Talk:Democracy/Archive 1

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This is an archive of discussion in and before 2002.


Should there be a distinction between a republic and a democracy?

The original distinguished between a republic and a democracy, but I question whether mainstream politicial science distinguishes between them. (On which I might add, I am no real expert.) This distinction seems to be mainly one made in the US, especially by certain political groups (Libertarians for instance.) To an Australian like me, and I guess to a lot of other people, the distinction makes no sense at all. In short, the definitions the original article was based on are minority definitions; I have tried to make them fit better with what the majority of people mean.

See http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=democracy which defines democracy as "Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives" (American Heritage Dictionary).

That definition is adequate. What it doesn't take into consideration is that there are forces behind the scenes (particularly in the USA and in some other nations with republican or fascist inclinations) who thwart the electoral process. The US elections are directly thwarted by Diebold, and by the Masons (who by being in influential positions, nudge and bump the direction according to their objectives.) So democracy doesn't really exist in the USA even though Americans claim it does.

-- Simon J Kissane

My friend!!!! DEMOCRACY IT IS NOT WHAT YOUR STUPID DICTIONARY IS SAYING!! -- 146.124.102.84, Jan 23, 2003
Restoring deletion. If you wish to change the article, Simon, do so acknowledging what you allege--from an admitted position of ignorance--is a minority position. And in any case, please do not remove useful content--which you did. --LMS
Well, the point of view of the article doesn't fit one major dictionary's (the American Heritage Dictionary's) defintion at least:
  • democracy: "Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives."
  • republic: "A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president."
Maybe I was being a bit accusatory and hasty in my original statement, and if so I do apologise. But my point remains that a lot of people (me and the American Heritage Dictionary) included do not take democracy to mean "direct democracy" and republic to mean "indirect democracy"; they take democracy to mean "democracy, either direct or indirect", and republic to mean "not a monarchy, be it democratic or un-democratic".
So maybe I am wrong to think it is solely some particular minorities view on the meaning of the word democracy, but I still maintain that the meaning I give it is the more common one. And I think articles should reflect words as they are most commonly used. -- Simon J Kissane
The American Heritage Dictionary is pure propaganda, and if it is the best reference you can find to back any assertion, the assertion is almost certainly biased beyond saving. That dictionary was authored in order to back the classical American view of politics, which is obviously not an NPOV. EofT, August 1, 2003

Democracy and Republic were synomous until James Madison made the distinction in the Federalist Papers that we know today - being that Democracy is a form of government run directly by the people and republic by elected officials. It is very important to keep this distinction, even though most republics refer to themeselves simply as democracies, because it was made to demonstrate the superior abilities of republics to protect against factious interests and tyranny of the majority..

Right to vote denied to prisoners?

I think it s not true that "The right to vote is normally denied to prisoners". It maybe true for the USA but not true in continental Europe.

It's not even true throughout the U.S. Many states allow their prisoners to vote.
Well, the UK denies the right to prisoners to vote. Maybe it should be qualified as "many countries".
Also someone changed citizen-initiated referenda to read referenda on popular demand. Why? -- SJK
In the US, conviction of a felony tolls the right to vote. F. Lee Horn
That's not necessarily true. Voter registration is controlled by the states, and at least in California, one is stripped of that right only while actually serving time for a felony. A state may also choose to grant its felons the vote if it chooses. Finally, if the felony happens to be tax evasion, the consitution prohibits a state from stripping voting rights in that particular case. --LDC
That's not necessarily true. Voter registration is controlled by the states, and at least in California, one is stripped of that right only while actually serving time for a felony. A state may also choose to grant its felons the vote if it chooses. Finally, if the felony happens to be tax evasion, the consitution prohibits a state from stripping voting rights in that particular case. --LDC
Ah! I stand (sit?) corrected: "Four states (Maine, Massachusetts, Utah, Vermont) do not disenfranchise convicted felons.8 Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have disenfranchisement laws that deprive convicted offenders of the right to vote while they are in prison.9 In thirty-two states, convicted offenders may not vote while they are on parole, and twenty-nine of these states disenfranchise offenders on probation."
So what you are saying is, only these four states are actually democratic? Or is this relevant in some other way? The judiciary being able to strip any age of majority citizen from the right to vote simply by convicting them... well, how do other countries like say Iran or Argentina deal with this? EofT, August 1, 2003



Denial of right to vote on basis of race or ethnicity

Many societies in the past have denied people the right to vote on the basis of race or ethnicity. Examples of this include the exclusion of people of African descent from voting, in the pre-Civil Rights Era American South, and in apartheid-era South Africa.
Most societies today no longer maintain such provisions, but a few still do. For example, Fiji reserves a certain number of seats in its Parliament for each of its main ethnic groups; these provisions were adopted in order to discriminate against Indians in favour of ethnic Fijians.

Many countries have laws that give national minorities representation in Parliament (for example national minorities parties don't need to pass 5% limit to get into Sejm). --Taw


Advocates of communism generally insist that countries like the "People's Democratic Republic" of this or that nation is really "democratic" on the grounds that the government is authorizied by or _is" the people (see dictatorship of the proletariat). I figure this quibble is better understood if it comes near the end of the article. --Ed Poor


Participatory Democracy

Where would ParticipatoryDemocracy fit in? DirectDemocracy?

I think that fits in with the point I was going to make: The definitions here, as probably in political science books, assume that a democracy has a government. That is not necessarily what I call a democracy; to me, at least, democracy is a system where each member has equal control. I don't think I'm by any means alone on this point; "democracy" stretches far beyond the realms of government. (Also, I consider libertarian socialism to be politically democratic and economically democratic, as opposed to "democratic" government, which has an element of political democracy, but a non-democratic economy.)
I'd like to make the case for Representative democracy as a better place for a lot of this. This page could be a discussion of the origin and various meanings of the term, and how they relate.
Also, I was surprised no one appears to have mentioned Bush's "democratic" election. -- Sam

original democratic elections

According to the original US Constitution, cognitive consent of the governed is granted through representation, not by popular vote.

Originally, the popular vote determined electors. A person known, but not an elected official, by a constituency, which was not to exceed 30000, with enough political acumen to vote responsibly for those whom entrusted him. After electing the president, the person having the greatest number of votes became the vice president.

Cognitive consent thorugh representation was limited: (1) for 30000. It was determied possible for a representative to confer with this large of a constituency. Modern technology has made this task easier, but the task has exponentially exploded. US pop. approaching 300 million. Number of representative fixed by law: 435. Is it humanly possible for (1) representative to confer with a constituency of half a million people of diverse economic backgrounds?

Cognitive consent of the governed is prerequisite to culturally identify as democratic, participatory or otherwise. Therefore, we the people must become more vigilant because, robbing, ripping off, scamming, cheating, taxing, and lying are not blessings of liberty, but cultural liability. Who of the governed consented to this dollar driven dementia?

This dementia has been harmless in a short sighted economic sense, but its continuation is self-evident as R.H. Tawney describes, "It has assured men that there are no ends other than their ends, no law other than their desires. No limit. It has dilluted (rule of law) with irrational inequality. It knows not trust. A land without trust, is a land without democracy.

A land without democracy supports man's inhumanity to man. A United Nations study states in more than half the world the rights and freedoms of citizens are limited, but this means very little to people of little means because; preoccupation with economic factors is oppressively time consuming. Tyranny echoes with oh boy cheers of calamitous joy, "Freedom is what you can get away with and liberty is not for the poor; but they do pay for it with environmental degradation, material disparity, poor health, homelessness, inhibitions to movement and speech and, cultural decimation of family, community, and the republic for which their flag stands.

The principles enshrined in the US Constitution have not been tranfered from one generation to the next as a chain of trust, but confused with privately seeking public advantage, which is by defalut, a title of nobility: a cultural virus. Unreasonable advantage causes people to struggle against unreasonable demands, or escape to another land.

Forced migration has caused cultural transmigration, but the virus of privately seeking public advantage remains. It is yet to be seen how cultural ties with solidarity of purpose develop true authority supported by true law that is reasonable, right and natural for the security of liberty.

Without true law, a contentous political quagmire of corperate/ego-centric/ethnocentrism, with no contractual basis, reiterates Machiavelli, "Least happy is the (nation) whos institutions are entirely off the path that leads to a right and perfect end;" but the republic for which the US flag stands is not a done deal. It is the means to working towards a right and perfect end, to answer the prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to form a perfect union: the American experiment. education

Direct democracy

Why has Direct democracy been made a redirect to this? Anarcho-capitalism isn't a redirect to anarchism because they're not the same. A lot more could be said about direct democracy in its own article; a discussion should appear here (as it does) contrasting it with representative democracy, but that's not all there should be. -- Sam

Direct democracy becomes more and more difficult, and necessarily more closely approximates representative democracy, as the number of citizens grows. Historically, the most direct democracies would include the New England town meeting (within the United States), and the political system of ancient Athens. Neither system would scale well to a larger population.

This claims direct democracy doesn't scale because every citizen couldn't vote on every issue in a large state. This isn't necessarily a requirement of direct democracy. In the alternative, citizens in a large state would be presented with an overwhelmingly large number of issues which they could vote upon, but only the most politically active of citizens would vote upon. The rest would hopefully vote only on those issues which they knew about, cared about, and were informed about. Isn't this who should be voting? -- Eric Hanson

Isn't that who's voting now? The major downfall of direct democracy is, not only that it is highly impractical, but it has no minority protection.--St.PeteJim 03:14, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Clear and practical examples of participative democracy

To the poster above I would point that there are clear and practical examples of participative (aka participatory) democracy (see [1] and [2]), and there are organizations in the UK that sponsor forms of more active democracy (meaning more direct, more participatory -- see [3].

One should not limit oneself to the existing models. The current republican model (I use the term to mean non-monarchic) of democracy or, indeed, even the monarchic model have reached stability 50 years ago with the end of WW II. Since then democracy has outlasted the Socialist Utopian regimes, but has not outlasted other systems of governance (tribal, tyrannic, etc.). Far from arguing in favor of those systems, I intend to demonstrate that the existing western-democratic system has not proven sufficiently appealing to some of nations representing the most people in the world (Pakistan, China (capitalist socialist state -- is the term correct?), Saudi Arabia, Irak, etc.). Especially at a moment when we are faced with the huge influence that Business has on power through free elections, by sponsoring 95% of the winning candidates (or maybe more?) in the USA in the 1998 election[4] (effectively transforming USA into an aristocracy or oligarchy, depending from the point of view, of course); we should ask ourselves: is this the end of the evolution for "democracy", or can we find more just forms of "democracy"? Zingarello

Could you review and add references to participatory democracy then? That article is thin right now. EofT, August 1, 2003

Goes back to Athens? Weren't the Akkadians using an indirect democracy? Lir 09:56 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

Lir, Athens isn't generaly considered a representative democracy. It's normaly considered a direct democracy with limited sufferage and the only elected official was the strategos. If you have information that disagrees with this can you please supply it.
If articles on political systems are this controversial it may be a good idea to start attributing various opinions on just what they are to different people. -- V 03:05 Nov 19, 2002 (UTC)