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Let's get back to the basics of Democracy.

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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:01 PM
Original message
Let's get back to the basics of Democracy.
You'll hear a lot of people talk about the Founding Fathers and returning to their principles, but I say we go back further. To one of the first men to talk about democracy, one of the most influential and brilliant men in history, Aristitle. He said this: "A democracy exists whenever those who are free and poor are in sovereign control of the government; an oligarchy when the control lies in the hands of the rich and better born." Based on this do we really have a democracy?



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Newest Reality Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. We should try having one
someday. It might prove to be beneficial.
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:15 PM
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2. Aristotle is a very long walk back
His views on women would have 1/2 the country taking a pass - even if his views on power sharing are right on.

"Aristotle thought that woman's inability to produce semen is her deficiency. A woman, Aristotle declares, is as it were an infertile male. A male is male in virtue of a particular ability, and a female in virtue of a particular inability"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle\'s_views_on_wome...

How about pausing at John Stuart Mill?
"A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury."
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_stuart...

Either way, you're point is taken. We have lost the democracy that we had for little more than one generation, since civil rights.
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. True.
I'm not advocating we embrace all his theories as many have been proven wrong, but I do think he is correct on sharing power. I like that quote from John Stuart Mill.
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. John Stuart Mill is a hero of mine
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a bit too idealistic for me.
The modern media would beat the shit out of John Stuart Mill if he were alive today. The 'Dean Scream' character assassination by CNN would look like small potatoes in comparison.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:21 PM
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4. But even back then, democracy was only for free men.
Women, slaves and serfs were excluded. In ancient Greece, the free male citizens would meet in the agora to pass laws. Since city states like Athens were relatively small, it was easy to do this. I believe Native Americans had a system where everyone, including women were allowed to participate.

I would like to see an experiment in true democracy, maybe at a municipal or county level done here, where the City Council or County Board of Supervisors are citizens that are required to serve for a couple of years. It could be like jury duty, where they are selected by lottery. They should be compensated at a living wage if they have to leave their jobs to do so. Then they would have to spend three months learning how to do the job before they actually were allowed to govern. Those who don't want to do it could be exempted. Who wants a civil servant who doesn't want to do the job.

This way all sides would be represented. There would be no need for campaigns and the costs involved in raising money, which also leads to corruption. If it works on a local level, then I would like this system used for the House of Representatives in Congress. I'll bet there would be no Gingriches or Boehners gumming up the works then.

To answer your question, we don't have a democracy, but a Republic or representative government. However, because of the corruption of how our campaigns are run and our elections done, we don't even have that any more, IMHO, just a shell of such a system to placate us into believing it.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. that doesn't sound very democratic
what if the free and poor are not the majority, is it still democratic for them to be in control? What about hatred and stupidity? That is, if the masses are stupid and hateful, is it better to have a government that they control, or better to have a more enlightened government?
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