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Thread: Vote to give up democracy?

  1. #1
    Crystalline Entity's Avatar
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    Vote to give up democracy?

    So I have had this thought in my head (one of very few I generate on a day to day basis) for a few weeks now and I am hesitant to ask here knowing what the participants of this forum are like and my 'political leanings' but I wouldn't mind more opinions.

    My brother believes that this scenario below should not be allowed as you cannot give up the highest of fundamental rights... whether you go in militarily and reimpose democracy he wasn't sure.

    This scenario is completely hypothetical so if you want to say that "oh it would never happen" or "you are just thinking this because you are ebil racist" thats fine.... go ahead. Yes the precise conditions for this will never happen quite obviously, but there is no harm in thinking about what the national and international reaction could be?

    If you disagree with that please go and read about disaster planning, where unlikely scenarios are considered all of the time

    I picked Norway at random because it is outside of the EU as i've no idea what the EU reaction would/could be. No offence is meant or implied to any Norwegian people.

    The scenario
      Spoiler:
    Again this is completely hypothetical it is just setting the stage for a couple of questions.

    The people of Norway decide in an national referendum (that is heavily monitored by international observers and accepted to be 100% fraud and undue influence free) with about a 94% to 6% majority to give up democracy and live under a fairly harsh dictatorship (think Saddam Hussein) completely of their free will. Consequently most political bodies are disbanded, human rights are thrown to the wind, nobody is actually killed but there are instances of brutality including maiming. But no deaths.

    Free speech is clamped down on, minorities are suppressed and a dynastic family dictatorship begin to rule the country, but have no expansion plans outside of Norway. There are no protests as it is overwhelmingly what the people want. Travel into and out of the country is NOT restricted



    Questions
    1. Fundamentally, can this be allowed to happen - Yes/No and explain your thoughts?
    2. How should the international community react practically? (platitudes about how terrible it is aside) explain your thoughts?
    3. If it cannot be allowed to stand, should the international community invade if it means loss of life for soldiers and 'contendly' ruled people? Thoughts?
    4. If it is okay, what percentage of voting disagreeing with the dictatorship would be enough for you (as another country) to react?




    Just something ive had wondering around my head. There is no agenda here and there is no right or wrong answer.

    I put in this section to try and avoid the drooling autism of the autism thread (I accept that sometimes I contribute to it)

    Thoughts?
    "I think we could all do with sitting back a bit and detaching ourselves from the situation to really think about how these issues reflect on our future and how we discuss them here and be a bit less aggressive or defensive because everyone has a complicated set of circumstances that has led the to place importance on particular issues and it doesn't meany any of them is less valid, we just need to look at the broader picture"

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  2. #2
    Paradox's Avatar
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    I too would vote for brutal repression

      Spoiler:
    then leave the country


    Poland treats me like shit and I hate them as a result of it

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Global Moderator QuackBot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradox View Post
    I too would vote for brutal repression

      Spoiler:
    then leave the country
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  4. #4
    Pacefalm's Avatar
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    The reason democracy is regarded as the 'best' political system, is because it gives people the power (theoretically) to get rid of a brutal/unfair/incompetent leader without requiring violence to do so. With that in mind, I think the answer to 1) is No, this can not be allowed to happen. Even if this dictator is exactly who the people want, a mechanism must remain in place to remove him from office when ncessary, even if only for his successors.
    2) Considering that human rights are neglected, severe sanctions and/or war have to be included in the international response.
    3) Yes. I consider soldiers' lives as an investment. If that is the price that must be paid in order to enforce basic human rights, then so be it. Keep in mind, while people might initially greatly favour the dictator, there would be no reliable measurement of 'contentness' of the people if the democratic process is damaged. For example, the leaders North Korea hold regular elections and always get 100% of the vote. Still, I'd argue that not everyone in North Korea is content.

    For real world example, see Egypt during the last few years. A democratically elected leader assigns supreme power to himself and a military coup has to overthrow him.
    Also, I'd recommend watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes if you are into that sort of thing. It tackles the question of 'would you rather have an incompetent democracy or a dictatorship by a wise/kind ruler?', which is where the line blurs somewhat.
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    Movember 2011 RazoR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    incompetent democracy
    Is there any other kind? Successful democracies are actually not.

  6. #6
    Pacefalm's Avatar
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    Russia and the US are examples of incompetent democracies.
    I live in the Netherlands, which (although I often disagree with plenty of voters) is far ahead of either of those.
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  7. #7
    Movember '11 Best Facial Hair, Best 'Tache Movember 2011Movember 2012Donor helgur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RazoR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    incompetent democracy
    Is there any other kind? Successful democracies are actually not.
    Everything is relative. But I would argue just on the merit that war between democracies have occurred only twice in modern history (one being GB declaring war on Finland because it was obliged to since it was at war with USSR - an allied of GB at that time) democracies have been substantially successful
    Last edited by helgur; January 31 2015 at 01:01:12 AM.

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    Isn't this exactly, and I mean exactly how Napoleon became emperor of France?
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    If there was an option to give up democracy and enter an autocracy that I could vote for I would vote yes. The only balance to that would be a referendum every ten years asking the same question. Democracy is wasteful, false and idiotic.
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  10. #10
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    OP needs to look into the concept of Tyranny of the Majority, a very well known concept in modern political theory since the 18th century.

    And the OP is not just suggesting the oppression of the 6%, but also future voters.
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  11. #11
    Larkonis Trassler's Avatar
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    I'd much prefer a democracy where one's vote is earned through service as opposed to birth...



  12. #12
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    If the referendum is certified as being free of corruption and fraud then there really isn't much that the international community can say about it. The problem of course is getting that majority to vote like that and I would be wary of coercion.

    As to the part of allowing it to happen... what would the international community do about it? Sanctions? Based on the people's will at the time? Based on the 6% getting brutalized is possible but you would have to prove that it's government backed. Military intervention? No one has the political will to pull that now and with the people being in favor of this you would likely have a full war on. I mean who do you hand the reigns over to if 94% of the community was in favor of this? The other 6%? Install a foreign ambassador at defacto ruler? Consider that the people will just vote in someone else of their liking if you push for elections.

    The conundrum here is that these people did this willingly. This really doesn't happen in real life by vote or referendum as much as by force, coercion, or coup.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fourfingers frankie View Post
    If there was an option to give up democracy and enter an autocracy that I could vote for I would vote yes. The only balance to that would be a referendum every ten years asking the same question. Democracy is wasteful, false and idiotic.
    Do you understand that what you're asking for is a democracy?

    The question doesnt make sense. The difference between a democracy and all the other systems is that you change leaders without violence in accordance with the will of the people.

    A super majority give roughly unlimited power to the ruling party, effectively the same as a tyranny. The only difference is that the government need renewed approval from the people.

    So as a theorical question it doesnt make sense, the people have nothing to gain from giving away the right to vote.

    All of the other variable are inconsequential because they can be overwritten, shorter or longer terms, wieldable power for the governing group, discrimination against minorities, etc...

    Given that i see no value in discussing the topic, it's like asking if you should punish someone for chopping their own arm off.

  14. #14
    Movember 2011Movember 2012 Nordstern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkonis Trassler View Post
    I'd much prefer a democracy where one's vote is earned through service as opposed to birth...

    Wasn't membership in Communist parties a similar concept?

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fourfingers frankie View Post
    If there was an option to give up democracy and enter an autocracy that I could vote for I would vote yes. The only balance to that would be a referendum every ten years asking the same question. Democracy is wasteful, false and idiotic.
    u fuckin wot m8

    What happens when the ten-year referendum comes up "no" and the elected autocrat decides "Nah, I like being in charge, off to the death camps with you"?
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  16. #16
    Donor TheManFromDelmonte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crystalline Entity View Post
    Questions
    1. Fundamentally, can this be allowed to happen - Yes/No and explain your thoughts?
    2. How should the international community react practically? (platitudes about how terrible it is aside) explain your thoughts?
    3. If it cannot be allowed to stand, should the international community invade if it means loss of life for soldiers and 'contendly' ruled people? Thoughts?
    4. If it is okay, what percentage of voting disagreeing with the dictatorship would be enough for you (as another country) to react?
    1) Doesn't make sense. What does allowed mean here?
    2) In the same way they do now to monarchies and autocrats. ie. according to their own agendas and the demands of realpolitik
    3) Again makes no sense, if we invade people who vote for tyranny but not actual tyrants of which there are many. There would be no sensible outcome where freedom could be given back to people. The only reason to invade is realpolitik as mentioned above, if people want something and need n excuse.
    4) Ultimately we react to everything to a lesser or greater degree. If the country has a constitution (unwritten or otherwise) that allows revoking elections with a 51% parliamentary majority that has to stand for nations to be sovereign. Other countries might change their constitution as a reaction if they had any sense.

    The interesting questions in this area are to do with where legitimacy comes from if you believe in democracy. "from the people" is nice but vague, the three types of consent based legitimacy are usually defined as 1) consent is necessary for legitimacy, 2) any legitimate government would have consent, but consent itself is not the cause of legitimacy, or 3) consent is the duty of the citizen to the legitimate.

    Then you have Hume who says consent based governance is just wishful thinking.
    http://www.constitution.org/dh/origcont.htm

    Honest CE, I think you've started from the point of view that democracy as practiced in the few decades we've been alive is a root axiom to compare things against and I don't think that's a good way to understand this kind of thing. During the enlightenment when France was rebelling and all the possibilities of governance were waiting to be chosen there was a lot written on this, direct democracy, the old style of sortition instead of votes, and a look at how venice avoided tyranny in doges is interesting too.



    New regulations for the elections of the doge introduced in 1268 remained in force until the end of the republic in 1797. Their object was to minimize as far as possible the influence of individual great families, and this was effected by a complex elective machinery. Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elected the doge. None could be elected but by at least twenty-five votes out of forty-one, nine votes out of eleven or twelve, or seven votes out of nine electors.[1] A detailed description of this process, and the ceremonial procession that followed, is preserved in Martin Da Canale's work Les Estoires de Venise (English translation by Laura K. Morreale, Padua 2009).
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  17. #17
    Joshua Foiritain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    Russia and the US are examples of incompetent democracies.
    I live in the Netherlands, which (although I often disagree with plenty of voters) is far ahead of either of those.
    While ours is certainly better then those i wouldnt exactly describe our democracy as competent. I for one would happily vote an incorruptible AI overlord into power to govern our glorious nation until the end of times. (Obviously you cant trust actual people with absolute power so thats not really an option)

    On the other hand, we are 1 or 2 major terrorists attacks away from our country voting Wilders into the role of uberfurher so perhaps this question will end up with a real answer in the near future



  18. #18
    THE PUNISHED
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Foiritain View Post
    On the other hand, we are 1 or 2 major terrorists attacks away from our country voting Wilders into the role of uberfurher so perhaps this question will end up with a real answer in the near future
    Ah they say that about the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, USA, China.... no I don't believe that.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    The reason democracy is regarded as the 'best' political system, is because it gives people the power (theoretically) to get rid of a brutal/unfair/incompetent leader without requiring violence to do so. With that in mind,
    That is only part of it. The biggest reason why democracy works, not talking 1990´s russian democracy but eu type and even usa is that its a allmost perfect funnel for streaming discontent in a non-violent and or extreme way. It makes sure the pot doesnt overcook.
    Coupled in that process there is the ´repressive tolerance´ (herbert marcuse) aspect. Democracy´s have the habit of embrasing their opponents. Student protest leaders are given a seat in the university council, labor movement leaders get a seat on the advicory board on national economics etc etc.

    Works pretty well, better in the rhineland model than the anglo/saxon model but all in all it defuses revolutions and makes the appeal of dictators less appealing unless you are russian offcourse. Many recent examples from seventies onwards like bolivia, peru, argentina.

    The question is interesting tho and also age old going back to Plato.

  20. #20

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    Although stated under special circumstances (won the war, but lost the elcetion afterwards) Churchill's "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." sums it up quite nicely.

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