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Thread: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

  1. #36
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    The definition you're using for a "Republic" is actually a "Constitutional Republic."

    When you say, "In a [Constitutional] republic, there is a procedure built into the structure of the government," that "procedure" is the Constitutionally specified set of steps and restrictions defining how the folks who hold power acquire it legitimately, and are required later to put it down. The fact of having such Constitutionally specified steps IS NOT what makes the form of government a "Republic." Because other forms of government, which are NOT republics have them too.

    So something else, other than having a fully-functioning Constitution which defines access to and relinquishment of power held by representatives of the citizens, must be the distinguishing feature of a Republic. Something else must make the United States into a Republic, which is distinct from the equally Constitutionally-restricted Canada, say, or the UK.

    Whatever could that be? Could it be that like other places called "republics" but where power is not Constitutionally limited, America has a President as a Head of State? Rather like France - another famous Constitutional Democracy which happens to be a Republic?

    Look Osborne, I have great appreciation actually for much of how the American Constitution was actually constructed - for all that there are obvious things specified in or permitted by it (like gerrymandering, the Electoral College etc.) which are utterly f#cked up and presently pose a threat to the security of the rest of us inhabiting the globe.

    But American Exceptionalism is bogus. Your place is a species within the genus Constitutional Democracy - we can agree to call it a Constitutional Polity instead if you'd prefer Aristotle's sweeter term. Fine. But within that genus Constitutional Polity, there is at least one other species too: Constitutional Monarchy. Which shares all of the precepts of the Constitutional bit, but changes the person filling a tick-box labelled "Head of State."

    Perhaps you have some inkling of why America's various allies around the world, who live in perfectly free and habitable and Liberty-laden countries governed by some version of the genus Constitutional Democracy/Polity get furious with the idea of American Exceptionalism. Because frankly, what's exceptional is the refusal to see yourselves in this regard as species within a common genus. And unable to grok that such a mistake isn't merely an error, but is incredibly insulting.


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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    The definition you're using for a "Republic" is actually a "Constitutional Republic."
    Whatever kind of republic it is, it's not a democracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    When you say, "[In a [Constitutional] republic, there is a procedure built into the structure of the government," that "procedure" is the Constitutionally specified set of steps and restrictions defining how the folks who hold power acquire it legitimately, and are required later to put it down. The fact of having such Constitutionally specified steps IS NOT what makes the form of government a "Republic." Because other forms of government, which are NOT republics have them too.
    It's what makes a republic, and any other form that has it, not-a-democracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    So something else, other than having a fully-functioning Constitution which defines access to and relinquishment of power held by representatives of the citizens, must be the distinguishing feature of a Republic. Something else must make the United States into a Republic, which is distinct from the equally Constitutionally-restricted Canada, say, or the UK.

    Whatever could that be? Could it be that like other places called "republics" but where power is not Constitutionally limited, America has a President as a Head of State? Rather like France - another famous Constitutional Democracy which happens to be a Republic?
    I can't follow this. I don't know of any non-constitutional republic, for one thing. If there is one, it's not a democracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    But American Exceptionalism is bogus.
    American Exceptionalism is a religious doctrine, not a form of government. India could not convert to American Exceptionalism. If Nagorno-Karabakh gains its independence, it cannot adopt American Exceptionalism.


    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Perhaps you have some inkling of why America's various allies around the world, who live in perfectly free and habitable and Liberty-laden countries governed by some version of the genus Constitutional Democracy/Polity get furious with the idea of American Exceptionalism. Because frankly, what's exceptional is the refusal to see yourselves in this regard as species within a common genus. And unable to grok that such a mistake isn't merely an error, but is incredibly insulting.
    I don't understand what you mean by American Exceptionalism.
    Last edited by Osborne Russell; 10-09-2020 at 01:49 PM.
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    In your view, Osborne, is there any form of government in which the people govern themselves under an effective Constitution, which is *other than* a republic?
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Yes... another example of R's saying precisely what they believe and mean... but didn't meant to reveal so transparently.
    David G
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Of course there are other versions of a Republic around the world to follow……..


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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    In your view, Osborne, is there any form of government in which the people govern themselves under an effective Constitution, which is *other than* a republic?
    The short answer is no, because the question is, effective at doing what? I'm guessing you have constitutional monarchy in mind. Note, no kind of monarchy is a democracy.

    No government is legitimate that is not based on the consent of the governed. There can be no consent without the freedom of conscience. Where the freedom of conscience is a matter of electoral majority, there is no freedom of conscience. You can have a constitution that does not put liberty out of the reach of the legislature, and the government founded upon it can be effective at, say, building roads. It is not effective at producing a legitimate government.

    Westminster system people are going to have to decide someday what human rights means, and what their commitment to them is.

    After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?

    -- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849)

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/71/71-h/71-h.htm
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Well good sir, we will continue to differ. I cant help but imagine that you feel that the Queen, or her representative in Canada, has power which under the contemporary Constitution she has not.

    In part, this reflects the distinction in Westminister traditions of having a Constitution which is partly written and partly unwritten convention, which facilitates exactly the kind of shift over time which we are discussing.

    It makes less than no sense to you I suspect, and any who are strict "textualists" in the American sense, but it is actual nonetheless.

    It really isn't that we believe ourselves to have liberty and are deceived, but that you believe that we are slaves, yet actually are not. a belief probably rooted in your (and our) respective national origin narratives.
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Democracy is not the genus and republic the species. Otherwise all republics would have been democratic, and they weren't.
    Try some etymology, OR. Republic = res publica = the affairs rightly belonging to the public

    In other words, a system of participatory democracy in which the people are seen as the ultimate possessors of sovereignty. In other other words, a democracy in the broad sense of the word, which despite your refusal to acknowledge, is quite clearly accepted in general usage--to wit, Oxford:

    democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    You refuse to make the distinction the founders made, and you have a reason. What is it?
    The reason I refuse to make a false distinction? It is false.

    Tom
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Cripes.

    Lot of long winded carp about the simple right of people to be able to speak freely about politics and cast votes for the various levels of governmental officials.

    Osbourne I humbly suggest that the Westminster system of constitutional monarchy is far more democratic than the US federal system of an electoral college, along with decentralised electoral methods of setting district boundaries and 'requirements' to be able to cast a vote. Whilst I support a republican system over our current monarchy, the Queen has faaaaar less power than your POTUS. Ireland's example of a president with limited power that is only enacted in times of constitutional crisis is more akin to the Westminster system than the unrepresentative idiocy of the Electoral College. Ireland's president is symbolic and demonstrates a 'mood' for the government of the day to take note of. I like Ireland's system, and the proof for me is in the results that have occurred in old culture war issues of reproductive rights an marriage equality.

    Suppressing votes, and giving more electoral power to small groups over the larger populace is inherently anti-democratic. You can point to whatever etymology you like, but such an argument is like saying what 'gay' means now compared with 70 years ago.

    Having said all that Lee is a friggin' Nazi, along with a least half the GOP.

    Here's to a thumping victory of democracy over this group of evil reprobates in a few weeks!
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Well good sir, we will continue to differ. I cant help but imagine that you feel that the Queen, or her representative in Canada, has power which under the contemporary Constitution she has not.
    I honestly don't know what you're talking about. I'm not talking about the Queen, I'm talking about the legislature and the Constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    In part, this reflects the distinction in Westminister traditions of having a Constitution which is partly written and partly unwritten convention, which facilitates exactly the kind of shift over time which we are discussing.
    I don't know what part of a constitution a tradition is. A constitution is a declaration.

    What shift over what time?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    It makes less than no sense to you I suspect, and any who are strict "textualists" in the American sense, but it is actual nonetheless.
    What is "it" in this sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    It really isn't that we believe ourselves to have liberty and are deceived, but that you believe that we are slaves, yet actually are not. a belief probably rooted in your (and our) respective national origin narratives.
    A constitution is not a "narrative". It's law.
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    I would add that compulsory voting is more democratic than voluntary voting too, as enfranchisement is then universal and not up for any kind of debate. What you, as an individual, do to mark your ballots, or not as the case may be is up to you. All you have to do is show up, have you name marked off the roll and put the ballots into the correct boxes.
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Over several hundred of years, the Westminister parliamentary model shifted, in combined written and unwritten conventions, from something approaching an absolute monarchy to something in which the monarch is a symbolic head of state with no actual governing power.

    The "it" in my various sentences is the Constitution, whether of the UK or Canada. Which our legal systems are perfectly well practiced in interpreting while specifying that it exists in combined written and unwritten form.

    I recognize that this set of facts seems bizarre to you, but think of it as if we were discussing languages. The language of our Constitutional Democracy (or Polity, if we wish to avoid Aristotle's use of the word "democracy" as an epithet) is not the same one that the framers of the American Constitution spoke. A related language, but not the same one.

    Would you suggest that when the Dutch speak, they aren't actually communicating? And that they'd only start communicating were they to speak English? (With American spelling ?)

    I get that many folks in your country don't "speak" Westminister fluently, just like I don't "speak" American Constitution without an accent.
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    The Constitution of Canada, under an amendment called The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html hums along nicely, enumerating human rights extensively, clearly drawing upon the US Bill Of Rights and American constitutional law, and the UN Declaration.

    2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

    (d) freedom of association.
    Not so fast! Then comes the "notwithstanding clause".

    33. (1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectio...s_and_Freedoms
    So when a legislature feels the need, they can simply ignore your rights declared in the Constitution.

    Don't pee on my foot and tell me it's raining. The so-called Constitutional guarantee isn't worth a S. It's a nationwide spasm of self-delusion. Why do you do this to yourselves?

    Here's why: Reds.

    Inclusion of the notwithstanding clause into Canada’s guarantee of its most fundamental rights was no accident. Without Section 33, it is unlikely the Charter would exist at all. During the constitutional negotiations of the early 1980s, provincial premiers, mostly from western provinces and Quebec, insisted it be included to protect parliamentary sovereignty and guard against federal encroachment. The notwithstanding clause was a necessary compromise needed to bring these provinces on board.

    https://ksr.hkspublications.org/2019...hts-framework/
    Ancient bigotries, racial, sexual, and religious, but also including Parliamentary jealousy which simply will not abide any curtailing of "Parliamentary supremacy" even though the reason for its being, the threat of rivalry by the church and the crown, are gone. Pure prejudice. You can dress it up and call it "democracy" if you want.
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    You don't really do nuance very much Osbourne.

    I look at the US today and I see vast swathes of the population disenfranchised on almost every level. They might be allowed to screen their lungs out about whatever, but they can't vote, are likely to either be shot, or incarcerated, or both. I see a nation with not just the highest incarceration rate in the OECD, but one of the highest on the planet. I see political, social, economic and gender oppression grinding large sections of the population down in every way possible, so that their reality isn't that far off a 1870s slum existence. Practical reality has snuffed out any 'absolutist' position you may wish to argue on this subject.

    Freedom and democracy aren't simply a set of rules and ideals, but a lived reality if they exist at all.

    I'm not about to argue that the Westminster system as it works in Australia, the UK or Canada aren't without significant problems of their own. But I do argue we are far freer than huge chunks of the US population by a country mile.
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Westminster system people are going to have to decide someday what human rights means, and what their commitment to them is.
    There is the infuriating American Exceptionalism; the idea that we are too stupid to have considered and decided this stuff. That is revoltingly arrogant of you and your ilk to believe.
    Last edited by Chris249; 10-10-2020 at 03:57 AM.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post

    I don't know what part of a constitution a tradition is. A constitution is a declaration.
    No.

    England has a constitution, but it includes tradition (conventions) and legal precedents, not any one declaration. The British constitution is an ancient one, and the laws and parliaments of England recognise clearly and specifically that it exists. It would be absurd for you, as someone who is not an English constitutional lawyer, to claim that you know more than generations of English jurists know about their own country's systems and to claim that they are wrong and that you know more about their constitution than they do.
    Last edited by Chris249; 10-10-2020 at 05:21 AM.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    In threads on subjects like this, I always find myself drawn to Tony Benn's five questions which define a democracy:

    What power have you got?
    Where did you get it from?
    In whose interests do you use it?
    To whom are you accountable?
    How do we get rid of you?

    ...does the job.

    Andy
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    You're not addressing the issue, Tom. Republics are not not necessarily democratic. That alone distinguishes a republic from a democracy.

    The reason I refuse to make a false distinction? It is false.
    The distinction between made by the framers between republic and democracy is false?
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

    -- James Madison, Federalist 55

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    You don't really do nuance very much Osbourne.
    Changing the subject is not "nuance".

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    Practical reality has snuffed out any 'absolutist' position you may wish to argue on this subject.
    We're talking about principles of design.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    Freedom and democracy aren't simply a set of rules and ideals, but a lived reality if they exist at all.
    They are principles of design, and will always exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    I'm not about to argue that the Westminster system as it works in Australia, the UK or Canada aren't without significant problems of their own. But I do argue we are far freer than huge chunks of the US population by a country mile.
    I'm only talking about one problem -- the protection of human rights. Do I assume correctly that that's part of what you mean by" freer"?
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Jesus T. Christ, you guys are back to the republic-democracy argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Stop it, just stop it! If there were ever something that generates all heat and no light, this is it. If you insist on persisting, and actually want to advance people's understanding a little, please, please, abandon the argument about the definition of words and talk about the characteristics of a good government. Andy's list of questions would be a good start.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Over several hundred of years, the Westminister parliamentary model shifted, in combined written and unwritten conventions, from something approaching an absolute monarchy to something in which the monarch is a symbolic head of state with no actual governing power.
    OK, but I don't see how that affects the question. The monarch had the power to deny human rights. Over hundreds of years, legislatures acquired that power. Same S, different day.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    The "it" in my various sentences is the Constitution, whether of the UK or Canada. Which our legal systems are perfectly well practiced in interpreting while specifying that it exists in combined written and unwritten form.
    OK, but you said I didn't understand "it". In what particulars? You can turn it upside down, backwards, and inside out, and you will find no constitutional protection of human rights. Attempts are made to suggest the existence of functional equivalents. There are none. In Canada, at least, this is explicit. A legislature votes tomorrow, and poof. The question is not, is this expedient. The question is, is this moral.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    I recognize that this set of facts seems bizarre to you, but think of it as if we were discussing languages. The language of our Constitutional Democracy (or Polity, if we wish to avoid Aristotle's use of the word "democracy" as an epithet) is not the same one that the framers of the American Constitution spoke. A related language, but not the same one.
    It only matters if there are things, and this is one of them, that not only can't be translated, they can't be understood by non-bilinguals, and perhaps not by them. This is a rejection of the universality of human rights.


    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    I get that many folks in your country don't "speak" Westminister fluently, just like I don't "speak" American Constitution without an accent.
    You're more fluent than any thousand people in this dumb azz country. The accent is a plus.
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Jesus T. Christ, you guys are back to the republic-democracy argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Stop it, just stop it! If there were ever something that generates all heat and no light, this is it. If you insist on persisting, and actually want to advance people's understanding a little, please, please, abandon the argument about the definition of words and talk about the characteristics of a good government. Andy's list of questions would be a good start.
    It's as fundamental as it gets. A republic can protect human rights. A democracy can't. Is it a characteristic of good government that it protects human rights?

    There is no evading the necessity of settling upon definitions.

    The thread title asserts "the importance of democracy". May we ask what that means?
    Last edited by Osborne Russell; 10-10-2020 at 10:44 AM.
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Just a question: can this discussion help the unwashed minions with the fact that we have a Plutocracy and how to deal with that?

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    One of the most pointless discussions possible: difference between a democracy and a republic (ala the USA)

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    I'm going to go paint window frames.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    There is the infuriating American Exceptionalism; the idea that we are too stupid to have considered and decided this stuff. That is revoltingly arrogant of you and your ilk to believe.
    American Exceptionalism is a religious doctrine.

    Human rights are universal among humans.

    You've considered this stuff, at the highest levels. You just haven't done anything.

    Sir John Laws is noted for his extrajudicial writings in the journal, Public Law. His most notable contribution, "Law and Democracy", asserts that the constitution would be undemocratic if it gave all the power under it to the elected government. Therefore, it is the constitution, and not Parliament, that should be sovereign in the British constitution. He posits that the constitution must create a "higher-order law" in which human rights and constitutional fundamentals in a democracy can be protected by the courts against the abuses of government. This position stems from a fundamental distrust of the political constitution in holding the executive to account. It is similar in form to Lord Hailsham's claim that in Britain there is an "elective dictatorship". Sir John does not see this shift to the legal sphere as being anti-democratic because judges uphold apolitical values that no politician would contest and are above the arguments that take place in the political sphere between politicians of political parties.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Laws_(judge)
    Starting to sound rather American, which is ipso facto offensive to many. Like, they'd be in favor if it came from Tanzania. Binary, too. OMG two things that must be distinguished on a principled basis! Noooooo !

    This guy depicts rights as being developed through English common law, and therefore requiring the restriction of "democracy", rather than from the premise of human rights. It's a step in the right direction. Or rather, a suggestion of a step.

    In the present state of its maturity the common law has come to recognise that there exist rights which should properly be classified as constitutional or fundamental . . . And from this a further insight follows. We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were "ordinary" statutes and "constitutional" statutes. The two categories must be distinguished on a principled basis. In my opinion a constitutional statute is one which (a) conditions the legal relationship between citizen and State in some general, overarching manner, or (b) enlarges or diminishes the scope of what we would now regard as fundamental constitutional rights. (a) and (b) are of necessity closely related: it is difficult to think of an instance of (a) that is not also an instance of (b).

    -- opinion of John Laws
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thobur...d_City_Council
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    A republic can protect human rights. A democracy can't.
    Rowlocks!

    A democracy can, by definition, do whatever the people what it to do.

    Andy
    "In case of fire ring Fellside 75..."

  28. #63
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Three wolves, two coyotes, and a lamb voting on who's for dinner.
    Await dreams, loves, life; | There is always tomorrow. | Until there is not.

    Grieving love unsaid. | Tomorrow will fail someday. | Tell them today, OK?

  29. #64
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    I can find no evidence that "American Exceptionalism" is a religious concept, although some from the USA seem to worship their own country as a religion. See, for example;

    https://theweek.com/articles/654508/...exceptionalism

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11...xceptionalism/

    and even Wiki. There is no apparent evidence for your claim.


    The "American Exceptionalism" we are referring to includes the belief that the US has a special position on human rights. You have provided no evidence of that. For example, look at the five rights recognised in Canada;

    "(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

    (d) freedom of association.


    You criticised the fact that the Canadian government can limit those powers - but the US government also can, and does. In fact the US government takes away its own citizens right to life itself in a way that no other, if any, other advanced economies do. How can a nation that does that claim such superiority?
    Last edited by Chris249; 10-11-2020 at 03:10 AM.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I can find no evidence that "American Exceptionalism" is a religious concept, although some from the USA seem to worship their own country as a religion. See, for example;

    https://theweek.com/articles/654508/...exceptionalism

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11...xceptionalism/

    and even Wiki. There is no apparent evidence for your claim.


    The "American Exceptionalism" we are referring to includes the belief that the US has a special position on human rights. You have provided no evidence of that. For example, look at the five rights recognised in Canada;

    "(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

    (d) freedom of association.


    You criticised the fact that the Canadian government can limit those powers - but the US government also can, and does. In fact the US government takes away it's own citizens to life itself in a way that no other, if any, other advanced economies do. How can a nation that does that claim such superiority?
    The term was invented by Stalin. American Communists were trying to explain why they had no success compared to European Communist parties. They said it was because Americans lacked the class structure Europeans rebelled against. Stalin said something like 'I don't believe in this American exceptionalism.'

    Neoconservatives picked up on the term and used it so mean something like 'America is great!' Under the baleful influence of Leo Strauss, they decided it meant something like America is in pursuit of a just society.

    I've been down that rabbit hole. From The Outlaw John Locke:

    https://booksellersvsbestsellers.blo...servative.html

    https://booksellersvsbestsellers.blo...servative.html

  31. #66
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by htom View Post
    Three wolves, two coyotes, and a lamb voting on who's for dinner.
    Many of us live in countries where most of voters are humans, not wolves or coyotes. YMMV

  32. #67
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofswen View Post
    Just a question: can this discussion help the unwashed minions with the fact that we have a Plutocracy and how to deal with that?
    Your means of protection from plutocracy is your government. Know your tools. Your government is a republic.

    If you set out to oppose plutocracy on the grounds that it is "undemocratic", you have to convince a huge number of ignorant, apathetic and cowardly people what you mean by it, and then debate a means to go about redressing it, and several generations will pass before anything gets done, if it does.

    All the while the means were at hand. Before you were born the debate was had, decisions were reached, the tools were fashioned. But they don't wield themselves. They can't help you if you don't know how to use them, or why, or even what they are or why they were fashioned.
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

    -- James Madison, Federalist 55

  33. #68
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Your means of protection from plutocracy is your government. Know your tools.
    This I agree with. Every reduction in the power of capital in the US has come from changes in the law, i.e. the government. There is an excellent reason that those who wish to increase the power of capital, to have more of a plutocracy (the Koch brothers, for example) make their case by arguing for less government, using the language of 'freedom'. This doesn't mean more government restriction is necessarily better; bad examples are all too common, but that if we're going to keep the power of the wealthy in check, a democratic government (ignoring the nitpicking distinction between 'democracy' and 'republic') is the tool that allows us to do it by peaceful means. (There's also the guillotine, of course, but that has a lot of disadvantages.)
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 10-11-2020 at 11:07 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    In threads on subjects like this, I always find myself drawn to Tony Benn's five questions which define a democracy:

    What power have you got?
    The power of Parliament is absolute. It can make or repeal absolutely any law and there is absolutely no legal authority for anyone but Parliament to change it.

    Where did you get it from?
    Parliamentary sovereignty is what made Hitler's dictatorship legal.

    https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/...07&context=ylj
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

    -- James Madison, Federalist 55

  35. #70
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    Default Re: On Twitter, American Senator Mike Lee downplays the importance of democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    Rowlocks!

    A democracy can, by definition, do whatever the people what it to do.

    Andy
    Yes, that's just it. There is no guarantee of one's rights and there cannot be one. What's stopping you?

    Someday you must decide what human rights means. The concept, not the content. The concept is, in moral terms, revolutionary. It requires certain structural changes in government.
    Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

    -- James Madison, Federalist 55

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