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Some discussion on law and sociology


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32 replies to this topic

#21 Martini

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 03:02 AM

Ok. I confess. I used democracy (little d) and set it up with a broad definition. I knew by doing this that some people would interpose their own feelings and ideals surrounding Democracy (capital D) and would reject my simple train of thought. I did it on purpose to spark some discussion.


I don't see how feelings have to enter into it at all. You're suggesting a criteria that makes no distinction, so what good is it?

For example:

All frackles are gribbles.
All danvies are gribbles.
All kintars are gribbles.

Therefore describing something as a "gribble" adds no useful information, because everything's a gribble. You'd have to name something that's not a gribble for gribble-dom to have any significance.

My sole point is that no government can exist without the consent of the governed. It's just not possbile.


That only holds, though, if we presume "the governed" are of a single mind and will take unanimous action when it feels like it. Since actions are performed by individuals, not masses, a dictatorial government can maintain its power by cracking down on individuals. What you've said is akin to saying there's no such thing as armed robbery, just people who freely choose to give their money to someone who points a gun at them. If I'm consenting to anything I don't get killed stopping, then "consent" means nothing and, worse, it doesn't matter if I throw my life away, because it doesn't count unless every single one of my fellow citizens acts the same way.

If the people accept governance, regardless of how terrible that governance is or how cooercive the means of establishing rule, then they have had a hand in determining how they are governed. The other option is rejection. There is no other way. Once established, ALL governments rule by power of death, no matter how beneficial the governance is to society at large.


Then everything that happens to an society is the fault of the citizens who didn't subject themselves to fatal risk in an effort to stop it, I guess. As for ALL governments ruling by the power of death... okay, sure, but we're back to gribbles. It's a meaningless statement which I guess is supposed to get people outraged or something. Arguably, even individuals live by the power of death. I could, if I wanted, kill my neighbor and take his stuff. He could do the same to me. We have, however, implicitly agreed to a social contract where neither of us does this, with the understanding that breaking this contract will trigger other citizens to follow a codified legal ritual to deal with the killer, through the use of police and courts and jails and such.

Chew on this: every human being feeds on death and survives only through causing death. Dramatic, no? It's perfectly true, though. Since we can't live off photosynthesis, we have to let plants do it, and then animals absorb this stored energy by eating the plants, and we absorb the energy by eating the animals and the plants. Mmmmmm, pass me another plate of death, and the mustard.

You live in the U.S. so you're already ahead the curve, globally speaking, and there are likely at least a billion people who would gladly change places with you. If all governments are functionally identical, would you have any objection to such an exchange? If so, why?
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#22 Ploper

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 05:03 AM

Since actions are performed by individuals, not masses, a dictatorial government can maintain its power by cracking down on individuals.



yes, but what if a sort of uprising occured?
Individuals acting as a mass?
And what if this uprising involved every citizen in the dictatorship, who wasn't under direct service of the law or the dictator.
Why would he kill all of them? He would have nothing left but a bunch of police.
Then he wouldn't be much of a dictator would he?

What you've said is akin to saying there's no such thing as armed robbery, just people who freely choose to give their money to someone who points a gun at them.



At the same time though, I kind of like this way of looking at it.
But I'm gonna be pessimistic about this to.

again, no one's saying there's no such thing as a dictatorship
so saying that it's akin to saying there's no such thing as armed robbery wouldn't be right.
It's just looking at a similarity.
people can give money to the guy who uses force to get it
And people can give money to the beggar who asks for it.
The similarity is that they give them the money, and have the choice not to do so.
But the sircumstances are largely different.
It is much more tempting to give money to a person when the only other choice is death than when the other choice is having a particular beggar who doesn't like you very much...
But I don't think that comparison was very accurate.
But you're gonna prove me wrong, I know it, So i'll check again later to see what I find

Edited because I made one of the quotes a spoiler by accident...
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#23 Writersblock

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:08 AM

Then everything that happens to an society is the fault of the citizens who didn't subject themselves to fatal risk in an effort to stop it, I guess. As for ALL governments ruling by the power of death...


You completely fail to draw distinction between a society, or a people, as a mass rather than individuals. Masses and individuals act on completely different wavelengths. You are absolutely right that any single person is powerless against a power structure. That has nothing to do with my point.

That only holds, though, if we presume "the governed" are of a single mind and will take unanimous action when it feels like it.


Somewhere along the line enough people reach a critical mass and things start to happen outside of any one individual. This is true with any body of governed people. You make it seem like masses under cruel regimes are powerless to do anything about it. That is blatantly false. Look at any popular revolution throughout history. They always take a similar pattern of the status quo being thrown off, a period of anarchy, and then an establishment of government satisfatory (or at least non-objected to) by the masses. There is no "hive mind" or "unanimous action" involved. It's simply a matter of societal dynamics vs. interpersonal dynamics at work. I can't believe you don't see the difference.

All frackles are gribbles.
All danvies are gribbles.
All kintars are gribbles.

Therefore describing something as a "gribble" adds no useful information, because everything's a gribble. You'd have to name something that's not a gribble for gribble-dom to have any significance.

Also, not true at all. It's particularly interesting that all frackles, danvies, and kintars are gribbles when it's not obviously apparant and we are discussing the nature of a gribble.

If all governments are functionally identical

Amazing overstatement.

Chew on this: every human being feeds on death and survives only through causing death. Dramatic, no?

It is dramatic. And poignant when thought about deeply enough. That's kind of the point of what my OP. People just don't think about these things and the ramifications of social contracts or social impact on the earth. That's another post though if you want to discuss that. My discussion is focused on governance and society.


I could, if I wanted, kill my neighbor and take his stuff. He could do the same to me. We have, however, implicitly agreed to a social contract where neither of us does this, with the understanding that breaking this contract will trigger other citizens to follow a codified legal ritual to deal with the killer, through the use of police and courts and jails and such.


And you thereby give up some of your power of choice to the government in exchange for a measure of security. How far would you go? Would you give up your freedom to speak against the government if it meant you'd never be slandered? Would you give the government unfettered access to your personal effects if it meant you'd never ever be robbed? I don't mean you, Martini, in particular, but a generic you. Isn't this the choice all peoples make when allowing governance? Isn't there acceptance of everything about a governing body in exchange for some measure of security in all governments? If you see a distinction, draw it. Even the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot (arguably one of the most brutal governments ever) had people fighting for it's return after Pol Pot was deposed. While Pol Pot and his croneys were executing nearly 2 million people to "structure their government" there was no movement to resist the government. The resistance movement trying to re-establish that government lasted something like 5 years. What does that show you? Again, look at Iraq today. We come in with arguably the greatest form of government ever invented by mankind, but that society will not embrace it and fights to re-establish a regime closer to what they knew - which was a dictatorship that committed mass torture and mass exterminations. Sure there are individuals in that region that want what we offer, but until the people, enmass, decide to allow a new government, it will never exist.

As a P.S. - I've got a horrible cold so if any of this post didn't make sense, post why and I'll revisit the point when I am not on this medicine.
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#24 Martini

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 08:47 AM

There is no "hive mind" or "unanimous action" involved. It's simply a matter of societal dynamics vs. interpersonal dynamics at work. I can't believe you don't see the difference.


I can't believe you think jargon is equivalent to evidence.



It is dramatic. And poignant when thought about deeply enough. That's kind of the point of what my OP. People just don't think about these things and the ramifications of social contracts or social impact on the earth. That's another post though if you want to discuss that. My discussion is focused on governance and society.


Things get less dramatic when they are commonplace, no? Isn't your premise that all governments rule by power of death and all governments rule with the consent of their citizens? That's not really an insight, because all you've done is stretch the definitions of "power" and "consent" to cover all situations. It would be more interesting to delve into the differences between systems of government, but that requires making a firm determination of what is A and what is not-A (or gribble and not-gribble, as the case may be). If everything's a gribble, then being a gribble just means something is something, but we knew a thing was something already, so gribbleness adds nothing to our something.


And you thereby give up some of your power of choice to the government in exchange for a measure of security. How far would you go? Would you give up your freedom to speak against the government if it meant you'd never be slandered? Would you give the government unfettered access to your personal effects if it meant you'd never ever be robbed? I don't mean you, Martini, in particular, but a generic you. Isn't this the choice all peoples make when allowing governance? Isn't there acceptance of everything about a governing body in exchange for some measure of security in all governments? If you see a distinction, draw it.


It's more of a continuum, I admit, but I can say with confidence that life for the individual in any of the liberal democracies (and I use that term in the common, widely accepted sense as describing the post-industrial capitalist constitutional nations with freely elected governments) is better than life in, say, Rwanda.

Even the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot (arguably one of the most brutal governments ever) had people fighting for it's return after Pol Pot was deposed. While Pol Pot and his croneys were executing nearly 2 million people to "structure their government" there was no movement to resist the government. The resistance movement trying to re-establish that government lasted something like 5 years. What does that show you?


That the people fighting for Pol Pot's return were the ones who had enjoyed full license under his power and wanted to do so again, and the lack of an organized resistance was due to the forced de-urbanizing of the population into the countryside where communication was near-impossible (at least compared to the convenience of newspapers, television, radios and telephones city-dwellers use to receive and disseminate information) and the casual brutality of the regime, not even following an organized plan the might be disrupted through organized resistance but relying on arbitrary life-and-death judgments by local despots, was sufficient to deter resistance?


Again, look at Iraq today. We come in with arguably the greatest form of government ever invented by mankind, but that society will not embrace it and fights to re-establish a regime closer to what they knew - which was a dictatorship that committed mass torture and mass exterminations. Sure there are individuals in that region that want what we offer, but until the people, enmass, decide to allow a new government, it will never exist.


What's your point? War breed chaos? Many of the Sunni who are now fighting the Americans were the ones who enjoyed elevated social status in Saddam's Iraq, and major opportunities to keep the country reasonably stable were missed by the poorly-organized Bush administration (I refer to "The Lost Year in Iraq", a particularly fascinating episode of Frontline). Heck, the Americans themselves made their declaration in 1776, didn't win at Yorktown until 1781 and didn't get their constitution ratified until 1787. This stuff takes time.

Challenge yourself - come up with something positive and distinctive you can say about one form of government that can't be said about another form. That's where the big bucks are.
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#25 carlosn27

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 09:54 PM

... I am no Bush supporter, but he did everything with full support of Congress. Congress gave him war powers...

oh believe me, I know those idiots gave him the powers. I just cant believe they actually vote on crap like that without even reading things thoroughly.
plus, Congress at the time of the first passing of the patriot act had a republican majority.
of course, the current democratically-controlled congress cant get anything done either because they do not have the 2/3 majority to overturn his constant vetoes.

Also, according to the VP, he is not constricted by the constitution, because he is his own "fourth branch of government."
laughable, I know, but given what these idiots have done and gotten away with, I'm just freaking amazed God hasnt struck them with a lightning bolt yet.
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#26 darthmat

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:40 AM

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?


I disagree, the best government is lack-there-of.
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#27 Ploper

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:47 AM

that would be great huh?
But govorment is there for a reason I guess.
And you will never be able to rid the world of people who want power and'll do anything to get it
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#28 darthmat

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:54 AM

I never said it was likely. I just said it would be the best form of government.
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#29 Ploper

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:07 AM

oh no, don't get me the wrong way.
I wholeheartedly agree
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#30 darthmat

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:09 AM


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