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The referendum

Diqiucun_Cunmin
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6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/27/2016 3:10:45 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clear they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Kreakin
Posts: 240
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6/27/2016 3:17:54 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
The EU referendum was to gain consent of the people for closer unification with the EU.

Leaders can't just decide this themselves without risking revolutions..
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/27/2016 3:22:11 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:17:54 PM, Kreakin wrote:
The EU referendum was to gain consent of the people for closer unification with the EU.

Leaders can't just decide this themselves without risking revolutions..

My point is, the people simply can't and shouldn't be expected to have an informed opinion on this. The common man is not a political scientist, and closer unification with the EU isn't a topic that the majority of the population can decide rationally on.

I know the whole deal about governments having legitimacy if they have votes, but that's just unrealistic IMO. If they fear that the people will disagree with their decision, they should try their best to explain their decision and its costs-benefits through public channels.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/27/2016 4:52:50 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 4:28:24 PM, Kreakin wrote:
So, just hand all power to the Gov. What sort of dictatorship would that be?

Banning referenda doesn't really amount to handing all power to the government. It's not like I'm saying they should also ban other forms of checks and balances like elections, separation of powers, monitoring by the media and pressure groups, etc.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,240
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6/27/2016 4:53:38 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.


History has shown that cowardly leaders are far less a threat to the welfare of a nation than a cowed populace.

Milgram's Experiments conclude that when the public trusts authority to do the "right thing," the public will consent to their own doom willingly, as well as the doom of others.

This "voter regret" you speak of is exactly the thing a person in authority would not have the guts to do: to sacrifice a few months, or a few years of economic instability to free themselves from decades of certain decline in a corrupt EU.

Perhaps the US can take a cue from the UK and establish its own referendums; because clearly, the current system of elected leaders is doing nothing to avert the seemingly unavoidable trillion dollar deficits, the eventual, predictable insolvency of the US and the destabilization of the globe along with it....

Because lord knows, the UK does not have a monopoly on cowardly leaders.
AnnaCzereda
Posts: 59
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6/27/2016 10:00:00 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:22:11 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
My point is, the people simply can't and shouldn't be expected to have an informed opinion on this. The common man is not a political scientist, and closer unification with the EU isn't a topic that the majority of the population can decide rationally on.

Why do you think people aren't capable of deciding on those matters? There are plenty of educated people who can make a rational decision. And even those common ones can still participate in the decision making, especially concerning their own future. The politicians aren't necessarily intellectually or morally superior, they serve the interests of various lobbying groups so they aren't really that independent in their decision making.

There are only a few people who regret voting for Brexit. They should take responsibility for their decision. They are adults after all, not children.
He wished to turn his countenance from the smoldering rubble, but saw from amidst the embers that a few chaff would not burn away. To these, he stared into the eye of God sneering, and called them, 'Promethean.'
AnnaCzereda
Posts: 59
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6/27/2016 10:10:42 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
One more thing to add about those who regret voting for Brexit:

http://nymag.com...#

While news outlets have lavished attention on "Bremorsers," post-referendum polls suggest "Leave" voters are overwhelmingly pleased with their decision.
He wished to turn his countenance from the smoldering rubble, but saw from amidst the embers that a few chaff would not burn away. To these, he stared into the eye of God sneering, and called them, 'Promethean.'
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/28/2016 7:42:29 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 4:53:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
History has shown that cowardly leaders are far less a threat to the welfare of a nation than a cowed populace.

Milgram's Experiments conclude that when the public trusts authority to do the "right thing," the public will consent to their own doom willingly, as well as the doom of others.
Then we should simply make sure that the people in authority are not the kind who would deliver electric shocks to innocent people...
This "voter regret" you speak of is exactly the thing a person in authority would not have the guts to do: to sacrifice a few months, or a few years of economic instability to free themselves from decades of certain decline in a corrupt EU.
I assume you mean that elected officials with term limits are short-sighted, and would not risk their jobs by introducing policies which introduce short-run pain in return for long-run gain. If not, please correct me. :)

Well, but in this case, it's not like the people are any more long-sighted than the rulers. They are the ones who elect the rulers. If they believe in long-term gains then this will be reflected in the rulers' decisions as well. If they're short-sighted, then the rulers will also be short-sighted, since short-sighted voters vote short-sighted rulers into public office. So I don't see how referenda will solve this problem (look at the people asking for a second referendum).
Perhaps the US can take a cue from the UK and establish its own referendums; because clearly, the current system of elected leaders is doing nothing to avert the seemingly unavoidable trillion dollar deficits, the eventual, predictable insolvency of the US and the destabilization of the globe along with it....
Allowing the people to dictate macroeconomic decisions will be nothing short of a recipe for disaster. Just ask JMK - the common man has little to no knowledge of economics, and economic policies must be left to qualified people who know what they're talking about.
Because lord knows, the UK does not have a monopoly on cowardly leaders.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,240
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6/28/2016 7:44:36 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 7:42:29 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/27/2016 4:53:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
History has shown that cowardly leaders are far less a threat to the welfare of a nation than a cowed populace.

Milgram's Experiments conclude that when the public trusts authority to do the "right thing," the public will consent to their own doom willingly, as well as the doom of others.
Then we should simply make sure that the people in authority are not the kind who would deliver electric shocks to innocent people...
That's zero consolation to the vets of the last 20 years of fighting in the middle east at the whim of leaders who think nothing of it.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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6/28/2016 7:47:37 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 7:44:36 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/28/2016 7:42:29 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/27/2016 4:53:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
History has shown that cowardly leaders are far less a threat to the welfare of a nation than a cowed populace.

Milgram's Experiments conclude that when the public trusts authority to do the "right thing," the public will consent to their own doom willingly, as well as the doom of others.
Then we should simply make sure that the people in authority are not the kind who would deliver electric shocks to innocent people...
That's zero consolation to the vets of the last 20 years of fighting in the middle east at the whim of leaders who think nothing of it.
Middle East governments do not have the same checks and balances (separation of powers, rule of law...) that most Western societies and some Eastern societies enjoy.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/28/2016 7:59:22 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 10:00:00 PM, AnnaCzereda wrote:
At 6/27/2016 3:22:11 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
My point is, the people simply can't and shouldn't be expected to have an informed opinion on this. The common man is not a political scientist, and closer unification with the EU isn't a topic that the majority of the population can decide rationally on.

Why do you think people aren't capable of deciding on those matters? There are plenty of educated people who can make a rational decision.
They are a small minority.
And even those common ones can still participate in the decision making, especially concerning their own future.
That is asking someone who doesn't know what's best for them to make the decision that's best for them.

I know some Westerners hold democracy in high regard and are highly idealistic about the virtues of democracy, either because they were influenced by classical liberalist thought or because they/their parents have lived through extreme dictatorships. But a full participatory democracy simply will not work. Imagine what will happen if Trump manages to convince the people to weaken the Federal Reserve's power... I sure hope that doesn't happen, because the health of my economy will also be hit hard.
The politicians aren't necessarily intellectually or morally superior, they serve the interests of various lobbying groups so they aren't really that independent in their decision making.
That is the current situation, but I argue that it ought not be. Democracy, or indeed any alternative system of governance, should approximate a true meritocracy as best it can. There can be many different ways of doing this, and this will largely depend on the nation, but a few general measures that could be taken include reducing the influence of corporations in elections, introducing professional qualifications for politicians, and perhaps a group of respected elders who have the power of veto over the decisions of elected officials.
There are only a few people who regret voting for Brexit. They should take responsibility for their decision. They are adults after all, not children.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/28/2016 7:59:52 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 7:47:37 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/28/2016 7:44:36 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/28/2016 7:42:29 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/27/2016 4:53:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
History has shown that cowardly leaders are far less a threat to the welfare of a nation than a cowed populace.

Milgram's Experiments conclude that when the public trusts authority to do the "right thing," the public will consent to their own doom willingly, as well as the doom of others.
Then we should simply make sure that the people in authority are not the kind who would deliver electric shocks to innocent people...
That's zero consolation to the vets of the last 20 years of fighting in the middle east at the whim of leaders who think nothing of it.
Middle Eastern governments do not have the same checks and balances (separation of powers, rule of law...) that most Western societies and some Eastern societies enjoy.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
chui
Posts: 507
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6/28/2016 11:28:49 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

What few people realised before the referendum is that the outcome of it is not binding. For us to leave the EU the UK government must pass a bill to that effect. The bill will not go before parliament before November it is thought. By that time the damage if any to the world economy and the UK economy will be clear and parliament can vote down brexit if it chooses to do so.
slo1
Posts: 4,314
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6/28/2016 12:05:29 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

I agree to an extent, but rather than not holding referendums I would place an elevated requirement that either 66 or 60 percent must vote either way to lay it down to rest. It is very clear that there was no strategy or even the legal process considered when educating the people about intended and unintended.

We see it all the time in politics in that people are moved via emotion and feeling versus rationality. Donald Trump is a classic example of that.

He comes with suicidal notions such as defaulting on debt to reduce it and people eat that up without understanding how that would effect many financial areas.

The real issue is that most citizens are not qualified to rate miniatures such as exiting the EU. However, it should be noted that neither are politicians.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/28/2016 12:08:57 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 11:28:49 AM, chui wrote:
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

What few people realised before the referendum is that the outcome of it is not binding. For us to leave the EU the UK government must pass a bill to that effect.
I'm actually aware of that, but I think it's still shifting the responsibility to the people. They will probably just use the results of the referendum to determine how they vote in parliament, anyhow; and if the results turn out to be undesirable, it is the public and not the rulers that get the blame, because they voted this way and deserve the outcome.
The bill will not go before parliament before November it is thought. By that time the damage if any to the world economy and the UK economy will be clear and parliament can vote down brexit if it chooses to do so.
I think that if they're just going to settle the matter amongst themselves, then they could have just brought it up directly in parliament without holding a referendum.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/28/2016 12:36:06 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 12:05:29 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

I agree to an extent, but rather than not holding referendums I would place an elevated requirement that either 66 or 60 percent must vote either way to lay it down to rest. It is very clear that there was no strategy or even the legal process considered when educating the people about intended and unintended.
I'm not sure how much this will help TBH. It protects the status quo more, but the problem is still there. The people are forced to make decisions about things that don't lie in their bailiff...
We see it all the time in politics in that people are moved via emotion and feeling versus rationality. Donald Trump is a classic example of that.

He comes with suicidal notions such as defaulting on debt to reduce it and people eat that up without understanding how that would effect many financial areas.

The real issue is that most citizens are not qualified to rate miniatures such as exiting the EU. However, it should be noted that neither are politicians.
If politicians are not qualified, then they should be. Like I said above, there should be professional qualifications for politicians, possibly through some form of civil service examination. We have a class of people called politicians because of division of labour, and we have division of labour because politicians have comparative advantage in making political decisions. They ought to inform themselves well, and hire impartial economists to help them do so.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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Skepsikyma
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6/28/2016 1:09:51 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 12:36:06 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/28/2016 12:05:29 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

I agree to an extent, but rather than not holding referendums I would place an elevated requirement that either 66 or 60 percent must vote either way to lay it down to rest. It is very clear that there was no strategy or even the legal process considered when educating the people about intended and unintended.
I'm not sure how much this will help TBH. It protects the status quo more, but the problem is still there. The people are forced to make decisions about things that don't lie in their bailiff...
We see it all the time in politics in that people are moved via emotion and feeling versus rationality. Donald Trump is a classic example of that.

He comes with suicidal notions such as defaulting on debt to reduce it and people eat that up without understanding how that would effect many financial areas.

The real issue is that most citizens are not qualified to rate miniatures such as exiting the EU. However, it should be noted that neither are politicians.
If politicians are not qualified, then they should be. Like I said above, there should be professional qualifications for politicians, possibly through some form of civil service examination. We have a class of people called politicians because of division of labour, and we have division of labour because politicians have comparative advantage in making political decisions. They ought to inform themselves well, and hire impartial economists to help them do so.

I think that the entire point of a republican form of government is that it relieves societal tension by giving various factions an outlet for their concerns, thus increasing overall stability. To introduce a mechanism by which the government could choose who qualifies as a representative destroys that mechanism with little to no benefit (I have zero faith in any government-administered competency test).

I agree that referendums can be overused, but they weren't here. Britain was deciding whether to remain in an increasingly undemocratic political construct; to decide that without consulting the body politic would have tainted the decision and make it a rallying point for anti-government forces. You cannot slowly strip a people of sovereignty without there eventually being blood in the streets.

Plus, the elected officials likely would have made the wrong decision (remain) here, so the result was an overall good thing.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
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Diqiucun_Cunmin
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6/28/2016 1:48:28 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 12:36:06 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/28/2016 12:05:29 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

I agree to an extent, but rather than not holding referendums I would place an elevated requirement that either 66 or 60 percent must vote either way to lay it down to rest. It is very clear that there was no strategy or even the legal process considered when educating the people about intended and unintended.
I'm not sure how much this will help TBH. It protects the status quo more, but the problem is still there. The people are forced to make decisions about things that don't lie in their bailiwick...
We see it all the time in politics in that people are moved via emotion and feeling versus rationality. Donald Trump is a classic example of that.

He comes with suicidal notions such as defaulting on debt to reduce it and people eat that up without understanding how that would effect many financial areas.

The real issue is that most citizens are not qualified to rate miniatures such as exiting the EU. However, it should be noted that neither are politicians.
If politicians are not qualified, then they should be. Like I said above, there should be professional qualifications for politicians, possibly through some form of civil service examination. We have a class of people called politicians because of division of labour, and we have division of labour because politicians have comparative advantage in making political decisions. They ought to inform themselves well, and hire impartial economists to help them do so.
If correcting your previous posts is an Olympic sport, I'm sure I'm a gold medalist!
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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Diqiucun_Cunmin
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6/28/2016 2:12:09 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 1:09:51 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:

I think that the entire point of a republican form of government is that it relieves societal tension by giving various factions an outlet for their concerns, thus increasing overall stability.
I don't disagree with your first statement in principle, but I think the point of government itself should come first in priority. A government is something that all societies need, once they reach a certain state of development; but the appropriate form of government varies from place to place, and is not as fundamental as the concept of government itself.

Like I said above, the point of a government is division of labour: to create a class of rulers which have comparative advantage over ordinary citizens in administering the nation and making correct political decisions. Mencius put it best, in the fourth paragraph of Teng Wen Gong I (http://ctext.org...). A farmer may give comments to the artisan on the quality of the items manufactured, but eventually it should be the artisan's job to craft tools, and not the farmer. The same relationship holds between the state and the people. Just as the artisan should be well-qualified in manufacturing, the ruler should be well-versed in politics. Unlike in the case of artisans, however, market forces are insufficient to ensure the competence of politicians, and thus professional qualifications are needed. I'm sure you'll agree that having incompetent politicians - those who cannot tell you what the rule of law means, have no idea how to interpret a p-value, or fall into traps such as sunk costs, the confusion of the inverse and Simpson's paradox - are not fit to rule.

So the first and foremost goal of any political system is to raise people of talent and virtue (Mencius 3.5) to public office. The goals of republican government should come afterwards.

To introduce a mechanism by which the government could choose who qualifies as a representative destroys that mechanism with little to no benefit (I have zero faith in any government-administered competency test).
If they are forms of checks and balances to ensure that they do not simply use the tests as a tool for cronyism and nepotism, then I don't really see the problem. They should be transparent about the curriculum, past exam papers, etc. As long as this is satisfied, public examinations are an excellent way to select future rulers. We have done this for well over a millennium in China.

Without guarantee as to the competence of politicians, the inevitable result is that politicians rise to power by being born to rich families or being good at sticking up to senior politicians. That's not a good thing. This is certainly the case in contemporary Hong Kong now, unfortunately. I can give an example of a facepalm-inducing incident that just happened yesterday: one politician just said in public that British youth destroyed their own future by voting for Brexit...
I agree that referendums can be overused, but they weren't here. Britain was deciding whether to remain in an increasingly undemocratic political construct; to decide that without consulting the body politic would have tainted the decision and make it a rallying point for anti-government forces. You cannot slowly strip a people of sovereignty without there eventually being blood in the streets.
I think that if the politicians know they are doing the right thing, they should insist on it. If people still disagree with them, it's because of poor communication between the government and the people. They should invest more efforts into informing, educating and discussing with the public.

I do believe people can and should have a say, but that is through voicing their opinions through letters, open discussions, and debate forums. That way, politicians can have access to arguments from different sides, and can be convinced the other way by the people, if it turns out they have the stronger arguments. (Basically, they should continue what they're currently doing, except they shouldn't wear earplugs during public consultations lol.) The eventual decision ought not to lie in the hands of the people, however.
Plus, the elected officials likely would have made the wrong decision (remain) here, so the result was an overall good thing.
That's not a good reason to support referenda IMO. Like I said, the people in general are insufficiently informed about the issue, and if they made the right decision through popular vote this time, it was luck.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
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Greyparrot
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6/28/2016 5:02:48 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 7:47:37 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/28/2016 7:44:36 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/28/2016 7:42:29 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/27/2016 4:53:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
History has shown that cowardly leaders are far less a threat to the welfare of a nation than a cowed populace.

Milgram's Experiments conclude that when the public trusts authority to do the "right thing," the public will consent to their own doom willingly, as well as the doom of others.
Then we should simply make sure that the people in authority are not the kind who would deliver electric shocks to innocent people...
That's zero consolation to the vets of the last 20 years of fighting in the middle east at the whim of leaders who think nothing of it.
Middle East governments do not have the same checks and balances (separation of powers, rule of law...) that most Western societies and some Eastern societies enjoy.

Lol..wrong perspective...reread this again from the perspective of American Vets...and American Leaders.
AnnaCzereda
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6/28/2016 9:52:44 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 7:59:22 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/27/2016 10:00:00 PM, AnnaCzereda wrote:
Why do you think people aren't capable of deciding on those matters? There are plenty of educated people who can make a rational decision.
They are a small minority.

It's an assumption on your part. What does an "educated person" mean for you? Does that have to be someone with a university degree? I think not. Even people who finished only basic education can still think rationally and act reasonably.

That is asking someone who doesn't know what's best for them to make the decision that's best for them.

Once again you're making assumptions. How do you know that people who voted for leaving the EU didn't really know what they were doing? How did you reach such conclusions? The polls conducted after the referendum showed that people were happy with their decision. Perhaps, the EU offered nothing to the ordinary British citizens and this is why they wanted to leave it.

But a full participatory democracy simply will not work.

Who's talking about "full participatory democracy"? Referendums are held rarely, on very specific and important occasions. Normally, the power belongs to the parliament. Besides, no referendum is binding. It's an indication for the politicians of what the citizens want.

That is the current situation, but I argue that it ought not be. Democracy, or indeed any alternative system of governance, should approximate a true meritocracy as best it can. There can be many different ways of doing this, and this will largely depend on the nation, but a few general measures that could be taken include reducing the influence of corporations in elections, introducing professional qualifications for politicians, and perhaps a group of respected elders who have the power of veto over the decisions of elected officials.

Your reasoning is that intelligent, professional politicians will make honest politicians. That's wishful thinking. Professionalism doesn't necessarily go together with honesty. More, intelligent and honest politicians also don't have to be effective.
He wished to turn his countenance from the smoldering rubble, but saw from amidst the embers that a few chaff would not burn away. To these, he stared into the eye of God sneering, and called them, 'Promethean.'
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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6/29/2016 8:53:03 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/28/2016 9:52:44 PM, AnnaCzereda wrote:
At 6/28/2016 7:59:22 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 6/27/2016 10:00:00 PM, AnnaCzereda wrote:
Why do you think people aren't capable of deciding on those matters? There are plenty of educated people who can make a rational decision.
They are a small minority.

It's an assumption on your part. What does an "educated person" mean for you? Does that have to be someone with a university degree? I think not. Even people who finished only basic education can still think rationally and act reasonably.
I think you're overly optimistic. I'd say around 20-30% of people with a university degree can make a rational decision about stuff like Brexit. Obviously I'm not saying most people can't act reasonably, but this is the Brexit. It's not 'should we build a hospital uptown or downtown'.

Go to the streets, and ask ten people how a 95% confidence interval can be interpreted, what the difference between rule of law and rule by law is, and how open market operations affect interest rates. I'd be surprised if more than 1 in 10 knows the answers to all three. But such knowledge is absolutely essential to forming informed opinions on major policy decisions.
That is asking someone who doesn't know what's best for them to make the decision that's best for them.

Once again you're making assumptions. How do you know that people who voted for leaving the EU didn't really know what they were doing? How did you reach such conclusions? The polls conducted after the referendum showed that people were happy with their decision. Perhaps, the EU offered nothing to the ordinary British citizens and this is why they wanted to leave it.
That's the problem. Citizens in general - I'm sure there are citizens really involved in sociopolitical issues, but those are the minority - are only concerned about aspects of economic policies that immediately affect them. The rest, in general, comes from what politicians and the media tell them. Look at the recent protests in France. No rational person with a basic command of economics would oppose El Khomri, surely. The problem with the workers is that they only looked at the direct impacts (easier to get fired) without looking at the immense indirect impacts (lower unemployment, more full-time jobs). That's why they were easy to mobilise against the law...
But a full participatory democracy simply will not work.

Who's talking about "full participatory democracy"? Referendums are held rarely, on very specific and important occasions. Normally, the power belongs to the parliament.
Sorry for my poor word choice. I think each referendum is a realisation of participatory democracy, and even though holding occasional referenda is better than using participatory democracy 24/7, any trace of participatory democracy is still undesirable.
Besides, no referendum is binding. It's an indication for the politicians of what the citizens want.
Yes, like I said, I'm aware of that. But the politicians use the referendum to make their decisions, and that's shifting the responsibility to them.
That is the current situation, but I argue that it ought not be. Democracy, or indeed any alternative system of governance, should approximate a true meritocracy as best it can. There can be many different ways of doing this, and this will largely depend on the nation, but a few general measures that could be taken include reducing the influence of corporations in elections, introducing professional qualifications for politicians, and perhaps a group of respected elders who have the power of veto over the decisions of elected officials.

Your reasoning is that intelligent, professional politicians will make honest politicians. That's wishful thinking. Professionalism doesn't necessarily go together with honesty. More, intelligent and honest politicians also don't have to be effective.
There can be a morality and ethics component in courses that train politicians. What do you mean by 'effective'?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
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slo1
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6/29/2016 1:39:07 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
I imagine the Exit-iers did not adequately explain the risk of economic relocations of business so they can continue experiencing the benefit of free trade.

They of course could also get favorable terms , but since negotiations of trade terms with the EU is a complete unknown, it is a big risk looming over companies heads. Trade could be better, the same, or worse. Unknown,h however is even worse and can cause big problems.

I don't disagree with Vodafon examining whether it is beneficial to move their corporate HQ to the eurozone.

http://money.cnn.com...

I'm starting to see how a new prime minister in Oct has an extremely difficult position. In a way removing uncertainty by filing with the EU could be the best option now to remove some uncertainty.

Anyway this goes forward the UK is in for some economic and political pain.

The repercussions are still not understood and when it is said and all done immigration will probably still be an issue.
bsh1
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6/29/2016 4:52:01 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
If voters have the time to research candidates in elections, why don't they have the time to research Brexit. If anything, voters take these kinds of referendums more seriously than general elections.

But, irrespective of the time/effort issue, if politicians made the decision to "leave" themselves, many "remain" voters may have kicked them out of office, resulting in a Pro-Remain government. Let's not kid ourselves: the voters will end up making the decision either way. Instead of having seesawing governments, why not just let the people make the call.
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AnnaCzereda
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7/1/2016 11:32:53 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/29/2016 8:53:03 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Go to the streets, and ask ten people how a 95% confidence interval can be interpreted, what the difference between rule of law and rule by law is, and how open market operations affect interest rates. I'd be surprised if more than 1 in 10 knows the answers to all three. But such knowledge is absolutely essential to forming informed opinions on major policy decisions.

Yeah but when it comes to predicting the consequences of Brexit, we are all in the realm of speculation. Nobody really knows for sure how it will affect the economy. There are various opinions, also among experts. Not everyone is fear-mongering. There are also predictions that after two or three years of economic uncertainty and moderate stagnation, the British economy will become more vigorous than now because freed from stifling EU regulations.

I see no reason why ordinary people shouldn't participate in taking responsibility for their own country if politicians and so-called experts come to different conclusions.
He wished to turn his countenance from the smoldering rubble, but saw from amidst the embers that a few chaff would not burn away. To these, he stared into the eye of God sneering, and called them, 'Promethean.'
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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7/2/2016 2:42:12 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/29/2016 4:52:01 PM, bsh1 wrote:
If voters have the time to research candidates in elections, why don't they have the time to research Brexit. If anything, voters take these kinds of referendums more seriously than general elections.
It's not whether they have the time. When we vote for candidates in an election, we can look at their past records and see if they have a good history of voting for policies that end up having positive effects. Or we can look at their team of advisors and see how many of them are qualified. Brexit is a very complex issue, however - much more complex than the typical issues thrown around in elections, like public spending.
But, irrespective of the time/effort issue, if politicians made the decision to "leave" themselves, many "remain" voters may have kicked them out of office, resulting in a Pro-Remain government. Let's not kid ourselves: the voters will end up making the decision either way. Instead of having seesawing governments, why not just let the people make the call.
I'm not sure I understand why you think so, since Leave won the referendum...
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
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Emilrose
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7/2/2016 3:27:34 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/27/2016 3:06:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Before I begin, let me clarify my stance first. I have no opinion on the Brexit. I think the EU has both pros and cons, and I do not know or care enough about the issue to decide. I'm commenting on a side issue.

I think if there's anything Brexit has taught us, it's the fact that the referendum is not a desirable decision-making mechanism. Representative democracy is, or at least should be, founded on the principle that the people elect talented and morally superior people into public office who can lead their nation into economic prosperity and social harmony. The decision-making power should always belong to the representatives elected by the people, and not the people themselves. This is because of division of labour. The common man or woman does not have sufficient time and effort to devote into politics, and it is unrealistic to ask him or her to participate directly in making decisions of such import as Brexit based on informed opinions.

Well, the 'common man' is essentially the employer of the politician; whose technical purpose is to represent the people and deliver on issues that are of significant importance to them. Whether the common man has 'sufficient time and effort to devote into politics' is irrelevant, the point is that politics is there to serve them, therefore they will inevitably play a part.

In addition, it's rather na"ve to presume that politics is about making 'informed opinions'--in an ideal world it would be, but in reality it's based around the varying opinions and ideas of the collective (which are incredibly diverse, for the reason alone that people are diverse) and the aims and ambitions of those in/with power.

I think the referendum is not a realisation of the spirit of democracy. It serves only the moral cowardice of the ruling class, which does not want to be held responsible for important decisions. They shift this responsibility onto the people who have neither the ability nor the duty to know better.

After the vote, many voters on the Leave side began expressing their regret at their decision. It's clearly they had never thought through the issue thoroughly. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Brexit will disrupt the British economy significantly - had they given the issue ample consideration before casting their ballots, they could not have missed this. This just shows how the people cannot and should not be trusted to have formed educated opinions on matters like Brexit.

On relatively minor issues like certain aspects of public spending, governments need not consult the people, when the people are more likely to have informed opinions on such matters. By contrast, issues with far-reaching ramifications that extend far beyond the reach of the common man, such as Brexit, are decided through 'democratic' vote. Isn't that ironic?

I feel that the referendum, as an instrument of participatory democracy, ought to be banned where it is still permitted.

Again, that's not really possible (in a nation that identifies as democratic) if there is a strong call or movement for a referendum. Potential threats from other parties or the prospect of losing voters would usually take precedence over what the actual outcome may be in a referendum.
Commentator on a picture with David Cameron and a Cat: 'Amazing what you can achieve with photoshop these days. I'm sure that used to be a pig.'

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Diqiucun_Cunmin
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7/2/2016 3:57:30 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 7/1/2016 11:32:53 PM, AnnaCzereda wrote:
At 6/29/2016 8:53:03 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Go to the streets, and ask ten people how a 95% confidence interval can be interpreted, what the difference between rule of law and rule by law is, and how open market operations affect interest rates. I'd be surprised if more than 1 in 10 knows the answers to all three. But such knowledge is absolutely essential to forming informed opinions on major policy decisions.

Yeah but when it comes to predicting the consequences of Brexit, we are all in the realm of speculation. Nobody really knows for sure how it will affect the economy. There are various opinions, also among experts. Not everyone is fear-mongering. There are also predictions that after two or three years of economic uncertainty and moderate stagnation, the British economy will become more vigorous than now because freed from stifling EU regulations.

I see no reason why ordinary people shouldn't participate in taking responsibility for their own country if politicians and so-called experts come to different conclusions.
I'll use weather forecasting as an analogy. Weather is a complex dynamic system. This makes it highly unpredictable. A small discrepancy in the initial value will lead to huge differences in the weather prediction. So what the meteorologists do is that they run a lot of simulations using slightly different initial values. If 30% of those simulations say it will rain, then they'll report a 30% chance of rain. And in the long run, out of every 100 times they predict there will be a 30% chance of rain, it will actually rain 30 times.

Now imagine the observatory doesn't tell you about these percentages, and only announces the most likely weather forecast? People will blame the observatory because they present their forecasts as categorical, even though the discrepancy between their forecast and the actual weather can sometimes be great. (This is what is happening where I live, by the way. People have a lot of hate for the observatory.)

Now imagine people stop trusting the observatory, and plan future events without regards to climatic predictions. Instead, they rely on the colour of the sky, what fortune-tellers and witch-doctors tell them, and other less reliable predictors of weather. Do you think this situation is better than one where the observatory is to be trusted, despite its failings? I think not, certainly not.

And I think this is also what is happening in economic predictions. There are lots of economic models and people making different economic assumptions that result in different predictions. But the aggregate of their predictions will have much more predictive power than chance. This is what the politicians should be doing: weighing the predictions of different experts, determining the most likely scenario(s), calculating the expected value of the repercussions of each scenario based on the probabilities they deduce, and finally making a decision in parliament. They will still get it wrong, of course. But in the long run, they will get it right far more often than if we gave the power to decide to the people, who are likely to do a far worse job.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...