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Thread: Socialism

  1. #211
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Nope. It's simple:

    It's not "democracy" OR "republic." That would be akin to saying it's "dog" OR "Airedale."

    One is a subset of the other. Or, if you prefer a more Venn-diagram idiom: all republics are democracies, but not all democracies are republics.

    Tom
    You sure about that? Can a republic run by oligarchs not also exist? That was sort of how the Republic of ancient Rome worked.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  2. #212
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    No, I really don't. As I understand the logic:

    1. A democracy can be direct or representative.
    2. The USA has representative democracy.
    3. Therefore the USA is a democracy, not a republic.
    You're still doing it. At no point have I said the U.S. is not a republic.

    Whether you call it a representative democracy or a democratic republic, it remains both a democracy and a republic. You can have a republic that is not democratic (I'm lookin' at you Duma.)

  3. #213
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You sure about that? Can a republic run by oligarchs not also exist? That was sort of how the Republic of ancient Rome worked.
    Pretty sure. Republics get taken over by oligarchs all the time--we certainly have a pretty extreme degree of that going on in the U.S. right now. But when a system is abused, it's the players who are the problem.

    I know a fair bit about ancient Rome. There was a fair degree of democracy, actually (e.g. elected tribunes with absolute veto power, and only the lower house (the Assembly) could propose legislation--not the aristocratic Senate). And there was an outrageous amount of abuse of the system as well--outright vote buying, ordering the Tribes so that many people's votes were essentially meaningless, physical violence and intimidation of voters, and did I mention the outright vote buying?

    But in theory, the way the system was structured, I think it's fair to call Rome a democratic republic. I see democracy not as a binary feature, but as a spectrum, with some governments being more democratic than others. For me, the qualifier is the allowance for a significant degree of self-governance through voting for representatives. And Rome had annual elections.

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  4. #214
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Splitting hairs again.
    I think you mean "Insisting on precision again to foster a better understanding."

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The process of passing legislation, or making an amendment, is not complete until it is complete. So no, the US cannot make laws that SCOTUS rules unconstitutional. The US cannot amend its constitution whilst the Party of No mindset exists.
    You have forgotten what we are actually discussing, which is OR's false claim that he still hasn't attempted to defend:

    In the USA, a democratic republic:

    1. Everybody votes for a representative to vote for them
    2. There are hard and fast limits as to what the representatives can vote on. At least in the USA.
    Even if I accept your characterization that "the process of passing legislation...is not complete until it is complete," that's entirely beside the point. We're not talking about passing legislation, or not. We are quite explicitly discussing OR's claim that "there are hard and fast limits as to what the representatives can vote on." That's it. One claim which I've pointed out is false. The issue is not whether there are limits on what legislation can be passed, but rather on what kinds of things our elected representatives can vote on.

    I've also pointed out that OR's claim about the lack of direct democracy in the U.S. is incorrect:

    The demos is already prohibited from voting on anything but their choice of representatives, and the representatives and prohibited from voting on many things.
    Yes, there are some limits as to what the demos can vote on, but they are not nearly as restrictive as OR is pretending. Direct democracy is not entirely off the table, even in the U.S. Many states allow direct votes, by citizens, on legislation and policy issues. Many states allow citizens to propose, and vote on, laws and constitutional amendments.

    So, you have lost the thread of what claims I am disputing. That's why most of what you've posted in response hasn't been relevant.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-08-2022 at 03:46 AM.
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  5. #215
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    Default Re: Socialism

    No, you are splitting hairs.
    It is as if you are saying that you can jump from a height without suffering harm.
    Which is true.
    Until you hit the ground.
    Your pedantry is inappropriate.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #216
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No, you are splitting hairs.
    It is as if you are saying that you can jump from a height without suffering harm.
    Which is true.
    Until you hit the ground.
    Your pedantry is inappropriate.
    Precision in language means something. To some people.

    In other words, there's a difference between discussing the practical application of systems, and discussing the theoretical foundation of systems. You are trying to insert a discussion of the former into my discussion of the latter.

    OR has made claims about the fundamental nature of a representative democracy, claims that are abstract in nature rather than practical. And those claims are completely incorrect. It's worth pointing that out.

    If you want to have a discussion about how practical it is, or how realistic it might be, to achieve political goals in our current circumstances, then that's a different conversation. Also one worth having; and I suspect I'd find lots of agreement with you in such a discussion.

    No need to start accusing people of "inappropriate pedantry" just because they're talking about different things.

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  7. #217
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No, you are splitting hairs.
    It is as if you are saying that you can jump from a height without suffering harm.
    Which is true.
    Until you hit the ground.

    Your pedantry is inappropriate.
    Actually, I find that's how my brain works: it delights in finding exceptions to claims. Any claims. I think it's an inherently creative process to step outside the orthodox interpretation, and a valuable means of reducing the level of unjustified certainty so many of us (me included) tend to assert about nearly everything we believe.

    I once attended a staff training event in which we did a silly little activity where we were asked to draw a pig. Those were the entire instructions. Then, after we had all drawn our pigs, the facilitator "interpreted" our drawings--a pig facing to the right meant this, a pig facing to the left meant this, etc. But when she came to my pig, the facilitator's instructions didn't give her anything to say about what my drawing meant.

    Why? Because I had drawn an overhead, top-down view of my pig--and the people writing the instructions had never thought about that possibility.

    So, I'm not trying to annoy anyone. I think that the way I approach an idea or a discussion is valuable. I'm sorry if you feel pestered by it; that's not at all my intention.

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  8. #218
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Actually, I find that's how my brain works: it delights in finding exceptions to claims. Any claims. I think it's an inherently creative process to step outside the orthodox interpretation, and a valuable means of reducing the level of unjustified certainty so many of us (me included) tend to assert about nearly everything we believe.

    I once attended a staff training event in which we did a silly little activity where we were asked to draw a pig. Those were the entire instructions. Then, after we had all drawn our pigs, the facilitator "interpreted" our drawings--a pig facing to the right meant this, a pig facing to the left meant this, etc. But when she came to my pig, the facilitator's instructions didn't give her anything to say about what my drawing meant.

    Why? Because I had drawn an overhead, top-down view of my pig--and the people writing the instructions had never thought about that possibility.

    So, I'm not trying to annoy anyone. I think that the way I approach an idea or a discussion is valuable. I'm sorry if you feel pestered by it; that's not at all my intention.

    Tom
    Thanks for sharing the explanation.

    May I suggest that it is fine for you to think like that.
    But you could be doing yourself a disservice by arguing like that.

    You have put a meme in my mind:

    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #219
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Thanks for sharing the explanation.

    May I suggest that it is fine for you to think like that.
    But you could be doing yourself a disservice by arguing like that.
    On the other hand, you could be doing yourself a disservice by not recognizing the difference between a discussion of abstract principles and a discussion of the practical application of those principles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You have put a meme in my mind:

    Well thanks! Always glad to be poked in the eye with the olive branch I've just extended to someone...

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  10. #220
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    Default Re: Socialism

    What is abstract about the fustercluck that is US politics.
    You want to discuss the abstract, don't link it to a specific set of circumstances.

    Now that might be related to my engineers mind, dealing with the whole picture in front of me.

    P.S. lighten up.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  11. #221
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    What is abstract about the fustercluck that is US politics.
    But the topic of the discussion is not "US politics"--it is the fundamental nature and defining characteristics of a democratic republic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You want to discuss the abstract, don't link it to a specific set of circumstances.
    I didn't. That is what you have been repeatedly trying to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Now that might be related to my engineers mind, dealing with the whole picture in front of me.
    Sure. Different people's minds work in different ways--that's a benefit, not a cause for conflict. Did you notice how I haven't called you stupid for thinking the way you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    P.S. lighten up.
    Tone can be hard to read in emails, but I'm not angry or offended if that's what you're thinking. But a response like "lighten up" when you think someone has
    been offended by something you've said...

    I guess if that's who you want to be, that's who you're going to be. Me, I'll keep extending olive branches the best I can when I think I've annoyed someone. Even if it does get me lots of eye-pokes.

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  12. #222
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Well, yes and no.
    You originally put the question in response to an OR post that was clearly and implicitly referring to the US system
    You did select a single line of his text, when framing your question, but the context was the US of A system. If you wanted to broaden it out to other republics, you could have said so, and would have got an answer "it depends".
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  13. #223
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Well, yes and no.
    You originally put the question in response to an OR post that was clearly and implicitly referring to the US system
    Nope. I first responded to this issue (OR's incorrect claims about the fundamental nature of a democratic republic) after this post from OR, #172:

    True. He wanted a democratic republic, a type of republic, such as he helped conceive.

    You cannot define a republic as merely a big democracy, lots of people, and representatives to make it practical. Because even with representatives , the worst features of democracy are not touched, much less avoided, except for some extremes of impracticablity.

    In a democracy:

    1. Everybody votes
    2. There is no limit as to what they can vote on.

    In the USA, a democratic republic:

    1. Everybody votes for a representative to vote for them
    2. There are hard and fast limits as to what the representatives can vote on. At least in the USA.

    A democratic republic is not a mere democracy, with representatives. That would look like this:

    1. everybody votes for a representative to vote for them, but
    2. There is no limit as to what they can vote on.

    So the difference is in the limits, not in the fact that there are representatives. Insisting that the representives are the defining characteristic of a government is like saying a boat trailer is a car because both have wheels.

    In a democracy, representative or not, there is no limit as to what the people can vote on. In the American republic there is. No way, shape or form, neither logically, historically, nor most importantly, in the understanding of the drafters of the Constitution, does "democracy" connote the slightest limit on what the voters, citizen or representative, can vote on; whereas an American style republic does; limits on the power of the demos are the essence of the American republic.
    Yes, OR did mention the US specifically a few times. But look at the bolded phrases: over and over, it's "a democracy" or "a democratic republic" or even "define a republic"--all clearly attempts to define the fundamental nature of governmental systems, not to discuss a particular system (except where a side mention as an example might be useful).

    I think it's pretty clear this was an abstract discussion of general theory and principle, and not a discussion of the US specifically.

    (One side benefit of having a mind that leads toward what others see as "inappropriate pedantry" is that I read very accurately what other posters have written, and not just what I think they have written).

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-08-2022 at 09:37 AM.
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  14. #224
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Nope. I first responded to this issue (OR's incorrect claims about the fundamental nature of a democratic republic) after this post from OR, #172:

    Tom
    This is from your #175
    Originally Posted by Osborne Russell
    In the USA, a democratic republic:

    1. Everybody votes for a representative to vote for them
    2. There are hard and fast limits as to what the representatives can vote on. At least in the USA.
    You forgot to edit out "in the USA."
    Which you quoted twice.
    I answered your question as written about the USA.

    If you had not included "in the USA" in your quote, the answer would have been different. It would not be possible to give a yes /no answer without time spent researching, as the various nations constitutions may well have different provisions.
    I have just looked at Nigeria's and Poland's constitutions. They are not short documents.
    Last edited by Peerie Maa; 08-08-2022 at 10:24 AM.
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  15. #225
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Originally Posted by Osborne Russell
    In the USA, a democratic republic:

    1. Everybody votes for a representative to vote for them . . "
    With respect to the US, this statement is laughably untrue, and always has been.

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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by sandtown View Post
    Originally Posted by Osborne Russell
    In the USA, a democratic republic:

    1. Everybody votes for a representative to vote for them . . "
    With respect to the US, this statement is laughably untrue, and always has been.
    Let's be clear. OR's quote was about the theory/ideal. Your response is about the practice/flaws.

    But I'll add a couple of things.

    First - our elected officials have to balance 'representing their constituency' with the general public interest. And they have free rein on how they set that balance.

    Second - your comment accurately reflects - for the most part - the current situation, where monied interests have taken over large swaths of the government. And every other period where we've allowed that to occur. It does not - for the most part - reflect the norm.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    First - our elected officials have to balance 'representing their constituency' with the general public interest. And they have free rein on how they set that balance.

    Second - your comment accurately reflects - for the most part - the current situation, where monied interests have taken over large swaths of the government. And every other period where we've allowed that to occur. It does not - for the most part - reflect the norm.
    I disagree heartily with both of those assertions. For the first one, see these guys . . https://bulletin.represent.us/u-s-ol...lain-research/

    It is really quite rare for US pols to represent the "public interest". (See Big Pharma and drug price reform)

    As to your second point, the US NEVER has aimed at universal suffrage - quite the contrary. That is "the norm". Read John Lewis' excellent memoir Walking With the Wind

  18. #228
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    This is from your #175
    2. There are hard and fast limits as to what the representatives can vote on. At least in the USA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You forgot to edit out "in the USA."
    Which you quoted twice.
    I answered your question as written about the USA.

    If you had not included "in the USA" in your quote, the answer would have been different. It would not be possible to give a yes /no answer without time spent researching, as the various nations constitutions may well have different provisions.
    I have just looked at Nigeria's and Poland's constitutions. They are not short documents.
    It's beyond comical that someone who claims to have "an engineer's mind" that "looks at the big picture" gets hung up on a few (non-bolded) words and ignores the larger context of a discussion that is clearly about defining what a democratic republic is, and how (in OR's opinion) it differs from a democracy.

    The main topic of my posts has always been the fundamental nature of a democratic republic, not anything about any specific democratic republic (except where a specific example, like the US, is cited as an exemplar of a democratic republic by OR).

    Who still hasn't stepped in to defend his two claims, by the way. Yep, I'm thinking he knows he's wrong but can't bring himself to admit it.

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  19. #229
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    Default Re: Socialism

    I look at the total picture. Not just the bit that you assume I would look at whilst ignoring the rest of the information provided.
    Meanwhile, I have answered the question that you thought you were asking, so you should now be content.
    Whether you can get OR to answer it, I wish you well with that.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  20. #230
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I look at the total picture. Not just the bit that you assume I would look at whilst ignoring the rest of the information provided.
    Meanwhile, I have answered the question that you thought you were asking, so you should now be content.
    Whether you can get OR to answer it, I wish you well with that.
    I'm not holding my breath. Ironic, because on another thread he just posted about how people have a moral obligation to defend their beliefs.

    But I think you meant, you answered the question that you thought I thought I was asking (and answered it incorrectly, just to be clear). I'm content with that if that's the best you've got. It's clear we're not discussing the same topic, really.

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  21. #231
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I'm not holding my breath. Ironic, because on another thread he just posted about how people have a moral obligation to defend their beliefs.

    But I think you meant, you answered the question that you thought I thought I was asking (and answered it incorrectly, just to be clear). I'm content with that if that's the best you've got. It's clear we're not discussing the same topic, really.

    Tom
    Here you go.
    If you had not included "in the USA" in your quote, the answer would have been different. It would not be possible to give a yes /no answer without time spent researching, as the various nations constitutions may well have different provisions.
    I have just looked at Nigeria's and Poland's constitutions. They are not short documents.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  22. #232
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    No, I really don't. As I understand the logic:

    1. A democracy can be direct or representative.
    2. The USA has representative democracy.
    3. Therefore the USA is a democracy, not a republic.
    You don't understand the logic. A democracy can be direct or representative. A republic can be democratic or otherwise. You are trying to make a distinction that I am not making.

    It's getting pretty boring.

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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Still waiting, OR...
    @MeToo

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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Here you go.
    If you had not included "in the USA" in your quote, the answer would have been different. It would not be possible to give a yes /no answer without time spent researching, as the various nations constitutions may well have different provisions.
    I have just looked at Nigeria's and Poland's constitutions. They are not short documents.
    You really do stick to missing the point, don't you?

    Since the discussion I have been having concerns the fundamental nature of a democratic republic--in principle, not limited to any particular example--AND since the only 2 questions involved are:

    1. Are voters in a democratic republic necessarily limited to voting only for their representatives?

    And:

    2. Are there some things that a legislature in a democratic republic cannot vote on, because otherwise it's not a democratic republic?

    What you posted above is irrelevant. Again.

    I only have to show one example of a democratic republic where the demos (as OR puts it) is NOT limited to voting only for their representatives to disprove his first claim and demonstrate that the answer to question #1 is "No." So, I provided an example: the U.S. The answer is no. OR's claim is wrong. It may apply to some democratic republics, but it is clearly not a fundamental necessary feature of a democratic republic.

    Likewise with question 2. Since we're dealing with OR's claims about the fundamental nature of a democratic republic--i.e. things that necessarily apply to all democratic republics, without exception--only a single contradictory example is needed to refute his claim. So, I provided one: again, the U.S. There are no limits to what legislators may propose and bring to a vote. Even blatantly unconstitutional laws may be proposed, voted on, even passed. No limits. So once again, the answer to question #2 is: No. And again, OR's claim is proven incorrect.

    See how that works? Nothing you posted about how different republics and different constitutions have different rules matter to this discussion. Because we have clearly demonstrated, with the example of the U.S., that neither of the things OR claims are defining features of a democratic republic apply to all democratic republics. So, they cannot be defining features.

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  25. #235
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Still waiting, OR...
    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    @MeToo
    Translation: I was wrong about the defining features of a democratic republic, but I cannot bring myself to admit that I was wrong.

    About what I expected.

    As for your other question, I don't find it all that interesting. A democracy can choose to employ any degree of socialism it wants--as long as they have the consent of the governed, expressed through legitimate voting of some kind.

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  26. #236
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post

    1. Are voters in a democratic republic necessarily limited to voting only for their representatives?
    Voting on referendums, See Kansas. Is that what you mean by voting for other than their representatives?

    And:

    2. Are there some things that a legislature in a democratic republic cannot vote on, because otherwise it's not a democratic republic?



    Tom
    I don’t think that it is possible to provide any answer that will satisfy you.
    If a nation's constitution meets the criteria for a democratic republic, but states that some provisions cannot be changed, does it cease to be democratic or a republic?
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Voting on referendums, See Kansas. Is that what you mean by voting for other than their representatives?

    I don’t think that it is possible to provide any answer that will satisfy you.
    If a nation's constitution meets the criteria for a democratic republic, but states that some provisions cannot be changed, does it cease to be democratic or a republic?
    You do know I'm asking these questions of OR, right? Because the answers to those questions refute his claims about the fundamental nature of a democratic republic. Which is the point.

    You also don't seem to understand that I'm not arguing that a democratic republic can't put limits on what its legislators, or its citizens, can vote on. Only that such limits are clearly not a fundamental feature of democratic republics, since some don't have them.

    In other words, you're still stuck in the realm of specific examples in practice, while the discussion I'm having is an abstract one, based on fundamental principles--a discussion of the essential nature of all democratic republics. The defining characteristics, in the abstract.

    Which do not include limits on what the citizens or legislators of a democratic republic can vote on.

    (It would be nice not to have to try to explain this to you over and over and over, ad infinitum).

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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    You do know I'm asking these questions of OR, right? Because the answers to those questions refute his claims about the fundamental nature of a democratic republic. Which is the point.

    You also don't seem to understand that I'm not arguing that a democratic republic can't put limits on what its legislators, or its citizens, can vote on. Only that such limits are clearly not a fundamental feature of democratic republics, since some don't have them.

    In other words, you're still stuck in the realm of specific examples in practice, while the discussion I'm having is an abstract one, based on fundamental principles--a discussion of the essential nature of all democratic republics. The defining characteristics, in the abstract.

    Which do not include limits on what the citizens or legislators of a democratic republic can vote on.

    (It would be nice not to have to try to explain this to you over and over and over, ad infinitum).

    Tom
    Fairy Nuff.
    I'll leave you so sit in the vacuum of OR's refusal to engage.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  29. #239
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Interesting discussionin an abstract kind of way. And theory is fine, but if it is practiced by humans then forget the theory.
    "Which do not include limits on what the citizens or legislators of a democratic republic can vote on."
    And of course the citizens can vote not to be a republic or a democracy at all. And have.
    Humans are like that.

  30. #240
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    Default Re: Socialism

    As is happens, the citizens of our small city are now gathering signatures to put an initiative on the ballot . .

    that would require a public vote to approve any private development in city parks . .

    mostly it is about waterfront parks.

    The oligarchy is not happy.

  31. #241
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    Default Re: Socialism

    but back to socialism . .

    It turns out that Jordan Peterson knows less about it than any of us . . and that is saying something !!

    https://jacobin.com/2022/08/jordan-p...ism-inequality

  32. #242
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    Default Re: Socialism

    So, there is an obligation to answer questions, then? Where does it come from?
    I'm not leaving.

    -- Mike Pence

  33. #243
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by sandtown View Post
    but back to socialism . .

    It turns out that Jordan Peterson knows less about it than any of us . . and that is saying something !!

    https://jacobin.com/2022/08/jordan-p...ism-inequality
    What can government do under socialism that it can't do under liberal democracy? Everyone who uses the word must know.
    I'm not leaving.

    -- Mike Pence

  34. #244
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    You're still doing it. At no point have I said the U.S. is not a republic.

    Whether you call it a representative democracy or a democratic republic, it remains both a democracy and a republic. You can have a republic that is not democratic (I'm lookin' at you Duma.)
    Democracy is a form of government. Democratic is an adjective.

    In a democracy, there are no limits on what measures the majority may enact, because democracy recognizes no legitimate power outside the majority. That is a moral principle which the American republic rejects on moral grounds, with elaborate provisions to make the rejection effective.
    I'm not leaving.

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  35. #245
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    Default Re: Socialism

    A curious definition of the word, since every government on earth that we normally call 'democratic' does not operate that way, and recognizes some limits on its power.

    But a thought experiment: In theory, it would be possible for a large united majority of US citizens to vote to change the Constitution, abolish the bill of rights, reinstitute slavery, and establish a hereditary head of state.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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