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The Profound Unpopularity of Democracy

DeFool
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7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?
Naysayer
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7/17/2013 7:35:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Probably a large part of it is distrust in "those people" and their ability to vote morally and responsibly. The entire system is crashing into demagoguery. It's no longer about solving problems and maintaining a free nation, it's about winning elections and enchanting voters.

Of course, we, the people, are the most to blame because we hold the reins and continue to vote people in that not only ignore our will, but impose laws that maintain and consolidate their power while we yawn and flip the channel. Politics is boring!
imabench
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7/17/2013 7:59:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

People only dont like democracy when it's their side that loses the election....
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Frederick53
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7/17/2013 11:06:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
It's ridiculous how popular the notion has become that minority rule somehow equates to greater freedom. It's true that democracy puts the minority at the mercy of the majority, but how can you possibly say that the logical solution is to put the majority at the mercy of the minority?
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DetectableNinja
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7/17/2013 11:09:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 11:06:33 AM, Frederick53 wrote:
It's ridiculous how popular the notion has become that minority rule somehow equates to greater freedom. It's true that democracy puts the minority at the mercy of the majority, but how can you possibly say that the logical solution is to put the majority at the mercy of the minority?

I'm pretty sure that's not what they're saying. A democracy, as in the literal definition, is entirely immoral. I think this is largely where people are opposed to it in favor of a republican government, like most Western governments are.
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Frederick53
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7/17/2013 11:11:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 11:09:10 AM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 7/17/2013 11:06:33 AM, Frederick53 wrote:
It's ridiculous how popular the notion has become that minority rule somehow equates to greater freedom. It's true that democracy puts the minority at the mercy of the majority, but how can you possibly say that the logical solution is to put the majority at the mercy of the minority?

I'm pretty sure that's not what they're saying. A democracy, as in the literal definition, is entirely immoral. I think this is largely where people are opposed to it in favor of a republican government, like most Western governments are.

Ah I see, I thought they were arguing against all forms of elected government
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DetectableNinja
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7/17/2013 11:15:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
However, as a direct response/challenge, the opinion's question is phrased such that it applies to "every country in the world." I don't think that every culture, tribe, nation, and country in the world is suited to be governed democratically, or even within a republic.

If a country prefers, say, an absolute monarchy, as long as it receives the consent of the people, that's A-okay with me.
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I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

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drhead
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7/17/2013 12:04:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

I can find myself disagreeing with certain aspects of democracy (in such a way that supports something more like technocracy). Elections hardly ever rest entirely on a candidate's policies, and are more of a popularity contest between candidates. A few examples:
- One person around where I live ran for a local government office as a Democrat (since their views lean more that way) and lost. Next time, they ran as a Republican and won. It is clear that voters were more interested in the label than the policies in this case.
- There are plenty of people who will only vote one way no matter what, or people who judge candidates based on their appearance. This is plainly observable if you look on Youtube.
- We usually have candidates from two parties, where only one of the two could possibly ever win. How do we know that, out of all of the people who could qualify for an office, that the best possible person is one of those two?
- Also, if you get caught cheating on your wife, say goodbye to your office, no matter how well you do your job - people will automatically hate you.

Democracy has its merits, but it has its flaws, too.
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DeFool
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7/17/2013 12:47:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 11:09:10 AM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 7/17/2013 11:06:33 AM, Frederick53 wrote:
It's ridiculous how popular the notion has become that minority rule somehow equates to greater freedom. It's true that democracy puts the minority at the mercy of the majority, but how can you possibly say that the logical solution is to put the majority at the mercy of the minority?

I'm pretty sure that's not what they're saying. A democracy, as in the literal definition, is entirely immoral. I think this is largely where people are opposed to it in favor of a republican government, like most Western governments are.

You seem to mention a Republic vs Democracy conflict. It is common in the US to confuse "republic" with "The Republican Party." This causes supporters of the GOP to instinctively favor systems that mention "republic" over those that mention "democracy."

The problem with this idea is that our unique republic is a democracy. Are we a republic, or are we a democracy? We are both, in a hybrid system that protects blacks, non-Christians, the poor and other minorities (the republican form, obviously not capitalized), and the democratic form which attempts to ensure the general popularity of government actions by testing those actions with the ballot.

The difference between a republic without the democratic component becomes clear when we analyze these systems: The USSR, China, modern Russia, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq were all republics, with "Republic" included in the formal name of the respective nation.

Our own nation decides almost every matter with some form of democratic test. That these tests have been undermined and corrupted is not an indictment of the overall effort at self-rule. It is proof that self rule is fragile, but greatly helpful.
DeFool
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7/17/2013 1:06:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I will propose a definition of "democracy."

Democracy: A government form whose decisions and actions are subject to popularity, and popular tests, and whose decisions can be reversed or altered to make them more popular.

This is, to my mind, the crux of self rule. We cannot argue that "democracy has been humiliated in the US," without also acknowledging that its decrepitude is a loss.

"Is a popular tyranny a democracy, based on it's popularity?"
No, it cannot qualify; the popularity of the hypothetical tyrant is not a sufficient condition for classification as a democracy. The tyrants decisions must be reversible by tests against popular will. If these are allowed, then the government cannot continue to be called a 'tyranny.'

Also dissallowed by logic is allowing self-rule to be equated with the West, or with any government, including the US, in particular. A democracy in the Middle East might look very different from our own, with its effective republic filter. A small nation might have no urgent need for minority rights, and may want a greater degree of pure democracy.
Stephen_Hawkins
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7/17/2013 3:32:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 7:59:05 AM, imabench wrote:
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

People only dont like democracy when it's their side that loses the election....

Or when their policies aren't perfectly instantly enacted.

It is mostly utopianist objections with a family guy fallacy (removal of democracy, then instigation of the same thing which has a different name).

There are also a lot of ignorant people buying into the rhetoric of "republic, not democracy" which is like saying "capitalism, not democracy" as if the two are incompatible.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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Stephen_Hawkins
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7/17/2013 3:35:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 11:06:33 AM, Frederick53 wrote:
It's ridiculous how popular the notion has become that minority rule somehow equates to greater freedom. It's true that democracy puts the minority at the mercy of the majority, but how can you possibly say that the logical solution is to put the majority at the mercy of the minority?

I'll pick on this as it supports pure democracy. The modern liberal democracy that is what most states have includes the protection of individual rights. This is because each person supports prima facie human rights which are protected from any (or most) majorities. To discard human rights in rule is to create a complete revolution of the type of democracy of what we have. However, human rights still include and exist and are in fact most emphasised empirically in a democracy.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
DeFool
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7/17/2013 11:26:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
An observation:

Most large systems do not tend to destabilize, but rather self-organize, with individual components combining into more complex subgroups, and reinforcing and strengthening the superstructure.

Our society will make mistakes, and these mistakes will include occasional acts of oppression and cruelty. However, eventually instinctive human empathy, mimicry and cooperation will correct these mistakes. This process comes with the occasional setback, but the overall trend is inevitable.

Allowing the greatest degree of self-rule that a society can tolerate will also allow this process to proceed at its fastest tolerable rate, at the broadest level. Families will make efforts to enrich and educate themselves, townspeople will seek commerce and justice, and democratic civilizations will always improve mankind at the civilizational level.

How can this be proven to a person who is doubtful? By challenging them to find a counterexample.

Deny this authority to the broad mass of people, and leave them no choice or forum to redress their grievances. The result of this denial is always revolution; the people cannot choose to endure the intolerable, and so will always (with no exceptions) choose to do violence to the ruling class in order to escape their fate.

In asking which nations on earth do not deserve self-rule, we have to ask which societies do not deserve to create a more popular governance for themselves. We should also ask which societies deserve the occasional choice between bloodbath revolutions or subjugation.
Stephen_Hawkins
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7/18/2013 4:31:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
"People commit revolution out of self-interest , not out of empathy. People band together in families and in cultures because of similarly held values and the power of a community to counteract dissenting individuals and tyrants, not out of empathy".

This opinion counters entirely what you said, and is equally unfalsifiable.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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donald.keller
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7/18/2013 1:07:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

If you did an Opinions poll about if Democracy was good, it'd end differently. This poll is about whether or not it's good for EVERY nation. That changes things to most people.

I think every nation should have it. Nothing else (regardless of the nation) seems better than the right to vote on whether or not your Government can take all your children and secretly raise them to be alien fighting Super Soldiers with badass Armour and sassy AI companions....

But the phrasing of the question affects it's vote.
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Idealist
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7/18/2013 3:17:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think that it's possible that it's not democracy which people reject, but capitalism and consumerism, which is closely linked to the democratic nations in reality and in people's minds. Capitalism is ultimately destructive, as is any system which requires constant growth in order to simply survive. It can never be a stable system.
Stephen_Hawkins
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7/18/2013 4:16:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/18/2013 3:17:38 PM, Idealist wrote:
I think that it's possible that it's not democracy which people reject, but capitalism and consumerism, which is closely linked to the democratic nations in reality and in people's minds. Capitalism is ultimately destructive, as is any system which requires constant growth in order to simply survive. It can never be a stable system.

This reads to me "People are too stupid to understand the difference between capitalism and democracy". Which is essentially "people are boo-hurrah when it comes to politics", which I'd agree with, but certainly is quite pessimistic :(
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
DeFool
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7/18/2013 4:57:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/18/2013 4:31:14 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
"People commit revolution out of self-interest , not out of empathy. People band together in families and in cultures because of similarly held values and the power of a community to counteract dissenting individuals and tyrants, not out of empathy".

This opinion counters entirely what you said, and is equally unfalsifiable.

It was an attempt at clarification.

It is impossible to prevent civil unrest in all cases. However, it is possible to cause this violence with the same few types of conditions.

The principle cause for violent social unrest is almost always a lack of other means by which widespread and intolerable conditions can be remedied.

"People band together in families and in cultures because of similarly held values and the power of a community to counteract dissenting individuals and tyrants."

This is a concise way to describe my own perspective on the subject. However, the empathy exclusion destabilizes the argument by limiting the role of outrage.

Empathy: In this country, a black child named Trayvon Martin was recently killed because he tried to flee a gunman who had been stalking him. The gunman was acquitted for this killing, by arguing that the child had fought back for a few seconds before he was shot to death - and therefore the killing was in self-defense.

I argue that it was specifically empathy, and not direct self-interest that inspired the resulting civil unrest. On one side, empathy towards the child who was gunned down, on the other, empathy towards the man who was forced to explain over and over again why he shot a negro.

Back to the topic of democracy, I cannot remove the ideals of "fairness, tolerance, justice" from the empathetic component. Since these are prominent values within democratic ideology, I cannot remove the idea that humans will "see through one another's eyes" from the list of things that cause us to band together.
thett3
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7/18/2013 5:02:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Defool, I'll debate you on Monarchy vs Democracy if you want
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: thett was right
DeFool
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7/18/2013 5:02:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

If you did an Opinions poll about if Democracy was good, it'd end differently. This poll is about whether or not it's good for EVERY nation. That changes things to most people.

I think every nation should have it. Nothing else (regardless of the nation) seems better than the right to vote on whether or not your Government can take all your children and secretly raise them to be alien fighting Super Soldiers with badass Armour and sassy AI companions....

But the phrasing of the question affects it's vote.

I am certain that it does.
000ike
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7/18/2013 5:05:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

I'm pretty sure at least half of those are based on contrarian tendencies amplified by the visible flaws of the system. People feel smarter when they think their ideas are rebellious. Although, I'm sure the other half has some legitimate reasons.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
thett3
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7/18/2013 5:10:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/18/2013 5:05:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

I'm pretty sure at least half of those are based on contrarian tendencies amplified by the visible flaws of the system. People feel smarter when they think their ideas are rebellious. Although, I'm sure the other half has some legitimate reasons.

This is true, although idk if it's necessarily to feel smarter. Taking contrarian positions like democracy is bad is fun! Even though personally I think democracy is probably the best system I will argue against it. Same with anarchism, I'm not an anarchist but it's just so much fun to argue for
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
DeFool
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7/18/2013 5:11:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/18/2013 5:05:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 7/17/2013 6:11:48 AM, DeFool wrote:
I would be lying if I said that I was not disturbed by the number of participants in Debate.org's "Opinion" section who have voiced opposition to the entire concept of democracy.

http://www.debate.org...

Has democracy lost its good name? Why?

I'm pretty sure at least half of those are based on contrarian tendencies amplified by the visible flaws of the system. People feel smarter when they think their ideas are rebellious. Although, I'm sure the other half has some legitimate reasons.

I like this logic. Quite a bit, actually; although I am not certain why. I seem to have an instinctive agreement.

Some seem to resist democracy due to it's perceived connections to the Democratic Party. Others because they feel that it is synonymous with "the West," or "Capitalism."

You speculate that a general desire to appear to be wicked may add some to the reaction against self-rule. I do not know if I agree, yet. But I like the logic.
Msyru
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7/20/2013 3:58:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Maybe it's because the US and UK have the most diluted forms of democracy going.

Between direct and representative democracy, representative is the least democratic system.

Within representative democracy, winner-takes-all system is the least democratic system.

And always ends up as a two party state which each become more and more like the other, whether they want to lurk around on the left or right of the scale. People will vote for one of them often very reluctantly as they feel one will be a bit less awful than the other. Without any real opposition the two parties can also crank up the totalitarianism.
It ends up feeling more like a two-party dictatorship than anything else.
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FREEDO
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7/20/2013 4:04:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Among American teenage pseudo-intellectuals, perhaps. Cries for democracy are stronger than they have ever been, otherwise.
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Stephen_Hawkins
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7/20/2013 8:58:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/18/2013 4:57:32 PM, DeFool wrote:
At 7/18/2013 4:31:14 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
"People band together in families and in cultures because of similarly held values and the power of a community to counteract dissenting individuals and tyrants."

This is a concise way to describe my own perspective on the subject. However, the empathy exclusion destabilizes the argument by limiting the role of outrage.

Empathy: In this country, a black child named Trayvon Martin was recently killed because he tried to flee a gunman who had been stalking him. The gunman was acquitted for this killing, by arguing that the child had fought back for a few seconds before he was shot to death - and therefore the killing was in self-defense.

I argue that it was specifically empathy, and not direct self-interest that inspired the resulting civil unrest. On one side, empathy towards the child who was gunned down, on the other, empathy towards the man who was forced to explain over and over again why he shot a negro.

You can argue this all day long, the problem I am referring to however is that it is no more likely than self-interest. The Hangman Problem (http://edhelper.com...) means that we realise that an unfair justice system will harm us, and therefore are outraged by it. This goes for both sides of the case.

Back to the topic of democracy, I cannot remove the ideals of "fairness, tolerance, justice" from the empathetic component. Since these are prominent values within democratic ideology, I cannot remove the idea that humans will "see through one another's eyes" from the list of things that cause us to band together.

We do not need to see things through other eyes to lose tolerance and justice and democracy. In fact, these ideas stemmed from liberalism, which itself rests on the assumption that humans are self-serving egoists. I, like everyone else, are rational self-serving egoists. Therefore, in a community of everyone, to best pursue the aggregate happiness or any value, we ought to be able to pursue it of own accord, and accept that people will do so differently to us (tolerance). When it comes to communal decisions, we need to do what the majority would want as they are going to pick, most likely, what benefits the majority overall over the minority (democracy) unless it infringes on people's rights (liberal democracy). Any arbitrariness breaks this system, especially in the judiciary, which therefore ought to be opposed (justice).

Simple!
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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Ahmed.M
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7/21/2013 1:52:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Democracy is built on the premise that popular opinion is fact which is fallacious. It is bound to fail and a monarchy will succeed.
DeFool
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7/21/2013 2:10:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2013 1:52:13 PM, Ahmed.M wrote:
Democracy is built on the premise that popular opinion is fact which is fallacious. It is bound to fail and a monarchy will succeed.

There is a logical problem in your analysis.

P1: Democracy uses popularity to achieve it's governmental goals
P2: Popularity cannot compete with monarchy in achieving governmental goals
P3: Therefore, an unpopular monarch can govern better than a popular democracy

This assertion can be tested. Let us examine unpopular monarchs, such as Assad, Mubarak, Qaddafi, etc. Are these societies functioning well? What about monarchs and emperors who, while popular at home, were very unpopular abroad? Let us examine a few notable examples: Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Slobodan Milosevik, Emperor Hirohito... were these successful periods for these nations?

The fact is that rulers "rule" by popular will regardless of what the aristocracy says. Every tyrant is outnumbered, outgunned and out maneuvered by his citizenry. Louis XVI learned this, as his head fell into a bucket.
dylancatlow
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7/21/2013 2:32:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2013 1:52:13 PM, Ahmed.M wrote:
Democracy is built on the premise that popular opinion is fact which is fallacious. It is bound to fail and a monarchy will succeed.

Not necessarily. The idea is that democracy is the best system (and least susceptible to corruption) to identify and establish policies which reflect facts.
FREEDO
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7/21/2013 3:28:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2013 1:52:13 PM, Ahmed.M wrote:
Democracy is built on the premise that popular opinion is fact which is fallacious. It is bound to fail and a monarchy will succeed.

There is textbook democracy, as majority rule, and then there is the point behind democracy, which is simply equal rights and the decentralization of power.
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