down. I would put my money on it being a theological meme from the Dark Ages - a remnant of Christian dictation to the masses - a warning to anyone who would try to find the "kingdom of God within" themselves, no matter Luke's hints regarding that potential.

Solon and Havel had to accept power, did a pretty good job while they lived, and had all their work undone five minutes after the funeral. Obama didn't have to die - just as well! - to have his work undone.

Yep, sh*t happens, but it becomes a case study for the rest of us to consider. Just like the holocaust, the rise of ISIS after the Iraq invasion, violent revolutions in the name of Enlightenment values, and so on and so forth.

A capable flying machine was not built from the first blueprint and subsequent construction. Edison did not make a light bulb straight off the drawing board. For the most difficult and potentially rewarding achievements we tend to fail our way to success it seems.

Virtue never stopped a single one of them. No, wait - there was that Francis of Assisi... but they never put him in charge.

Ah, but you know his name and something of his philosophy? Why is that? ;P

Maybe he has been influencing social ideas from his coffin?

I think your absolutist view about virtue "never" having stopped people from becoming corrupt is not a rational one, and you seem to acknowledge that even by mentioning Francis. I'll put it down to a little frustration outburst regarding the global political climate at present, which is understandable.

Every charybdis needs a complementary scylla, my friend.

You know they're both monsters, right?

Yes, just like pure socialism and pure capitalism.

That's apparently how things stay balanced - the frail remind the brutish of the need for civil fineness, and the brutish remind the frail of the need to respect the feral world. The eternal balances of the society; the yin and the yang, driving humans ever forward.

Oh, yes? Forward...?

The Earth circles the Sun, does it not?

Civility is an on-going cultivation, it seems - a constant adjusting of the sails and rudder as the dynamic forces of entropy try to tear our order apart and drag its structural units back into the primordial soup. So forward in this sense - towards order, just to maintain our present level of order, even.
Otherwise, blind democracy will easily side with entropy - with corruption - with chaos, and a sheep will be elected to lead an army of lions over a cliff, as is apparently happening with Trump and Brexit at the moment.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 10th, 2017, 12:06 am 

The earth circles the sun.
Check.
You keep circling around the idea of classical Virtue.
Fine.
The circle is a beautiful thing... to look at. Not for me to keep traveling.


(I'll believe in 'memes' when someone defines a standard unit by which they can be quantified.)
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 10th, 2017, 2:05 am 

Serpent » July 10th, 2017, 1:06 pm wrote:You keep circling around the idea of classical Virtue.
Fine.
The circle is a beautiful thing... to look at. Not for me to keep traveling.

How do you know the beauty of a perfectly virtuous life without living it?

I'll believe in 'memes' when someone defines a standard unit by which they can be quantified.)

I don't think they are something to be "believed in", like holy ghosts or whatever. As far as I am aware they could equally be called symbolic forms, concepts, or words, even. You do believe in the existence of perceived concepts, don't you? ;P

Dawkins gave them the term 'meme' to represent a kind of gene-like memory that is passed on from one mind to another.

They become the colouring - 'rose' or otherwise - that tints a person's glasses. Ideas such as "I'll never grow old like those old people", or "I'll never become disabled like that guy in the wheelchair", are all memes - foolish asserted beliefs that are out of harmony with the true physical forces of the universe which drive our solar system, our planet, and thus our life; our societies, democratic or otherwise.

Without getting wise to the power of memes, democracies apparently easily stay blind, and thus potentially short-lived. The solution to all this has already been on the planet for thousands of years. Perhaps, in the age of cyber-intereference in the democratic process, it is time for the masses to 'get wiser'...?
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Serpent on July 10th, 2017, 9:39 am 

Mossling » July 10th, 2017, 1:05 am wrote:How do you know the beauty of a perfectly virtuous life without living it?

What makes you think I'm not?
All I mean is, I won't run any more laps around this subject on this threadmill *

[I'll believe in 'memes' when someone defines a standard unit by which they can be quantified.]
I don't think they are something to be "believed in", like holy ghosts or whatever.

Yes, exactly like that. The Holy Ghost is a meme.
As far as I am aware they could equally be called symbolic forms, concepts, or words, even.

Or dreams or notions or bubbles or paper airplanes... Make up your mind what it means; define it sensibly, and I'll discuss it. Until then, a "meme" is a "whatever" - no use at all.

You do believe in the existence of perceived concepts, don't you? ;P

Not precisely. I distinguish between existence in a concrete and tangible form and a concept or any other ephemera that are constructs of mind, not of matter.

Dawkins gave them the term 'meme' to represent a kind of gene-like memory that is passed on from one mind to another.

I know what it's supposed to be. But I've seen it applied to everything from an aphorism to an entire system of socio-political philosophy. A gene has a finite size, configuration and function: it can be sequenced, quantified and traced. A meme is nothing like that.

* I should be barred from the keyboard today. I woke with an overwhelming urge to play on words.
You never know what can happen on days like this. I could inadvertently spawn memes.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 11th, 2017, 1:08 am 

Haha, ok, knock yourself out. It seems our 'chat' has run its course. Have a good day.
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby BadgerJelly on July 11th, 2017, 2:07 am 

I have mentioned this before (and should add I have not read all of this thread yet but will asap), Switzerland has democracy. There are very different types and levels of democracy.

I think we can ask if some types of democracy need reformation. It does seem to me that big decisions, such as Brexit, would make more sense if the vote was not an all or nothing kind of vote, not a vote where 51% would constitute a huge political change. If we vote for certain parties and 50% of the vote goes to one of many parties then it makes sense to call this a rather conclusive vote (which still leaves the remaining seats with a degree of power and influence). In the Brexit vote it was simply irresponsible (although I was very much in favour of both sides of the argument for very different reasons).

I would have expected 60% being the minimum requirement for such an important vote. Then there is the issue of steps being implemented to halt the process if certain requirements of the exit were not met.

I imagine many would be annoyed if the exit went ahead and immigration was not reduced, just as I imagine some would be annoyed if the UK was turned into an "off-shore tax haven". These, extremely important points, were not part of the vote and people voted quite blindly without demanding a fuller explanation.

The failure of democracy stems from the general populace. Politics is a subject for the people and their lack of concern and participation is their fault and their fault alone.

If the public find themselves agreeing and then merely asking for change they are already giving up. The public should demand change from their government rather than roll over.

Ideas don't fail people do.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4593
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby Mossling on July 11th, 2017, 10:39 pm 

BadgerJelly » July 11th, 2017, 3:07 pm wrote:The failure of democracy stems from the general populace. Politics is a subject for the people and their lack of concern and participation is their fault and their fault alone.

Indeed. And even Socrates would have agreed with you. As he said, "It is not the laws that are the problem, but the people who engage with those laws".

If the public find themselves agreeing and then merely asking for change they are already giving up. The public should demand change from their government rather than roll over.

Ideas don't fail people do.

And so they need to 'wise up' - open their eyes and transcend blinkered, narrow-minded, sheeple-ness...
User avatar
Mossling
Active Member
 
Posts: 1171
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Blog: View Blog (54)


Re: Is 'Blind Democracy' Failing The West?

Postby BadgerJelly on July 12th, 2017, 4:44 am 

People do as they do. When the need arises they try and act. Obviously this doesn't do much to amend problems it is just the reality of human nature

On the one hand we dream about a nice comfortable life, yet in my view comfort seems to actively avoid conflict which is a mainstay in the process of learning.

I think if we pretend life is all about pleasure and happiness we degrade pleasure and happiness by avoiding that which defines it. We suffer in order to reap the rewards, so to speak. Politics basically plays on these obvious human contradictions as best it can.

This is why equality for all is unmanageable. We require degree of inequality in order to learn more and push the boundaries of human investigation (in every aspect including science, society and emotionally).

The western world lives in a degree of comfort compared to many others. Other s around the world live within different boundaries of comfort we view as "repressive".

All this said I am very unsure what to make of your post? Is the West failing? What is "The West"? What is democracy compared to "blind democracy"?

The Swiss have the most democratic country I know of on the planet today. My question would be what differences other countries have and do other countries even resemble anything like the principle of democracy? Sure we can all vote, but can we choose what to vote on? Then you bring up the question of whether we are informed enough to vote or not? Should 99 ignorant people outweigh the expertise of one individual dedicated to a particular subject? It seems fairly obvious to me to make the 99 people able to judge the important of expertise yet not be inclined to follow it blindly. When it comes to "expertise" in politics there is simply too much room for ambiguity and guesswork. No one knows for certain the outcome of any political decision, so the masses decisions may just be better than the so called "experts" of politics in some situations and useless in others.

This is the constant political game humanity is actively trying to discover the rules for (even though there may be no hard and fast rules at all!)
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4593
Joined: 14 Mar 2012



Return to Political Theory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests