greybeta: (Mario Item - Question Block)
[personal profile] greybeta
Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves, my fine readers. I am behind on school work already...

[Poll #1426274]

Date: 2009-07-07 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xiphias.livejournal.com
We're a republic, not a democracy.

Date: 2009-07-07 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] usmu.livejournal.com
Nope. Actually, you're both. Being a republic doesn't exclude you from being a democracy. A republic is a form of state, a democracy is a form of decision making. You can't compare the two, as they're two different things.

Date: 2009-07-07 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sageautumn.livejournal.com
When I saw the poll... I thought... ohhh that's a trick question, isn't it?

We're a... democratic republic? (at least that's the term that comes to mind... )

Date: 2009-07-07 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] usmu.livejournal.com
Yep, and as such you're also a democracy.

Date: 2009-07-07 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fax-celestis.livejournal.com
Representational constitutional democratic republic.

That said, I still think that systems in which everyone is able to vote don't function very well. But, I'm in the minority, so I'll just sit over here in the California Secessionist Party and the American Monarchist Party and have myself a "Ur Doin It Rong" pity party. :P

Date: 2009-07-07 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xiphias.livejournal.com
They work okay, so long as there ALSO exists a check on the unbridled power of the Will Of The People. In the United States, that consists of Constitutionally granted individual rights that the majority can't take away from the minority, and an unelected judiciary which enforces those.

Which is why elected judges, as they still have in 39 of the more primitive states of the United States, are SUCH a bad idea.

Date: 2009-07-09 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cynicalcleric.livejournal.com
I forget who it was but someone I knew years ago said they believed the best form of government was actually a benevolent dictatorship; the problem was finding a truly benevolent dictator.

Date: 2009-07-07 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] usmu.livejournal.com
Actually, you're both. Being a republic doesn't exclude you from being a democracy. A republic is a form of state, a democracy is a form of decision making. You can't compare the two, as they're two different things.

Date: 2009-07-07 05:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-07-07 01:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xiphias.livejournal.com
. . . let me elaborate a little more.

A goverment has four basic jobs: to protect the many against the individual/the few (keeping people from setting up their own little despotic rule-by-the-strongest regimes and victimizing communities), to protect the individual/the few against the individual/the few (keeping people from being victimized by bad actors such as con men, muggers, murderers, and so forth), to protect the many against the many (maintaining standing armies and so forth, and ALSO regulating the commons for the benefit of all), and protecting the few or the individual against the many.

Pure democracy, also called "mob rule", does okay at the first two of these, at least briefly. It falls apart on the third -- and specifically fails on the last.

In the United States, we have an elected legislature for the first two, and an unelected judiciary who are supposed to take care of the latter two.

In other words, "activist judges". If we don't have "activist judges", then we're missing half of our government.

Date: 2009-07-07 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xiphias.livejournal.com
And THAT'S why we're a republic, with multiple governmental structures for different purposes, rather than a pure democracy, which fails.

Date: 2009-07-07 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] usmu.livejournal.com
There are no pure democracies left on this planet. Not to my knowledge anyway. But there are a lot of democracies.

The system we (both the USA, the Netherlands and pretty much everybody else) have is called representational democracy. We the people chose someone to represent us in the votes that normally would be left to all of us. They decide by majority vote.

You're a republic because you're not lead by a monarch and have a say in how it's governed.

Date: 2009-07-07 02:09 pm (UTC)
ext_3407: squiggly symbol floating over water (Default)
From: [identity profile] hummingwolf.livejournal.com
You forgot 1966.

Edit: Now I'm imagining LiveJournal with a poll tax. Sure, you need to pay to create a poll, but imagine having to pay to vote in one! You'd have to buy all your friends paid accounts if you wanted them to participate!

Date: 2009-07-07 10:24 pm (UTC)
ext_4739: (Default)
From: [identity profile] greybeta.livejournal.com
That's a good one! I knew I forgot something in my haste. =)

Date: 2009-07-08 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enigmajoe2002.livejournal.com
Without reading previous comments...
I would say with Womens Suffrage..though I think we could still count as a Republic, at least we were up through the mid 1800s. I actually haven't thought on this subject since my History College days with my class on the Revolutionary War.

Date: 2009-07-08 03:28 pm (UTC)
ext_4739: (Default)
From: [identity profile] greybeta.livejournal.com
It is one of these discussion questions that just goes in circles in academia...

Date: 2009-07-09 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cynicalcleric.livejournal.com
I was amused by whoever it was not long ago that suggested New Zealand is the longest lasting modern democracy because they were the first one to allow people of all races and both genders to vote (in the 1890s). I think it's a nice point which I had NEVER heard suggested before.

I've heard the "we're a republic not a democracy" argument plenty of times (nicely refuted below - your readership has enlightened me twice in the span of like a week!) and plenty of suggestions in recent year's we're sliding into some form of totalitarian police state with a fake democratic veneer.

I voted for 1776, on the grounds that as I understand it the USA was intended to be a representative democracy from the beginning. I could probably be swayed by a good argument that it wasn't really a democracy until at least until we had a Constitution and elected representatives (possibly also including the first presidential election). The grounds would be something to the effect that you're not actually a democracy until you actually set yourselves up an elected government with democratic rules.

As for all the people who say you're not a democracy until all legally defined adults of both genders and all races have the right to vote without being required to own land or otherwise pay for or earn the right to vote...I disagree. Hypocritical, unfair, and of poor quality most likely but still a democracy.

Let's say some sentient space aliens arrive on Earth and are allowed to move in to some open space in Montana. They have decieded to stay and want to be come residents and citizens of the United States. If the US denies them citizenship or grants them citizenship but not voting rights on the grounds that they're not humans, does American suddenly stop being a democracy again until we give those aliens voting rights? I'm sure there are plenty of people who would be as vehemently opposed to being represented in Congress by a Grey as many southerns were to being represented by a black man.

For a less...alien analogy, what if the age of being a legal adult were to be changed from what it is now (18). If it was changed to 21 would we stop being a democracy? If it was changed to 16 would we have to revised us being democractic till the point where 16 year olds could vote? What about other democratic countries with a different legal adult age? Are they more/less democratic than us because they have a different definition of what makes an adult and thus a voter/person?

My point is that a democracy is about people having elected representatives. Key word is PEOPLE. If your society considers women and blacks as not as much of a person as a man, you need to progress but you're still being democratic because what your society considers to be a person is getting represented.

Date: 2009-07-09 03:15 am (UTC)
ext_4739: (Default)
From: [identity profile] greybeta.livejournal.com
It's a battle of definitions. There's an argument to be made for each one.

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