Is democracy a failure?

Oct 2016
692
On a magic carpet
#21
Democracy, as indicated above in the form of representative republics, is not a failure, but it is constantly under siege and forced to validate itself.

The Arab Spring turned out to be a bad joke, and a cruel one at that. With the trend of 21st century Islam, it seems that any model of representative government is an aberration devised by infidels, and its practice viewed with abhorrence.
Sadly, democracy cannot be dropped from the bomb bay of a B52 Superfortress flying at 30,000 feet over central Baghdad.

Nor can it flourish when the money is coming from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and anybody else who wants to take a shot at the footsoldiers of western imperialism. Western leaders support the Saudi regime while turning a blind eye to its Wahhabist ideology, and then act surprised when Daesh senior leadership emerges out of Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison and other American "rehabilitation" centres.

Western secularism turned out to mean cultural vandalism (see Ataturk) and autocracy (hello Saddam, where did you get those chemical weapons? Oh, the West...how ironic). People have short memories, and I guess it's in our nature to distrust whatever is imposed from above. The corrupt band of thieves and thugs running Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 and 2001 has not done much to inspire confidence.

In Egypt, Morsi was supported by the Brotherhood but the country was too deeply divided and his rivals stopped at nothing to block him. He then tried to change the rules but this played into their hands by confirming the worst suspicions, fairly or unfairly. His overthrow was a calamity for democracy in the Middle East.

Meanwhile Turkey has completed its descent into an autocratic right wing neo-Ottoman fascist caliphate ruled by Edogan for life and his criminal cronies. To speak of democracy in that country is no longer possible.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,428
Las Vegas, NV USA
#22
And has the subsequent century of democratic rule made this better or worse? Which alternative form of government would have been more effective at addressing the issues you outlined?
I'm pro democracy. My post was to indicate democracy is messy. We are free to fail. If we want to, we can make things better without depending on an autocrat's wisdom or lack of it. To a significant extent we did, but there are no guarantees.
 
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Jul 2009
9,944
#23
Sadly, democracy cannot be dropped from the bomb bay of a B52 Superfortress flying at 30,000 feet over central Baghdad.

Nor can it flourish when the money is coming from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and anybody else who wants to take a shot at the footsoldiers of western imperialism. Western leaders support the Saudi regime while turning a blind eye to its Wahhabist ideology, and then act surprised when Daesh senior leadership emerges out of Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison and other American "rehabilitation" centres.

Western secularism turned out to mean cultural vandalism (see Ataturk) and autocracy (hello Saddam, where did you get those chemical weapons? Oh, the West...how ironic). People have short memories, and I guess it's in our nature to distrust whatever is imposed from above. The corrupt band of thieves and thugs running Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 and 2001 has not done much to inspire confidence.

al Abadi has driven back ISIS in Iraq since 2016, but then he had the entire world on his side.
The comment that I made, and that you referenced, had nothing at all to do with democracy being compatible with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Turkey. "Some cultures are not cut out for it" was also mentioned, and that would appear to apply to the several cultures in most of those countries.

If the people are comfortable with their governments, whatever they are, that is up to them. Western institutions and Islam have never been very compatible, and they probably never will be.
 
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Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,554
Athens, Greece
#24
True democracies have never existed and will never exist, what is usually called nowadays a democratic political system is in fact a bourgeois-liberal system, in which a few gangs of unscrupulous scoundrels profit the ignorance and naivety of the multitude by selling them all kinds of distractions and illusions. But if they go too far they risk to cut the bough on which they are sitting, so that their accursed system will dissolve in a generalized anarchy begging for a radical renewal.
True democracy had existed (Ancient Greece) and can exist again, in fact, it is even easier nowadays with the technology we possess. True democracy is not some divine, apocryphic or otherworldly concept unreachable by human beings, it just means that citizens get to vote and decide themselves directly on all important matters of their lives. Not an elected representative, or an unelected enlightened or not so enlightened person, but themselves, as a body of citizens (demos). Hence, demo-kratia, the rule of the citizenry. The word is tied, by definition, to the political system that took place in Ancient Greece, and therefore it existed there. Perhaps you have something else in mind that never existed, but this cannot be named democracy.
 
Jul 2009
9,944
#25
I'm pro democracy. My post was to indicate democracy is messy. We are free to fail. If we want to, we can make things better without depending on an autocrat's wisdom or lack of it. To a significant extent we did, but there are no guarantees.
My reply to you in post #19 may have seemed too flippant. Immigrants did not come to the US in decades around 1900 because of democracy. They came for jobs where the pay was better than they could get in their countries of origin, or because they were not going to be run down by Cossacks, or because they had very little materially and no prospect of obtaining more.

Many Germans came because of religious policies affecting Catholics in the German Empire. In the States they could get married in a Catholic service, send their kids to parochial school and their sons did not have to go into the army. None of that had anything to do with democracy.
 
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Oct 2013
4,574
Canada
#26
The alternative is dictatorship. This week China presented us with a classic example of how these regimes begin. Xi Jinping may prove to be a benevolent and wise ruler who acted in the best interest of his subjects but you can guarantee that his successor will not. Democracy, regardless of which system you examine, and despite its flaws, acts as a check against this.

The West took centuries to work through this and learnt some very hard lessons. It took much conflict and suffering and different types of government to arrive where we are today, and we still have a long way to go. China will have to suffer the same turmoil before it learns those same lessons.
I have taken your view, noted it, and synthesized it.

But, I do not agree with it. It appears that your concern is with "checks and balances." The legitimacy of the CCP is completely dependent on its ability to deliver on the aspirations of the Chinese people, one of which is sustainable economic growth. That's the check and balance we've all been too eager to ignore.

The alternate may just be dictatorship - if you are going to lack perspectives and look at everything in the universe purely in the lens of Western political philosophy.

Also, once China completes that constitutional change and do away with term limits, China would then join the very successful club of nations like Germany, Iceland, Italy, and UK that do not have term limits. Incredible development!
 
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Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,941
Romania
#27
True democracy had existed (Ancient Greece) and can exist again, in fact, it is even easier nowadays with the technology we possess. True democracy is not some divine, apocryphic or otherworldly concept unreachable by human beings, it just means that citizens get to vote and decide themselves directly on all important matters of their lives. Not an elected representative, or an unelected enlightened or not so enlightened person, but themselves, as a body of citizens (demos). Hence, demo-kratia, the rule of the citizenry. The word is tied, by definition, to the political system that took place in Ancient Greece, and therefore it existed there. Perhaps you have something else in mind that never existed, but this cannot be named democracy.
True democracy didn't exist in Athens, as their "demos" included only the free males, an obvious minority in relation to the whole population. As Nae Ionescu wonderfully said "Athenian democracy never existed. Athenian democracy were those groups of people's exploiters. It has always been remarked that democracy does not function properly except in a country where there is something to be exploited."
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,941
Romania
#28
Even Rousseau, with all his foolishness, was not so devoid of reason as not to remark that "Were there a people of gods, their government would be democratic. So perfect a government is not for men." (The Social Contract, iii.iv)
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,554
Athens, Greece
#29
True democracy didn't exist in Athens, as their "demos" included only the free males, an obvious minority in relation to the whole population. As Nae Ionescu wonderfully said "Athenian democracy never existed. Athenian democracy were those groups of people's exploiters. It has always been remarked that democracy does not function properly except in a country where there is something to be exploited."
I repeat, it is something else you have in mind that didn't exist in Athens, but you can't name it democracy. This particular definition is created, and taken, by them to define their political system. And it is not something regarding residents of a politie, but citizens. You may object the reasons that someone was considered a citizen, but that's another matter. Foreigners were never granted equal to citizens political powers, in any state. Slaves, the same. As for gender political equality, well, that's a very recent concept for the West. You can't apply a century old development to a society 25 centuries ago. In their world, the definition of their citizenry was just and well-fitting. What is truly important, is that all citizens had absolutely equal rights, regardless of wealth, power, ancestry. And were all co-owners of their state and of all of its facets, judicial, executive, legislative.

Since then, democracy had many enemies and anti-pathisers, then and now. As for this connection with exploitation, that's something new to me. However, it seems void and meaningless. There's always something to be exploited, in any country, everywhere, always. Citizens of a democracy can of course exploit others and treat them in the worst possible way, if that is how they vote to. As I have said, democracy is not some religion of good or any other metaphysical quest, it is just a way to handle political powers within a state.

And I had no idea who Nae Ionescu is. Is the wiki article correct?

Nae Ionescu (Romanian: [ˈna.e joˈnesku], born Nicolae C. Ionescu; 16 June [O.S. 4 June] 1890 – 15 March 1940) was a Romanian philosopher, logician, mathematician, professor, and journalist. Near the end of his career, he became known for his antisemitism and devotion to far right politics, in the years leading up to World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nae_Ionescu
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,941
Romania
#30
I repeat, it is something else you have in mind that didn't exist in Athens, but you can't name it democracy. This particular definition is created, and taken, by them to define their political system. And it is not something regarding residents of a politie, but citizens. You may object the reasons that someone was considered a citizen, but that's another matter. Foreigners were never granted equal to citizens political powers, in any state. Slaves, the same. As for gender political equality, well, that's a very recent concept for the West. You can't apply a century old development to a society 25 centuries ago. In their world, the definition of their citizenry was just and well-fitting. What is truly important, is that all citizens had absolutely equal rights, regardless of wealth, power, ancestry. And were all co-owners of their state and of all of its facets, judicial, executive, legislative.

Since then, democracy had many enemies and anti-pathisers, then and now. As for this connection with exploitation, that's something new to me. However, it seems void and meaningless. There's always something to be exploited, in any country, everywhere, always. Citizens of a democracy can of course exploit others and treat them in the worst possible way, if that is how they vote to. As I have said, democracy is not some religion of good or any other metaphysical quest, it is just a way to handle political powers within a state.
"Demo-cracy" comes from δῆμος, while "citizen" was πολίτης, are we talking about "democracy" or about πολιτεία/politeia (the title of a well-known dialogue by the great Plato)? Anyway, in the Athenian "democracy" the citizens were not much more than 10% of the polis' adult population, have you ever asked yourself why they didn't extend their equal rights to the slaves too?

And I had no idea who Nae Ionescu is. Is the wiki article correct?

Nae Ionescu (Romanian: [ˈna.e joˈnesku], born Nicolae C. Ionescu; 16 June [O.S. 4 June] 1890 – 15 March 1940) was a Romanian philosopher, logician, mathematician, professor, and journalist. Near the end of his career, he became known for his antisemitism and devotion to far right politics, in the years leading up to World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nae_Ionescu
I meant that Nae Ionescu, but the English Wikipedia article on him is much biased, and generally very poor.
 
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