Political Thread [15] - CLOSED


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Message 302371 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:45:12 UTC
Last modified: 11 May 2006, 4:10:54 UTC

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Message 302373 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:48:33 UTC

Hi, I just wanted to be the first in this series of posts.


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Message 302374 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:48:39 UTC

Thanks, Misfit, for doing all the work for me on the disclaimer.

Aloha, and welcome to any who wish to discuss political ideas here, within the limits of civility. Those who wish to continue arguments from [14] can do so with or without a link to past posts.

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Message 302375 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:48:49 UTC

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?
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Message 302376 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:49:33 UTC - in response to Message 302375.

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?

Same rules as before and people didn't have a problem with them.

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Message 302377 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:50:06 UTC - in response to Message 302376.

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?

Same rules as before and people didn't have a problem with them.



Just ribbin ya :)


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Message 302378 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:50:35 UTC - in response to Message 302377.

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?

Same rules as before and people didn't have a problem with them.



Just ribbin ya :)



You must be a Republican.

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Message 302380 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:52:38 UTC

I noticed 3 or 4 people discussing the topic of the United States and Democracy a few days ago in the previous incarnation of this thread. Tonight I found the following article in my email from a week or two ago so am placing it here for them to see.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Freedom vs. Unlimited Majority Rule

The concept of freedom rests on a government limited to the protection of individual rights, while the concept of democracy rests on a government run by unlimited majority rule; we need to stop confusing these two opposite ideas.

By Peter Schwartz

America's foreign policy has led to a bizarre contradiction. President Bush claims to be pursuing freedom in the world, so that Americans will be safer. Yet this campaign's results--a more zealous proponent of terrorism in the Palestinian Authority, and the prospect of theocracy in Iraq--are posing even greater threats to us.

The cause of this failure is Mr. Bush's hopeless view that tyranny is reversed by the holding of elections--a view stemming from the widespread confusion between freedom and democracy.

Ask a typical American if there should be limits on what government may do, and he would answer: yes. He understands that each of us has rights which no law--regardless of how much public support it happens to attract--is entitled to breach. An advocate of democracy, however, would answer: no.

The essence of democracy is unlimited majority rule. It is the notion that the government should not be constrained, as long as its behavior is sanctioned by majority vote. It is the notion that the function of government is to implement the "will of the people." It is the notion we are espousing when we tell the Iraqis, the Palestinians and the Afghanis that the legitimacy of their new governments rests essentially on their being democratically approved.

And it is the notion that was repudiated by the founding of the United States.

America's defining characteristic is freedom. Freedom exists when there are limitations on government, limitations imposed by the principle of individual rights. America was established as a republic, under which government is restricted to protecting our inalienable rights; this should not be called "democracy." Thus, you are free to criticize your neighbors, your society, your government--no matter how many people wish to pass a law censoring you. But if "popular will" is the standard, then the individual has no rights--only temporary privileges, granted or withdrawn according to the mass sentiment of the moment. The Founders understood that the tyranny of the majority could be just as evil as the tyranny of an absolute monarch.

Yes, we have the ability to vote, but that is not the yardstick by which freedom is measured. After all, even dictatorships hold official elections. It is only the context of liberty--in which individual rights may not be voted out of existence--that justifies, and gives meaning to, the ballot box. In a genuinely free country, voting pertains only to the particular means of safeguarding individual rights. There is no moral "right" to vote to destroy rights.

Unfortunately, like Mr. Bush, most Americans use the antithetical concepts of "freedom" and "democracy" interchangeably. Sometimes our government upholds the primacy of individual rights and regards one's life, liberty and property as inviolable. Many other times it negates rights by upholding the primacy of the majority's wishes--from confiscating an individual's property because the majority wants it for "public use," to preventing a terminally ill individual from gaining assistance in ending his life because a majority finds suicide unpalatable.

Today, our foreign policy upholds this latter position. We declare that our overriding goal in the Mideast is that people vote--regardless of whether they care about freedom. But then, if a Shiite, pro-Iranian majority imposes its theology on Iraq--or if Palestinian suicide-bombers execute their popular mandate by blowing up schoolchildren--on what basis can we object, since democracy is being faithfully served? As a spokesman for Hamas, following its electoral victory, correctly noted: "I thank the United States that they have given us this weapon of democracy. . . . It's not possible for the U.S. . . . to turn its back on an elected democracy." The Palestinians abhor freedom--but have adopted democratic voting.

The Iraqis may reject freedom, in which case military force alone--as dismally inadequate as our efforts in that realm have been so far--will have to ensure our safety against any threats from them. But if we are going to try to replace tyranny with freedom there, we must at least demonstrate what freedom is. We should have been spreading the ideas and institutions of a free society, before allowing elections even to be considered. For example, we should have written the new constitution, as we did in post-WWII Japan. Instead, we deferred to the "will of the people"--people who do not understand individual rights--and endorsed a despotic constitution, which rejects intellectual freedom in favor of enforced obedience to the Koran, and which rejects economic freedom and private property in favor of "collective ownership." The consequence: looming neo-tyranny in Iraq.

We need to stop confusing democracy with freedom. Morally supporting freedom is always in our interests. But supporting unlimited majority rule is always destructive--to us, and to all who value the rights of the individual.

Peter Schwartz is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute www.aynrand.org in Irvine, California. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.


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Message 302381 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:55:42 UTC - in response to Message 302378.

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?

Same rules as before and people didn't have a problem with them.



Just ribbin ya :)



You must be a Republican.


*BUZZER*


I am sorry Tom. That is an incorrect response.

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Message 302382 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:56:41 UTC
Last modified: 11 May 2006, 3:58:20 UTC

By the way, that's "inhumane".

EDIT: It's also inhuman. hmmm
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Message 302383 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 3:59:48 UTC - in response to Message 302381.

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?
Same rules as before and people didn't have a problem with them.
Just ribbin ya :)
You must be a Republican.
*BUZZER*

I am sorry Tom. That is an incorrect response.

I just thought that, like all Republicans, your sense of humor is so well honed and subtle that most people don't get it.

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Message 302384 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 4:00:58 UTC - in response to Message 302383.

After all those rules, how you sposed to have any fun with the politics?
Same rules as before and people didn't have a problem with them.
Just ribbin ya :)
You must be a Republican.
*BUZZER*

I am sorry Tom. That is an incorrect response.

I just thought that, like all Republicans, your sense of humor is so well honed and subtle that most people don't get it.


Are you kidding? Half the time I don't even get it...

;p

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Message 302397 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 4:14:14 UTC - in response to Message 302384.
Last modified: 11 May 2006, 4:14:25 UTC

I just thought that, like all Republicans, your sense of humor is so well honed and subtle that most people don't get it.
Are you kidding? Half the time I don't even get it...

Neither did the press core...

...or maybe they just didn't like the jokes...
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Message 302409 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 4:25:20 UTC

C'mon Octagon (i nearly called you Pentagon by accident - oops). Lets continue our discourse.....
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Message 302416 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 4:44:27 UTC - in response to Message 302380.
Last modified: 11 May 2006, 4:45:15 UTC


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Freedom vs. Unlimited Majority Rule

The concept of freedom rests on a government limited to the protection of individual rights, while the concept of democracy rests on a government run by unlimited majority rule; we need to stop confusing these two opposite ideas.

By Peter Schwartz

America's foreign policy has led to a bizarre contradiction. President Bush claims to be pursuing freedom in the world, so that Americans will be safer. Yet this campaign's results--a more zealous proponent of terrorism in the Palestinian Authority, and the prospect of theocracy in Iraq--are posing even greater threats to us.

--{SNIP)--


Rob, perhaps someone should ask the middle-east people if they actually want freedom?

This may sound a little crazy, but in Asian society (including modern Japan), individual freedoms have been limited for thousands of years. They (Asian societies) tend to "think" in terms of groups rather than 'I' and have operated this way for millenia. In fact the Japanese language doesn't even have a word for 'I'. LOL..... So providing individual freedoms to people who think like this may not actually be perceieved as a social benefit.

If you take a look at Singapore, you will also see a democracy with 'limited freedoms'. Up until recently, it was illegal to 'chew gum'!! Oral sex is also outlawed. Is there civil unrest? Is this a despotic society? ahh no.

Individual rights in these kinds of societies (non European or American) appear to have less value to the individual. I was recently discussing this with some Chinese students in reference to Intellectual Property (which is an inherently western concept protecting the individuals rights). And they (the Chinese) did not see the value (of intellectual property rights!!)

Is the problem, freedom and democracy or simply education. It can be argued that too much individual freedom has another whole set of problems.
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Message 302422 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 4:56:57 UTC

Noone is free to vote their neighbors into slavery. There's no such thing as a right to violate someone's rights.

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Message 302423 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 5:07:23 UTC - in response to Message 302422.
Last modified: 11 May 2006, 5:09:43 UTC

There's no such thing as a right to violate someone's rights.
cPoAuTgRhI OcToAuCgTh!
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Message 302424 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 5:08:54 UTC


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Message 302428 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 5:16:42 UTC - in response to Message 302423.

There's no such thing as a right to violate someone's rights.
cPoAuTgRhI OcToAuCgTh!


I've never endorsed the patriot act.

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Message 302429 - Posted: 11 May 2006, 5:29:43 UTC - in response to Message 302428.

Nobody in their right mind could've endorsed the Patriot Act, but that's beside the point. I mentioned it as a co-/counter-argument to the "| right to violate someone's rights" statement.
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