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Thread: Socialism

  1. #246
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    What can government do under socialism that it can't do under liberal democracy? Everyone who uses the word must know.
    Have you got me on ignore?
    I have discussed this in a couple of posts.
    First off, if you define liberal democracy as complying with the principles of liberalism, then it can regulate finance to remove the dangers of laissez-faire financial policies.
    Otherwise, both systems can do whatever the representatives judge to be appropriate.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  2. #247
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    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.
    That is an oversimplification. Democratic governments form a consensus through debate before they enact any change. See Edmund Burke.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #248
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    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.
    They are indeed mostly exinct. But at the time the Constitution was being drafted and ratified, they weren't. The definition was not at all curious at the time, it was well established, and is not changed by the fact that everyone else has used the same distinction for the same purpose. Speaking of purpose, what is the purpose of describing the USA as a democracy?


    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    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.
    Of course, and not just in theory. As Franklin said. Goodbye republic. We decided not to keep it . . . like France with Napoleon.
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  4. #249
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    They are indeed mostly exinct. But at the time the Constitution was being drafted and ratified, they weren't. The definition was not at all curious at the time, it was well established, and is not changed by the fact that everyone else has used the same distinction for the same purpose. Speaking of purpose, what is the purpose of describing the USA as a democracy?
    Well, all the while you pay lip service to voting for representatives you are still a democracy, if a flawed one.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    What can government do under socialism that it can't do under liberal democracy? Everyone who uses the word must know.
    You appear to be laboring under many misconceptions. Among them, as here, the belief that some degree of socialism cannot be enacted in a liberal democracy.

    But, of course it can. In fact, it frequently is. "Socialism" and "liberal democracy" are not mutually exclusive.

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  6. #251
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    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.
    And... You still seem to be banging on with your incorrect claims about how the U.S. puts limits on what the majority may enact. Before it was "the demos is limited to voting only for its representatives"--which I've shown quite comprehensively to be false (though of course you never defended your claim when challenged).

    Just what imaginary limits are you talking about in this post, OR?

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  7. #252
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    They are indeed mostly exinct. But at the time the Constitution was being drafted and ratified, they weren't. The definition was not at all curious at the time, it was well established, and is not changed by the fact that everyone else has used the same distinction for the same purpose. Speaking of purpose, what is the purpose of describing the USA as a democracy?
    And precisely where were these (direct, popular, unlimited) 'democracies' you describe in 1789?

    But one way or another, the reason we describe the US (and Japan, the UK, Germany, Chile, India, Costa Rica, Australia . . .) as 'democracies' is that the ordinary meaning of the word has changed in 250 years, and it's now generally used to mean constitutional or parliamentary democracies, places with popularly-elected but limited governments, like the examples I gave.

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Of course, and not just in theory. As Franklin said. Goodbye republic. We decided not to keep it . . . like France with Napoleon.
    And they could do it legally, without a revolution or violence. If 90% of US citizens became devout followers of Moon's Unification Church, and wanted to abolish the First Amendment, replacing it with one establishing the Unification Church as the state religion and banning any criticism of Reverend Moon, there is a perfectly legal constitutional method to do that. One might even say 'democratic'. So what was this about the 'limited' powers of the vox populi?
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 08-11-2022 at 08:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    You appear to be laboring under many misconceptions. Among them, as here, the belief that some degree of socialism cannot be enacted in a liberal democracy.

    But, of course it can. In fact, it frequently is. "Socialism" and "liberal democracy" are not mutually exclusive.

    Tom
    Precisely.
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  9. #254
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    You appear to be laboring under many misconceptions. Among them, as here, the belief that some degree of socialism cannot be enacted in a liberal democracy.

    But, of course it can. In fact, it frequently is. "Socialism" and "liberal democracy" are not mutually exclusive.

    Tom
    I agree 100%. In fact, a mixture of capitalism and socialism appears to work much, much better than either alone, although we can quibble endlessly about the correct proportions.
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    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    And precisely where were these (direct, popular, unlimited) 'democracies' you describe in 1789?
    Precisely in the history of Athens, and elsewhere, as cited precisely by the framers.

    There never was a democracy yet that didn't commit suicide.

    -- John Adams
    Never was yet. He wasn't talking about Allende. Couldn't have been. He was talking about direct, popular, unlimited democracies, well-known. Jesus Christ -- facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    But one way or another, the reason we describe the US (and Japan, the UK, Germany, Chile, India, Costa Rica, Australia . . .) as 'democracies' is that the ordinary meaning of the word has changed in 250 years, and it's now generally used to mean constitutional or parliamentary democracies, places with popularly-elected but limited governments, like the examples I gave.
    The (now) "ordinary" meaning is erroneous, because it has changed. The original meaning is vital to the legitimacy of the state. Granted, the "new meaning", if one might call it that, is the "will" (rather, the lazy ignorant mindless conformist practice) of the ignorant people; but, F the will of the people, ignorant or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    And they could do it legally, without a revolution or violence.
    Legal schmegal. The revolutionary violence consists in the moral and intellectual sloth and ignorance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    If 90% of US citizens became devout followers of Moon's Unification Church, and wanted to abolish the First Amendment, replacing it with one establishing the Unification Church as the state religion and banning any criticism of Reverend Moon, there is a perfectly legal constitutional method to do that. One might even say 'democratic'. So what was this about the 'limited' powers of the vox populi?
    Not constitutional. Constitutional means the Consitution, the US Constitution, not some "democratic" butt-wipe. The Constitution has already been written, you see. You know, the Constitution we ask people to kill and die for. Debated and ratified. It has a basis. If that basis is S canned, it's no longer the US Constitution. Sure, the mob can invade the capitol, with the purpose of subverting the operation of the government, carrying the undeniable implication of an intent to subvert the Constitution. So what? Did we grant the mob the right to vote away our principles? To take them away by force, to be substituted by their whim?

    All this is monumentally dangerous, not to mention silly, all to justify the people's sloppy understanding of their own F ing government, thus proving that they are incompetent guardians of my rights, however many of them there are. They want to call it democracy, and we are called upon to acquiesce, because . . . it makes them feel good, or some other fallacy.
    Last edited by Osborne Russell; 08-11-2022 at 11:08 AM.
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  11. #256
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    And... You still seem to be banging on with your incorrect claims about how the U.S. puts limits on what the majority may enact. Before it was "the demos is limited to voting only for its representatives"--which I've shown quite comprehensively to be false (though of course you never defended your claim when challenged).

    Just what imaginary limits are you talking about in this post, OR?

    Tom
    Imagine this:

    The republic of the United States of America consists of a federal government and the governments of the states united within the republic. Both sets of governments are ipso facto and explicitly constitutionally republican.

    They are governments of limited powers, meaning, they exist because powers were delegated to them. Therefore they do not possess powers not delgated to them. Binary: was a given power delegated? yes/no.

    Accordingly the poxy majority of the people cannot enact X, neither directly nor through their democratically elected representatives, if the power to do so was not delegated to either the federal government, or any government of any state; and/or if it transgresses the limits of subject matter. Sound like a limit on what they may enact?

    Then there's the positive prohibitions of the Bill Of Rights. "Congress shall make no law . . ." and "No state shall . . . " Sounds like limitations to me. Sounds like commandments.

    The will of the majority thwarted, explicitly, case after case, down the centuries. It's enough to make the champion of the people gnash her teeth, when she finally realizes that she has pledged her allegiance to the proposition that outside strict limits, the people can FO; that that is indeed what her government is all about; and so she must keep that allegiance or repudiate it.

    The only more anti-democratic proposition possible would be to deny the right of democratically elected representatives in the first place, such that no power could possibly be delegated to them, because they wouldn't exist. But there's also a limit as to how far the right of self-determination may be limited. We take several giant steps, right up to that limit. We allow a limited number of people, representatives, to enact laws within a limited spectrum. We elect an Executive with powers limited both in the initial granting and by their subsequent checking by separate branches of the government, endowed with that power to limit, for the purpose of limiting. The theme: limited.

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  12. #257
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Precisely in the history of Athens, and elsewhere, as cited precisely by the framers.
    OK, so 2500 years previously, some semi-legendary examples which didn't work out so well, and probably never will for any group larger than a band of hunter-gatherers. Nothing on the planet at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    He wasn't talking about Allende.
    Neither was I. I was referring to Chile since 1990, which is indeed a reasonably well-functioning democracy (in the ordinary modern sense of the word).

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    The (now) "ordinary" meaning is erroneous, because it has changed.
    Don't be silly. Words are conventional signs and noises people use to communicate. Their meaning is whatever people agree on, and sometimes changes over time. 'Democracy' now means not only direct popular democracy like the Greek city-states way back, but the numerous variations of constitutional representative democracy that we've seen over the past couple of hundred years. You want to talk about the former, add a modifier or two, and everybody will understand what you mean. Or you could grouse interminably about how your preferred meaning is the only 'correct' one, but that and $3.50 might get you a venti latte.

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Not constitutional. Constitutional means the Constitution, the US Constitution, not some "democratic" butt-wipe. The Constitution has already been written, you see. You know, the Constitution we ask people to kill and die for. Debated and ratified. It has a basis. If that basis is S canned, it's no longer the US Constitution.
    You might recall that the fundamental basis of the US Constitution is popular sovereignty, and the people, through their elected representatives, can change it if they want to, and have, quite radically. The original constitution didn't allow far more than half the population to vote (nobody with two X chromosomes, nor those whose ancestors came from Africa or were here when Europeans arrived), and allowed slavery, more than half the population in some states. There is nothing in the Constitution that can't be changed if enough of the people want to do it. It's not easy; there's a high bar that requires multiple steps and a very large majority (for good reason), but it can be done if the will of enough of the people is behind it. Democracy.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 08-11-2022 at 11:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    OK, so 2500 years previously, some semi-legendary examples which didn't work out so well. Nothing on the planet at the time.
    Whatever. They were the references chosen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Don't be silly. Words are conventional signs and noises people use to communicate. Their meaning is whatever people agree on . . .
    Not in law. This is where "Rule of law, not men" really bites the ass of the populi. They fancy themselves rulers by right, superior to the law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    'Democracy' now means not only direct popular democracy like the Greek city-states way back, but the numerous variations of constitutional representative democracy that we've seen over the past couple of hundred years. You want to talk about the former, add a modifier or two, and everybody will understand what you mean.
    No need to add anything to the original citations and interpretation. If everyone wants to understand those, let them learn. No one else is obligated to accomodate their error, much less is there a positive benefit from it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Or you could grouse interminably about how your preferred meaning is the only 'correct' one, but that and $3.50 might get you a venti latte.
    I prefer it for more substantial reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    You might recall that the fundamental basis of the US Constitution is popular sovereignty, and the people, through their elected representatives, can change it if they want to, and have, quite radically. The original constitution didn't allow far more than half the population to vote, and allowed slavery, more than half the population in some states. There is nothing in the Constitution that can't be changed if enough of the people want to do it. It's not easy; there's high bar that requires a very large majority,(for good reason), but it can be done if enough of the will of the people is behind it. Democracy.
    For good reason, indeed. The USA is a republic for good reason. To set the bars high.

    What was changed was well within, in fact logically and morally required, by principles which had to compromised to form and defend a nation. The changes were only revolutionary in that context, i.e. circumstantially, not in principle.

    The will of the people can attack the Capitol. Does that make it legal?
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    This is where "Rule of law, not men" really bites the ass of the populi. They fancy themselves rulers by right, superior to the law.
    Again, under our system, they are, if enough of them agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    If everyone wants to understand those, let them learn. No one else is obligated to accommodate their error, . . .
    It depends on whether you want to communicate effectively using the same language as most other people, or whether you want to be a curmudgeon and insist that your idiosyncratic way of using the language is the only right way. I suggest adding a modifier or two - 'direct democracy' works pretty well - and then making your points, But if you'd rather argue about word definitions, it's your call.

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    The will of the people can attack the Capitol. Does that make it legal?
    Again, don't be silly. A couple of hundred extremists are not 'the will of the people'. But the genuine 'will of the people' can change any aspect of the law and Constitution, if enough of the people agree.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Again, under our system, they are, if enough of them agree.
    Not under the Constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    It depends on whether you want to communicate effectively using the same language as most other people, or whether you want to be a curmudgeon and insist that your idiosyncratic way of using the language is the only right way. I suggest adding a modifier or two - 'direct democracy' works pretty well - and then making your points, But if you'd rather argue about word definitions, it's your call.
    It's not my definition, and not idiosyncratic. It's rooted in history and law, where yours isn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Again, don't be silly. A couple of hundred extremists are not 'the will of the people'. But the genuine 'will of the people' can change any aspect of the law and Constitution, if enough of the people agree.
    Only by law, not by direct action. What if it were the majority? All of them? Would it then be legal? Because it is their will? The numbers are irrelevant. Strictly speaking, it's their representatives who make, pursuant to the law, what changes the law allows. That's as close as it comes to being the will of the people. On purpose. Their own representatives can decline what the people demand. Under the Constitution, the will of the majority per se is irrelevant. On purpose.
    Last edited by Osborne Russell; 08-11-2022 at 01:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Again, don't be silly. A couple of hundred extremists are not 'the will of the people'.
    Indeed a silly comment, and in bad faith besides.

    Constitutional democracies/republics do indeed limit the power of the people - for example, they may not in the US re-institute slavery unless they change the constitution.

    But the actual practice is much messier than OR would have us believe - those rightists on the SCOTUS have given the rights of people to corporations DESPITE the fact that the word "corporation" appears nowhere in the constitution. BUT, the same "justices" have declared that there is no right to abortion . .. why? because the word "abortion" does not appear in the constitution.

    Coming up . . the Court will allow extreme gerrymandering, and also declare that state legislatures can ignore the will of the voters. Our sad ol' democracy is hanging by a thread.

    We USAeans live in an oligarchy.

    I take no pleasure in stating that, but it is the truth.

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    Default Re: Socialism

    It's not my definition, and not idiosyncratic. It's rooted in history and law, where yours isn't.
    Sorry, but words are things people make up, and they mean what people think they mean. 'Democracy', whether you like it or not, now has several overlapping meanings. 'Direct democracy' like the Athenians in the agora is one meaning. Another is 'representative democracy' like the US. You don't get to say that one meaning for the word is right and one isn't, although you can argue about it until you turn blue. If you want to argue about definitions, it's your choice, but if you want to talk about systems of government, it would be far easier to use the conventional terminology.

    . . . the will of the majority per se is irrelevant.
    Right. All they do is vote into office representatives who they mostly agree with, and if enough of the representatives agree, they can change any of the laws, or even change the Constitution and how laws are made. If that's 'irrelevant', I'm not sure what 'relevant' would be.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    So, I see that OR continues to stick to his delusionary interpretations of democratic governance, including these rather elementary failures of understanding:

    1. A belief that the U.S. Constitution was intended to be, and is, some kind of a permanent, chiseled-in-stone-tablets-handed-down-directly-from-the-hands-of-the-Founders institution.

    This comment from Keith about sums up how completely contrary to fact OR's stance on this is:

    You might recall that the fundamental basis of the US Constitution is popular sovereignty, and the people, through their elected representatives, can change it if they want to, and have, quite radically.
    But I'll add this as well:

    The important process of changing the Constitution by means other than the formal amendment process has historically taken place and will continue to take place in five basic ways:


    Source

    2. An amazingly reactionary conception of language as a static and immutable function of the human brain, when it fact it is well understood by virtually every practicing linguist that language is not static; it evolves according to usage and consensus. OR appears to have staked his claim as a lone wolf prescriptionist in a world that is irrevocably and unabashedly descriptionist in practice. Along with that comes a monstrous dose of hubris in thinking that his definition of a word is "the" definition.

    Wow. Just wow. I don't know what else to say.

    How can a guy who apparently spends so much time thinking about this stuff get it so wrong?

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-11-2022 at 01:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Socialism

    . . . changing the Constitution by means other than the formal amendment process
    You don't even need that. The Constitution has been changed many times, the process for doing it is 'democratic' (representative democracy) in that it depends on elected representatives of the people, and some of the changes have been quite radical. There's a high bar, but the fundamental principle is popular sovereignty through elected representatives and a defined process - which can itself be changed, if there's enough popular will behind the change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    You don't even need that. The Constitution has been changed many times, the process for doing it is 'democratic' (representative democracy) in that it depends on elected representatives of the people, and some of the changes have been quite radical. There's a high bar, but the fundamental principle is popular sovereignty through elected representatives and a defined process - which can itself be changed, if there's enough popular will behind the change.
    I agree with you completely--but since OR apparently doesn't understand the amendment process, I thought it might be worthwhile to point out that amendments are not the only way that the constitution has been, and will continue to be, changed.

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    I suspect the binary distinction he's making between direct democracy (what he calls 'real' democracy) and constitutional representative democracy is part of the problem. It's a multi-dimensional continuum, not two separate things.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 08-11-2022 at 02:49 PM.
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    https://www.oed.com/oed2/00060572

    democracy

    (dɪˈmɒkrəsɪ) Forms: 6–7 democracie, 6–7 (9) -cratie, 7 (9) -craty, 7– -cracy. [a. F. démocratie (siː), (Oresme 14th c.), a. med.L. dēmocratia (in 13th c. L. transl. of Aristotle, attrib. to William of Moerbeke), a. Gr. δηµοκρατία popular government, f. δῆµος the commons, the people + -κρατια in comb. = κράτος rule, sway, authority. The latinized form is frequent in early writers, and democratie, -craty, in 16– 17th c.]

    1. Government by the people; that form of government in which the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them (as in the small republics of antiquity) or by officers elected by them. In mod. use often more vaguely denoting a social state in which all have equal rights, without hereditary or arbitrary differences of rank or privilege.

    [1531 Elyot Gov. i. ii, An other publique weale was amonge the Atheniensis, where equalitie was of astate amonge the people‥This maner of gouernaunce was called in greke Democratia, in latine, Popularis potentia, in englisshe the rule of the comminaltie.] 1576 Fleming Panopl. Epist. 198 Democracie, when the multitude have governement. 1586 T. B. La Primaud. Fr. Acad. 549 Democratie, where free and poore men being the greater number, are lords of the estate. 1628 Wither Brit. Rememb. 267 Were I in Switzerland I would maintaine Democrity. 1664 H. More Myst. Iniq. 514 Presbytery verges nearer toward Populacy or Democracy. 1821 Byron Diary May (Ravenna), What is‥democracy?—an aristocracy of blackguards. 1836 Gen. P. Thompson Exerc. (1842) IV. 191 Democracy means the community's governing through its representatives for its own benefit. 1890 Pall Mall G. 25 Nov. 3/1 ‘Progress of all through all, under the leading of the best and wisest’, was his [Mazzini's] definition of democracy.

    b. A state or community in which the government is vested in the people as a whole.

    1574 Whitgift Def. Aunsw. iii. Wks. (1851) I. 390 In respect that the people are not secluded, but have their interest in church-matters, it is a democraty, or a popular estate. 1607 Topsell Four-f. Beasts (1658) 97 Democraties do not nourish game and pleasures like unto Monarchies. 1614 Bp. Hall Recoll. Treat. 732 Nothing‥can bee more disorderlie, then the confusion of your Democracie, or popular state. 1671 Milton P.R. iv. 269 Those ancient whose resistless eloquence Wielded at will that fierce democraty. 1794 S. Williams Vermont 342 In the ancient democracies the public business was transacted in the assemblies of the people. 1804 Syd. Smith Mor. Philos. xvi. (1850) 237 In the fierce and eventful democraties of Greece and Rome. 1881 Jowett Thucyd. I. 117 We are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few.

    c. fig.

    1607 T. Walkington Opt. Glass 82 Tyrannizing as it were over the Democratie of base and vulgar actions. a1652 J. Smith Sel. Disc. ix. xi. (1821) 410 In wicked men there is a democracy of wild lusts and passions. 1885 J. Martineau Types Eth. Th. I. 27 All these εἴδη‥are not left side by side as a democracy of real being.

    2. That class of the people which has no hereditary or special rank or privilege; the common people (in reference to their political power).

    1827 Hallam Const. Hist. (1876) II. xii. 453 The power of the democracy in that age resided chiefly in the corporations. 1841 Gen. P. Thompson Exerc. (1842) VI. 151 The portion of the people whose injury is the most manifest, have got or taken the title of the ‘democracy’. For nobody that has taken care of himself, is ever, in these days, of the democracy‥The political life of the English democracy, may be said to date from the 21st of January 1841. 1868 Mill in Eng. & Ireland Feb., When the democracy of one country will join hands with the democracy of another.

    3. Democratism. rare.

    1856 Miss Mulock J. Halifax 244 It seems that democracy is rife in your neighbourhood.

    4. U.S. politics. a. The principles of the Democratic party; b. The members of the Democratic party collectively.

    1825 H. Clay Priv. Corr. 112, I am [alleged to be] a deserter from democracy. 1848 N.Y. Herald 13 June (Bartlett), The election of 1840‥was carried by‥false charges against the American democracy. 1868 in G. Rose Gt. Country 354 That resolution adopted by the Maine Democracy in State Convention at Augusta. 1891 Lowell's Poems, Biglow P., Note 301 One of the leaders of the Northern Democracy during the war, and the presidential nominee against Lincoln in 1864.



    Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989).
    © Oxford University Press 1989.

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    Going back a bit further, probably the most famous person to blacken the name of democracy was Aristotle, but there are some major misconceptions about what he said.

    In the Politics, he laid out six kinds of regimes. The good ones were monarchy, aristocracy, and polity. The 'deviant' ones were tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. What was the difference? Whether those with power ruled in the interest of the community or in their own selfish interest. The difference between monarchy and tyranny was whether the ruling individual wanted the best for his community or himself, and that is the difference between aristocracy and oligarchy, and between polity and democracy. (To be clear, he also called polity 'constitutional rule,' and said it married the interest of the poor and the rich. He thought democracies failed because the poor decided to vote themselves rich, which caused chaos in the society.)

    Modern European culture at the time of the American Revolution was rapidly getting over the idea that monarchs and aristocrats ruled in the interest of the people. The best bet for getting a government that ruled for the common interest was what Aristotle called polity if it was run with the proper motives or democracy if it was run selfishly. Modern writers dropped the distinction between polity and democracy, but not the distinction between an orderly, constitutional rule by the people and mob rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    So, I see that OR continues to stick to his delusionary interpretations of democratic governance, including these rather elementary failures of understanding:

    1. A belief that the U.S. Constitution was intended to be, and is, some kind of a permanent, chiseled-in-stone-tablets-handed-down-directly-from-the-hands-of-the-Founders institution.

    This comment from Keith about sums up how completely contrary to fact OR's stance on this is:



    But I'll add this as well:
    Source
    Your article is complete horse S.

    Clearly, they wanted to ensure that the document allowed for flexibility in both its interpretation and future application. As a result, many changes have been made to the Constitution over the years without changing a word in it.

    https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-to-ch...tution-4115574
    There is one way to change the Constitution. "The Consitution allows Congress to establish inferior courts; therefore, when it does, it changes the Constitution." Puh-leeze

    You are uninformed, and in consequence, you are easily misinformed by garbage like this. Are these the people who told you the Postal Service is socialist?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    I suspect the binary distinction he's making between direct democracy (what he calls 'real' democracy) and constitutional representative democracy is part of the problem. It's a multi-dimensional continuum, not two separate things.
    You misunderstand my argument. Some people find that distinction conclusive as to the US being a democracy. My argument is that it isn't, because there's much more to the question than that, and that in fact, it supports the argument that the US is not a democracy. Indeed, they are not two separate things, and that's the problem.

    The framers had a deep distrust of what they called democracy. Yes or no? How people in later years define democracy does not change the framers' understanding, yes or no?

    Yes on both counts. The supposedly dispositive distinction between direct and representative is no distinction at all, relevant to the question. How does representative democracy avoid the dangers of direct democracy? What is the magic in representative democracy that, without sharp limits upon its reach, eliminates the dangers of direct democracy? Short answer: there is none. That's not even the purpose. The purpose actually served is to make the government less democratic. A large barrier between the majority's will and the execution of it.

    Which brings us to the point you and Tom are not facing: the distinction between direct and representative is only the beginning, not the end. Making democracy representative is emphatically not enough. Other controls are needed; they exist, and that's wh. Separation of powers, regular elections, the doctrine of limited powers, the doctrine of inalienable rights -- just for openers -- construct a government dedicated to maintaining barriers between the majority's will and the execution of it. That's the relevant distinction between democracy, however defined, and the republic. The design features of the republic are not a grab bag. It's a system, with a purpose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Going back a bit further, probably the most famous person to blacken the name of democracy was Aristotle, but there are some major misconceptions about what he said.

    In the Politics, he laid out six kinds of regimes. The good ones were monarchy, aristocracy, and polity. The 'deviant' ones were tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. What was the difference? Whether those with power ruled in the interest of the community or in their own selfish interest. The difference between monarchy and tyranny was whether the ruling individual wanted the best for his community or himself, and that is the difference between aristocracy and oligarchy, and between polity and democracy. (To be clear, he also called polity 'constitutional rule,' and said it married the interest of the poor and the rich. He thought democracies failed because the poor decided to vote themselves rich, which caused chaos in the society.)

    Modern European culture at the time of the American Revolution was rapidly getting over the idea that monarchs and aristocrats ruled in the interest of the people. The best bet for getting a government that ruled for the common interest was what Aristotle called polity if it was run with the proper motives or democracy if it was run selfishly. Modern writers dropped the distinction between polity and democracy, but not the distinction between an orderly, constitutional rule by the people and mob rule.
    What do you make of this:

    Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution also represent important milestones in the limiting of governmental power. The earliest use of the term limited government dates back to King James VI and I in the late 16th century. Scholar Steven Skultety argues that although Aristotle never developed principles and tactics of constitutionalism, Aristotle's political philosophy in some ways anticipated the idea of limited government, primarily as a tool for limiting civic distrust and enhancing stability.

    -- wikipedia, Limited Government
    According to this, two very important purposes of the doctrine of limited government in the USA go back to Aristotle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    You are uninformed, and in consequence, ?
    And you are arrogant and rude, and not even close to as smart as you imagine yourself to be . ..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    You are uninformed
    Speaking of which--are you still claiming that in the U.S., the demos is only allowed to vote for its representatives, and nothing else? If so, you might want to check out the recent abortion referendum in Kansas and have a re-think.

    Uninformed? Yes, I'd have to say that you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    There is one way to change the Constitution.
    Uh... FYI, there are actually four ways to pass a constitutional amendment; I think you have to know that much just to earn a GED. And then there are all those other ways to change it (in practice) that don't involve amendments.

    Tom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Some people find that distinction conclusive as to the US being a democracy. My argument is that it isn't, because there's much more to the question than that, and that in fact, it supports the argument that the US is not a democracy.
    And this is a disagreement about the definition of a word. By the dictionary definition, and by the almost-universal way the word is used today, the US is a democracy. Yes, 250 years ago the meaning may have been different. Clarifying which definition we're using is good, but otherwise, why in the world is that worth arguing about?

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Which brings us to the point you and Tom are not facing: the distinction between direct and representative is only the beginning, not the end. Making democracy representative is emphatically not enough. Other controls are needed . . . .
    I can't speak for Tom, but I definitely agree with you. My distinction between 'direct' and 'representative' was just shorthand, there's obviously a lot more to it. There's a mechanical engineering concept, the idea of a damper, a device which resists motion proportional to velocity. Political systems need dampers, things that make major changes hard, raise the threshold, and slow them down. You don't want the fad of the moment to cause the system to lurch from one extreme to another. Of course, you can have too much damping, or too little, and getting it right is hard.

    But again, in the US, and most other countries that are commonly called 'democracies', the basis of government is still popular sovereignty. The will of the people, if strong enough, united enough, and persistent enough, can overcome any built-in dampers and limits and change anything. The US abolished slavery and legal segregation, and women can now vote. England could get rid of the monarchy. The US could theoretically get rid of the electoral college, make the Senate proportional to population, even repeal the First Amendment. Japan could restore the emperor to real power. Dampers and limits are essential, but they also must be able to be overcome it that's what enough of the citizens really want (for better or worse). That's why the ordinary definition of 'democracy' is at least as accurate as the one used 250 years ago; for power does reside with the people.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
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    Keith - aren't you glad that design approval for the damping aspect of a piece of machinery is not buffeted by ideological considerations?

    David G
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    What do you make of this:



    According to this, two very important purposes of the doctrine of limited government in the USA go back to Aristotle.
    The founders were well versed in the classics, as were Locke and other liberal theorists. They had also studied the history of the Greek city states and the Roman republic. The Greek city states experimented with a number of forms of government, often with a written constitution, and that variety was the basis for Aristotle's Politics. I had some Haitian students in my store back in the '90s who were studying political theory in hopes they might apply it back home, and I advised them to start with the Politics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Political systems need dampers, things that make major changes hard, raise the threshold, and slow them down. You don't want the fad of the moment to cause the system to lurch from one extreme to another. Of course, you can have too much damping, or too little, and getting it right is hard. .
    The US was created purposefully with too much damping.

    This is the reason we cannot have nice things like M4A, social housing, and much else.

    The US is a functional oligarchy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    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.
    Then so can the US democratic republic, without any degree of socialism. Which means democracy or republic, no socialism was employed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandtown View Post
    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
    Neither did the Athenians. Did they have a democracy?
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