Do You Want Government by True Democracy in Your Republic

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  1. GA Anderson profile image89
    GA Andersonposted 4 years ago

    Rule by Pure Democracy, one man one vote.

    "...that democracy is almost always nothing but the rule of the ephemeral emotions of the mob. The “rabble is just as tyrannical as one man,"

    Is that a universal truth? Do you think us enlightened modern folks can change that truth?


    1. Credence2 profile image79
      Credence2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      But, GA, wouldn't you prefer the rule of the rabble as a consensus over that of one person or a select group of elites?

      In my mind,as a progressive, one man's vote is as good as another's. I avoid the idea that some are more equal than others. The idea of "one man, one vote" keeps everybody humble

      So, I disagree, it is not a universal truth, while the opinion of the consensus could well be flawed, it is surely a superior option to any alternative.

      1. GA Anderson profile image89
        GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Cred, that you can see both can be tyrannical means you are just choosing your tyrant.

        The point is that a proper mix of government can prohibit either of those tyrants from taking control.

        The man behind that quote thought, (considering his time), the proper mix was a tripartite government of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, (the people). For our times that would equate to Executive, Senate, and legislature/democracy, (the people)


        1. Credence2 profile image79
          Credence2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

          So, what are we driving at, GA?

          Are you dissatisfied with the protections already built within our current structure?

          Outside the protection of basic rights, i accede to the will of the majority as expressed through the ballot. How does the will of one man or a few supercede the desire of the majority, how is that preferable?

          I have no problem with the current arrangement of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of Government and their perspective roles.

          The "people" ultimately hold accountable the Chief Executive and the Legislative branches. I don't see a correlation between monarchy, aristocracy as compared with our Executive and Legislative Branches, as the former are not held accountable by the "people" in any way. Why should the former have any say beyond that of the man in the street?

          1. GA Anderson profile image89
            GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            My point is directed at the recent times push for pure democracy as our governing rule.

            To your point that the author's components wouldn't be accountable to the people, I think they would be because neither segment would be absolute. Each would be influenced by the other two.

            An example might be Britain's monarchy, (the Queen), and aristocracy, (House of Lordss), and House of Commons, (the people), components of their government.

            And to your question; "Why should the former have any say beyond that of the man in the street?", I can only say; "Really"? That man in the street could just as easily be one of those "unenlightened" folks you have spoken of as it could be an educated voter like yourself.

            Nope, rule by the "man in the street" would not be my choice.


            1. Credence2 profile image79
              Credence2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

              But, we know in democracies the monarchy has more a traditional and ceremonial role.

              The idea it does not sit well having people to rule over me that I, (the people), did not put there.

              Why should a monarchy or aristocrats be  entitled to special representation? I don't like either one.  How do they rate? I loved the French Revolution.

              When it comes to the ballot, we are all equal. If you are a citizen over the age of 18, your opinion is just as valid as mine. There are no "better" people when it comes to basic rights.

              Would rule by divine Right of Kings, a benevolent dictator or a "selfless" self appointed aristocracy really be your preference?

              1. GA Anderson profile image89
                GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Geez Cred, you are stuck on this monarchy/aristocracy thing, aren't you?

                I wasn't pining for them, I was referring to to the philosophy of a tripartite government, a blend of those three components. Our modern model uses that same blend except for us it is the Executive, Senate, and democracy, (people), and I am fine with that.

                My point was to argue against this recent years' trend towards pure democracy. The references I have quoted were from Cicero's time, and the point was that even then the thinkers of the time recognized the dangers of pure democracy.

                Does that explanation help? The same support could be shown by quoting our Founders if that would be less confusing.

                I too agree that when it comes to the ballet all voices should be equal, but I think we would differ on where and how that ballot is used. For instance, I am against abolishing the Electoral College. It serves as a protection for a minority. Would you support removing that protection?

                With all these centuries of wisdom advising against pure democracy isn't it a bit of hubris for us to think we know better?


                1. profile image0
                  PrettyPantherposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  I was waiting for you to reveal that this is at least partially about abolishing the electoral college. But I am curious, what other proposals or actions are out there that you see as a "trend" toward a pure democracy?

                  Edit: I don't support a pure democracy, but I also don't think abolishing the electoral college, in and of itself, would substantially change our system from a republic toward a pure democracy.

                  1. GA Anderson profile image89
                    GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    Damn, just had one of your lost to cyberspace moments. Lost a really good reply. Oh well.

                    You are on target PrettyPanther. The Electoral College, (EC), was the first thing that came to mind when I read the quote I put in the OP.

                    I have been reading a series of essays on Cicero's On the Republic and the EC so dominated my first thoughts that I didn't stop to consider others, but as a from the hip shot, I would toss out some red meat by saying something about what I think of the Constitutional amendment that changed our Senate elections from a legislative vote to a popular one.

                    I disagree with your thought that losing the EC wouldn't substantial affect our Republic. I think it would be disastrous. It would rob small states of their voice in presidential elections. Its effect would be nothing less than to diminish certain members of our republic. That doesn't square with all this equality talk about all votes being equal.

                    If pure democracy proponents can knock off the big boy, (the EC), imagine how easy it will be to knock down any lessor targets they set their sights on.

                    I should link you to those essays. They are really good, (and a much easier read than the books themselves). I think you would especially like and agree, (I did and do), with another of Cicero's primary determinations; that a citizen has a moral and reality-based responsibility to their state/society to behave morally and to be both physically and materially supportive to their state/society.


                2. Credence2 profile image79
                  Credence2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  Ok, the idea of a triparte government is fine, as long as the will of the people indirectly controls the occupants of at least 2 branches.

                  The thinkers of Cicero's time also needed to contemplate the danger of dictatorships and tyranny that comes with the lack of any democratic process. It is not hard for me to recognize which poses the greater danger.

                  While the founding fathers were learned and far sighted men, by today's standards they would be considered hopelessly elitist.

                  Good question on the Electoral College.

                  I support the Electoral College, reluctantly, I might add for two reasons

                  1. I believe that the idea at conception was a good one as a compromise toward smaller, sparsely populated states.

                  2. Such a change would require a Constitutional convention, and there are too many red states that stand to benefit in the current system to get the 3/4 of the states approval.

                  We are just going to have to defeat the Rightwinger and their plans for the country with overwhelming numbers.

                  But the "red meat" associated with any suggestion of a change to the direct election of Senators is a non starter.

                  Why am I going to go along with a governors appointing oligarchs, aristocrats as Senators in charge of the more powerful chamber of Congress? My requirement that they answer to the people they represent is absent, or not rigid enough.

                  Whose interests are these sort really there to serve?

                  I accept the idea of appointment for the judiciary only due to the fact that their function is performed better in an apolitical environment. That is not so for legislators.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    "I accept the idea of appointment for the judiciary only due to the fact that their function is performed better in an apolitical environment."

                    A competently acting judiciary can ONLY be seen in an apolitical environment.  Which we do not have and are not even close to - one has only to look at the 9th circuit court and the percentage of their decisions reversed and to the extreme concern and politicizing over the makeup/appointment of the SCOTUS to see that.

                    Any suggestions as to how to correct that problem (I don't have any)?

                  2. GA Anderson profile image89
                    GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    It looks like we got that monarchy/aristocracy confusion out of the way, good.

                    You say you know which of the two tyrannies pose the greatest danger. I take your inference to mean you think the tyranny of the dictator is the worse of the two.

                    History has shown us what usually happens to dictators and their tyranny, what has it shown us about the tyranny of the Democratic mob?

                    You spoke earlier of "liking" the French Revolution, how do you feel about the tyranny of those revolutionaries after they ran out of aristocratic heads? When there was no more Blue blood to fill the streets, they began to run with the French blood of folks they declared weren't revolutionary supporters. Then they went for foreigner blood, (particularly the English).

                    Then the mob's bloodlust was followed by the dictatorship of a Revolutionary Committee, which was followed by another dictatorship of a Directorate, which was then followed by the dictatorship of Napolean.

                    It is true that there were major reforms and benefits achieved during those times that benefitted the French nation to this day but look at the cost to the citizens and the dictatorial intervals that occurred in that process.

                    That was the tyranny of the mob. It was supposed to be a democratic movement, but it turned out the only democracy involved was the democracy of mob members. Everyday Jacques had to be as concerned for their heads as the aristocracy had earlier.

                    Yet, you like that Revolution and think their tyranny was less harmful than that of a dictator.

                    I must agree that in the end, (years and dictators later), the changes that occurred were good for their nation, but ... I can hardly see anything to like about that process, (could the same changes have been achieved without the intervals of citizen-rule tyranny), and I certainly can see that tyranny as worse. Was Napolean's dictatorship harder on their new Republic? Possibly, or maybe not.

                    I would hold the opposite position Cred. I can see the tyranny of a dictator as much easier to overthrow than the tyranny of the citizens.

                    Your comment about thinking the Founders were "elitist," in the context that it was a bad thing is a real bellringer for me. What the hell would you expect, that the farmers of the nation had the knowledge and moral fiber to create a nation with a foundation such as our Constitution? Geez, now look who is sounding elitist. You.

                    I would bet that it is Hamilton, (he did support aristocratic ideas), that taints the whole bunch for you. I think that idea might change if you looked a little deeper into where his actions showed his heart to be, and how his actions of compromise--when his ideas were not agreed with--benefitted the construction of our Constitution.

                    I just have to toss it out there one more time for you to consider bud;

                    "...that democracy is almost always nothing but  the rule of the ephemeral emotions of the mob. The “rabble is just as tyrannical as one man,"

                    The most important thought to contemplate is what Cicero ended with: “The rabble is just as tyrannical as one man," Can you really disagree with that? Don't answer, just think about it.

                    I will leave that Senate question for a thread of its own. I just tossed it out to get the salivary glands pumping ;-)


  2. profile image0
    Hxprofposted 4 years ago

    Ah, there is no such thing as "enlightened modern folks".  We're the same as we've been for thousands of years.  We're more advanced in tools, but we're no smarter or better than unenlightened ancient folks.

    So my answer is we can't change that truth.

    1. GA Anderson profile image89
      GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I like your thinking process Hxprof. I agree. We are all like an onion. From enlightened folks to rednecks. Start peeling away layers of societal security,  and our inside core is universal. Whatever it takes for self-preservation.


  3. wilderness profile image95
    wildernessposted 4 years ago

    The romanticism of our ancestors, that demanded they put the nation and it's people above themselves, has died in our country - the only thing that matters with it comes to voting is "What's in it for ME?"  Greed has overcome us and everything revolves around the "self" rather than the country.

    As such, rule by majority without huge safeguards for the minority is untenable.  Better a dictator that recognizes that if he goes too far it will crumble than a mob that wants what it wants without regard to anything.

    1. GA Anderson profile image89
      GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Except for times of extreme crisis--like 9/11--I think you are mostly right Wilderness.

      If you remember from an earlier thread the quoted author spoke of 'Liberty vs. License' As a nation, (and surely under pure democracy rule), we have confused the value of Liberty for the gratification of License.


      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, extreme crisis brings out the best in most of us.  Absolutely we have confused the value of liberty for the gratification of license - we have forgotten that there is a price to be paid for liberty, and while blood is often mentioned there it goes far beyond that.

  4. GA Anderson profile image89
    GA Andersonposted 4 years ago

    I will offer that we don't debate either Cred. We have discussions. Debates, by nature, promote one side winning by proving the other side wrong. In discussions, both sides can win by achieving a better understanding, even if neither side is persuaded to change their perspective.

    So that we don't continue to argue past each other, let me explain the intent of the OP and the point I have been hammering. I am not arguing that you don't abide our Constitutional rules, or that you are a proponent of rule by pure democracy.

    PrettyPanther was right; it was thoughts of the Electoral College and the push to change our presidential elections to popular vote elections that got me rolling when I read that Cicero quote in an essay.

    For me, it was an 1800-year-old validation of a driving thought of our Constitutional writers.

    Think of the issue of rule by popular vote, (pure democracy), like the history of socialism. History has shown over and over that pure socialism doesn't work with humans, just as history--even from ancient times--has shown over and over that rule by pure democracy doesn't work.

    It was just a philosophical discussion. I never thought you knowingly supported rule by popular vote. But ... I think anyone's support for changing our system of presidential elections is tacit support for that rule. Even if unknowingly so.

    What I see driving this is a modern trend to view our nation as a nation of citizens, not a republic of states.

    I thought of another example for you 'majority of 8' that would better tie in the concept of the wisdom of representative government vs rule by popular vote;

    Say those 10 people were standing around a gunshot victim. The passion of the 8 says they must put the victim in a car and rush him, (is it always a "he"?), to the hospital. But one of that ten, (previously the sheriff), is a doctor and votes no because if you move him he will bleed out and die.

    Still think the will of the majority should rule?

    I think the same concept applies to our rule by representatives. The passion of the people, (you know, that rabble), is voiced through the House. Then that passion is tempered by reason with the address of the Senate and the consensus of the House representatives.

    But I already know you agree with that. I am just taking small steps to get to the point of a presidential election by popular vote. Without the EC there is no inclusion of reason before the decision, (the rule). The passions of the majority would be the decider.

    Now about your point that the interests of a state's citizens and the interest of the state being the same ... What if the passion of the popular vote majority demanded session? Would you consider it in the interest of the state to accede to that majority, or would you instead defer to a process of reason, (the state's legislature), to make the final determination?

    It may seem contrary to that point, but I almost agree with you. We had this discussion a year or so back, and it was my contention that representatives are obligated by the very nature of their election to take the will and voice of their constituents all the way to the decision table.

    It is only when the good of all is measured against the will of their constituents that they have the moral justification to not honor the voice of their constituents. In that example of session, it should be easy to see that session would not serve the good of all.

    Speaking of that EC "blue moon" frequency, imagine how those less populated states that made the difference would feel if their voice didn't matter at all.



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