Long live democracy

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alexanderthegre
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by alexanderthegre »

Pentarctagon wrote: You mean the whole "slaves count as 3/5 of a person" thing?
No, I was thinking of something else... After a couple of quick google searches it seems I was mistaken.
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pyrophorus
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by pyrophorus »

Great_Mage_Atari wrote: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.
You mean the castes system is some kind of equality among mankind ?
artisticdude wrote:While the concept of universal equality is undeniably a believe held by Christians, I don't think it's necessarily Christian in origin.
The fact is:
Dunno wrote: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."
If you call that equality, then, of course, it makes no sense to discuss the origin of the belief or idea, because it is too vague. It reminds me the famous: "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."
BTW, in some countries, equality, human rights and democracy are clearly identified as christian/occidental cultural construct which don't apply universally.

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szopen
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by szopen »

Pentarctagon wrote: Seriously though, you think that nobody has ever wanted to be a dictator so that they could fix things or make stuff better?
Seriously though, you think nobody has ever wanted to have a license to kill so they could remove those evil seighbours who are aking you up each morning at 3 a.m when they return from techno party?

But again, dictatorship and totalitarianism are two different things. You can have dictatorship which is not totalitarian.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Great_Mage_Atari »

pyrophorus wrote:Great_Mage_Atari wrote: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.You mean the castes system is some kind of equality among mankind ?
I didn't necessarily mean the castes per say, only that eventually all men will be able to achieve equality.
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The_Other
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by The_Other »

"Equality" doesn't have to mean that everyone has the same role in life. You can argue that the Hindu caste system is unequal because (for instance) priests have more freedom and social influence than farmers - but the farmers have the power to starve the priests. There are many kinds of power, and most of them go unnoticed.
On a similar note, Western/Christian observers often claim that women are oppressed and degraded by Islamic societies. But in fact, the Qur'an pretty clearly states that men and women are to have equal but different roles in society. If there is oppression (and undoubtedly there sometimes is), it originates from individuals, not from the system itself.

No political or economic system can be considered 'evil' in itself, because morality is a subjective and artificial concept, defined by humans and hence only applicable to human actions. If I pick up a gun and shoot my neighbour in the head, is the gun to blame for making it possible? It is certainly true that dictators are often not fit to rule. But, just as truly, democracy can result in a popular but incompetent individual or group attaining power. Neither system is inherently evil - but both are flawed and open to abuse.
Not necessarily equally open, of course...

Also, I'd like to point out that the British monarchy has no place in any discussion of government or politics, as it has no power other than a few traditional formalities.
Last edited by The_Other on March 7th, 2012, 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

szopen wrote:Seriously though, you think nobody has ever wanted to have a license to kill so they could remove those evil seighbours who are aking you up each morning at 3 a.m when they return from techno party?
So someone wanting to have absolute power in order to make stuff better is equivalent to someone wanting to kill their neighbors because they wake them up a lot at night? I don't see the connection...
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szopen
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by szopen »

Pentarctagon wrote:
szopen wrote:Seriously though, you think nobody has ever wanted to have a license to kill so they could remove those evil seighbours who are aking you up each morning at 3 a.m when they return from techno party?
So someone wanting to have absolute power in order to make stuff better is equivalent to someone wanting to kill their neighbors because they wake them up a lot at night? I don't see the connection...
My point was that the argument "everyone is willing to do it" is quite poor.

BTW, usually people who wants to correct the world end up with killing a lot of people. Robespierre, Stalin, Hitler..
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szopen
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by szopen »

The_Other wrote: No political or economic system can be considered 'evil' in itself
So, you argue that slavery is not 'evil' system in itself?!
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

szopen wrote:
Pentarctagon wrote:So someone wanting to have absolute power in order to make stuff better is equivalent to someone wanting to kill their neighbors because they wake them up a lot at night? I don't see the connection...
My point was that the argument "everyone is willing to do it" is quite poor.

BTW, usually people who wants to correct the world end up with killing a lot of people. Robespierre, Stalin, Hitler..
That isn't and never has been my argument. "Everybody" isn't willing to do it, some people are. And the whole "make the world a better place" is very subjective. We thing of those people as incredibly evil people because we have been raised with a particular set of moral values, but do you think that they thought of themselves that way? There is no universal set of "good" and "bad" things, just what society decides is good and evil at a particular point in time.

Also please don't double post.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Boldek »

Pentarctagon wrote: That isn't and never has been my argument. "Everybody" isn't willing to do it, some people are. And the whole "make the world a better place" is very subjective. We thing of those people as incredibly evil people because we have been raised with a particular set of moral values, but do you think that they thought of themselves that way? There is no universal set of "good" and "bad" things, just what society decides is good and evil at a particular point in time.
Careful there, to assume a post modern stance in a thread all about down with communism, up with democracy, should have great consideration. People who say 'long live democracy' generally beleive in a right and wrong, a fundamental unchanging thing defines ones actions to the public. To say 'nothing is truly evil, maybe ten years from now mowing down crowds of protesting students with tanks, and torturing people for saying half a sentence will be the hot thing to do,' is something that should be considered heavily. (That is why I am not a postmodernist) Waving your hand in defense of 'evil' societies by claiming there is no ultimate standard is a very, how do I say this, inconistent way to handle things. If run around now shooting people in a kindergaten, is that only bad on how you look at it? If I set your house on fire with a firebomb, are you allowed to protest my act was wrong? If I mobilize an army of clones that butcher half the worlds population, can you forgive me as simply living by a different moral standard other than your own?
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

Boldek wrote:
Pentarctagon wrote: That isn't and never has been my argument. "Everybody" isn't willing to do it, some people are. And the whole "make the world a better place" is very subjective. We thing of those people as incredibly evil people because we have been raised with a particular set of moral values, but do you think that they thought of themselves that way? There is no universal set of "good" and "bad" things, just what society decides is good and evil at a particular point in time.
Careful there, to assume a post modern stance in a thread all about down with communism, up with democracy, should have great consideration. People who say 'long live democracy' generally beleive in a right and wrong, a fundamental unchanging thing defines ones actions to the public. To say 'nothing is truly evil, maybe ten years from now mowing down crowds of protesting students with tanks, and torturing people for saying half a sentence will be the hot thing to do,' is something that should be considered heavily. (That is why I am not a postmodernist) Waving your hand in defense of 'evil' societies by claiming there is no ultimate standard is a very, how do I say this, inconistent way to handle things. If run around now shooting people in a kindergaten, is that only bad on how you look at it? If I set your house on fire with a firebomb, are you allowed to protest my act was wrong? If I mobilize an army of clones that butcher half the worlds population, can you forgive me as simply living by a different moral standard other than your own?
A society is only as evil as the people who make it up, the same as a governing system. And there is no universal standard for me to truly be judging these things, there is only my own standard. So I can and will call something evil based on my own moral judgment. I will not defend them or forgive them (at least the ones in your example), but I can still acknowledge that the people who I think are evil probably don't think of themselves as evil.

Also these "communist" countries are not really communists.
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pyrophorus
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by pyrophorus »

IMO, it's not realistic to say:
Pentarctagon wrote:There is no universal set of "good" and "bad" things, just what society decides is good and evil at a particular point in time.
Nowhere you're allowed to attack your neighbour to rob or kill him. Nowhere, you're allowed to marry your sister or your mother. The reason is the society would collapse if it was allowed. There's no moral here: just the impossibility to build a society without these rules.

And about the "evil" systems, it's the same. They're self-contradictory in that they pretend to make the life better and finally leads a lot of people to death or misery instead. You don't need any moral or politic argument to state these systems fail, and must fail because they legalize murder and robbery. Morals or politics only occur to hide this brutal fact under a decent guise: "God want it.. There are unavoidable sacrifices... It's the History course..." and so on.

IMHO, moral relativization is involved in this hiding process, and if something can be called "evil", it's this temptation to twist words to hide ugly realities. Believing or not in our own lies is unimportant: they lead us to fail. That's why we need soudness and accuracy.

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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Pentarctagon »

pyrophorus wrote:IMO, it's not realistic to say:
Pentarctagon wrote:There is no universal set of "good" and "bad" things, just what society decides is good and evil at a particular point in time.
Nowhere you're allowed to attack your neighbour to rob or kill him. Nowhere, you're allowed to marry your sister or your mother. The reason is the society would collapse if it was allowed. There's no moral here: just the impossibility to build a society without these rules.

And about the "evil" systems, it's the same. They're self-contradictory in that they pretend to make the life better and finally leads a lot of people to death or misery instead. You don't need any moral or politic argument to state these systems fail, and must fail because they legalize murder and robbery. Morals or politics only occur to hide this brutal fact under a decent guise: "God want it.. There are unavoidable sacrifices... It's the History course..." and so on.

IMHO, moral relativization is involved in this hiding process, and if something can be called "evil", it's this temptation to twist words to hide ugly realities. Believing or not in our own lies is unimportant: they lead us to fail. That's why we need soudness and accuracy.

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In some places being gay is considered very evil could get you killed, while in others it is completely ok and even celebrated. I believe that being gay is fine, they think its an insult to God. I can act to prevent this if I have the power, but who am I to say that my beliefs are "more right" than theirs? FDR, who is a celebrated president of the USA and was president during WWII married his own cousin, yet you say that such a thing would cause society to collapse (and then there's Genesis, if you believe that). In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands and thousands of civilians have been killed, but there have been few trials and fewer people actually held accountable. So does being at war excuse all these deaths? Is killing them in this situation no longer as bad? And that's just a few recent examples.
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Dunno
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Dunno »

Pentarctagon wrote: In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands and thousands of civilians have been killed, but there have been few trials and fewer people actually held accountable. So does being at war excuse all these deaths? Is killing them in this situation no longer as bad? And that's just a few recent examples.
Although I generally agree with your opinions on this matter, I have to point out a small misunderstanding here. No one (at least not me) said here that democracy is perfect. You have to admit, though, that victims of democratic reigns are the least in numbers. USA is just a bit different because of its imperialistic character.
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Re: Long live democracy

Post by Boldek »

Pentarctagon wrote: FDR, who is a celebrated president of the USA and was president during WWII married his own cousin, yet you say that such a thing would cause society to collapse (and then there's Genesis, if you believe that). In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands and thousands of civilians have been killed, but there have been few trials and fewer people actually held accountable. So does being at war excuse all these deaths? Is killing them in this situation no longer as bad? And that's just a few recent examples.
I'm pretty sure there's a difference between your mom and your cousin. I think it's generally safe to say that every culture in the world has something against marrying your sister or mom, while people have been marrying their cousins for thousands of years.

Thousands and thousands of civilians? The big question is: Who killed them? Are you counting terrorist organizations as civilian? Where did you learn that American military personal have killed 'thousands and thousands of civilians'? One big reason the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started because innocent people were dying, and the terrorist organizations have actually been recorded to slaughter entire villages of civilians when retreating, not the Democratic armies deployed there to fix things.
Pentarctagon wrote: Also these "communist" countries are not really communists.
No, they generally aren't. That's where all the excuses like 'achieving absolute communism', 'counter revolutionaries' come in. The communists used their own failure to blame the people for the fact that communism didn't crack up to what it was supposed to be.


Dunno wrote:USA is just a bit different because of its imperialistic character.
I beg your pardon? Where does America's 'imperialistic nature' appear in it's society, military, or any other highlight of its culture?
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