Long live democracy

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Boldek
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Boldek »

Dunno wrote: That's a good point there. If you think about it, every totalitarian system was supposed to be perfect. The main idea of communism, for example, was the equality of people. When Hitler started his political career, he didn't talk about holocaust, mass murders and conquering the world. He became popular because he gave people jobs in times of world-wide economic crisis and promised them a better world. I think many dictators seriously believed in their systems and really wanted to make the world a Utopia.
I'm sure they did. But being a dictator is a dangerous thing, and even if many people only started with small intentions, they somehow have a habit of taking a turn for the worse.
Pentarctagon wrote:
So apparently I'm evil then, since I would love to be in complete control :whistle:
Seriously though, you think that nobody has ever wanted to be a dictator so that they could fix things or make stuff better?
Loads of people want to make stuff better, lots of dictators do. But somehow all the dictators always end up cruel villains. Not all of them are diabolical, but even 'nice' dictators have a weird habit of being a little mean, don't you think? When someone wants complete power, authority, and control over every aspect of your country, there is generally malicious or selfish intentions at the back of his mind. There are lots of people who want to fix things up and be nice, but somehow the scheming, backstabbing, cruel villains always make it to the top. It's sort of like placing the Maltese falcon up for grabs on your desk and telling people that only the nice people who aren't selfish and greedy may keep it. Your life expectancy would probably be around half an hour.
Pentarctagon wrote:I would argue that the people in a democratic system are equally evil as people in a totalitarian system. The democratic system just generally balances out better since you have multiple parties with power so you end up with something in the middle instead of one person's/side's extreme.
Of course. Democracy just makes a lot more rules and evens out everything. The difference between Democracy and Totalitarianism is like the difference between Quidditch and Calvinball. On both games there's havoc, but at least one of them has a referee.
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Pentarctagon
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

Boldek wrote:Of course. Democracy just makes a lot more rules and evens out everything. The difference between Democracy and Totalitarianism is like the difference between Quidditch and Calvinball. On both games there's havoc, but at least one of them has a referee.
There really isn't a referee. It evens out because totalitarianism = one side with guns vs one side with fists. Democracy = both sides have guns.
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Alarantalara
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Alarantalara »

Pentarctagon wrote:
Boldek wrote:When a nice dictator takes power, he stops being a dictator, because he doesn't want to oppress the public. That is why only evil dictators are available. Good ones simply cease to exist. We only see evil totalitarians because only evil people would want to be totalitarians.
So apparently I'm evil then, since I would love to be in complete control :whistle:
Seriously though, you think that nobody has ever wanted to be a dictator so that they could fix things or make stuff better?
It's happened a few times. The ancient Greek city states went through a period of tyrannies, (dictatorships with a different name). Generally the one who first got the power was generally liked and respected. Then he decided to pass it on his children and they were horrible. Usually the tyrannies fell within two generations due to revolt. See Cypselus of Corinth, Peisistratus of Athens, and Theagenes of Megara for examples.
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Boldek
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Boldek »

Pentarctagon wrote:
Boldek wrote:Of course. Democracy just makes a lot more rules and evens out everything. The difference between Democracy and Totalitarianism is like the difference between Quidditch and Calvinball. On both games there's havoc, but at least one of them has a referee.
There really isn't a referee. It evens out because totalitarianism = one side with guns vs one side with fists. Democracy = both sides have guns.
totalitianism is guns vs fists, but democracy shouldn't be guns vs guns. It should be mouth vs mouth. If democracy is guns vs guns, that's civil war. So far, a civil war has broken out once, but most of the time democracy manages a very nonviolent change in power.
Alarantalara wrote: It's happened a few times. The ancient Greek city states went through a period of tyrannies, (dictatorships with a different name). Generally the one who first got the power was generally liked and respected. Then he decided to pass it on his children and they were horrible. Usually the tyrannies fell within two generations due to revolt. See Cypselus of Corinth, Peisistratus of Athens, and Theagenes of Megara for examples.
excellent point. Note that the tyrants weren't much different than kings or presidents, they were absolute governors, but note exactly complete totalitarians (as in modern communist or fascist dictators that we see today). These fellows often weren't the most stable of rulers, but you are correct. But I think if these guys were alive today, people would categorize them as prime ministers or kings instead of totalitarian dictators.
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Mountain_King
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Mountain_King »

Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, totalitarian dictatorship is where one person has absolute power, right? If that's the case, then the Greek tyrannies were most certainly that. I think the confusion here is that Boldek is thinking "totalitarianism= oppressive regime". While oppressive regimes have usually been totalitarian, not all totalitarianism has been oppressive regimes, which is Pentarctagon's point. Am I following this correctly?
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

Boldek wrote:totalitianism is guns vs fists, but democracy shouldn't be guns vs guns. It should be mouth vs mouth. If democracy is guns vs guns, that's civil war. So far, a civil war has broken out once, but most of the time democracy manages a very nonviolent change in power.
I meant the comparison in more of a figurative sense than a literal one.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Great_Mage_Atari »

Isn't the joy in life being able to be joyful? Does "all men being created equal" mean that no man (or men) shall have more power in the ruling system than any other? It seems to me that monarchies, totalitarians, communisms, etc., seem to defy and desecrate the belief that man shouldn't be ruled over indefinitely. I can't seem to remember a time where a dictatorship or a totalitarian government has ever ended with everyone being happy (not brainwashed happy or ignorance happy [i.e. North Korea]). Either way you look at it, people under oppression is a sure sign of corruption and greed. Democracy was conceived on the basic belief that all mean are created equal. The USA was brought about by an effective war (the Revolutionary War) that allowed us freedom from England. We achieved in becoming a free nation under no single ruler. A nation by the people, for the people. It isn't perfect, but it's sure a great way to live.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by pyrophorus »

Boldek wrote:Loads of people want to make stuff better, lots of dictators do. But somehow all the dictators always end up cruel villains. Not all of them are diabolical, but even 'nice' dictators have a weird habit of being a little mean, don't you think? When someone wants complete power, authority, and control over every aspect of your country, there is generally malicious or selfish intentions at the back of his mind.
Recent studies shows exercising power (of any kind) creates an addiction, just like alcohol or cocaine. IMHO, this explains why so much leaders turn to evil, even if they were not at first. I don't know if this is what P. had in mind saying the power corrupts, but it's certainly true. It corrupts not only morals, but brain too.
Great_Mage_Atari wrote:Democracy was conceived on the basic belief that all mean are created equal
Historically, this is wrong. Ancient Greek democracy wasn't an equal society at all. BTW, the belief "all men were created equal" is christian, not greek.
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artisticdude
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Re: Long live democracy

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pyrophorus wrote:
Great_Mage_Atari wrote: Democracy was conceived on the basic belief that all mean are created equal

Historically, this is wrong. Ancient Greek democracy wasn't an equal society at all. BTW, the belief "all men were created equal" is christian, not greek.
I believe GMA was thinking of these words in the US constitution:
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness...
While the concept of universal equality is undeniably a believe held by Christians, I don't think it's necessarily Christian in origin. Any true "democracy" is fundamentally based on the concept of equality in one form or another, even though in most democracies perfect equality is never achieved (or, even if it is achieved, doesn't last very long). So even though the equation of equality in ancient Greek democracies was undeniably skewed, those democracies were still founded on the idea of equality despite the ancient Greeks not being Christian.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Dunno »

Don't wanna spoil a patriotic moment but... :eng:
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness...
Democracy was evolving since ancient greece. I mean, the percent of greek population (well, it depends on the state) allowed to vote wasn't that low compared to the first american system and during french revolution. It took a while to give voting rights to literally every adult. Sure, Declaration of Independence is a milestone in the history of democracy but don't forget it was far from flawless back then. That being said, I think we can agree that the concept of equality is older than christianity. It's just that at first it was "Everyone is equal! Well, aside from women, obviously. And we want to keep the slaves, also. And the poor shouldn't be allowed to rule. And the weak ones."
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by artisticdude »

Dunno wrote:Democracy was evolving since ancient greece. I mean, the percent of greek population (well, it depends on the state) allowed to vote wasn't that low compared to the first american system and during french revolution. It took a while to give voting rights to literally every adult. Sure, Declaration of Independence is a milestone in the history of democracy but don't forget it was far from flawless back then. That being said, I think we can agree that the concept of equality is older than christianity. It's just that at first it was "Everyone is equal! Well, aside from women, obviously. And we want to keep the slaves, also. And the poor shouldn't be allowed to rule. And the weak ones."
Quite true.

Actually, I don't think the word "men" as it was used in the D of I was originally intended to literally refer only to males (more to "mankind" in general, following the Biblical usage), but it was used literally regardless. It's fact I find dryly amusing. And then the fact that the definition was narrowed to only males of a certain skin color with certain economic/social status makes the whole thing even more ludicrous.
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Boldek
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Boldek »

artisticdude wrote:
Dunno wrote:Democracy was evolving since ancient greece. I mean, the percent of greek population (well, it depends on the state) allowed to vote wasn't that low compared to the first american system and during french revolution. It took a while to give voting rights to literally every adult. Sure, Declaration of Independence is a milestone in the history of democracy but don't forget it was far from flawless back then. That being said, I think we can agree that the concept of equality is older than christianity. It's just that at first it was "Everyone is equal! Well, aside from women, obviously. And we want to keep the slaves, also. And the poor shouldn't be allowed to rule. And the weak ones."
Quite true.

Actually, I don't think the word "men" as it was used in the D of I was originally intended to literally refer only to males (more to "mankind" in general, following the Biblical usage), but it was used literally regardless. It's fact I find dryly amusing. And then the fact that the definition was narrowed to only males of a certain skin color with certain economic/social status makes the whole thing even more ludicrous.
Bear in mind the George Washington himself disliked slavery, and it wasn't the big shebang it was in the south until the 1840's. Slavery became much worse with a lot more oppressive laws against blacks with the cotton boom in the mid 1800's. Remember that at the time, monarchy was the running standard, the concept of every white guy that owns a house should vote on his countries plans was still very revolutionary at the time, though now people point out blacks and women, the culture was much different back then.
Mountain_King wrote:Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, totalitarian dictatorship is where one person has absolute power, right? If that's the case, then the Greek tyrannies were most certainly that. I think the confusion here is that Boldek is thinking "totalitarianism= oppressive regime". While oppressive regimes have usually been totalitarian, not all totalitarianism has been oppressive regimes, which is Pentarctagon's point. Am I following this correctly?
Erhem, yeah, I was just using to term to reference oppresive regime.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Great_Mage_Atari »

I use the US Constitution as my "all men are created equal" spiel because it's the most current form of well-working democracy. The Greeks did create a democracy, but it was extremely corrupt and full of greed and deceit (as stated in it's historical documents).
pyrophorus wrote:Historically, this is wrong. Ancient Greek democracy wasn't an equal society at all. BTW, the belief "all men were created equal" is christian, not greek.
Not necessarily true. Christian beliefs imply that all men can "go to heaven" if they life lives without sin. This does not necessarily imply that all men are created equal, only that they choose their own paths. The Hindus believe that anyone can reach nirvana eventually, meaning that equality among mankind (using the term loosely) is not only Christian. The most well-known and recent account of this being put into full effect is in the US, where Democracy has been the official government type for over 250 years.
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Re: Long live democracy

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Great_Mage_Atari wrote:I use the US Constitution as my "all men are created equal" spiel because it's the most current form of well-working democracy. The Greeks did create a democracy, but it was extremely corrupt and full of greed and deceit (as stated in it's historical documents).
And honestly, in the early US, the democracy wasn't that great either, given that only adult white males could vote. It's better now, though.

IIRC there was origionally going to be an anti-slavery clause in the constitution that was later omitted. Not sure though.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

alexanderthegre wrote:
Great_Mage_Atari wrote:I use the US Constitution as my "all men are created equal" spiel because it's the most current form of well-working democracy. The Greeks did create a democracy, but it was extremely corrupt and full of greed and deceit (as stated in it's historical documents).
And honestly, in the early US, the democracy wasn't that great either, given that only adult white males could vote. It's better now, though.

IIRC there was origionally going to be an anti-slavery clause in the constitution that was later omitted. Not sure though.
You mean the whole "slaves count as 3/5 of a person" thing?
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