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Old 11-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #21
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So? There should be an elite deciding what they deserve? And that elite is uncorruptable?
I didn't say that. But to not acknowledge the very serious problems with pure democracy is to invite tyranny. Yet liberty does not prosper under anarchy.

Limited government is necessary to promote individual liberty, but there must be built-in protections for individual rights and strong restraints on the scope and power of government. This is the essential problem of good government: how shall a government be established so that liberty is preserved/protected/maximized?
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:13 AM   #22
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I didn't say that. But to not acknowledge the very serious problems with pure democracy is to invite tyranny. Yet liberty does not prosper under anarchy.

Limited government is necessary to promote individual liberty, but there must be built-in protections for individual rights and strong restraints on the scope and power of government. This is the essential problem of good government: how shall a government be established so that liberty is preserved/protected/maximized?
I don't see it that way. Government is one of the few organisations where people actually have some, albeit limited, control of the persons in charge. One could leave more to the market, but I hardly see how that's going to prevent tyranny. All people are inclined to egocentrism and further along the line to egoism. Both in government and in the private sector. It's for that reason that communism or any form of socialism is doomed to fail; they just exhanged political equality and economical inequality for political inequality and economical equality. It's also why powerful private sector actors should be kept in check.

I don't really see the tyranny from more democracy. I've been a member of a city council for a while and I was absolutely disgusted by the way my fellow councilors proceeded with politics. There's a lot of conventional wisdom, street knowledge that common people possess - but instead of going in a dialogue and collaborative process with them to produce a better policy, most energy went into shutting them up and estranging people from the political process. That doesn't mean that the politics there were bad; we kept our budget (although a lot of it went down the drain to some of the old boys network friends of the magistrates - you can never quite put your finger on it) and the happiness was on a reasonable level, but it is a missed chance.

By arguing for more democracy I do not propose that people can vote in more referendums; I believe California is the best counterexample for that , but that people are more involved in dialogues on how to formulate policy. When your town decides to remove the park, because they don't want to maintain it - would it not be better to know what citizens are willing to do for the park in the first place? Perhaps that way the park can be saved.

So no, no referendums, but more dialogue between and among citizens, government and NGO's.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:23 AM   #23
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I didn't say that. But to not acknowledge the very serious problems with pure democracy is to invite tyranny. Yet liberty does not prosper under anarchy.

Limited government is necessary to promote individual liberty, but there must be built-in protections for individual rights and strong restraints on the scope and power of government. This is the essential problem of good government: how shall a government be established so that liberty is preserved/protected/maximized?
Well, what is liberty? What is freedom? Only the last 30 years it get's roughly defined as "I can do whatever the hell I want". If you read Kant's or Spinoza's definition, it mentions the absolute need for some sort of moral anchor or moral orientation point, to prevent randomness.

These days it seems ethical orientation points are completely out of order; Romney funneling his money through (corporate) tax paradises like my own country and Switzerland, thus not contributing to the country that protects his own good (through the police or military). Just an example. It's really a shame Christianity is in shambles these days - at least it provided a cohesive framework - although Christianity seems watered down to only correcting the others about how it should be done. Even positivist formulations of ethics are heavily under attack by postmodernist scumbags. The unleashing of the individual, a perversion of postmodernism in my view, all under the motto of "freedom" and "I can do whatever the hell I want", seems to disregard completely the fact that all our acts ripple in society as a whole and that without any form of moral orientation, we're indeed doomed as society to fall into total anarchy.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:55 AM   #24
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I reject Kant's metaphysics and epistemology out of hand, including the applied example of it, Christianity. I don't think that we can have a productive discussion if I must start by explaining and justifying the concept of individual liberty. There's just too much distance between our starting premises...I'm sorry but I don't have the energy for it.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:12 PM   #25
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Good government will involve a deal of push-pull between the benefits of a strong central government and the benefits of individual and local autonomy. This debate was present at the nation's founding, when the strong central government of the Constitution won out after the disastrous attempt at loose confederacy.

Secularism is the keystone to the integrity of this argument. Reality and our understanding of the world around us changes constantly. We cannot proceed if we are anchored to the status quo.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:24 PM   #26
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Good government will involve a deal of push-pull between the benefits of a strong central government and the benefits of individual and local autonomy. This debate was present at the nation's founding, when the strong central government of the Constitution won out after the disastrous attempt at loose confederacy.

Secularism is the keystone to the integrity of this argument. Reality and our understanding of the world around us changes constantly. We cannot proceed if we are anchored to the status quo.
Well, I think quite a lot has changed since. Especially the old elitist ways of doing are long past us. 'The elite' isn't so easily accepted any more and their authority should be earned and not just assumed. In that sense, I think moving towards more democratic forms of government is the only way to make sure the rulers have earned their authority.

Citizens on the one hand do not want the government to interfere with their daily lives in a paternalistic way. I think Reagan/Thatcher were perfect translators of the feelings that bubbled up to the surface at that time; it's the consequence of increasing individualization. On the other hand, citizens still expect government to solve a lot of problems. A joke among civil servants is when somebody asks what citizens want is: "maximum welfare, no taxes". Taxes are increasingly seen as an infringement of personal autonomy. Welfare is increasingly seen as a right to well being. There's a mismatch between expectations, authority and capability of and by government.

The only way, I think to solve this, is to decentralize more and more and to have citizens organize more at community level. I feel a lot for the idea (!) of Cameron's Big Society; though I feel Cameron's motivation is far less benevolent than the idea itself. The old morale, what I think Kennedy once said, of 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country' (or something in this gist) is over. People don't want to do anything for a loose collective of people they hardly ever know. Gated communities are far more a resemblance of the current ethics than just 'excesses'. The expectations of government should be lowered and the government should now invest more in enabling communities themselves to organize what ever they want. I guess that at first this will create more dissatisfaction with government, as people still pay taxes, but see a government that's doing and meaning increasingly less for them.

Last edited by Tyrian; 11-12-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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