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  1. #1
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Default Political study indicates majority rule democracy no longer exists in the U.S.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/prin...-tpm-interview

    I am a self-professed political junkie and was wondering if other people had heard about the recent political science study that indicates the U.S. has become a hybrid "oligarchy" rather than its perceived (and much romanticized) democracy. Though it is technically considered a republic, but I digress....

    I am in agreement with the findings of the study, though I don't find it to be a surprise that majority-rule is no longer in practice due to the influx of money and lobbyists into the political arena.

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  2. #2
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    No disagreements here.

    I dislike the idea of not really having a say in the issues that come across the bigger tables.

    I dislike, even more than that, campaigns and political advertising. I feel it should almost be more haughty and snooty than a smack down match. They try to smear each other's names with thousands of dollars, instead of laying out exactly what they'll do during the terms they're in office for. There is definitely a way to set up an adequate amount of information, readily accessible to the public, for people to vote on for themselves that's tasteful to both political parties and also commands a degree of respect and honor for the opponents without using corporate money all over the place.

    My real struggle is that I have no idea at all why political figures try so hard to get votes from Americans still when the votes mean very little in reality, except to make the people feel a part of it all. I suppose there is a degree of pressure from citizens who are making a swing away from the normal vote, but the reality is no matter who comes to talk to me, Texas will always vote republican. My vote is useless, so all the advertisements being sent my way from democrats are quite useless.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    ^@kyuuei: I agree that we desperately need campaign finance reform and not only limit the amount of money but limit the amount of time the campaign runs. I think campaign fatigue is a real phenomena where even a politically motivated person will start to resent the huge amount of party propaganda they are inundated with by all forms of media. Rather than focusing on problem-solving strategies both parties are guilty of hyperbolizing and misinforming the public.

    As far as your comment about Texas always voting Republican I would definitely support ending the electoral college and doing it purely by popular vote but I know that requires an amendment to accomplish that goal. In Colorado, being a swing state, I feel to some extent my vote matters but one never really knows with the faulty voting machines.

    For quite some time we haven't been a "democracy" but rather a "corporatacracy" where the elite businessmen create our policies.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
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    Senior Member OWK's Avatar
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    There is nothing inherently good about majority-rule democracy.

    In fact, in the absence of an institutional restraint on the power of the majority to implement it's will, it can be the single most horrific form of government imaginable.

    In the United States, the restraint on the power of the democracy was supposed to be the notion of individual rights.

    Unfortunately, most people don't even understand what the word "rights" means... and the premise is nearly universally ignored.
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    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    @OWK: what is your understanding of the word "rights?"

    Your post is thought-provoking, even though we clearly have very different political views.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

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    Senior Member OWK's Avatar
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    The word "right" presumes to judge the moral standing of a contemplated action.

    Is it rightful?

    Or would it engaging in such an action be wrongful?

    But how can we judge such actions? Is there an objective moral yardstick which crosses all humanity?

    I submit that there is.

    I assert as a fact, that every purposeful human action is chosen by the actor in accordance with his values, to bring about the path most pleasing to the actor, at the time he chooses to act. In other (more simple) words.. people do what they do, because it pleases them to do so.

    This.. is universally true. Without exception.

    In effect.. this (pleasing the self) is universal human purpose.

    There is only one system of human interaction in which each individual person is free to act in accordance with his will to bring about the path most pleasing to the self... A system in which each actor voluntarily abstains from initiating force or fraud against any other. This is the only system in which every person is free to act in accord with his purpose.

    Therefore, any human action which does not initiate force or fraud against another human being may be judged objectively rightful (i.e. a right).

    And any human action which initiates force or fraud against another human being may be judged objectively wrongful (i.e. a violation of rights).

  7. #7
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    I've only glanced through the article, but my first impression is that this conclusion is based on:

    a.) The fact that the 'average person' has very little influence on the political process

    b.) Stated policy preferences of large majorities are not enacted.

    My essential response is

    a.) Democracy is not defined by equal influence between citizens on policy outcomes, merely on a government being elected by and accountable towards the majority vote of participating citizens (and without a healthy dose of classical liberalism, democracy isn't worth very much, anyway). Also, 'special interest groups' are not a crime against democracy, they are a means through which 'average citizens' may aggregate their resources (in terms of votes, money, or time) in pursuit of issues of particular salience for them; restricting the influence of such organizations only buttresses oligarchic power structures, especially the role of political machines and party bosses. Do you want a pluralistic democracy with low barriers to entry for various factions, or a corporatist democracy where virtually all participation has to be in the form of monopolistic patron-client relationships?

    2.) The stated preferences of large majorities, insofar as they actually reflect reality (the problems with and variations between polls is a thread unto itself), on any particular issue seldom reflect issue prioritization, which is a fundamental component of coalition governments (i.e. all of them). People vote in accordance with what they perceive to be the most important issues, not on the basis of every issue they are willing to give an opinion on (which usually ends up as a hodgepodge of mutually exclusive preferences).

  8. #8
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I've only glanced through the article, but my first impression is that this conclusion is based on:

    a.) The fact that the 'average person' has very little influence on the political process

    b.) Stated policy preferences of large majorities are not enacted.

    My essential response is

    a.) Democracy is not defined by equal influence between citizens on policy outcomes, merely on a government being elected by and accountable towards the majority vote of participating citizens (and without a healthy dose of classical liberalism, democracy isn't worth very much, anyway). Also, 'special interest groups' are not a crime against democracy, they are a means through which 'average citizens' may aggregate their resources (in terms of votes, money, or time) in pursuit of issues of particular salience for them; restricting the influence of such organizations only buttresses oligarchic power structures, especially the role of political machines and party bosses. Do you want a pluralistic democracy with low barriers to entry for various factions, or a corporatist democracy where virtually all participation has to be in the form of monopolistic patron-client relationships?

    2.) The stated preferences of large majorities, insofar as they actually reflect reality (the problems with and variations between polls is a thread unto itself), on any particular issue seldom reflect issue prioritization, which is a fundamental component of coalition governments (i.e. all of them). People vote in accordance with what they perceive to be the most important issues, not on the basis of every issue they are willing to give an opinion on (which usually ends up as a hodgepodge of mutually exclusive preferences).
    Without making assumptions, am I correct from the bolded part above that you agreed with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the FEC and unlimited campaign donations? I would hardly call Sean McKutcheon an "average citizen" and no amount of aggregation of the average Joe is going to amount anywhere close to what McKutcheon/Kochs/Soros/Gates can now contribute. I would strongly disagree with your statement that "special interest groups are not a crime against democracy."

    And I would very much prefer a form of government with low barriers to participate, including protected voting rights...the U.S. very much needs viable 3rd/4th party candidates. I wish we had a parliamentary system of government where at least there was greater variety of political views and the two party system would be broken.

    FWIW the authors of this study admitted the inherent problems with polls, as you mentioned.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  9. #9
    Blind Guardian Haven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    My real struggle is that I have no idea at all why political figures try so hard to get votes from Americans still when the votes mean very little in reality, except to make the people feel a part of it all. I suppose there is a degree of pressure from citizens who are making a swing away from the normal vote, but the reality is no matter who comes to talk to me, Texas will always vote republican. My vote is useless, so all the advertisements being sent my way from democrats are quite useless.
    There's a huge demographic shift in Texas taking that has been taking place for a while, it could be a blue state very soon. I feel like once that happens there will be a rush to end the electoral college.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by statuesquechica View Post
    ... wondering if other people had heard about the recent political science study that indicates the U.S. has become a hybrid "oligarchy"... I am in agreement with the findings of the study...
    Thoughts? And I promise to play nice if you disagree
    Why focus so much attention upon the crumbling US? Yeah our government is steadily being replaced with a dictatorship & we're headed for civil war that will cause complete economic & government collapse.
    Enabling the US collapse required the Progressives to divide US citizens along lines of sex, race, religion , political ideology & nearly everything else before our own hateful division allowed their Trojan Horse to take us down from within. Oh well nothing lasts forever.

    Maybe you've been far too distracted to notice that Russia is moving to regroup the former Soviet Union before China & Japan are at war. China is gearing up to move on the Senkakus islands & the Yaeyama Islands. Wanna bet whether Taiwan is the objective or China & Japan are at war within 2 years? The USA ought to be slipping into civil war by that time so I guess foreign nationals won't need to worry regarding being rounded up into FEMA internment camps & nobody needs to worry regarding whether the US has become a hybrid oligarchy. LOL but not really.

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