American Democracy v. European Oligarchy
From the desk of Michael Huntsman on Thu, 2008-01-10 18:39
As the American Primary/Caucus season cranks into a frenzy of campaigning, claim, counter-claim, low blow and moments of pathos (or, in the case of Hillary Clinton, a carefully contrived moment of pseudo-lachrymosity), take heed of the rude good health of American democracy. How unlike some aspects of our own but more particularly European democracy, it is.
I have always loved the language of the American Constitution and of its siblings, the constitutions of the original American colonies that formed the earliest of the United States. As we have just witnessed the Primary in New Hampshire (motto: ‘Live free or Die’), this gem of a Preamble from its 1776 constitution will suffice to demonstrate their lustre:
WE, the members of the Congress of New Hampshire, chosen and appointed by the free suffrages of the people of said colony, and authorized and empowered by them to meet together, and use such means and pursue such measures as we should judge best for the public good; and in particular to establish some form of government, provided that measure should be recommended by the Continental Congress: And a recommendation to that purpose having been transmitted to us from the said Congress: Have taken into our serious consideration the unhappy circumstances, into which this colony is involved by means of many grievous and oppressive acts of the British Parliament, depriving us of our natural and constitutional rights and privileges; to enforce obedience to which acts a powerful fleet and army have been sent to this country by the ministry of Great Britain, who have exercised a wanton and cruel abuse of their power, in destroying the lives and properties of the colonists in many places with fire and sword, taking the ships and lading from many of the honest and industrious inhabitants of this colony employed in commerce, agreeable to the laws and customs a long time used here.
The sudden and abrupt departure of his Excellency John Wentworth, Esq., our late Governor, and several of the Council, leaving us destitute of legislation, and no executive courts being open to punish criminal offenders; whereby the lives and properties of the honest people of this colony are liable to the machinations and evil designs of wicked men, Therefore, for the preservation of peace and good order, and for the security of the lives and properties of the inhabitants of this colony, we conceive ourselves reduced to the necessity of establishing A FORM OF GOVERNMENT to continue during the present unhappy and unnatural contest with Great Britain; PROTESTING and DECLARING that we never sought to throw off our dependence upon Great Britain, but felt ourselves happy under her protection, while we could enjoy our constitutional rights and privileges. And that we shall rejoice if such a reconciliation between us and our parent State can be effected as shall be approved by the CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, in whose prudence and wisdom we confide.
Accordingly pursuant to the trust reposed in us, WE DO Resolve, that this Congress assume the name, power and authority of a house of Representatives or Assembly for the Colony of New-Hampshire […]
It is interesting to note that, though a formidable casus belli is set out at first, there remained, at least with the denizens of New Hampshire, a strong desire to seek some compromise with Britain. Though events and the effluxion of time would soon sweep this away, one does wonder if there had been a more emollient response from Parliament and the British Government and greater willingness to compromise whether matters might have turned out rather differently.
Today we might expect with modern communications that the problem would not have been allowed to fester and grow but then, when a letter or petition would take many weeks to cross the Atlantic and many weeks to garner a reply, those with a mind to do so had much time in which to preempt any response which might then be made to seem niggardly when it finally did arrive.
One feature of American democracy is that a considerable amount of political discourse is founded on the Constitution which thus remains a living and breathing embodiment of both the spirit of a Revolution and of the modern United States.
For example, the rights of states to conduct and legislate upon their own affairs is something which continues to engage politics and trouble the Supreme Court, with States fiercely protecting their own rights as against the Federal power with terrier-like tenacity. Or one might think of the current arguments which revolve around the highly contentious (and to the rationalist, bizarre and worrying) issue of whether the ‘theory’ of intelligent design (or ‘creation’ science) might be taught in schools which, despite the ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987), its advocates still seek to achieve, notwithstanding the apparent separation of Church and State which the Constitution enshrines.
The point is that Americans set great store by the terms of their Constitution and it remains the touchstone by which so much of what is done has to be measured. It is tested time and again by political discourse and yet remains a thing of great facility, simplicity and beauty. I bet that many Americans can recite much of it by heart, not something you could do with the Treaty of Lisbon and its many thousands of words of gobbledygook.
In contrast the bombastic overblown popcorn rhetoric of the Constitution of the European Union is routinely debauched by a largely self-perpetuating oligarchy which mouths the mantras of democracy and transparency but which behind closed doors subverts that very same democracy. And given the deliberate obscurity and bloated nature of its language, no citizen of the Union will find himself inclined to use the Constitution as a touchstone for anything: he is, given its sheer size and weight, more likely to use it as a door-stop.
If you bridle at the phrase ‘self-perpetuating oligarchy’, just ask yourself what the current government of Belgium, which lost the general election in June 2007 but has recently been reappointed is if it is not such?
And given the general tendency for European States to have systems of election which favour, indeed encourage, ever-revolving coalitions, it is no surprise that most governments within the Union are, for the most part, elaborate games of Buggin’s Turn with the same tired old faces turning up time and again in this or that post over twenty or so years of active political life. Even Germany has lately succumbed to the politics of emollience, compromise with policies predicated on the basis of being the least offensive to everyone, with an effectively oppositionless administration.
And as for the practice of subverting democracy behind closed doors, what better example could you have of that than the bullying by Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel of the hapless José Sócrates, the Portuguese Prime Minister, who had apparently been entertaining hallucinatory thoughts of holding a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon?
As the Times reports today:
A referendum on the controversial redrafted EU constitution was ruled out by Portugal yesterday after pressure from Gordon Brown and President Sarkozy.
The Prime Minister and Mr Sarkozy called José Sócrates, the Portuguese Prime Minister, to insist that a popular ballot was not necessary.
The decision by Portugal not to hold a referendum but to ratify the treaty through its parliament will come as a huge relief to Downing Street and the Élysée Palace, which feared extra pressure on them to hold a public vote. The revelation of top-level phone calls will, though, only increase suspicions that the European political elite have coordinated efforts to avoid a repeat of the referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005 that sank the proposed constitution and plunged the EU into a two-year crisis.
Mr Sócrates is also understood to have called Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to ask her view before announcing his decision.
He told Portuguese MPs: “A referendum in Portugal would jeopardise, without any reason to do so, the full legitimacy of the ratification by national parliaments that is taking place in all the other European countries.”
This weak-minded individual has lately been weaned off that particular drug by some less-than-democratic boot-boy tactics by two of the men with most to lose if anything should go wrong with the process of ratification: Brown, because if the Portuguese hold a referendum, it makes his resistance to one in the UK all the more weak and Sarkozy because he wants nothing to get in the way of a Union constructed according to the model of his predecessor Giscard d’Estaing which France intends to dominate and operate for its own benefit.
Richard North has already commented on the topic at EUreferendum as has Tony Sharp at Waendal Journal and I shall not here go over again greatly the ground upon which they have so usefully trod.
But I do add this: unlike the American Constitution which is, as I have described it, the touchstone of political life in the USA, the Constitution of the European Union is something which the Gauleiters and Préfets such as Brown and Sarkozy think of as to be ignored, evaded, manipulated or just plain overthrown at will whenever the need arises. When the Constitution speaks thus:
The Union is founded on the values of respect for […] freedom, democracy, […] the rule of law and respect for human rights,
Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen.
those are mere empty words on the page which must never, ever be allowed to get in the way of the aims of the powerful oligarchs who now decide upon our fate, which is to have unfettered power over the lives of us all.
How else, pray, could you describe the process by which, instead of the eleven million citizens of Portugal deciding on whether they wish to be bound by this Treaty, it was done for them by José Sócrates, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel, only one of whom is Portuguese, in a series of telephone calls? The Portuguese people?: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” [Let them eat cake!]
Or to put it another way, we shall soon be forced to admit, as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once declared in the wake of the Revolutions of 1848, that:
We have been beaten and humiliated […] scattered, imprisoned, disarmed and gagged. The fate of European democracy has slipped from our hands.
We must not allow democracy to slip thus from our hands.
In Britain we do not do revolutions. That messy business has been avoided by hundreds of years of careful, progressive evolutionary development of democracy. What we called the ‘Glorious Revolution’ was, in reality, a carefully scripted transfer of power and rule from one régime to another and our only serious flirtation with dictatorship, that of Oliver Cromwell, was booted out with sighs of relief but no great revolutionary bloodletting.
But whilst we are not revolutionaries, we do now, after proper reflection, share many of the sentiments which gave birth to the American Revolution and most of us now would acknowledge that the thirteen colonies were being given a raw deal by the home country and that their bid for redress or freedom was entirely justified.
Which is why, if this is how our masters intend to do business from now on, our abjuration of revolution might yet change. Nothing is forever.
Putin: Cooler than Obama; More Experienced Than Hillary
Submitted by atheling on Fri, 2008-01-18 06:17.
Great political satire. If Putin ran for POTUS and won...
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine
Submitted by Vincep1974 on Tue, 2008-01-15 10:51.
After some more thought, I have refined my view a little bit... like most people have stated , it's the Left and it's apparent need to destroy society that is the problem.
I believe because the Left is ruthless and most normal people are not , that eventually the Left's tentacles start to cut off the oxygen to healthy politics.
So I think there needs to be something that flushes them and their lies out of the system.
Of course I can't think of any way of actually doing that, so i guess society will have to be near the brink of catastrophe before the people rise up (if they are even able to).
ComplEmenting Der Hauptmann
Submitted by marcfrans on Mon, 2008-01-14 18:00.
@ Kapitein Andre
Your comments are interesting, as they often are. But they are also dangerous, in the sense of betraying a (your usual) sense of moral relativism and authoritarian tendencies. Hence, they need to be corrected, complEmented here and there, but not really complImented.
1) I tend to agree with your "contextual" comments on the EU. But, in terms of 'explaining' a democratic deficit, the comparison (like most comparisons) with the UN is not really valid. The UN is truly an international inter-governmental organisation, where governments can co-operate (usually more verbally than 'real'). But it cannot evolve into a common 'polity' because of dramatically different value systems adhered to by its major constituents. So, the concept of "democracy" (and thus also of "democratic deficit") is totally irrelevant in the UN context. The UN canNOT be a democracy, and never will.
By contrast, the EU is a cooperative enterprise of 'like-minded' nations. This does not mean that there are no differences of opinions (and of 'interests') among those nations on all sorts of subjects, but rather that they do have broad commonality in terms of 'values systems'. While there is a legitimate debate and political struggle about what the EU should be, those who want it to evolve into a common 'polity' or a nation, must seek to remove its democratic deficit and seek 'accountability' for its political leaders. The EU can become a genuine democray, but whether it will or not is a totally different matter. Given that freedom of political speech is increasingly being underminded in some of its member nations, it is unlikely that it ever will become a democracy. Democracy requires broad adherence to 'democratic' values among the people, and both 'freedom of speech' and 'equality before the law' (not in income) are probably the most important ones among those values.
2) Your comments on the US are way too pessimistic, certainly when viewed against the background of challenges and problems that that Republic has faced in the past. You also seem to have unrealistic expectations about what a democracy can and should be. Democracy is always going to be messy and unpredictable, precisely because the people 'matter', i.e. they have a voice and frequently do change their governments. The United States would certainly NOT benefit from a "Putin-esque" President. On the contrary, while such a president may well temporarily succeed in reducing apparent 'chaos' and producing a temporary feeling of 'strength', he might also fatally undermine democratic 'institutions'. By 'institutions' I do not simply mean the judiciary, but also cultural 'institutions' in the sense of self-criticism and tolerance of countervailing-powers in many walks of life. You claim that democracy is "a luxury". It is just the other way around. Your love for 'order' is dangerous, and the history of modern totalitarianisms shows clearly that undemocratic 'order' is something we cannot afford.
3) I do not believe for one second that Ataturk ever imposed "liberalism and democracy" in Turkey. What a misreading of reality that you make! You seem to be confusing 'secularization' with "liberalism and democracy". I would tend to agree that radical societal changes usually originate in 'elites'. Indeed, it is often only when the elites tend to break-up, or become divided into opposing camps, that big societal and cultural changes become possible. But these changes do not always produce "democracy", far from it! And it certainly does not mean that "democracy" can be imposed "top down". Obstacles to democracy can be removed at the top, but democracy can only be maintained if there is a reality of democratic values living at the grassroots level.
In Reply to Vincep1974
Submitted by Kapitein Andre on Mon, 2008-01-14 16:48.
Vincep1974: I've been thinking to myself if the US is at a stage in it evolution (or if the world's problems are of such a nature) that we may have to scale back enfranchisment.
Perhaps. Dr. James Hughes would argue that the increasing complexity of issues will inevitably lead to a technocratic society.
Vincep1974: That some sort of body like Iran's Guardian Council might be required to ensure that the government and politics remain true to the founding principles of the Republic. I know this is anamethema to the ideals of democracy and the right of all individuals to vote.
Unfortunately, then this authoritarian technocracy could not "remain true to the founding principles of the Republic", as these principles preclude such systems of governance. The crucial issue is whether or not this system would allow the United States to weather its challenges and succeed again.
Vincep1974: I think the right to life and property is more important. And by letting people who have no concept of the virtues required to have a properly functioning and just government determine what the policy and politicians should be is a proposition that I think we can no longer afford...I guess this is why evey Republic in the past always sucummed to Authoritianism.
Firstly, I hold democracy to be a luxury, not unlike liberalism and welfare statism, and whether or not a society can 'afford' a luxury is dependent upon its economic, military, political and social security. Secondly, democracy aims not for efficiency but equality, when in fact no political or electoral system can escape the effects of socio-economic stratification. Note that the idea of 'authoritarian capitalism' as practiced by Russia and China is gaining ground throughout the world. However, it may be that economics and politics can never be fully reconciled in terms of both being efficient and effective or equal and effective. Lastly, democracy may be cyclical, and recessions into authoritarianism inevitable. The collapse of the 20th Century tyrannies is quite telling here.
There is little sense in Americans clinging to ideals that no longer (perhaps temporarily) serve their interests. Survival-minded national socialists joined the new regimes in Bonn and East Berlin and similarly-minded communists became business owners...
Submitted by Vincep1974 on Mon, 2008-01-14 15:38.
I've been thinking to myself if the US is at a stage in it evolution (or if the world's problems are of such a nature) that we may have to scale back enfranchisment.
That some sort of body like Iran's Guardian Council might be required to ensure that the government and politics remain true to the founding principles of the Republic.
I know this is anamethema to the ideals of democracy and the right of all individuals to vote.
I think the right to life and property is more important. And by letting people who have no concept of the virtues required to have a properly functioning and just government determine what the policy and politicians should be is a proposition that I think we can no longer afford.
I guess this is why evey Republic in the past always sucummed to Authoritianism.
Submitted by Armor on Mon, 2008-01-14 17:02.
Vincep1974: " we may have to scale back enfranchisement. "
You should do the reverse and re-enfranchise the voters.
In muslim countries, most voters can not be trusted to make democracy work, because they tend to vote for dictatorship.
However, the situation is completely different in the West.
In Western countries, ordinary people believe in democracy, but our institutions have been hijacked by extreme left-wing ideologues who do not believe in it, and won't let voters interfere with their agenda. The question is: How can we re-enfranchise the voters?
As George MacDonald Fraser said in his book The Light's On At Signpost: "Short of assassination there is little people can do when their political masters have forgotten the true meaning of the democracy of which they are forever prating, are determined to have their own way at all costs and hold public opinion in contempt."
And there is also the practical question: who to assassinate...
In Response to "American Democracy v. European Oligarchy"
Submitted by Kapitein Andre on Mon, 2008-01-14 09:27.
Democratic deficit is impacting the political process of all Western countries at present, albeit to varying degrees. It is simplistic and misleading to contrast American "democracy" and European "oligarchy", however. The EU remains an international inter-governmental organization, and all pretense at democracy should be taken within the context of the EU emerging as a supranational institution. One only has to glance at the criticisms levelled at the UN for not being democratic, accountable or effective to understand the challenges the EU as an institution faces as it evolves. Certainly the EU is 'evolving' beyond what was intended for it by many and what the seemingly vast majority of Europeans want it to be. Furthermore, it is increasingly becoming a totalitarian bureaucracy, even if one dedicated to the use of so-called soft power.
Unfortunately, the acclaimed direct democracy of the Confoederatio Helvetica was unable to prevent the castration of the Schweizerische Volkspartei by ousting Chrishoph Blocher. Indeed, the SVP faces an international assault by proponents of multiculturalism and political correctness and domestic sabotage and even violence, despite being the strongest of the Swiss parties, gaining more ground at each election.
The United States is an interesting case. I am thoroughly disillusioned by the presidential candidates. Moreover, it appears as though American democracy is too corrupt and disorderly to take effective action concerning those challenges presently facing the United States e.g. global military and economic competition, energy, healthcare, education, national savings, illegal immigration and demographic and related electoral trends. While the United States may benefit from a Putin-esque president, a restructuring is in order...
It is worthy to note that liberalism and democracy were by and large top-down impositions by elites, and individuals such as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Founding Fathers, Oliver Cromwell, etc. Furthermore, they are time and context sensitive. In any event, the point is that perhaps revolution or a revolutionary class or figure is needed in order to restore and/or restructure Western liberal democracy. Indeed, George Orwell noted that the lower classes never accomplish very much unless stirred and led by their superiors.
USA vs. EU
Submitted by Bosch Ferretti on Sun, 2008-01-13 18:17.
A moving piece. However: I appreciate the belief among beleaguered Europeans that the USA is a healthy, vibrant, whatever else democracy, or that it provides a viable alternative to what is happening in Europe - but it's just not true. The political alternatives offered here, at least since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, have been limited to those that accept the most liberal and leftist presuppositions and engage in far-reaching social engineering. American politics and social life has been a cauldron of “sex, race and ethnicity” at least since Reagan left office and the Bush-Clinton oligarchy began. From school prayer and vouchers, abortion, welfare, family-related issues, immigration, individual and corporate tax, gun control, the nanny state, freedom of political speech, the right of association and a host of other issues were won by the Left long ago. Support for a federal EU that includes Turkey has been a cornerstone of every administration and the State Dept.
Today, voters are given a choice between two socialists on the Left and a handful of liberals on the Right who vie to outdo each other in liberal credentials and prove to the NY Times they are “compassionate” and not Goldwater “racists and xenophobes.” America does not even have small conservative parties like the Lega Nord or BNP which, whatever their individual merits, at least represent a political voice that has not been filtered through corporate or government media. American politics has been for some time what Daniel Boorstin called a “pseudo-event.”
Take NH, the state Mr. Huntsman idealizes. NH Republicans and some “Independents” just voted for John McCain, an almost fanatical open borders proponent who is also responsible for the censorious McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform that makes it impossible for all but multimillionaires to run for federal office. Huckabee is essentially a religious, liberal missionary, and Giuliani is a social liberal to the left of a 1970s Democrat on most domestic issues. The short-term future of the USA will see further immigration, higher taxes, an erosion of sovereignty, a continued attack on the family by the state and federal bureaucracies, a leftward movement in the culture war and a lock-step concert with the EU elites this website rightly decries.
Unlike this new Europe, America can return to its origins and recpture the spirit of freedom which moves Mr. Huntsman - and I hope we do. And though we have not yet reached the level of regulation and unaccountability that plagues Europe - we are working hard to get there.
Submitted by Yitzhak on Sun, 2008-01-13 11:42.
USA is the only true democracy……Federal republic or not…..perfect or flawed doesn’t matter……
Work to end the EU now, starting with Belgium
Submitted by Zen Master on Sat, 2008-01-12 17:16.
Ending the creeping socialism of the EU can begin with Belgium seceding from the EU. First separate the Walloon south from the Flemish and Brussels. When the Flemish are in majority, secede from the EU. This will be the beginning of the end of the EU.
Losing Belgium with the EU capital city of Brussels now in the control of the Flemish will be a psychologically ‘mortal blow’ to the ruling elite class who now control the EU. This will be the beginning of the end of the EU. Other countries will wish to have more freedom and less oppressive EU regulations.
911 Conspiracy Update
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Fri, 2008-01-11 13:52.
Submitted by Vincep1974 on Fri, 2008-01-11 02:29.
Of course the US isn't a democracy... it's a Federal Republic.
No long term loss
Submitted by Vincep1974 on Fri, 2008-01-11 02:29.
If it's any consolation, I dont think the European Union is going to survive beyond 2050.. if even that long.
Submitted by marcfrans on Thu, 2008-01-10 23:32.
Did I claim that my statement (which was an opinion about you, not a fact) is a "known fact"? I did not. So, why should I try to "prove" it? How could I prove it? It's an opinion. By its very nature, it CANNOT be a fact. The only thing 'factual' about it is that I made it, i.e. I expressed the opinion. But, rest assured, it is not an opinion that I just 'made up'. No, it is an opinion which rests on a number of 'facts', in the sense of observations that everyone can make about your use of language.
By contrast, you did claim that it is a KNOWN FACT that "the entire story of terrorisms" (whatever that means) is a myth!
I suggest to you, sir, that you do not even understand the difference between a fact and an opinion. Good day to you.
Submitted by marcfrans on Thu, 2008-01-10 22:20.
If I may so, I thought that you were rather 'slow' this time to discover what kettle of fish you were dealing with. I thought that some of Brenik's interventions in recent days were 'clear' enough in that respect. But, better late than never.
I am not sure whether Brenik is "more delusional" than monarchist, but I do not think that we should try to find out.
My "good day" to you is a 'true' one, unlike yours to Brenik.
P.S. Isn't it always fun to see these fundamentalists (beliefs-held-with-certainty) in action? Look at that opening sentence: "It is known FACT everywhere around the world etc....", and then he proceeds with a ridiculous OPINION. Some days Amsterdamsky does not seem so 'far out' there anymore, compared with some newcomers. I mean, it is one thing to hold rather shallow opinions. It is quite another thing, not to even know the difference between opinions and facts!
@marcfrans, so here is your chance
Submitted by Marvin Brenik on Thu, 2008-01-10 22:34.
"Isn't it always fun to see these fundamentalists (beliefs-held-with-certainty) in action? Look at that opening sentence: "It is known FACT everywhere around the world etc....", and then he proceeds with a ridiculous OPINION. Some days Amsterdamsky does not seem so 'far out' there anymore, compared with some newcomers. I mean, it is one thing to hold rather shallow opinions. It is quite another thing, not to even know the difference between opinions and facts!"
Please prove it with some reasoning that my statement is not true and prove that your statement against mine is a known FACT.
If you are not a "beliefs-held-with-certainty" (if that's what you mean by fundamentalist), please prove that your opinion about my statement is not just a ridiculous opinion.
Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:15.
I don't know how you deducted all of this from my post... By the way, according to your logic, you have no right to say that some country is for example a dictatorship, because you support democracy!
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:22.
I threw that at you because you're ignorant of:
1. What constitutes a democracy.
2. What the article delineates regarding the struggle between State and Federal governments in the US.
3. The basic form of American government.
Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:37.
I have really no intention to discuss with you, because you are unkind as usual.
So, only short answer. I post (mostly read) few years on American political forum (FR), so without silly suggestions please... Anything what is not direct democracy in Swiss style is not really democracy. Politicians and media cheat you and you believe what they say.
The EU is not democratic
Submitted by Zen Master on Thu, 2008-01-10 20:51.
What does it take to get the citizens of the EU angry?
The long suffering citizens of the EU seem to accept their lives under a declining democracy. Nothing seems to get them angry enough to take strong action to make the EU ruling elites retreat. Now I understand how Hitler gained power in Europe. No one cared enough to get angry.
Caring vs. Comfort
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:20.
I think the problem is with human nature. We tend not to rock the boat so long as our comfort level is maintained. People may submit like sheep so long as they are fed, sheltered, and amused. Hitler promised that (as well as other things) to the German people, who were suffering from the results of their defeat in WWI. They made a bargain with the devil, so to speak.
We see this happening with our governments today. In America, this election is crucial because if a Democrat is elected, we will see our nation heading towards the same kind if tyranny under which Europe suffers. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama all promise largesse from the treasury: socialized medicine, more State controlled education, PLUS more government regulations, etc...
We need to heed the old adage: "Accept the Queen's shilling; accept the Queen's bidding".
Hayek's analysis in The Road to Serfdom should be required reading for all people of the West - if they want to keep their freedoms.
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 20:15.
Coming from a person who prefers monarchy, your comment is laughable.
You have no clue what a democracy is. Indeed, you are even more ignorant of the fact that America is federal republic.
@Atheling: let's be clear about democracy - updated
Submitted by Marvin Brenik on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:28.
One source to prove why your reasoning is flawed: a republic as well as a monarchy can be a democracy:
According to "democracy-building.info :
"Today, the majority of democratic countries in the world are republics, i.e. officials are elected. Some well-established democratic countries in Europe, however, (the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and the Scandinavian countries) are constitutional monarchies, i.e. a king or queen is head of state while the constitution guarantees nevertheless all basic rights as in any democratic republic and sets clear limits to duties and competences of the monarch. Such a king can be regarded as a stabilizing factor rather than as a danger for a democracy. Therefore the classical definition of democracy is little helpful - at least concerning monarchy.
According to CNN the US was a democracy until the need arose to convert it into a new form of government because of "the threat of terrorism".
According to the CNN article: "Democracy works best in times of peace, when there is debate, compromise, and deliberation in forming governing rules, regulations, and policies. When confronted with a major crisis -- particularly one that is, like terrorism, of an unfamiliar nature -- the nation will turn to the President for initiative and resolute leadership. If our very existence and way of life are threatened, Americans will want their President to do whatever is necessary."
CNN: "Democracy in crisis: Will it transform into another form of government?"
It has been transformed in the meantime. This is why Bush needed the fake 911 terrorist attack. This is why both the US and EU need "terrorism": to get rid of the crisis-free times. Because democracy "works best when there is debate, compromise, and deliberation in forming governing rules, regulations, and policies" and the EU and the US want the opposite of democracy. They want dictatorship, where the US and EU president will do "whatever is necessary" (in other words, whatever they want)
Europe: this is exactly what's happening under the current EU integration process, turning the democracy of Europe into constitutional dictatorship.
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:45.
You know, I don't have time to write long missives here as I am working real time.
However, in perusing your comment, I realize that you believe that 9/11 was a FAKE terrorist attack???
You are more delusional than Monarchist!
We can clarify the concept of democracy
Submitted by Marvin Brenik on Thu, 2008-01-10 22:00.
Everyone: please research the meaning and definition of democracy in text books or dictionaries. What I have posted is true about the concept of democracy, so please be more specific and support your statements when refuting mine.
Atheling: it is known fact everywhere in the world (only the mainstream media hide it) that the entire story of "terrorisms" is a myth, especially the biggest fake attack so far: the Twin Towers 911. The purpose is also clear: to establish a one-world rule and create a fake need of a totalitarian rule over the world.
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 22:02.
Thanks for the laugh.
No problem, Athelin.
Submitted by Marvin Brenik on Thu, 2008-01-10 22:20.
It seems that truth makes you laugh. You also found this comment laughable, which contains the truth about the US:
"The US is not democracy
(Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:08)
Europe with exception of Switzerland is not democratic, this is true. However I would not call the US "democratic". Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, H. Clinton (?), Jeb Bush (??), looks like oligarchy. Third party candidate have as much as zero chances to win the elections. Add negative influence of media outlets which invite only candidates that they like."
Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:39.
Monarchy cannot be democracy by definition. These European countries are not true monarchies, this is just ghost of the past.
@ Marvin Brenik
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:39.
I never said that America is not a democracy.
I specified that it is a FEDERAL REPUBLIC.
Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2008-01-10 21:44.
Russia is also federal republic and I can only guess how many time you complained that they are not democratic. This is not the point.
@Monarchist - you are right
Submitted by Marvin Brenik on Thu, 2008-01-10 23:06.
You are right, - and what you have said is not in contradiction with what I have said. For some reason Atheling lured you into a fake debate. On the basis of the answer posted to me s/he seems to agree with you (and with me) on this. This implies the truth, which is: a federal republic can be a democracy, but is not necessarily a democracy.
On a side note: I have never mentioned Russia thus far. What I mentioned in my posts was the former Soviet Union. On another note: Russia, as it is today, indeed is light years away from democracy.
Music to my ears...
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2008-01-10 20:12.
Live free or die... death is not the worst of evils - attributed to General John Stark of the American Revolutionary War.
I hope Europeans will rise up against their tyrants and overthrow them. I think it is too late for a bloodless revolution - but if Europeans find the strength and conviction to fight for their freedoms, they will find many Americans who will support their cause.
The US is not democracy
Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2008-01-10 20:08.
Europe with exception of Switzerland is not democratic, this is true. However I would not call the US "democratic". Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, H. Clinton (?), Jeb Bush (??), looks like oligarchy. Third party candidate have as much as zero chances to won the elections. Add negative influence of media outlets which invite only candidates that they like.
Thanks for the compliment.
Submitted by CurtisNeeley on Mon, 2015-10-19 14:33.
America is NOT a democracy or a democratic Republic because after WWI the citizens of the U.S. felt democracy was too dangerous and had caused too much war. The reapportionment act of 1929 was when the U.S. people abdicated to America and the democracy of the U.S., once maintained by the House of Representatives, became an oligarchy like the Senate where vastly more than half-million people were needed to agree to make one vote. One person - one vote became 700,000 people for one vote. Our constitutional design was not followed due to lack of technology at the time. In theory, we could still recover to a Constitutional Democratic Republic but the chances are slim-to-none after Citizens United.
Submitted by KO on Fri, 2015-10-23 21:59.
You could even say that we lost the Revolutionary War when we allowed Hamilton to create a central bank and allowed John Marshall to establish judical review. Check out John Taylor's New Views of the Constitution (1824). The 3 branches are equal at the state and federal levels -- no judges governing the other two. Also the states are sovereign, except where by the constitution they have specifically transferred attributes of sovereignty to the federal government. The federal government was not intended to rule the states, as it does today. Centralization, which Hamilton and Madison both wanted, means unaccountability and elite capture.
Some blame Lincoln. Some Roosevelt. You can go back to Hamilton and Madison. It is the eternal struggle between different theories of government, and different ideas about self-government, and most importantly, the conflict between those who want to rule others, and those who want to rule themselves.
Submitted by marcfrans on Sun, 2015-10-25 21:58.
'Monarchist' certainly did not intend to give a "compliment". His intention was to stick a silly label of 'nondemocratic' to the US. And his nonargument rested on a false list of Bush, Clinton, B.., C...,B...,C...,etc.. The actual list is ...Carter, Reagan, Bush1, Clinton, Bush2, Obama.....But then, Monarchist is not interested in facts, only in parroting a particular mantra.
It should be obvious that "democracy" can manifest itself in many different ways in a very diverse world. At its core is the idea that the people control the government and not vice versa. In practice that means that government can be changed nonviolently at regular intervals, and the above actual list illustrates clearly that such has been the case in the US for a very long time.
In the real world, as opposed to an imaginary one, all democracies will in one way or another have to be 'representative' democracies, and the number of people needed for a representative vote in parliament will by necessity be a function of the size of the population (among other factors). This is not to deny that there exist currently numerous problems of a lack of faithful implementation of the "constitutional design" as originally intended. But, this has nothing to do with any "lack of technology", but rather with the eternal and universal problem of human moral failure.
The Revolutionary War had nothing to do with monetary arrangements and judicial review, but rather was fought against autocracy and 'taxation without representation'.
I agree with you that the pendulum has swung much too far towards centralization and away from genuine federalism. But, the voters surely have the ability to reverse that nefarious trend. If they do not over time, they will have to live with the consequences. Even the anti-American 'Monarchist' should be able to grasp that democratic idea. And, while I have great sympathy for the monetary views of John Taylor (Stanford), I do not think that he sees the presence of a central bank as 'undemocratic'. Virtually all countries have a central bank, but different theories about how they should function abound.