The scourge of the democratic ideal.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Hotrocker, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Hotrocker

    Hotrocker Well-Known Member

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    A very well- known American founding father and President once stated:

    "I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy."

    What Mr. Washington is referring to are political parties and how they create divides in the American democratic ideal. It is no secret that the majority of the American populace associates with either the Democrats or Republicans. It is obvious, just by looking at this site's many political debates, that the aforementioned divide is real and quite menacing. While many associate themselves with these parties because of specific regional and cultural upbringings, many choose to think independently and morph liberal and conservative ideals. The point of this post is not to rail against the ideals of one party or another, but to stress the utmost importance of being an independently- thinking, well- rounded, objective individual.

    Points of Importance

    • Think independently. Try to be the shepherd instead of the sheep.
    • Do not be afraid to embrace ideals from all parties and all walk of life.
      • That being said, practice temperance of ideals at all times possible. Listen to what others have to say and take it all in.
    • When two major political parties monopolize and dominate the political forum, those well-rounded people who are so highly admirable lose their voice.
      • Just because one thinks a political candidate is not electable, one does not vote for them? Avoid this at all costs. If most people agree with a political candidate's views but does not vote for them because they are not electable in their eyes, their views as voters are doomed to be skirted as they "settle" on a more electable, but less compatible choice. If everyone settles, nobody will be heard at the volume they should be!
    • The "scourge" I refer to not only encompasses the dominating parties of the day, but also to our political attitudes as citizens.
      Vote on the ideal, not the party. Do not think as factions vying for dominance.
    • Extremism is a bad, bad thing. Remember: "Only the Sith deal in absolutes." :smile:
    Hopefully my multi-faceted point rang true to you all. Lets get a healthy, good- spirited discussion out of this.
     
  2. Elmer Gantry

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    True words.

    I think it also outlines the danger they saw in the peversion that "Party Politics" could become by turning a democracy into a duopoly of power. The last point about dealing in absolutes is especially dangerous as it does lead to fundamentalism and extremism whereby debate is effectively shut down. Once constructive argument and debate is negated you have only a raw power structure left. The ancient Greeks and Roman Republicas would despair to see what their experiments have come to.
     
  3. Hotrocker

    Hotrocker Well-Known Member

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    Too true. Seeing this the lack of cohesion and unity among the American people is a scary thing. Americans have little voice outside democrat and republican forum. As you said, the Greeks and Romans would be quite stricken to see what the fruits of their labor have come to. And can you believe Specter's bullshit?

    Witness the perpetuation of the problem at hand.
     
  4. Elmer Gantry

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    Priceless quote. It is disturbing to see how far from the "Demcratic ideal" our own leaders have become. All of the Western "Democracies" are now two party duopoly's.

    USA is Democrat Vs Republican.
    GB is Tory Vs Labour.
    Canada is Liberal Vs Conservative.
    Australia is Labour Vs Liberal.
    Etc, etc.

    The other disturbing nature of todays leaders is the concept of hereditary power. Our leaders are quite often 2nd or 3rd generation pollys.
     
  5. Hotrocker

    Hotrocker Well-Known Member

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    And it's only getting worse...
     
  6. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Our system of government is designed for a two party system. No other system discourages multiple parties to the extent ours does. Ours is a winner-takes-all system in every aspect. We do not have bloc systems where so many parties vie for so many seats. We could have had that kind of system, but the founding fathers (their most grievous error, imho) basically doomed themselves, and us, to a two party system.
     
  7. houtx48

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    this debate goes on every so often and never comes to pass, if it makes you fell better to say the sky is falling carry on.
     
  8. SilverTrain

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    I've talked with some of my English friends about this, basically whining to them about how I wish us Yanks had more viable political parties. And some very politically astute Brits have argued to me that their system is no more effective at delivering quality government than is the US system.

    But I don't have any research treatises to support contentions either way. Just the usual off-the-cuff blather. :biggrin1:
     
  9. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    That may be the case, however they have the opportunity for more representation. When it comes to coalition building, small parties can give voice to political minorities. The Greens in Europe are a great example of this. The Green party may not be ready for prime time, but if they go into a coalition, they can demand plank changes in their favor in exchange for cooperation with the larger parties in the coalition. Whether the government is good or bad is up to the people to judge, but at least multiple parties allow political minorities to have a voice in government. I tend to think that's a good thing.

    I also have to say that most of the people of the world would love to have a government as accountable, stable, transparent, and democratic as the British (or any other western nation) government. We may complain about our governments no end, but better what we have than some mercurial generalissimo, shadowy single party, or absolute monarch.
     
  10. SilverTrain

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    Agree with all of that.
     
  11. Elmer Gantry

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    Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and it is also the sign of a robust democracy.
     
  12. joyboytoy79

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    I honestly prefer to think a no-party system would be better. Why not allow people to caucus based on each issue, instead of a political platform? Coalition building - it can just as easily exclude minority opinions as it can embrace them. I think a political system that relies on concessions and favors is what leads to so much ineffectual garbage being passed as laws. Why not just let individuals have differing opinions and debate them - based on the issue at hand. With no obligation to a party platform our politicians might actually be able to think for themselves on occasion.
     
  13. Drifterwood

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    In Europe, when we wish to understand the limitations of large federalist democracy, we look to America.
     
  14. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Why not India? It's far larger.
     
  15. Drifterwood

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    That is why I said limitations.
     
  16. bigbull29

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    In America, when we wish to see socialized healthcare gone awry, we look to the NHS in Britain.
     
  17. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Oh haha.
     
  18. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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    In America, when conservatives feel impotent, powerless and shellshocked from all our conservative economic theories of free-market capitalism causing a worldwide depression and market crash, leaving the next democratic administration to clean up our mess, we go to Tea Parties to assuage our guilt.
     
  19. Drifterwood

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    Democrats look to it to see how they can do it better, Republicans look to it for an excuse to continue to do nothing.
     
  20. Hotrocker

    Hotrocker Well-Known Member

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    Grievous error, indeed. Of course, being that the U.S. was founded as a democracy, the most popular idea among the voters always wins out. The system is a great one, but also flawed and imperfect.

    Their system is just as top heavy when it comes to political parties: only the labour and conservative parties have the loudest voices.

    Wow, that sure is true. I wasn't implying that a single party be dominant in the country, but for less power to be vested in the dominant two parties (which is paradoxical unto itself as checks and balances are essential in government. This is pretty hard to attain when 3 or 4 large parties are all employing cutthroat tactics against themselves. Really, only two parties would remain on top, logically.)

    I concur. :smile:

    Well, this is exactly why I posted this thread. That is a generalized statement that excludes those that do not think that way amongst the dems and the GOP. Didn't you read what I wrote about "Only the Sith deal in absolutes?"
     
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