No Democracy

digitalbeachbum's picture

These last few weeks I have been reading and watching stuff on the origins of Democracy. I was most fond of a documentary on the ancient Greeks and the formation of Democracy from their humble beginnings.

As I watched the program I realized that today in America and as well in other countries which claim to be democratic, they are in fact not democratic.

I say this because from what I have seen considering the US government, while they are supposed to represent the people of the country, they do not do so. In fact I believe they represent the rich and the documentary actually touched on this subject. Rich people hated democracy because it was about being ruled by the middle class and the poor. Very few people were rich and the fact that the non-wealthy people could have the same vote ruined their plans.

The Greeks had measures to stop corruption, something which our government does not use because they are in fact corrupt. There is no true representation of the people because of gerrymandering, fraud and bribery. The people are not represented.

While it is true that we all have the right to vote and many of us do vote, our vote does not count as a one equals one scenario. It is actually a situation were only the wealthy can avoid voting completely and still get what they want from the government.

Thx.

iwbiek's picture

i was a classical studies

i was a classical studies major. i can tell you ancient greece didn't live up to the democratic ideal anymore than the US does. it's never happened anywhere. what we read about in the original sources is just that: the ideal.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson

digitalbeachbum's picture

iwbiek wrote:i was a

iwbiek wrote:
i was a classical studies major. i can tell you ancient greece didn't live up to the democratic ideal anymore than the US does. it's never happened anywhere. what we read about in the original sources is just that: the ideal.

I agree, based on what I have learned. The Greeks had lost their way too, but I believe corruption of the system comes from those who allow their egos to rule.

 

Beyond Saving's picture

 That is why the US wasn't

 That is why the US wasn't set up as a democracy and why many of our founders put so much emphasis on having a federalist system. The idea being that corruption could be handled more readily locally than it can at a large scale. Which theoretically it can be, when voters really get worked up over local issues, local politicians pay attention, but the reality is most voters pay zero attention to local issues so as long as they don't do anything too obvious, corruption is pretty easy to get away with.

The big problem is finding a better solution, the pseudo-democratic governments adopted by most developed countries is a hell of a lot better than other structures of government tried in the past. People who desire to abuse power will always exist and those people will always be attracted to positions of power. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

digitalbeachbum's picture

Beyond Saving wrote:  That

Beyond Saving wrote:

 That is why the US wasn't set up as a democracy and why many of our founders put so much emphasis on having a federalist system. The idea being that corruption could be handled more readily locally than it can at a large scale. Which theoretically it can be, when voters really get worked up over local issues, local politicians pay attention, but the reality is most voters pay zero attention to local issues so as long as they don't do anything too obvious, corruption is pretty easy to get away with.

The big problem is finding a better solution, the pseudo-democratic governments adopted by most developed countries is a hell of a lot better than other structures of government tried in the past. People who desire to abuse power will always exist and those people will always be attracted to positions of power. 

Can you give me examples of better governments which have tried to find a solution?

I agree with you on the "getting worked up" and "paying attention" part. Most people are like mindless sheep just letting shit happen. If it doesn't bother their daily routine then they are content to stay exactly how they are but disrupt that routine and they scream.

iwbiek's picture

Beyond Saving wrote: That

Beyond Saving wrote:

 That is why the US wasn't set up as a democracy and why many of our founders put so much emphasis on having a federalist system. The idea being that corruption could be handled more readily locally than it can at a large scale. Which theoretically it can be, when voters really get worked up over local issues, local politicians pay attention, but the reality is most voters pay zero attention to local issues so as long as they don't do anything too obvious, corruption is pretty easy to get away with.

The big problem is finding a better solution, the pseudo-democratic governments adopted by most developed countries is a hell of a lot better than other structures of government tried in the past. People who desire to abuse power will always exist and those people will always be attracted to positions of power. 




i can agree with that. things are actually pretty damn good now. i have no objection to people pointing out current political problems. what i object to is when they try to tell me there was some golden age when we got everything right, or at least many more things than we do now, that we've since fallen from. that's total horse shit.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson

digitalbeachbum's picture

I recently watched a Gore

I recently watched a Gore Vidal documentary and I thought he was very insightful to the way politics worked.
This is why I'm sort of on this democracy kick.

Beyond Saving's picture

digitalbeachbum wrote:Can

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Can you give me examples of better governments which have tried to find a solution?

No, that's my point, nothing better has been tried. And it isn't likely that anything substantially different is going to be tried until there is a complete collapse. Government's only get overthrown when shit is really uncomfortable. And even the worst westernized democracy isn't a terribly uncomfortable place to live for most of its population.

I think one could go through modern country by modern country and pick out little things that are good and would be an improvement. The ideas that have been theorized for a complete overhaul either away from modern forms of democracy or a push towards a more "pure" democracy I think are interesting, especially since new technology allows things that were impossible even 20 years ago. None have been proposed that I would support enthusiastically. Perhaps if we start a new colony on the moon or something, but it isn't worth risking the comfort we have now. 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Brian37's picture

 I don't know if it would

 I don't know if it would shock you that I agree that even back then it never existed in a true sense. The government's back then were still subject to the final say of the Ceazar. They certainly allowed input but it was "allowed" not a right. More tollerated than given. 

If my memory serves me correctly the pure democracy was the first attempt at the begining of the Greek dynasty but never took off. And I think there was a very brief attempt after the assasination of one of the Ceazars to get rid of the position but that too failed. 

The truth of our species is that we are mixed in our personailities and desires, and it is not lost on me that no matter what government you set up, it still is power driven and money driven. Now having said that, I do not think it is all doom and gloom in the west or even in America. I would not trade our open system even though I don't like the monopoly on it right now. 

 

My only issue with money right now, is that those who have the most falsely far too much of the time lose sight of the rest of society, much like the Ceazars got too abusive. I do think you can allow for differences and some inequity but as I have said consistantly, in doing that, ANYTHING humans do is run by humans, no matter public or private, religous or political party. Thus it isn that you can stop those things, but the best you can do is insist on anti monopoly concepts FOR ALL aspects of society. It will never be perfect, but in doing that, you can avoid lopsided power.

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

digitalbeachbum's picture

I'm all for creating AI bots

I'm all for creating AI bots which make us stop war and then heal the sick instantly. If some one becomes a negative aspect of society they swoop in, change your dna, reprogram you then release you in to socierty with a new job.

No need for government. No need for hospitals. No need for lawyers or police.

Eventually they would over throw use and make us pets.

Beyond Saving's picture

digitalbeachbum wrote:I'm

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I'm all for creating AI bots which make us stop war and then heal the sick instantly. If some one becomes a negative aspect of society they swoop in, change your dna, reprogram you then release you in to socierty with a new job.

No need for government. No need for hospitals. No need for lawyers or police.

Eventually they would over throw use and make us pets.

I'd rather live in a warzone.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Beyond Saving's picture

Brian37 wrote: I don't know

Brian37 wrote:

 I don't know if it would shock you that I agree that even back then it never existed in a true sense. The government's back then were still subject to the final say of the Ceazar. They certainly allowed input but it was "allowed" not a right. More tollerated than given. 

Rome was a republic, not a democracy, but they did have a system allowing for citizens to veto laws and the elected Senate to create laws. That lasted about 450 years until Lex Titia which gave the trio Octavian, Marc Antony and Lepidus the power to do almost anytging without the Senate, although the Senate retained some sway.

 

Quote:

If my memory serves me correctly the pure democracy was the first attempt at the begining of the Greek dynasty but never took off. And I think there was a very brief attempt after the assasination of one of the Ceazars to get rid of the position but that too failed. 

There were no caesers in Greece. Athenian democracy survived relatively unchanged for 200 years, so I would say it 'took off'. It existed until they were conquered by Macedonians. I wouldn't call that a failure of their governing system. The real problem with it is that Athens only had a population of roughly 30,000 eligible citizens (adult, male and a direct descendent of a citizen or granted citizenship through a city wide vote with a qurom of at least 6000) and their main voting body was 500 people. With a population that small, direct democracy is possible in a way that it isn't when your population is millions.

Although some have suggested that it might be with the internet. The problem is we expect much more from government today than 400bc Athens. Even full time representatives require full staffs to read bills and give them the cliff notes. There is no way citizens could spend the time to be knowledgable about every bill being voted on. I consider myself very well informed politically but can only intelligently discuss maybe 10% of laws voted on with more than a kneejerk reaction. While actually having direct votes is possible, unless we significantly reduce what government does, it is unreasonable to expect voters to be able to make informed decisions.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

digitalbeachbum's picture

Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I'm all for creating AI bots which make us stop war and then heal the sick instantly. If some one becomes a negative aspect of society they swoop in, change your dna, reprogram you then release you in to socierty with a new job.

No need for government. No need for hospitals. No need for lawyers or police.

Eventually they would over throw use and make us pets.

I'd rather live in a warzone.

LMAO.

I was really tired and near delirious when I wrote that previous post.

What really bothers me is gerrymandering. They all do it but it doesn't represent the people properly. It's done just so the assholes keep their selves in office.
I liked the Greek idea that you get to stay in office for a month then things rotated, however that doesn't work for us. I do not like that our government has senators or congress individuals who stay in office for 20 or 30 years.

digitalbeachbum's picture

Beyond Saving wrote: I

Beyond Saving wrote:

I wouldn't call that a failure of their governing system. The real problem with it is that Athens only had a population of roughly 30,000 eligible citizens (adult, male and a direct descendent of a citizen or granted citizenship through a city wide vote with a qurom of at least 6000) and their main voting body was 500 people. With a population that small, direct democracy is possible in a way that it isn't when your population is millions.

Although some have suggested that it might be with the internet. The problem is we expect much more from government today than 400bc Athens. Even full time representatives require full staffs to read bills and give them the cliff notes. There is no way citizens could spend the time to be knowledgable about every bill being voted on. I consider myself very well informed politically but can only intelligently discuss maybe 10% of laws voted on with more than a kneejerk reaction. While actually having direct votes is possible, unless we significantly reduce what government does, it is unreasonable to expect voters to be able to make informed decisions.

Yes, I agree. Greece had the same issue. Small number of people voting, the rest were slaves or uneducated. It worked because the voting party was relatively small. I also liked that the Greeks limited the post for one month. They also had several checks and balances to prevent people from corrupting the system, which worked really well.

I believe that there are plenty of Senators and Congress who KNOW NOTHING about what they vote on. The party says, "vote on this and we'll give you that road project in your home town" and they vote for it.

Vastet's picture

I don't remember who it was,

I don't remember who it was, but one of the American founding fatherss said something along the lines of a revolution being necessary every so often.

I've concluded that he was a genius well before his time, as even today we are not ready for such a concept. The idea has great merit. No government system, indeed no system of authority at all, can remain free of corruption forever. The more corrupt it is, the more corrupt it will become (and the faster it will happen).

Democracy has slightly more protection against corruption than a statist or monarchist form of government, but it cannot hold indefinitely. No matter how it is established and run.

Some way of forcing revolutions to occur must be incorporated at some point. Where the entire old system, from laws to proceedures to personel, is evicted in its entirety for new people to make a new system. It should happen fairly regularly. Not every year, nothing would ever get done. But every 20 or 40 years maybe. Each generation must be able to take full control of the government without the interference of previous or future generations. That alone would make it far more difficult to see corruption take hold and expand indefinitely.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Beyond Saving's picture

Quote:Yet where does this

Quote:

Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.

Thomas Jefferson

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Vastet's picture

Thanks. Good quote. Smart

Thanks. Good quote. Smart guy.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

digitalbeachbum's picture

Vastet wrote:Thanks. Good

Vastet wrote:
Thanks. Good quote. Smart guy.

I often wonder what Jefferson would think of things today.

iwbiek's picture

digitalbeachbum wrote:I

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I often wonder what Jefferson would think of things today.

 

ask brian.

 

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson

digitalbeachbum's picture

iwbiek wrote:digitalbeachbum

iwbiek wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I often wonder what Jefferson would think of things today.

 

ask brian.

 

I'm not a gluton for punishment