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Some discussion on law and sociology


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32 replies to this topic

#1 Writersblock

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 09:21 PM

If you define democracy as the majority of people of a group or nation determining the way their government is run, I propose there is no such thing as a non-democracy. Can you see why?
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#2 Martini

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 12:58 AM

No, I can't. Can you explain - perhaps using one or more of the following governments as an example.

Saudi Arabia
Uzbekistan
Libya
Turkmenistan
Myanmar
Togo
Chad
Central African Republic
North Korea

In many nations, such as the ones listed above, the form of government is not determined by the majority of the people, or even by a sizable minority, but by a small cabal, or a dictator, or a despotic monarch, etc. These are not democracies. I think you may be basing this on the assumption that no government can be effective without the people's consent, express or implied -- which is trivial insofar as it is true.
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#3 Writersblock

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 01:38 AM

You do have the essence of it. All governments derive their power expressly from the people whom they govern. It cannot be otherwise. If there is a dictatorship in power it is because a majority of the people are ok with giving up that much power to one person. Whatever their motives or the situation of how that dictator came to power, the dictator cannot dictate unless the people allow it.

All governments rule by power of death. Ultimately, that is the only recourse a government has when the governed refuse the government. When a majority will not accept rule, then resorting to that ultimate power is not possible.

You find this a trivial matter, how so?
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#4 Ploper

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 01:46 AM

but sometimes the people don't have a choice...
Well, actually they always hve a choice
but maybe not a good one.
Sometimes it's a difference between following an order and death.

hmmm.
But is there something about voting in the definition for democracy?
Cuz if not then I agree with writersblock
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#5 Martini

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:01 AM

First of all it is repugnant. It's a variation on blame the victim. Secondly, it drains all meaning from the term democracy. Why do you find doing so to be advantageous?
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#6 Ploper

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:17 AM

Well.
I'm not really BLAMING the victim..
But nothing happens without the victims (somewhat) cooperation.
People can choose whether to follow orders or face the consequence, no matter what.
But that's never a good situation.

It's not really democracy in a sense though.
But it's partiallly similar in a way
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#7 Martini

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:49 AM

Well.
I'm not really BLAMING the victim..
But nothing happens without the victims (somewhat) cooperation.


I wasn't replying to you, Ploper, but what you're saying is exactly a variation of blaming the victim.


It's not really democracy in a sense though.
But it's partiallly similar in a way


Not a democracy in a sense? Partially similar?

You asked earlier "But is there something about voting in the definition for democracy?"

I suggest you read the Wikipedia article on democracy and hopefully you'll see that dictatorships are in no way a democracy. Not "in a sense" or "partially similar", and not because dictators need people to rule.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

All governments rule by power of death. Ultimately, that is the only recourse a government has when the governed refuse the government. When a majority will not accept rule, then resorting to that ultimate power is not possible.


This is where your logic falls apart. There are plenty of governments (Stalin, Pol Pot) who had no difficulty in killing enough of the population until the remainder became compliant (out of fear.) Murdering enough people until you have a majority who are afraid to oppose you is not what I'd call "determining the way their government is run."

Your definition is active: "determining the way their government is run."

Passive refusal to object (when the consequence of objecting is death) is not determining anything but merely accepting might-makes-right.
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#8 Martini

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:17 AM

You do have the essence of it. All governments derive their power expressly from the people whom they govern. It cannot be otherwise. If there is a dictatorship in power it is because a majority of the people are ok with giving up that much power to one person. Whatever their motives or the situation of how that dictator came to power, the dictator cannot dictate unless the people allow it.

All governments rule by power of death. Ultimately, that is the only recourse a government has when the governed refuse the government. When a majority will not accept rule, then resorting to that ultimate power is not possible.

You find this a trivial matter, how so?


Because it falsely obscures the difference between popular and tyrannical governments. Democracy is when the state does whatever the people want it to do. Dictatorship is when the state does whatever its ruler wants it to do and the people will tolerate without open revolt; and that's a very different thing, especially considering how dangerous revolt can be.
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#9 Scraff

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:46 AM

You do have the essence of it. All governments derive their power expressly from the people whom they govern. It cannot be otherwise. If there is a dictatorship in power it is because a majority of the people are ok with giving up that much power to one person. Whatever their motives or the situation of how that dictator came to power, the dictator cannot dictate unless the people allow it.

All governments rule by power of death. Ultimately, that is the only recourse a government has when the governed refuse the government. When a majority will not accept rule, then resorting to that ultimate power is not possible.

You find this a trivial matter, how so?


Sometimes, the majority are not okay with the governing tyranny, but they are afraid to rise up, because they are afraid of the government. And dictatorships are not afraid to do things like this to make sure the populace remains afraid. It has nothing to do with the majority "being okay" with the dictatorship; it has everything to do with their being frightened and powerless (or at least they perceive that they are powerless).
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#10 Writersblock

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 06:29 AM

There are plenty of governments (Stalin, Pol Pot) who had no difficulty in killing enough of the population until the remainder became compliant (out of fear.) Murdering enough people until you have a majority who are afraid to oppose you is not what I'd call "determining the way their government is run."



Still, you have a majority who tolerate the governance. I don't think either one of your examples fits exactly your concept either. No dictator has ever risen to power solely on his own. There is always a group behind him with popular support of some sort. Imagine you or I declaring ourselves King of America. Would it work? Would it work even if we killed thousands? No. Why? Because the people won't tolerate it.

I suggest you read the Wikipedia article on democracy



I am using it in a pure sense of the word and not in the "American Democracy" connotation (which is a republic, btw).

Sometimes, the majority are not okay with the governing tyranny, but they are afraid to rise up, because they are afraid of the government.

I would dispute the majority would feel this way. Look at Iraq. Look at Nazi Germany. Look at Congo. The fearful are there with just cause, but not a majority or the situation could not exist. Look at Cuba. The United States does not recognize Castro's regime. Does that stop him from exerting power? Not in the slightest. The people are the ones who give him power, for good or ill.

dictatorships are not afraid to do things like this to make sure the populace remains afraid

This is an example of a dictatorship repressing a minority. It cannot happen with a majority. The majority must allow it to happen, or the government will topple.

what you're saying is exactly a variation of blaming the victim

The victim would be those who do oppose and I am not saying they are blameworthy at all.

it drains all meaning from the term democracy. Why do you find doing so to be advantageous?

I am merely deconstructing popularly held beliefs concerning governance for the sake of discussion. Where do you see pure democracy anywhere in history? How is this any different than pure communism, besides property rights? I'd suggest that the term democracy is the result of a somewhat fallacious buildup of societal hope for what the American Republic could (or some would say should) be.

Sometimes it's a difference between following an order and death.

and

This is where your logic falls apart.

My logic doesn't fall apart at all. How is this different than the United States? Say I want to smoke pot. The government says no. I can ignore the government, to what effect? Threat of prosecution. I can ignore the prosecution to what effect? Threat of violence from police. I can resist the power of the police to what effect? Ultimately, death. At some point along the equation I can give in to the government and choose to recognize it's power, or I can die. This is true in ALL governments. (I don't use any drugs or alcohol - for the record)

First of all it is repugnant

- Martini, why do you find it repugant? I am not advocating any position or form of government over another. I am merely discussing the basic elements of governance in a way to provoke thought and discussion. What about that is repugnant?
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