The Principles of Democracy

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This is just something going on in my head as a working model of democracy – please feel free to add, critique or dismiss.

Democracy should be built on these three principles.

The Law of Justification

Popular Rule

The Golden Rule

If a democracy was to derive its laws, rights, policies, institution, etc…, under the scrutiny of these three principles, the resulting government could be quite an example for others to follow.

The Law of Justification (LJ) is the simple process of legitimizing the existence of laws, institutions, policy, trade, etc… Along with LJ, the other two principles acting as guidelines in formulating justifiable government legislation.

Popular Rule (PR) is simply based on the principle of majority rules. With some highly scrutinized autocratic decision making, the majority would dictate all local, state or national government actions accordingly and respectively.

The Golden Rule (GR) is the most worthwhile notion out of the entire bible - Do to others what you would have them do to you. A strictly non-religious form of this principle would be adhered too. The principle would be a counter force to PR due to dominate culture bias. The idealized notion of an educated society implementing this principle along with LJ to act as balance to PR.

Basically LJ, PR and GR would act like the three branches of government acting as balancing force to scrutinize all action of government, including each principle scrutinizing each other.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer...
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Comments

I hate to be negative, but in the US the very concept of democracy has been sabotaged ever since the "founding" and relegated to the sidelines ever since. This explains why liberals in the US today actually believe minor tweaks to a reform-proof anti-democratic system is "democracy".

To borrow from an old blog post @

http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2005/12/what-constitutes-morally-legitimate.html

* Legislators represent people, not trees or acres.
* Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.
* One person, one vote.
* All votes are of equal weight.
* Minorities should have their interests protected though constitutional protections... NOT by granting them a bigger vote.
* There should be a strong culture of civic responsibility.
* Majority rules but sizable minorities have institutional tools to obstruct the majority.
* Citizens have the right to vote their conscience and receive some representation in government.
* No citizen can be deprived of their vote.
* Citizens have the right to vote their conscience and NOT worry about the so-called "spoiler" effect.
* Electoral/political systems must accurately measure and reflect the will of the People.
* Electoral/political systems must encourage maximum citizen participation in elections.
* No candidate should win an election with less than 50% of the vote.
* Amending our Constitution should require a high bar, but not one so high that it makes the Constitution virtually reform-proof.

I also believe:

* Freedom of the press as an individual right is insufficient. The media must serve as the marketplace of ideas presenting all political perspectives not just the corporate/two-party viewpoints.
* The media must be free to serve as a counterweight to government.
* Money corrupts the democratic process and its influence should be limited.

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ulTRAX
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That's why I use words like if and should. If American society is going to change, it must come from the bottom up. I am just offering democratic theory, and not commentary on our existing system.

I was hoping for a meaningful conversation about something other than libertarianism, or the futility of trying to out manage, our overly managed society.

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RichardofJeffer...
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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:

That's why I use words like if and should. If American society is going to change, it must come from the bottom up. I am just offering democratic theory, and not commentary on our existing system.

I was hoping for a meaningful conversation about something other than libertarianism, or the futility of trying to out manage, our overly managed society.

What about individual rights? Can the majority trump them?

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Quote LysanderSpooner:

What about individual rights? Can the majority trump them?

Yes. Demcracy should supersede individual rights.

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RichardofJeffer...
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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:

That's why I use words like if and should. If American society is going to change, it must come from the bottom up. I am just offering democratic theory, and not commentary on our existing system.

Can't ask what democracy is... or should be, without some details to flesh the topic out. We already have in the US too many liberals who wear democracy on their sleeves but in fact all they want to do is tinker and put band-aids on an antidemocratic system. It's as hypocritical as most on the right who pretend they value fiscal responsibility but are buying into the GOP's free lunch tax cut mania.

Are you arguing that we should not cut through all the bull and have some clarity here?

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Quote ulTRAX:

Are you arguing that we should not cut through all the bull and have some clarity here?

Well, I suggested three principle - justification, majority rule and the Golden Rule should be the foundation, of which, a democracy should be built upon.

I don't know how much clearer I could be; I even defined the principles.

Are you looking for examples? OR is the question rhetorical?

I believe the US form of government is littered in bullshit and the liberal class is among the chief dispensers of it. The US government functions as a representative government limited to access and compensation, not a democracy, not even a representative democracy.

I was offering an alternative approach to forming democratic institutions.

Example: If I was involved in forming a democratic institution made up of (let's say) a thousand people, I would advocate using these three principles to establish policy, practice, rule, etc...

I don't believe there is any amount of tweaking that can effectively change the nature of the US government. People have to organize and maintain democratic institution to rival government indifference or aggression.

I'm not sure if I've addressed your question, but I was little confused by it.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:

Are you arguing that we should not cut through all the bull and have some clarity here?

Well, I suggested three principle - justification, majority rule and the Golden Rule should be the foundation, of which, a democracy should be built upon.

I don't know how much clearer I could be; I even defined the principles.

Are you looking for examples? OR is the question rhetorical?

Asking for you to flesh out just what you mean by majority rule means is not rhetorical. Our entire federal system could be said operates on the principle of majority rule. But whenever representatives of STATES are doing the voting... the number of real citizens each vote represents varies... and at it's extreme is about 70:1 in the Senate. The EC can be said to select presidents by majority rule... but again each EC has different weight and can vary by about 3:1.

So unless by majority rule you mean the votes of CITIZENS... where all votes weigh the same, it's a meaningless concept. The majority in the Senate represents a mere 18% of the US population and they have special powers that can not be checked by the House... which has it's own antidemocratic defects. So treaties and confirmations to important executive and judicial positions can me made by a president who was REJECTED by the People... and by Senators representing as little as 18% of the population. Hell... amendments can be ratified by states with less than 40% of the population. Our system permits minirity rule... that is if we look at how CITIZENS are represented as opposed to states.

Seeing the problem yet?

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:I don't believe there is any amount of tweaking that can effectively change the nature of the US government. People have to organize and maintain democratic institution to rival government indifference or aggression.

I'm not sure if I've addressed your question, but I was little confused by it.

I'm confused with this entire thread. Unless you can define who gets the vote, insure they all weigh the same, have an electoral system that offers a full range of choices, accurately find some way to measure the public will... and permit everyone to get at least some representation for what they believe... then a failure on any of these points means the system is failing to be democratic.

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Yeah, I'm confused too, ulTrax. What shall we do?

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The founders were careful to protect minority rights which is a concession to the often unwise judgment of the majority. Government by referendum has often caused problems. Example--California's "three strikes and you're out."

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Quote Combad57:

The founders were careful to protect minority rights which is a concession to the often unwise judgment of the majority. Government by referendum has often caused problems. Example--California's "three strikes and you're out."

Government by representation has given us Citizen United, NAFTA, Communist containment, The War on Terror, McCarthyism, Wilson's Red Scare, The Patriot Act, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and on and on and on... Don't dismiss popular democracy because voters have made mistakes.

The Founding Fathers had little regard for anybody but their own interest, and that's reflected in our limited representative government.

Society must be educated to achieve a pure popular democracy; however, forming democratic institution like consumer, citizen or labor unions could counter government indifference by public pressure - these institution could also be used to educate people to better understand the power and responsibility of a popular democracy.

In a popular democracy, I envision changing laws or policies to be much easier and democratic process, so if mistake are made the can be reversed.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:

Yeah, I'm confused too, ulTrax. What shall we do?

Progressives need to clarify values, create a vision of where they want to take this nation in 50 years, and develop a long term strategy to overcome obstacles to reforming an antidemocratic and virtually reformproof system. 50 years is optimistic.

Personally I think we can salvage the Constitution with some key democratic reforms. Abolish state suffrage from which every antidemocratic feature of our Constitution arises, reform the amendment process so it's based on a super majority of citizens rather than states, turn the Senate into a national body based on proportional representation. Limit the influence of money in campaigns. Democracy is not the market where money rules. Reforming the House... more difficult. I like the idea of regional representation... but it must be isolated from Gerrymandering. Multi district elections may be a solution.

Where to start? First the reformers can work with the Democratic Party... but never forget that the Dems don't want to lose power to third parties. They simply can't be trusted. Work within a few states with citizen referendum to bring proportional representation to states first. Then when these examples prove themselves, start pushing for national reforms.

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Quote Combad57:

The founders were careful to protect minority rights which is a concession to the often unwise judgment of the majority. Government by referendum has often caused problems. Example--California's "three strikes and you're out."

I've never seen any federal referendum sent to the People. Don't conflate state laws with the federal government. The way the federal government protects minority interests and rights is either through the Bill Of Rights... not a very well written document, I might add, AND through antidemocratic government... where any citizen in WY has 70x the influence in the Senate than any citizen in CA... or where a president rejected by the People can be imposed on the nation as we saw in 2000.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote Combad57:

The founders were careful to protect minority rights which is a concession to the often unwise judgment of the majority. Government by referendum has often caused problems. Example--California's "three strikes and you're out."

Government by representation has given us Citizen United, NAFTA, Communist containment, The War on Terror, McCarthyism, Wilson's Red Scare, The Patriot Act, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and on and on and on... Don't dismiss popular democracy because voters have made mistakes.

Don't confuse our system with one that accurately measures or translates the public will into policy. Look how US and world history changed for the worst AGAINST THE PUBLIC WILL when Bush2 was imposed on the nation that rejected him.

And here are some numbers of how a majority of those who vote can vote for Dems yet the GOP can control the Senate... from http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2014/01/does-constitution-give-gop-unf...

1998-----26,769,791----25,347,782----1,681,198
2000-----36,788,222----36,729,792----5,797,467
2002-----20,470,371----22,198,747----1,606,029
====================================
VOTES--84,028,384----84,276,321----9,084,694
SEATS----45 DEMS------55 GOP--------0 IND

2000-----36,788,222----36,729,792----5,797,467
2002-----20,470,371----22,198,747----1,606,029
2004-----43,605,968----39,920,857----2,678,558
====================================
VOTES--100,864,561---98,849,396--10,082,054
SEATS----44 DEM------- 55 GOP------- 1 IND

2002-----20,470,371----22,198,747----1,606,029
2004-----43,605,968----39,920,857----2,678,558
2006-----33,623,140----26,489,040----2,837,821
====================================
VOTES--97,699,479----88,608,644----7,122,408
SEATS---49 DEMS------ 49 GOP-------- 2 IND

2004-----43,605,968----39,920,857----2,678,558
2006-----33,623,140----26,489,040----2,837,821
2008-----35,473,711----30,913,256----3,485,123
====================================
VOTES--112,702,819----97,323,153----9,001,502
SEATS---57 DEMS------- 41 GOP-------- 2 IND

2006-----33,623,140----26,489,040----2,837,821
2008-----35,473,711----30,913,256----3,485,123
2010-----33,225,487----35,958,608----5,481,075
====================================
VOTES--102,322,338--93,360,904---11,804,019
SEATS---51 DEMS------ 47 GOP------ 2 IND

2008-----35,473,711----30,913,256----3,485,123
2010-----33,225,487----35,958,608----5,481,075
2012-----43,930,193----39,130,984----3,930,192
====================================
VOTES--112,629,391--106,002,848--12,896,390
SEATS---53 DEMS----- 45 GOP------- 2 IND

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Democratizing the economy should be a priority. The corporate structure of our political economy necessitates it. There are a range of ideas on that subject. Putting the financial system under effective government regulation is probably necessary as well, as a condition for democracy at the workplace to happen. But the basic idea is that people will be able to participate in the decision making at their workplace to some meaningful extent. Though I mean beyond advocating for their interests (wages, benefits, conditions), the unions and that type of organizing and campaign can be effective in achieving goals despite the capture of our political system by the divestor class (they aren't the investor class because they destroy more value than they create in the process of disenfranchising people).

nimblecivet
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Quote nimblecivet:

Democratizing the economy should be a priority.

But this requires government interventions to protect unions and reform corporate charters.

I've often wondered why the US and western Europe differ so when it comes to how much they keep their corporations on a leash... and I believe it's our antidemocratic form of government where 18% of the US population gets a majority of the seats in the Senate, so the Senate can block anything coming out of the House. And a mere 3.5% of the population in the 12 smallest states can block any reform.

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Yes, from what I can tell the labor movement is acknowledging these kinds of difficulties by setting the goal of creating a massive grassroots movement tightly associated with the political process. The fast food workers' strikes were arguably effective although they were not as militant of an action as those early in U.S. history before all the labor laws were passed. Some say that labor action should be more militant, and they tend to be of the anarchist/autonomist types who are leery of the state in the first place.

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

And of course there were all the idiots in Occupy who were happy to have just about anybody show up except progressive democrats and unions. Cuz, you know, liberal fascists.

nimblecivet
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Quote nimblecivet:

Some say that labor action should be more militant, and they tend to be of the anarchist/autonomist types who are leery of the state in the first place.

What labor needs to do is educate the public that business has prospered and become powerful not entirely on it's own. It gets numerous freebies from government such as patent and copyright protections... free limited liability protections for companies and their shareholders... AND reduced tax rates for capital gains.

Labor had NO such help from government to balance the scales until the 30's.

This is a blind-spot in our understanding of US history and makes the moral case for more restrictions on corporate power and more protections for labor.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2014/07/can-capitalism-thrive-without-...

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Again, all true. But, the problem is getting even worse. The art of futzing with the definition of words has gotten to the point where the government is powerless- or complicit- in the face of the most absurd sophistry. A "sharing" service like Uber runs openly as a business, and transfers all liability to the employee (to use the correct word). Of course there are already laws in place to ensure that actual fault on the part of the driver is properly dealt with so this just shifts any blame for how the service is run onto the driver.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3042081/what-does-a-union-look-like-in-the-gi...

Drivers who work on Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have started "App-Based Drivers Associations" in at least two states. The California branch teamed up with local Teamsters in August for "organizational and lobbying assistance," and in September, after Uber drivers in New York created a Facebook Page called Uber Drivers Network NYC, some of them went on strike over Uber fare cuts.

...

Like it or not, employment in the United States looks different than it did 50 years ago—at least 30% of the workforce are independent contractors, the ratio of part-time workers to full-time workers is still higher than before the recession, and there are 2.87 million temporary workers, a record number. Some argue that the gig economy—comprised of companies like Uber, TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Handy, who coordinate independent contractors on a task-by-task basis instead of hiring employees—is a promising development in this conundrum. It offers flexible supplemental income the regular economy is not supplying. Others argue it’s a return to the piecework system that exploited workers before the modern concept of "employee" came on the scene.

...

About three years ago, Michelle Miller, who had worked with traditional labor movements for years, began to notice a pattern of spikes in attention like the one around the Amazon Turk letter-writing campaign. "A group would form around an issue for a couple of weeks," she says. "There would be some excitement, some media coverage of the issue the workers were talking about, and then it would either be resolved or it wouldn’t be, and everything would sort of dissipate back to the way it was."

Her answer was, a platform where workers can, like on Change.org, organize petitions, but with one major difference: The communities build not just around specific issues, but around virtual and analog workplaces. Once someone self-identifies as an employee of a company, Coworker keeps them updated about new campaigns within that company. Miller says, for instance, the site has signed up more than 17,000 Starbucks employees through various campaigns.

...

The only way for independent workers to really benefit from the platforms that use their labor, argues Janelle Orsi, a lawyer who specializes in sharing economy issues, is for them to own the platforms themselves, in what she calls a "freelancer-owned cooperative." Since these platforms would by definition treat workers better, she thinks they could challenge companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Homejoy by essentially stealing their workforces. "The companies themselves have very few assets," she says. "They don’t own cars, and they don’t own infrastructure, they don’t own hotels. They just own a software platform and a lot of clout. And if that clout goes away, then they just have software. And lots of people can create software."

Needless to say, some people find this unlikely. "The barrier is not so much the number of people who want to do that, it would be the tech talent to do that," says Denise Cheng, who studied labor issues in the gig economy for her masters thesis at MIT. "These are actually complex systems. It is not easy to get really talented engineers to work at a company like that."

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Which makes me think of the old saying "If only criminals would put their mind towards something useful."

nimblecivet
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Quote nimblecivet:

Democratizing the economy should be a priority.

nimblecivet, I don’t only agree that democratizing the U.S. economy is a priority; I believe the economy is the most vulnerable point to which the public could gain influence over the government.

I have long advocated for people to organize into consumer unions. The word consumer seems to gain the most hostility, it could be called anything, but the main purpose of the union should be participating in the economy. By participation, I mean support, strengthen and create markets or disrupt, undermine and limit profitability of markets.

I use to believe size was the key for a consumer union to be effective, but I’ve reconsidered this notion since the revelation of the FCC decision to capitulate to public pressure. So, this lead to the question - How was just 1% of the population able to counter the telecommunication industries lobbying the FCC to create a pay-to-play internet speed service? Hell, the telecommunication industry even had their man sitting in a key position at the FCC.

In my opinion, it had to do with the FCC website comment section. Most of the 4 million protest was through the FCC website’s comment section, and the underlying (subtle) thread was people seeking alternatives to commercial internet services. The concern from the power base might have been the idea of more communities providing public internet services as an alternative to commercial markets. The idea of the public organizing at all is always a cause for concern of the power base of the United States.

Now, imagine if 10 million people organized to democratize the US economy. This would lead to other organization joining in solidarity if people could be organized toward such a movement; however, there lies the problem. How to get people involved? I am unable to articulate in a meaningful way to garner interest, let alone any kind of collaboration.

Regardless of how or why the public might organize to counter the economy or government directly. I would advocate for using that organization to apply public pressure on the political system, but I would strongly recommend not joining a political party. Support individual government officials or policies, but don’t affiliate directly in the political system. I believe any public organization should remain independent of government influence as much as possible.

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Quote ulTRAX:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:

Yeah, I'm confused too, ulTrax. What shall we do?

Progressives need to clarify values, create a vision of where they want to take this nation in 50 years, and develop a long term strategy to overcome obstacles to reforming an antidemocratic and virtually reformproof system. 50 years is optimistic.

Personally I think we can salvage the Constitution with some key democratic reforms. Abolish state suffrage from which every antidemocratic feature of our Constitution arises, reform the amendment process so it's based on a super majority of citizens rather than states, turn the Senate into a national body based on proportional representation. Limit the influence of money in campaigns. Democracy is not the market where money rules. Reforming the House... more difficult. I like the idea of regional representation... but it must be isolated from Gerrymandering. Multi district elections may be a solution.

Where to start? First the reformers can work with the Democratic Party... but never forget that the Dems don't want to lose power to third parties. They simply can't be trusted. Work within a few states with citizen referendum to bring proportional representation to states first. Then when these examples prove themselves, start pushing for national reforms.

I agree with most of what you're saying, but I believe independent organization not affiliated with the political system is the best approach. Public pressure from the outside has always been the most effective way to force the government to change course. Rarely is government self-correcting or self-compelled to changed the status quo. The key is independent public pressure regardless of how it is organized.

The New Deal, Civil Rights, Slavery, Women's Suffrage, Labor laws etc... was all established by public pressure on the system, not from inside the system. If a politicians takes up a cause, it is normally out of political strategy and not public concern. Hell, even LBJ's War on Poverty, which was never seriously fought, was inspired by the civil rights movement.

I believe organizing based loosely on the labor union structure to form democratic unions at he the local level with the objective of forming association with other democratic unions to create a grassroots movement, but I would caution against direct involvement in any political party - I believe this is wear we differe greatly in our approach.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:

Progressives need to clarify values, create a vision of where they want to take this nation in 50 years, and develop a long term strategy to overcome obstacles to reforming an antidemocratic and virtually reformproof system. 50 years is optimistic.

Personally I think we can salvage the Constitution with some key democratic reforms. Abolish state suffrage from which every antidemocratic feature of our Constitution arises, reform the amendment process so it's based on a super majority of citizens rather than states, turn the Senate into a national body based on proportional representation. Limit the influence of money in campaigns. Democracy is not the market where money rules. Reforming the House... more difficult. I like the idea of regional representation... but it must be isolated from Gerrymandering. Multi district elections may be a solution.

Where to start? First the reformers can work with the Democratic Party... but never forget that the Dems don't want to lose power to third parties. They simply can't be trusted. Work within a few states with citizen referendum to bring proportional representation to states first. Then when these examples prove themselves, start pushing for national reforms.

I agree with most of what you're saying, but I believe independent organization not affiliated with the political system is the best approach. Public pressure from the outside has always been the most effective way to force the government to change course. Rarely is government self-correcting or self-compelled to changed the status quo. The key is independent public pressure regardless of how it is organized.

The New Deal, Civil Rights, Slavery, Women's Suffrage, Labor laws etc... was all established by public pressure on the system, not from inside the system.

Public pressure for what? Like the Tea Crackpot pressure from the right, public pressure for reforms needs to have some progressive principles as a basis for a vision of what reforms are needed.

As for some of the examples you gave... to the extent they needed constitutional reforms... let's be clear. They only reversed slavery and women being denied the vote... what should never have been legal in the first place. The record for amendments that reform ANY of the antidemocratic and reformproof aspects of our Constitution are so far ZERO in 225 years. Here's a breakdown.

http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-those-27-amendments-p...

Unless the Constitution is made democratic, it will ALWAYS put the thumb on the scale in favor of the right. It's not insurmountable, but the GOP has made impressive progress to straightjacket the Dems. They've sabotaged the fiscal health of the nation with debt. And they've rigged the system to straightjacket the Dems though gerrymandering, right wing radicals on the courts, going after groups that fund the Dems, the war on unions, and voter suppression etc. Combine this with the Dems being cowardly and not having any vision of where to take this nation in 50 years... any future progressive movement has a big hole to dig out of before real progress can be made towards democracy, single payer, reversing free trade, building up the union movement, putting corporations on a chokechain etc.

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RichardofJ- The net neutrality vote is a couple days away, and the consumers who are most affected have been successful in promoting their agenda:

https://celebrity.yahoo.com/news/fcc-critics-try-whip-internet-access-pa...

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/02/fcc-republicans-launch-last-d...

Unless I'm missing something? Did Thom cover this recently?

Ultrax, apparently you don't count the 17th Amendment:

http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/17th-amendment/

17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Direct Election of U.S. Senators

Americans did not directly vote for senators for the first 125 years of the Federal Government. The Constitution, as it was adopted in 1788, stated that senators would be elected by state legislatures. The first proposal to amend the Constitution to elect senators by popular vote was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1826, but the idea did not gain considerable support until the late 19th century when several problems related to Senate elections had become evident. Several state legislatures deadlocked over the election of senators, which led to Senate vacancies lasting months and even years. In other cases, political machines gained control over state legislatures, and the Senators elected with their support were dismissed as puppets. In addition, the Senate was seen as a “millionaire's club” serving powerful private interests. The rise of the People's Party, commonly referred to as the Populist Party, added motivation for making the Senate more directly accountable to the people.

During the 1890s, the House of Representatives passed several resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment for the direct election of senators. Each time, however, the Senate refused to even take a vote. When it seemed unlikely that both houses of Congress would pass legislation proposing an amendment for direct election, many states changed strategies. Article V of the Constitution states that Congress must call a constitutional convention for proposing amendments when two-thirds of the state legislatures apply for one. Although the method had never previously been used, many states began sending Congress applications for conventions. As the number of applications neared the two-thirds bar, Congress finally acted.

nimblecivet
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Quote nimblecivet:Ultrax, apparently you don't count the 17th Amendment:

I DID include the 17th and 23ed on my list as making the Constitution more democratic but not in the sense you're suggesting. http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2012/11/do-those-27-amendments-p... But it only does so in a very limited sense... by allowing the People to vote, instead of state legislatures, directly for their Senators. The 17th merely finds an alternate way to keep the Senate antidemocratic. If the 17th were repealed today... a mere 18% of the US population would STILL get 52% of the Senate seats.

There's no way to make the Senate democratic as long as represents states... and is protected by a poison pill in the Constitution. However... the Constitution doesn't prohibit senate rules from weighting votes by state populations...

http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2010/02/reforming-anti-democrati...

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

RichardofJ- The net neutrality vote is a couple days away, and the consumers who are most affected have been successful in promoting their agenda:

I think that's what I said - I was marveling at how just over 1% of the population was able to change the course of a government institution like the FCC, and this goes to my much broader point that the public can influence government.

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RichardofJeffer...
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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:I think that's what I said - I was marveling at how just over 1% of the population was able to change the course of a government institution like the FCC, and this goes to my much broader point that the public can influence government.

The FCC might have ruled this way regardless. If your theory was correct... and I'm not saying it never happens, then why can something like 70-80% of the public wanting expanded background checks for guns get through the system?

I think you're underestimating the obstacles the federal system places in the path of majority rule.... and enables at times minority rule.

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ulTRAX
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Quote ulTRAX:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:I think that's what I said - I was marveling at how just over 1% of the population was able to change the course of a government institution like the FCC, and this goes to my much broader point that the public can influence government.

The FCC might have ruled this way regardless. If your theory was correct... and I'm not saying it never happens, then why can something like 70-80% of the public wanting expanded background checks for guns get through the system?

I think you're underestimating the obstacles the federal system places in the path of majority rule.... and enables at times minority rule.

So, in this one case, you're going to make the argument that the FCC was not influeced by the telecommunication industry on net neutrality, and by its own volition decided to go against a powerful industry lobby, and public protest had nothing to do with it.

I'm wondering if I had chosen the other side of the argument that FCC had acted on behalf of the public. That you would suggest it was public pressure that influenced the FCC.

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Quote ulTRAX:

Public pressure for what? Like the Tea Crackpot pressure from the right, public pressure for reforms needs to have some progressive principles as a basis for a vision of what reforms are needed.

Hence, my opening post about the PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY. I don't know how you have managed to conflated what I'm saying with the Tea Party, but it's a nice straw man construction with absolutely no relevance to what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a grassroots effort from the bottom up based in democratic principles; the Tea Party, as you well know, was started by wealth interest in the US with a anti-democratic agenda. Are you suggesting that I'm a provocateur with some hidden agenda? Because I don't find anything I've written here to be unclear. Hell, even a tedious objectivist like Lysanderspooner understood what I meant by majority rule.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:I'm wondering if I had chosen the other side of the argument that FCC had acted on behalf of the public. That you would suggest it was public pressure that influenced the FCC.

Maybe the FCC just realized it was the best policy. They've made mistakes in the past... such as when their first color TV standard made older B&W TVs obsolete. They were forced to reverse that. The decision under Reagan to let the market decide the new AM stereo format was a disaster. But the FCC has usually made some objectively desirable decisions.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:

Public pressure for what? Like the Tea Crackpot pressure from the right, public pressure for reforms needs to have some progressive principles as a basis for a vision of what reforms are needed.

Hence, my opening post about the PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY. I don't know how you have managed to conflated what I'm saying with the Tea Party, but it's a nice straw man construction with absolutely no relevance to what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a grassroots effort from the bottom up based in democratic principles; the Tea Party, as you well know, was started by wealth interest in the US with a anti-democratic agenda. Are you suggesting that I'm a provocateur with some hidden agenda? Because I don't find anything I've written here to be unclear.

Take a happy pill and calm down Rich. I was responding to a specific point you made

The key is independent public pressure regardless of how it is organized.

The New Deal, Civil Rights, Slavery, Women's Suffrage, Labor laws etc... was all established by public pressure on the system, not from inside the system.

Sure, one can consider public pressure part of democracy... a concept I still don't think you've fleshed out very well. My point is the right has invested billions and decades creating a narrative for Tea Crackpots to parrot. It's a deceptive narrative that hides the right's true agenda... but it's compelling and comprehensive enough to motivate these loons. I don't see ANYTHING close on the liberal side. Liberal Dems simply lack a vision and without one, there's just not the motivation to get active. Dems typically think only as far ahead as the next election. Hell... in 35 years these moron strategists still haven't even come up with an effective response to Starve The Beast... a strategy designed not just to straightjacket any new Dem social programs BUT TO DISMANTLE the New Deal and Great Society.

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Quote ulTRAX:

Take a happy pill and calm down Rich.

Yet, another straw man. Congratz. Rich is overreacting to my endless parsing and nitpicking over details that should be implied by the content. I'm am not upset just mildly baffled. Maybe you'll suggest some anti-baffle pills in your next pejorative comment?

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Quote ulTRAX:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:I think that's what I said - I was marveling at how just over 1% of the population was able to change the course of a government institution like the FCC, and this goes to my much broader point that the public can influence government.

The FCC might have ruled this way regardless. If your theory was correct... and I'm not saying it never happens, then why can something like 70-80% of the public wanting expanded background checks for guns get through the system?

I think you're underestimating the obstacles the federal system places in the path of majority rule.... and enables at times minority rule.

People were protesting the original proposal by the FCC - The proposal had to be changed from pro-telecommunication industry rule change to the current form as a publicly protect utility. Your logic does not follow. Causality is hard to prove, but we can only go on what we know. We know the FCC was proposing pay-to-Play tiered speed service, and then public protest started, and after the protest the re-write to the proposal as a publicly protected utility.

Your logic would be that a FCC changed course on Net Neutrality, a pro telecommunication industry proposal, without being compelled by any kind of outside influence to do so. It is possible, but not likely.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:I think that's what I said - I was marveling at how just over 1% of the population was able to change the course of a government institution like the FCC, and this goes to my much broader point that the public can influence government.

The FCC might have ruled this way regardless. If your theory was correct... and I'm not saying it never happens, then why can something like 70-80% of the public wanting expanded background checks for guns get through the system?

I think you're underestimating the obstacles the federal system places in the path of majority rule.... and enables at times minority rule.

People were protesting the original proposal by the FCC - The proposal had to be changed from pro-telecommunication industry rule change to the current form as a publicly protect utility. Your logic does not follow. Causality is hard to prove, but we can only go on what we know. We know the FCC was proposing pay-to-Play tiered speed service, and then public protest started, and after the protest the re-write to the proposal as a publicly protected utility.

Your logic would be that a FCC changed course on Net Neutrality, a pro telecommunication industry proposal, without being compelled by any kind of outside influence to do so. It is possible, but not likely.

With the gun issue, you've got a complicated case with little direct action the public can use against the industry because there is no one agreement on the solution or a focused collective effort. People are still buying guns, and the industry is not being threaten by a public option. The telecommunication industry might have pulled their support after President Obama publicly praised communities that started up public internet services. What's the gun industry got to worry about? The telecommunication industry may have seen the same thing I was seeing, and decided it would not be a good idea to challenge the public. If public internet service becomes a popular option then the telecommunication industry would suffer. However, the gun industry has no such worries or fears because yes, the majority of people do want back-ground checks but the gun industry's bottom-line is not being threaten because of it. So, why change anything.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:

Take a happy pill and calm down Rich.

Yet, another straw man. Congratz. Rich is overreacting to my endless parsing and nitpicking over details that should be implied by the content. I'm am not upset just mildly baffled. Maybe you'll suggest some anti-baffle pills in your next pejorative comment?

Why should things be "implied" as opposed to specifically spelled out? The reason I'm frustrated with this thread, and I just reread it, is because I STILL don't sense you have any principles of what democracy means besides your vague guidelines in which all sort of mischief can hide. I tried to flesh out specific principles in post 2... which I see no evidence you understand. You seem to be all over the board.

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Quote ulTRAX:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:

Take a happy pill and calm down Rich.

Yet, another straw man. Congratz. Rich is overreacting to my endless parsing and nitpicking over details that should be implied by the content. I'm am not upset just mildly baffled. Maybe you'll suggest some anti-baffle pills in your next pejorative comment?

Why should things be "implied" as opposed to specifically spelled out? The reason I'm frustrated with this thread, and I just reread it, is because I STILL don't sense you have any principles of what democracy means besides your vague guidelines in which all sort of mischief can hide. I tried to flesh out specific principles in post 2... which I see no evidence you understand. You seem to be all over the board.

I looked at your post (post #2) and I was unimpressed. You're just offering another form of a managed society. I want society to develop and manage itself. You can't manage out mistake and mischief; you can only help to guide, hence, my three principles of democracy. You could've asked a question like how would your principles deal with an issue like abortion, the death penalty, social security, health care, the prison system, trade authority, etc.. then scrutinize my theory, but you went in another direction. I was looking to flesh it out as we went along, but it got bogged down and it doesn't look like it attracted much input.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote ulTRAX:Why should things be "implied" as opposed to specifically spelled out? The reason I'm frustrated with this thread, and I just reread it, is because I STILL don't sense you have any principles of what democracy means besides your vague guidelines in which all sort of mischief can hide. I tried to flesh out specific principles in post 2... which I see no evidence you understand. You seem to be all over the board.

I looked at your post (post #2) and I was unimpressed. You're just offering another form of a managed society. I want society to develop and manage itself. You can't manage out mistake and mischief; you can only help to guide, hence, my three principles of democracy.

Managed society? WTF does that even mean?

And just for the record Sport, I can say with some certainty, that no matter how unimpressed you were with my attempt to be specific... I was infinitely less impressed with your utter vagueness.

Do you serious believe you can build a democracy around

The Law of Justification, Popular Rule and The Golden Rule ???????????????

You can't even define "popular rule". And who TF knows what the rest means.

Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:You could've asked a question like how would your principles deal with an issue like abortion, the death penalty, social security, health care, the prison system, trade authority, etc.. then scrutinize my theory, but you went in another direction. I was looking to flesh it out as we went along, but it got bogged down and it doesn't look like it attracted much input.
Flesh out what? Do you even agree with the principle that democracy is about one person... one vote... AND ALL VOTES WEIGH THE SAME.

Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.

is right out a Supreme Court decision on voting rights. http://laws.findlaw.com/us/377/533.html

And why do need I need to demonstrate how the principles I outlined would affect any specific issue? Democracy is about PROCESS and less about outcomes.

I think this discussion has run its course.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Now I'm confused, Richard. Now it sounds like you agree with Ultrax that the current situation renders the system unsalvageable, and you disagree about the worth of any effort to reform the system. Is that correct? But even with the current system if your principles were observed then the current institutions would be adequate to change the situation (and the system, or abolish it as obsolete). Or do you believe that the current system is inconsistent with your principles?

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

nimblecivet, I do agree with some of what ulTRAX is saying, a lot of it is sound logic, but I completely disagree with his approach to reforming the system.

I offered this post as a purely philosophical approach to how a democracy should develop using these three principles. On the surface this looks very basic, but if you start to use these three principles to scrutinize something like abortion, the way forward is not so clear and easily achieved. The process of forming a democracy should be difficult posing many difficult questions, and justification and the golden rule would be the first step in the process of scrutinizing these questions. Debate, consensus and contemplation would be left to majority rule only after scrutinized by the first two principles. - This was the kind of thing I was hoping this post would inspire.

Now, to your questions:

Now it sounds like you agree with Ultrax that the current situation renders the system unsalvageable, and you disagree about the worth of any effort to reform the system. Is that correct?

In a sense, yes, that is correct, but let me clarify my stance.

Most people fall into one of these classes in reference to what the US government needs to be: strengthen, reformed, changed or blow-the-whole-thing-up-and-start-over. I'm part of the blow-the-whole-thing-up-and-start-over crowd; however, I believe it is going to take a couple of generation at least to achieve that kind of society.

The first step, in my opinion, is that society should be forming independent politically neutral democratic (majority rule) based institutions as a counter force to the US system of limited representative government. My hope would be that these democratic institutions (DI) would use public pressure to influence government reforms - These reforms would line up with the agenda of the DI.

Democratic institution is just a generic term (DI).

The second propose of the DI would be to educate the public and lead as a example of democracy (1 person = 1 vote). The DI should offer their members and non-members, as well, access to courses like critical thinking, how government institution work, how economic institutions work, public speaking and debating, consumerism, understanding propaganda, etc... Side Note: These kind of courses, I would hope, would be part of the DI agenda to pressure the US government into putting these types of courses into the public school system.

Once the DI is established and gains influence as a counter force to the US government indifference to the will of the public, along with the strategy of educating the public to navigate the many divisive manufactured constructs that bastardizes societal growth - then the long process of actually implementing meaningful, sustain and effective reforms, changes or my personal desires a complete rewriting of the US Constitution including a revised version of the Bill of Rights.

However, I don't want to manage it, I want it to develop out of some underlying principles, and I thought those principles I suggested to start this forum thread would be a decent place to start in forming a democratic theory that would develop a strong democracy. Nothing absolute just ideas...

Does any of this makes sense to you?

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That all makes sense, yes. And I don't have any problem with it in and of itself. But I have to admit that when I look at things dispassionately and objectively I cannot shake some of the elitist tendencies that are worked so deeply into western culture.

When I was a kid I always favored the tales from ancient civilization. One day I was in the school library, I think I was in fourth grade. There was a picture book about the Norse gods and mythology. That was the kind of thing that gave me an escape from the negativity I saw all around me. For example, there was a kid in fifth or sixth grade who was a drug dealer. It was easy for the "bad" kids to get PCP and so forth but I was the all-around outcast. Anyway the kid insulted me and I met him later to fight but I couldn't bring myself to swing on him. I had been in fights before, mostly losing, but its just not in my nature. I always identified with Baldur, the good of light and beauty who was banished from the world until the "final reckoning" of Ragnarok at which point he would be exalted among the gods. (Probably a Christianized reworking of the mythology is what has been passed down, although maybe not a lot of revision was necessary given how easily Christianity absorbed and tranformed the various memes of the ancient world.)

I never really thought about it too much until later as I gradually expanded my knowledge but the Greek myths and legends impart a sort of sense of elitism. All of this gets worked into the general sense of disappointment and revulsion at the hypocricy of society. At this point it is the implications of the idea of elitism in the practical sense that are problematic for me. For example, its easy to just dismiss Stalin as a monster- he was- but he also ensured that the Soviet Union would survive as a worker's state. Maybe things could have been different, but who knows. The idea of democracy, and specifically socialism, is too young to offer enough material to find a major counter-example upon which to base the assertion "Here's what they should have done."

In the end, I would rather just stick to my ideals and let the chips fall where they may. If it works out, good. If not, I tried. But philosophically speaking, though I would like for people to act in good faith I don't know how we can wait two generations or more for that to happen. A lot can happen in that timeframe and the people who have perfected the art of thwarting democracy already have time on their side. You know the expression, "Take a look around and tell me what you see."

Machiavelli, as portrayed by Maurice Joly "DIALOGUES IN HELL* BETWEEN MACHIAVELLI AND MONTESQUIEU" (1864)

Speaking abstractly, are violence and cunning an evil? Yes; but it is necessary to use them in governing men, so long as men are not angels.

Everything is good or evil, according to the use one makes of it and the fruit one harvests from it; the end justifies the means: and now, if you ask me why I, a republican, give preference everywhere to absolutist government, I will tell you that, as a witness in my homeland of the fickleness and the cowardice of the populace, of its innate taste for slavery, of its incapacity to conceive and to respect the conditions of free life; it is to my eyes a blind force which dissolves itself sooner or later, if it is not in the hands of a single man; I answer that the people, left to itself, would only be able to destroy itself; that it would never be able to administer, nor to judge, nor to make war. I will tell you that Greece never shone except in the eclipses of liberty; that without the despotism of the Roman aristocracy, and that, later, without the despotism of the emperors, the brilliant civilization of Europe would never have developed.

It is chilling to read this work, it is a line-by-line run down of the most difficult ideas of political philosophy and affairs. All the more so given that Joly has Montesquieu assert that the doctrines of liberty had been too thoroughly ingrained in Europe for despotism to rise again...

nimblecivet
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Which is why the only honest advice I can give people is to worry about you and your own first. You will quickly find in extending yourself beyond that, that you have overextended yourself. Its too late for me; but you can find peace and happiness and love in a paradise of your own making if you make wise choices about who you associate with and what kind of community you want to create. So, go forward my friend and forget about me...I have one last light saber duel with Darth Vader...

nimblecivet
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nimblecivet, I've read the Prince by Machiavelli, but I've never been much on advising the powerful. I might have to check out Joly's work.

When I was talking about taking a couple generation, I meant that society might be ready to change the US form of government in a couple generations, but the citizens of the US could start to use public pressure to influence government within a couple years.

Public Pressure: Protesting, civil disobedience, refusal to pay tax, nation wide boycotts, petitioning, etc... Using all non-violent strategies to apply pressure on our limited representative government.

nimblecivet, are you from the US?

Well, I have anarchist leanings which makes me a bit of a dreamer, but I do believe western society could be saved from its path to oblivion relatively quick, and I'm not naive or ego-centric enough to believe that a forum thread, or my personal blog will inspire society to seek a democratic revolution. I can, however, try to plant a seed inside the minds of people that democracy should be based in the hands of the people, not in the ambitions of a very few.

Western society is loaded with self-important stylized ideologies, but their all constructs that can be undermined just like commercialism and propaganda is used to manipulate the society. The public can be educated to see through their own bullshit like the illusion of consumer fulfillment, and learn to deny the jingoistic fascist ideology of violent resolution.

I will always question the way things are, and hope for the way things ought to be.

Good luck against Lord Vader - I hear; he cheats.

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RichardofJeffer...
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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:

Quote LysanderSpooner:

What about individual rights? Can the majority trump them?

Yes. Demcracy should supersede individual rights.

Ok so logical conclusion the majority can take your house way because your house is to big, they can force you to give your invention away for free because they want it.

Edit.

The majority can limit your free speech, right to defend your self or live/work where and how you want.

Last example, your daughter is at college she does not want to drink or have sex, but the ten guys in the room do so they out vote her no vote and guess what the majority over rode the individual right.

Yea that sounds like a good idea, this may not happen but it can.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote LysanderSpooner:

What about individual rights? Can the majority trump them?

Yes. Democracy should supersede individual rights.

WHAT???? Do you realize the danger here? Apparently not. I think a better rule is from the Rights Of Man http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rightsof.asp

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote LysanderSpooner:

What about individual rights? Can the majority trump them?

Yes. Democracy should supersede individual rights.

ulTRAX, when I said this to LysanderSpooner, I was deliberately trying to annoy LS with the hope that he would not fill this thread with libertarian rhetoric, of which, you already know, I was growing tired of. Denying individual liberty, which libertarians wrongly equate with individual rights, is like kryptonite to an objectivist.

I am not opposed to protecting individual rights in respect to mob rule, and the principles of the law of justification and the Golden Rule would be sufficient in creating laws to protect individual rights; however, these laws should come from the entire population not just a privileged few with special interest tied into the formation of laws.

I even thought that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would be a nice blueprint for a democratic society to base its laws on; however, I would dream of society without the need of law, but that would take a society deeply dedicated to enlightenment.

And remember this is not reality....

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RichardofJeffer...
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Quote mavibobo:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:
Quote LysanderSpooner:

What about individual rights? Can the majority trump them?

Yes. Demcracy should supersede individual rights.

Ok so logical conclusion the majority can take your house way because your house is to big, they can force you to give your invention away for free because they want it. Edit. The majority can limit your free speech, right to defend your self or live/work where and how you want. Last example, your daughter is at college she does not want to drink or have sex, but the ten guys in the room do so they out vote her no vote and guess what the majority over rode the individual right. Yea that sounds like a good idea, this may not happen but it can.

Movibobo, how can you logically offer an example of gang raping somebody with a democracy based in the principles of justification or the Golden Rule.. Please, explain this to me? Yes, it could happen in any society, power and desire is a human weakness. You are descending into absurdity in order to undermine a democratic principle of majority rule.

Like I told ulTRAX, I said that to LysanderSpooner in hopes he would not share his libertarian views because this thread would've devolved into a argument about libertarianism, of which, I am not interested in reading about. It was a gamble that could've backfire, but it has paid off so far.

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RichardofJeffer...
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Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:Movibobo, how can you logically offer an example of gang raping somebody with a democracy based in the principles of justification or the Golden Rule.. Please, explain this to me? Yes, it could happen in any society, power and desire is a human weakness. You are descending into absurdity in order to undermine a democratic principle of majority rule.
My dad had a early 1950s booklet from the House Unamerican Activities Committee that had questions such as "Was Marx Insane?" with answers like "No, but he was not the first evil man who wanted to take over the world."

Booboo seems to have learned all he "knows" about politics from such nutty far right sources. So it comes as no surprise his idea of "democracy" is so infantile.

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ulTRAX
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Quote ulTRAX:
Quote RichardofJeffersonCity:Movibobo, how can you logically offer an example of gang raping somebody with a democracy based in the principles of justification or the Golden Rule.. Please, explain this to me? Yes, it could happen in any society, power and desire is a human weakness. You are descending into absurdity in order to undermine a democratic principle of majority rule.
My dad had a early 1950s booklet from the House Unamerican Activities Committee that had questions such as "Was Marx Insane?" with answers like "No, but he was not the first evil man who wanted to take over the world."

Booboo seems to have learned all he "knows" about politics from such nutty far right sources. So it comes as no surprise his idea of "democracy" is so infantile.

ulTRAX, that's why I addressed you differently on the issue of majority rule. We may not agree on some principle issues, but I do respect your critiques and objections, believe it or not.

I bet your dad's booklet is an interesting little read.

Did you see the Intercept piece about a questionnaire issued by the government to public officials to help teachers, social workers, the police, etc.. to rate potential American children future proclivity toward terrorism?

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/09/government-develops-questionnaire-see-might-become-terrorist/ - I posted it on Thom's forum somewhere.

I have seen enough of movibobo's comments to get the general idea of what he brings to the table - a half loaf of moldy stale bread and a couple piece of hard stinky cheese.

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RichardofJeffer...
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Jun. 23, 2011 11:31 am

We must not allow mental weaklings to undermine our efforts, comrades.

Quote Joseph Stalin, "The Russian Social Democratic Party and Its Immediate Tasks", Works, Vol. 1, November 1901 - April 1907:

But the first victories misled and turned the heads of certain weaklings. Just as the Utopian Socialists in their time had concentrated their attention exclusively on the ultimate goal and, dazzled by it, totally failed to see, or denied, the real labour movement that was developing under their very eyes, so certain Russian Social-Democrats, on the contrary, devoted all their attention exclusively to the spontaneous labour movement, to its everyday needs. At that time (five years ago), the class consciousness of the Russian workers was extremely low. The Russian workers were only just awakening from their age-long sleep, and their eyes, accustomed to darkness, failed, of course, to register all that was happening in a world that had become revealed to them for the first time. Their needs were not great, and so their demands were not great. The Russian workers still went no further than to demand slight increases in wages or a reduction of the working day. That it was necessary to change the existing system, t t it was necessary to abolish private property, that it was necessary to organise a socialist system—of all THE R.S.D.L.P. AND ITS IMMEDIATE TASKS 15 this the masses of the Russian workers had no inkling. They scarcely dared to think about abolishing the slavery in which the entire Russian people were submerged under the autocratic regime, to think about freedom for the people, to think about the people taking part in the government of the country. And so, while one section of Russian Social-Democracy deemed it its duty to carry its socialist ideas into the labour movement, the other part, absorbed in the economic struggle—the struggle for partial improvements in the conditions of the workers (as for example, reduction of the working day and higher wages)—was prone to forget entirely its great duty and its great ideals.

nimblecivet
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Why Hasn't Congress Taken War Powers Away From Trump?

Thom plus logo Donald Trump's pathetic betrayal of our Kurdish allies in northern Syria highlights the importance of Congress taking seriously it's constitutional obligation to define and authorize war.
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