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post #31 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 09:38 PM
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Cool!

Thanks.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #32 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-14-2008, 08:48 AM
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So you favor a single house, all proportionally elected. I'll concede that you are consistent to that degree.

But why have a representative government? With communication as simple as it is today we could use biometric identification o allow a pretty reliable direct vote on every issue of governance -- a pure democracy is in our grasp.

Why not?

B
The Founders were essentially Classicists. They wanted a government modelled after the best Greek Democracy and Republican Rome had to offer, tempered by the lessons from each that resulted in the rise of the Tyrant, and tempered by the lessons of English Parliamentarianism and it's eventual failure in the English Civil War, a failure that again resulted in a resurgance of the Tyrant. In all three, it was the unbridled passions of the people that they saw as the main aid to the rise of tyranny as eaither a reaction to or manipulation of democracy. Caesar did not rise to the top thu the Senate, it was his control of the Roman mobs that allowed him to maniplulate the Senate, something which they would see as now possible due to our direct election of Senators and I think it did happen in the railrioading of this country into Iraq. The lessons of the English Civil War were applied as well, although you will never get right wing "Christian Nation" religious kooks to admit, the mob was this time inflamed by religion and the Founders saw fit to deal with that as well.

The Founders essentially combined the two major features of England and Rome-Paliament and the Senate, making them co-equal in power, underpinned the Parliament with Greek universalism and the Senate and President with Roman Patricianism, and then added their own unique feature, the removal of the judiciary from subserviance to the Executive into a co-equal branch of government, a balance that Bush tried to destroy during the infamous Gonzalez episode for which he and Cheney should have been impeached. It was essentially the election of a Democratic Congress and the return of Check and Balance that defeated Bush's attempt to complete his vision of a neo-fascist presidency, where even the Law itself was a toy for the Executive.

The founders rejected direct democracy because history shows the mob eventually elects a Tyrant to correct its own excesses or in response to emotional argument, like Hitler or Bush, for example. There is more to society than the passage of laws, there is the necessity for the guaranteeal of rights. The co-equal branches of government are designed as much to that as they are to pass laws. A popular democracy would simply vote away the rights of the minorities and ham-string the courts. IMO, we should either return to the Founder's original model or simply return to the British model, which I think has in the end turned out to be the better form of government, better than the bastardized psuedo-democracy, or actually the Dictatorship of Capital, that this government has become.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

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post #33 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-14-2008, 09:39 PM
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The Founders were essentially Classicists. They wanted a government modelled after the best Greek Democracy and Republican Rome had to offer, tempered by the lessons from each that resulted in the rise of the Tyrant, and tempered by the lessons of English Parliamentarianism and it's eventual failure in the English Civil War, a failure that again resulted in a resurgance of the Tyrant. In all three, it was the unbridled passions of the people that they saw as the main aid to the rise of tyranny as eaither a reaction to or manipulation of democracy. Caesar did not rise to the top thu the Senate, it was his control of the Roman mobs that allowed him to maniplulate the Senate, something which they would see as now possible due to our direct election of Senators and I think it did happen in the railrioading of this country into Iraq. The lessons of the English Civil War were applied as well, although you will never get right wing "Christian Nation" religious kooks to admit, the mob was this time inflamed by religion and the Founders saw fit to deal with that as well.

The Founders essentially combined the two major features of England and Rome-Paliament and the Senate, making them co-equal in power, underpinned the Parliament with Greek universalism and the Senate and President with Roman Patricianism, and then added their own unique feature, the removal of the judiciary from subserviance to the Executive into a co-equal branch of government, a balance that Bush tried to destroy during the infamous Gonzalez episode for which he and Cheney should have been impeached. It was essentially the election of a Democratic Congress and the return of Check and Balance that defeated Bush's attempt to complete his vision of a neo-fascist presidency, where even the Law itself was a toy for the Executive.

The founders rejected direct democracy because history shows the mob eventually elects a Tyrant to correct its own excesses or in response to emotional argument, like Hitler or Bush, for example. There is more to society than the passage of laws, there is the necessity for the guaranteeal of rights. The co-equal branches of government are designed as much to that as they are to pass laws. A popular democracy would simply vote away the rights of the minorities and ham-string the courts. IMO, we should either return to the Founder's original model or simply return to the British model, which I think has in the end turned out to be the better form of government, better than the bastardized psuedo-democracy, or actually the Dictatorship of Capital, that this government has become.
Bush was elected by a process designed to defeat the mob -- the Electoral College. If we had a pure democracy then the method for electing the president would be moot -- we voters, vote, eliminating the need for a president.

I agree that a return to the original model would be an advance over the current system.

But nothing you have said thus far addresses why we have 2 senators per state, if population representation should be the sole criterion of elective office. Do you think we should change to a unicameral system like Nebraska Nebraska Legislature - History of the Nebraska Unicameral , in which the legislature is all elected the same way?

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #34 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-15-2008, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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But nothing you have said thus far addresses why we have 2 senators per state, if population representation should be the sole criterion of elective office.
B
Population representation is not the sole criterion for the Senate. The Senate was originally set up to represent the interests of the State, not the people so each STATE chose its two folks to represent their interests. At the same time the people voted for Representatives to represent the interests of the PEOPLE. They could just as easily chosen 1 or 3 but 2 tends to allow the easiest way to get a diverse opinion without too many people.

That was the ORIGINAL INTENT of the Senate. Amendments changed some of it's focus. I am on my laptop and I hate the keyboard so I am not googling right now.

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post #35 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-15-2008, 11:36 AM
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Population representation is not the sole criterion for the Senate. The Senate was originally set up to represent the interests of the State, not the people so each STATE chose its two folks to represent their interests. At the same time the people voted for Representatives to represent the interests of the PEOPLE. They could just as easily chosen 1 or 3 but 2 tends to allow the easiest way to get a diverse opinion without too many people.

That was the ORIGINAL INTENT of the Senate. Amendments changed some of it's focus. I am on my laptop and I hate the keyboard so I am not googling right now.
I'm trying to establish parameters for the argument. On one extreme we have pure democracy and on the other extreme, the constitutional establishment of a popular lower house and the original formulation of a pseudo-aristocratic upper house. Between those parameters we mave an unknonw number of stable and unstable configurations.

Like I said previously, the constitution says how. It does not say why. I have most definitely read the constitution, even the parts where they talk about the senate.

Why do we stick with that anachronism of a constitution? Why not chuck the whole sorry rag and go to a pure democracy?

We could have a pure democracy with no need for a constitution. With biometrics and the various means of electronic communication, we have the capacity for enacting it. Why not?

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #36 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-15-2008, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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I'm trying to establish parameters for the argument.
Why do we stick with that anachronism of a constitution? Why not chuck the whole sorry rag and go to a pure democracy?

We could have a pure democracy with no need for a constitution. With biometrics and the various means of electronic communication, we have the capacity for enacting it. Why not?
Take a group like BWOT, move us to a conference room and have us vote in a form of pure democracy on a limited series of municipal or state actions.

Now, push the number of actions to infinite.

Now extrapolate the number of people to 220 Million. Remember, besides voting on each and every measure, many folks will also want to draft the measures that are to be voted on.

On something as simple as defining the face of a currency there would be hundreds of proposals, each to be debated, each to be drafted into measures, each to be voted on. In a pure democracy, even though mechanics for streamlining could be drafted, the number of inputs would far exceed the ability of the system to process. And streamlining the mechanics would, in itself reduce the nature of pure Democracy.

One of the first things any fledgling Democracy would do, by default would be to set a framework and rules to define the Democracy. A constitution, if you will.

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post #37 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-15-2008, 09:57 PM
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Take a group like BWOT, move us to a conference room and have us vote in a form of pure democracy on a limited series of municipal or state actions.

Now, push the number of actions to infinite.

Now extrapolate the number of people to 220 Million. Remember, besides voting on each and every measure, many folks will also want to draft the measures that are to be voted on.

On something as simple as defining the face of a currency there would be hundreds of proposals, each to be debated, each to be drafted into measures, each to be voted on. In a pure democracy, even though mechanics for streamlining could be drafted, the number of inputs would far exceed the ability of the system to process. And streamlining the mechanics would, in itself reduce the nature of pure Democracy.

One of the first things any fledgling Democracy would do, by default would be to set a framework and rules to define the Democracy. A constitution, if you will.
That's reasonable, IMO. I recall that Athens, during at least one of it's times of democracy, had a mini reign of terror. I think it was following the death of Pericles and the loss of Sicily. Not sure about that.

What is it about a constitutional representative democracy that makes it preferable, in most circumstances, to either pure democracy or pure aristocracy? I think it is the buy-in of individuals. Once we have sat on a jury trial or on a grand jury, or served in the military or paid taxes we have an emotional and logical stake in creating a better world for you fellow citizens & the world.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #38 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-15-2008, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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That's reasonable, IMO. I recall that Athens, during at least one of it's times of democracy, had a mini reign of terror. I think it was following the death of Pericles and the loss of Sicily. Not sure about that.

What is it about a constitutional representative democracy that makes it preferable, in most circumstances, to either pure democracy or pure aristocracy? I think it is the buy-in of individuals. Once we have sat on a jury trial or on a grand jury, or served in the military or paid taxes we have an emotional and logical stake in creating a better world for you fellow citizens & the world.
I agree, we have some level of ownership, no matter how tenuous it appears most of the time as we are able to vote for our local US Representative every other year. If they turn out to be a real dick, the locals do tend to put someone else up to oppose them [DeLay being the exception]. Watch the Staten Island race as it comes up. Rep. Fossella [R-2 Family Values] who had an ironclad hold on that seat is looking to lose it, maybe before the normal election cycle.

Representative Democracy is about as orderly as one can get. 435 Members, all in all do move things through, even though it seems painfully slow. The Checks and Balances part is one of the best features. It keeps everyone on their toes.

While I think there might be a need to have some "running the table" time to square up some of the mess from 2001-2006, should the White House go Democratic as expected, I will not be happy to see Checks and Balances go away. It is an integral part of the system.

Unfortunately six years of ZERO vetoes and R/R rule has made it necessary to spend some time sorting through things to even things out. Pendulums can be a bitch.

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post #39 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-16-2008, 05:25 AM
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Take a group like BWOT, move us to a conference room and have us vote in a form of pure democracy on a limited series of municipal or state actions.
Well one of our first actions would need to be to close and lock the doors and windows (are there ever windows in a conference room?) so that no one can sneak in. Votes will only be taken from those who have entered the room correctly and with proper authorization.

And who's paying for the donuts and coffee? We won't be sharing them with the people in the other conference rooms, will we?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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post #40 of 65 (permalink) Old 05-16-2008, 02:22 PM
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I agree, we have some level of ownership, no matter how tenuous it appears most of the time as we are able to vote for our local US Representative every other year. If they turn out to be a real dick, the locals do tend to put someone else up to oppose them [DeLay being the exception]. Watch the Staten Island race as it comes up. Rep. Fossella [R-2 Family Values] who had an ironclad hold on that seat is looking to lose it, maybe before the normal election cycle.

Representative Democracy is about as orderly as one can get. 435 Members, all in all do move things through, even though it seems painfully slow. The Checks and Balances part is one of the best features. It keeps everyone on their toes.

While I think there might be a need to have some "running the table" time to square up some of the mess from 2001-2006, should the White House go Democratic as expected, I will not be happy to see Checks and Balances go away. It is an integral part of the system.

Unfortunately six years of ZERO vetoes and R/R rule has made it necessary to spend some time sorting through things to even things out. Pendulums can be a bitch.
From one who is overly sensitive to semantic infiltration, this should be properly spelled "Repesentative democracy"--no cap on the second word.

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