Where's That Line Between True Democracy And Mob Rule?

from the peopleocracy dept

Way back in 7th grade social studies class, I still remember one of the first assignments we had from Mr. Kemp (I think that was his name...) was to make a suggestion for a way to change or improve the way government functions. My suggestion was that in addition to the two legislative branches (the House of Representatives and the Senate), we could add a third branch for direct citizen voting on bills. I think I called it the Peoplocracy or something. Whenever it was time to vote on various bills, the information would be broadcast via TV, and individuals could call a phone number and "vote" one way or the other. I remember that I got a bad grade on the paper, as the teacher told me such an idea made no sense: our elected officials in Congress where there to represent the will of the people, and direct voting on bills by citizens was entirely redundant and unnecessary. To this day, I still feel the teacher dismissed the idea too quickly... but that doesn't mean it's necessarily a good idea.

Since the election there have been a bunch of stories about how President-elect Obama has built up this huge direct line of communication to a huge, passionate and committed group of citizens and supporters via the internet, and there's plenty of speculation about how he intends to use that connection to help push his legislative agenda forward. In many ways, this is quite exciting, and I'm curious to see how it works -- and hoping for the best. After all, a huge problem with our elected officials in the past is that they were so far disconnected from the citizens they were supposed to represent that their policy choices were often backwards. Instead, it was often the powerful lobbyists who got through and were able to fashion laws to support their positions, rather than the overall well-being of the citizenry.

Anything that gives the actual people a bigger voice and a better ability to communicate and connect with the President or other elected officials seems like a great idea -- and we're already seeing some of that in action with the Obama's impressive Change.gov operation, which, among other things allows people to submit policy ideas and allows others to vote on them, in a Digg-like fashion. The possibilities for such a program are potentially limitless and incredibly powerful.

And yet... I'm still left wondering if there isn't a huge risk as well. As we've seen time and time again, powerful technologies don't discriminate. They can be used for very good purposes and they can be used for very bad purposes as well. I'm very excited about the good possibilities, but I'm wondering how much thought is being given to limiting the downside possibilities. There is, of course, the risk of "mob rule"-type decision making at times. While majority rules is the foundation of democracy, there are times when a simple majority can end up taking away the rights of a minority or put in place a dreadful and dangerous policy. This can happen especially after emotionally-charged incidents, where "mob rule" and thoughts of revenge or punishment overrule the rational parts of many people. Also, with any such system, there is the risk of gaming. As we've unfortunately seen with Digg over the past year or so, a small group of individuals have figured out how to effectively control the system, almost entirely stomping out the voices of others.

I don't think this is where things are headed, and I'm not saying that the technology or embracing a direct connection to people is a bad thing. I think just the opposite is true. I'm really excited to see where all of this leads, and the fact that there's at least some indication that we're not dealing with politics as usual is great. But... in seeing everyone talk up how wonderful this is, I worry about what's being done to at least guard against the worst abuses that occur when a direct connection to the people turns from rational into irrational mob rule out for blood.


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  1.  
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    Kiba, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Actually, change.gov is the wrong site. I think you mean change.org.

    Regardless, I think it is better if we eliminate the government altogether and let the free market run the day to day operation of this country.

    Instead of laws being determined abritary by congress and judged by courts that can't be overuled, we have a polycentric law system, completed with rating agencies, insurance companies, private courts, private defense agency, and such. The game will played out in such a way that over time a consistent system of law will emerge and the edge of laws will be changing to adapt to human needs and wants.

    Roads that actually need maintained will be turned to over some private companies, making these roads toll booths. Alternatively we also have free roads because these owners of roads actually make their money on rents. If there are more traffic to their business, the more rent they collect and the less chance of a vendor getting evicted.

    Observation of the state and society make me realizes that the state is not actually there to perserve order. Rather, that it is the cause of disorder and chaos.

    We saw drugs wars, war on terrorism, and the disasterous invasion of Iraq. Along with that, we see the crackdown of improtant freedom like freedom of speech, among with regulations favoring corny capitalists. Antitrust laws are actually used to punish successful companies and demonize firms like Standard Oils.

    I could go on but I think an anarchistic system of capitalism is far better than mob rules, democratic, republic, monarchy, or any system of government for that matter.

    Heck I wouldn't mind if the anarchistic capitalist society evolve into some sort of mutiple hippie communes so long as there is a general trend toward liberty and technological progress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 7:49pm

    History has demonstrated and the Founding Fathers believed that Democracy does not work over the long term.

    When people, who are unable or unwilling to take care of themselves, can vote themselves a raise; whether they are 18 old unwed teenagers, labor unions that demand they get 70% more pay for the same work, or Governement (teachers included) workers .. they all feed off the same trough filled by NET tax payers.

    When the number of voting leeches exceed the number of productive numbers (none of the above count), Democracy fails.

     

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    Alex, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 8:03pm

    It's a shame you got such a bad grade for your paper - I actually proposed something similar this year for my 1st year politics course and got a very good grade!

    Anyway the whole idea of representative democracy is that the will of the people is tempered by experienced/wise/cool-headed gatekeepers, i.e. elected officials. It's worked for centuries that way (not just in america).

    However, in every democracy there have been questions about how democratic it truly is. It's very hard once you elect someone to make them do what you want them to do, hence the term "elected dictatorship".

    If Obama can make the voice of the people a little louder, that can only be a good thing.

     

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    Brian Hayes, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 9:30pm

    All in for a paradigm

    My worry is about the structure of power not its type nor its effect. I don't think we've tested democracy when we've let leadership remain concentrated. There might as well be towering cathedrals and castles if we look at the small hierarchy we tolerate. We agonize about bullies and thieves hidden in the same robes. We let great issues hang in gilt rooms.

    Much progress has been made since the Age of Reason and the spark of equity, but only a little change in the infrastructure of power. We've not taken what we've been given and learned to make our world work where we live. Invigorating regions and localities might be needed to chart new ideas and successful change.

    Plato argued that government should be no larger than the people you can meet. We might see no representative government until we can trip our representatives while they walk by. I'm for spreading our governing around, for increased vigor in our communities, for localities, for building our version of what works as if destiny is in our hands.

    Following sucks and the centuries prove it. Not near enough is being done. Our future has always emerged in the nearby; seldom by edict or policy. We're repeating old errors. We've seen too much style and stasis in another corps of elite when we need huge experiment and effort outside our front door.

    The will of the people? We can't comprehend our utterly huge scale and impossible management. I can't imagine why we believe a few hundred in D.C. will be successful government. Lobbyists and corporations are faking it.

    We don't need to worry about majority rule because no majority has the reach. I'm stuck with the slogan "Bring It Home". We've not expanded the duty of government. Government is too far away. It's sheltered in distance. As a faraway pinnacle, it is always ineffectual and wrong.

     

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    generic, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    hippie communes?

     

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    Dean Fowler, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 11:48pm

    You cannot say that democracy doesn't work, where in the world have we got true democracy? Just as you cannot say that communism doesn't work, again where are the examples of true communism?

    Even here in the UK, the oldest democracy, it is only democracy up to a point. I don't get a vote on whether the politicians get a pay rise, but the MPs do. I am still waiting for the referendum we were promised on adopting the Euro etc.

    In Soviet Russia, it wasn't communism because the leaders didn't have to suffer the same as the citizens. It was just another form of dictatorship.

    In a true democracy, everyone would have to vote even if that meant having 'none of the above' on the ballot for those who can't be bothered to think about it. You would have 'one adult, one vote', not the system we have here where a rural constituency with 1000 voters is equal to an urban constituency with 10000 voters.
    If you have 600 seats in parliament, and 30 000 000 voters, each parliamentary seat should be decided by 50 000 voters.

    I personally think that democracy has either been made too complicated (as in the US), or has not changed enough with the times (as here in Britain).

     

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    Mark Regan, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 12:58am

    I beg to differ

    I don't think the big problem will be subversion of the voting mechanism by powerful interests, as safeguards can be built in.

    I think the biggest problem is, as with our current system of voting, the fact that the voters are uneducated as to the issues and easily swayed by biased reports, "name recognition" based advertising, lies, distortions, and name calling.

    You think the past election was nasty. Wait and see what is coming in two years.

     

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    Brian Hayes, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 1:40am

    Oh yeh. Easily swayed.

    Good folks at ourmessageofhope.com have built a short Flash movie of 2008 and the trumpeting sound bites we've heard throughout the year. I think you-all will enjoy it. http://www.ourmessageofhope.com/

     

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    khoolhandz, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 2:41am

    Democracy, Communism, Free Market Anarchism

    Democracy, Communism, Free Market Anarchism...to their own right would be a perfect government to have.

    The only problem is that we lack the perfect people to run them.

     

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    Dave (profile), Jan 1st, 2009 @ 2:54am

    Democracy...

    Over the last hundred years, the goal of securing individual liberties within the framework of a constitutional republic has been replaced with incessant talk of democracy and fairness. America was never suppose to be a democracy. The transition from republic to democracy was gradual and insidious. It seeds were sown early in our history. In many ways, the Civil War and its aftermath laid the foundation for the acute erosion that took place over the entire 20th century. Chronic concern about war and economic downturns- events caused by an intrusive government’s failure to follow the binding restraints of the Constitution- allowed majority demands to supersede the rights of the minority. By the end of the 20th century, majority opinion had become the determining factor in all that government does. The rule of law was cast aside, leaving the Constitution a shell of what it once was- a Constitution with rules that guaranteed a republic with limited and regional government and protection of personal liberty. The marketplace, driven by voluntary cooperation, private property ownership, and sound money was severely undermined with the acceptance of the principles of a true democracy.

    Unfortunately, too many people confuse the democratic elections of leaders of a republic for democracy by accepting the rule of majority opinion in all affairs. For majorities to pick leaders is one thing. It is something quite different for majorities to decide what rights are, to redistribute property, to tell people how to manage their personal lives, and to promote undeclared, unconstitutional wars.

    The majority is assumed to be in charge today and can do whatever it pleases. If the majority has not yet sanctioned some desired egregious action demanded by special interests, the propaganda machine goes into operation, and the pollsters relay the results back to the politicians who are seeking legitimacy in their endeavors. The rule of law and the Constitution have become irrelevant, and we live by constant polls.

    This trend toward democracy was tolerated because, unlike a military dictatorship, it was done in the name of benevolence, fairness, and equity. The pretense of love and compassion by those who desire to remold society convinced the recipients, and even the victims, of its necessity. Since it was never a precipitous departure from the republic, the gradual erosion of liberty went unnoticed.

     

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    David Feustel, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 4:50am

    Democracy

    Be aware that in 1948 Congress abolished the Judicial system,
    replacing it with a system of article 1 courts which cannot
    handle any constitutional issues. All courts today are administrative only.

     

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    kiba, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 6:02am

    Re: Democracy, Communism, Free Market Anarchism

    Um. There is no government in free market anarchism.

    Even in a free market, there are people who is willing to commit outright fraud. Thankfully the free market has its own check and balance.

    Even so, a free market is not exempt from being imperfect.

     

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    alexa, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 7:38am

    I'm somewhat surprised that no one has brought up JS Mill's concept of the tyrrany of the majority that he discusses in his work On Liberty. The crux of his argument is basically that in simple majority-rule states, the majority may oppress the minority at will; it was a response to Locke's idea that the government should act with the unanimous or majority consent of the people (and a work that much of our government is based on). So congrats for hitting on a very important idea without realizing it! I always like when that happens.

     

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    Bryan Pricd, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 8:23am

    There are some examples of this already

    This past election shows the results of California's Proposition 8 and Florida's Amendment 2. One may not like the result, but over half of the voters in CA and 64% of the voters in FL (60% was the magic cutoff point) approved them.

    And Florida if one screwed up state in that voters can only put constitutional amendments on the ballot. The 90's had an amendment saying that there would be light rail between all the major cities with a deadline. They had to pass another amendment to stop that one otherwise the state was going to have to spend some big bucks that it didn't have to start that project. And then add in a dash of salt that is the legislature that has to pass a law to implement that amendment, and things can truly go whack.

     

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    Alex, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: There are some examples of this already

    Any "bad" decision made democratically can usually be attributed to FUD or expedience. It doesn't make the principle of democracy wrong, it just makes it dangerous (like any form of government)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    The game will played out in such a way that over time a consistent system of law will emerge and the edge of laws will be changing to adapt to human needs and wants.
    So, we can get what we want? I like that, I want slaves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re:

    In a true democracy, everyone would have to vote even if that meant having 'none of the above' on the ballot for those who can't be bothered to think about it.
    I fail to see how "none of the above" is "can't be bothered to think about it".

     

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    Ron Goodwyne, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Democracy vs. Mob RUle

    By definition true democracy IS mob rule. That's precisely why our founding fathers detested it so. Instead, they created a republic with a constitution along with checks and balances to prevent the majority from running roughshod over the minority. The ballot initiative isn't available in any of the original 13 states because that was too close to true democracy.

     

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    Chuck, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Transparency instead of a Plebiscite

    I do not think a plebiscite is needed or desirable. I believe what is needed is more transparency in all government branches and especially in the legislative branch. A little sunshine would go a long way toward reestablishing trust in government.

     

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    Kiba, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Good luck finding an agency that will enforce such laws in the face of widespread opposition.

     

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    Petréa Mitchell, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 11:54am

    It exists to some extent

    Here in Oregon, the state constitution was set up with the idea that the general electorate should be a "fourth branch of government". This was the first state to have voter-initiated legislation (i.e., ballot propositions), for instance, and changes to the state constitution have to pass a popular vote (which is why we have no sales tax-- the state constitution prohibits it). If you want all the details, look up the name William S. U'Ren.

    Oregon did just barely pass an initiative banning gay marriage, which does not make me proud. OTOH, the initiative system is also the reason this was the first place in the developed world in modern times to legalize a limited form of assisted suicide. That initiative passed over the nearly unanimous opposition of our elected officials. In fact, after the original initiative passed with 51% of the vote, the state legislature took potentially unconstitutional action to send it back to the ballot, where it passed with over 70% of the vote in favor, apparently in part because a lot of people hadn't been strongly against the idea, but did relish the chance to show the legislature who was in charge.

     

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    Petréa Mitchell, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    And on TV insta-voting...

    It happens that I recently re-watched the classic Doctor Who story "Vengeance on Varos", which shows a society where all actions have to be proposed by the president on live TV, immediately followed by a vote of the whole population. As an added bonus, if the "No"s win, the president is immediately subjected to a procedure which is at best painful and at worst fatal.

    I don't want to give spoilers-- you can go find them if you really want them-- but the story makes an effective argument that this is a really bad idea.

     

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    Rob, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re: And on TV insta-voting...

    There is also a film - "The rise and rise of Michael Rimmer" (1973) that has direct citizen democracy as a theme. I can't remember the whole deal, but recall that voters got sick of having to vote on everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Good luck finding an agency that will enforce such laws in the face of widespread opposition.
    Have you never heard that "history repeats itself"?

     

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    Kiba, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Anglo-saxon customary laws?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    "Actually, change.gov is the wrong site. I think you mean change.org."

    Correct.


    "Regardless, I think it is better if we eliminate the government altogether and let the free market run the day to day operation of this country."

    Bad idea. Already we're seeing the affects of what deregulation can do. Hint: the global economy has taken a huge blow if you hadn't noticed. Free Market, as in Libre, is a great idea but you HAVE to set boundaries.

    Anarchy is a children dream. Anyone who thinks otherwise should look at a number of African countries. It's human nature to make a social structure, and without rules and the ability to enforce those rules someone else will just do it anyways with THEIR best interests in mind.

    The benefit to Rule of Law is that it gives us a chance to help everyone rather than just ourselves. Anarchy leads to nothing but the more vicious of people being the ones in charge as they have no qualms to get in the way of getting what they want.


    "Instead of laws being determined abritary by congress and judged by courts that can't be overuled, we have a polycentric law system, completed with rating agencies, insurance companies, private courts, private defense agency, and such. The game will played out in such a way that over time a consistent system of law will emerge and the edge of laws will be changing to adapt to human needs and wants."

    The problem with the United States legislation is simply the fact its full of politicians. They aren't trying to become Senators or Representatives for the right reasons usually. They're in it for the power and job title.

    I'd like to point out that there is nothing in the Constitution that says Congress HAS to be making new laws all the time. There ARE other things they can do. Instead we're getting more and more laws pumped out by Congress on a yearly basis. There is no detailed debate because they have to "get it done" before their terms come up.

    In short the entire point to their existence is ignored so they can point to the ignorant and say "look! We did something!", never mind if it was something bad.

    Also, no matter what you are going to HAVE to have someone that has the final say. I personally would rather it be by a group of people who have studied the law, both wording and intent, for the bulk of their lives, and using the Constitution as a guideline.

    That seems a lot better to me than some arbitrary group of people that either are the exact same thing (so why replace the Judges...) or the exact opposite leading to more self serving behavior.


    "Roads that actually need maintained will be turned to over some private companies, making these roads toll booths. Alternatively we also have free roads because these owners of roads actually make their money on rents. If there are more traffic to their business, the more rent they collect and the less chance of a vendor getting evicted."

    You should read up on history, specifically medieval western Europe. With feudalism many of the roads were toll roads, completely arbitrarily. The person you paid the toll too possibly was ordered to collect it, but they charge you more than is necessary in order to line their own pockets.

    You don't want a for profit organization running your roads. You'll have far more roads that are in worse condition than now than pristine ones. And that has everything to do with profit margins.

    Also then you possibly end up with 'black ops' situations where some people are payed to screw up the competing company's roads, not that there probably will be any given the way you have to build roadways.

    Oh and what about Eminent Domain laws under that system? Right now the state/country would have to pay for my property at full market value if they wanted it for a public roadway.

    Shit even better, how are you going to TRAVEL anywhere while having to pay all those tolls? Carry more cash on you? That opens up Highway Robbers again. Use plastic? Well shit that increases the chance an employee will steal your credit card number.

    Really there are a LOT of bad shit that comes with your suggestion. It's pretty obvious you didn't think it through at all. All this is just off the top of my head.


    "Observation of the state and society make me realizes that the state is not actually there to perserve order. Rather, that it is the cause of disorder and chaos."

    What a load of tripe. The fact you can say that with even a cursory knowledge of US history just shows you are incredibly biased. For example, take a look at the "Wild West" era and note how it no longer exists.

    Or go back further to medieval and pre-medieval history and see how much disorder and chaos existed compared to now.

    Open up a history book. Read. Learn. You'll notice that as governments have gotten bigger and stronger and nations larger that rioting and other disorderly conduct has gone down. Same with murder/rape/theft rates, at least proportionately.

    May not seem like it some days, particularly when you live in a world where if a teenager stabs another teenager in school there is all the sudden an 'epidemic' but the drug use/underage drinking that really IS a problem goes unreported. Never mind that youth violence is at a 40 year low.

    When you have "news" organizations reporting mistruths it gets hard to find out what is really going on. But pay attention and stop hating things for hates sake and you might be able to figure it out.


    "We saw drugs wars, war on terrorism, and the disasterous invasion of Iraq. Along with that, we see the crackdown of improtant freedom like freedom of speech, among with regulations favoring corny capitalists. Antitrust laws are actually used to punish successful companies and demonize firms like Standard Oils."

    Don't confuse either a) malicious acts with the aim of population control or b) stupid acts based on ignorance with a great failing of capitalism. Many countries only gave in to "war on drugs" and "war on terror" due to political pressure from the US and not out of any real choice of their own will. Many more reject those so-called "wars" and do their own thing.

    The US has a mess to clean up from the last 100 years of legislature. We can do it, and are slowing doing it. I just hope its fast enough.


    "I could go on but I think an anarchistic system of capitalism is far better than mob rules, democratic, republic, monarchy, or any system of government for that matter."

    You seem to have a limited understanding of what "anarchistic" means. So far you seem to be encouraging a corporation based government that is widely disorganized and doomed to fail. I make a study of government systems, how they're formed and how they work. Trust me, what you are suggesting is not what you think you are suggesting. Partially because you are ignoring how people behave, partially because you are blinded by your own bias.

    I'm a little hung over at the moment so sorry for coming off harsh. I personally see flaws in all systems of government, theoretical or practical. I also think pure capitalism is potentially harmful to an economy, but at the same time has its high points. But man are the lows getting low.


    "Heck I wouldn't mind if the anarchistic capitalist society evolve into some sort of mutiple hippie communes so long as there is a general trend toward liberty and technological progress."

    But in your suggested system of government there would NOT be technological progress. The players in the "free market" are playing to win - for themselves. You are talking about putting people like Disney corp. in charge of the nation. You don't think you are suggesting that, but you are!

    You'll end up with very biased and strict laws to hamper competition and innovation so as to not upset the status quot. Anything to maintain or increase their positions and power.

    By all means, let us fight for more liberty and ensure everyone gets it. But be realistic about it. There are some *really* bad ideas to go about protecting it, and yours is the quickest way I know to endanger it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Just posted a large thing but didn't see this otherwise I would of included it as well.

    The government you've suggested wouldn't have any power to stop it from happening. Public opinion is moot. Slavery was outlawed not because of economic factors but because people felt it was wrong.

    The government you suggested is a archetype that would compare the economics of it and take the better economic route, not necessarily the morally "right" route.

    You are very naive.

     

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    Kiba, Jan 1st, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Ha. The free market you suggest is blowing in the wind is actually not a free market. The free market never exists in the first place. Instead we got a regulated banking system with fiat money. Government bailout and money pumping are example of government intereference. International bankers and their puppet in the federal reserves are sure loving it.

    Also the failure mechanism of the free market is a feature, not a bug. Capitalism doesn't work if it only have profit and not loss.

    Anarchism is a class of political philosophy and theory that have nothing to do with chaos. Depending on school of thoughts, some may blame social structures and hiearchy, other does not. You would do well if you do not conflates chaos with an entire tradition that does not advocate chaos or chaos as a result.

    If you wishes to dismiss the idea of anarchy at this point, that's fine with me. If you wish to explore and debate with these crazy free market anarchists, I can point out some informative site that you would expand your knowledge base.

    Maybe at the end of your exploration, you won't be an anarchist but at least you understand what our positions are.

    I won't address much of your points because frankly, I am a terrible debater and don't have much energy to type out point by point rebutal. By default, your position won.

     

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    Benito, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 12:30am

    Our government was never meant to be ENABLED to legislate this way.

    "After all, a huge problem with our elected officials in the past is that they were so far disconnected from the citizens they were supposed to represent that their policy choices were often backwards. Instead, it was often the powerful lobbyists who got through and were able to fashion laws to support their positions, rather than the overall well-being of the citizenry. "

    What everyone fails to realize is that our government was never meant to be ENABLED to make 'laws' that 'special interests' would be attracted to influence.

    We've strayed so far from our Constitutional principles that we now have a group of bureaucrats with little practical market knowledge (about much of anything) making laws that drastically affect the lives of people and entire business sectors.

    The question isnt whether politicians are passing the right legislation but rather; Are politicians allowed to even propose such legislation to begin with?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Intentions do not equate results Kiba. And I did not specify that chaos would ensue, merely that the self serving interests you seem to be wishing to eradicate would be more enabled under that system than the current one.

    I fully know what your positions are as an anarchist, and they overall aren't evil or bad or what have you. They are merely naive.

    In an ideal world, we could have a "benevolent dictator". It's a more extreme example of naivety but helps show some of the problems anarchistic forms of government rarely take into account.

    Approach it as engineering problem. Expect the worse case scenario and plan accordingly. Anarchy tends to rely too much on the 'better nature of man' and not take into account that the idea may be entirely farcical.

     

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  31.  
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    ondigo, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 6:15am

    Some other ideas...

    Having the citizenry regularly vote on legislation is too taxing (no pun intended) because of the unfortunately large scope of government these days. People just don't want to keep up with the myriad details and would be too likely to follow the lead of Oprah or some other celebrity figure.

    However, a great alternative would be to have a "sunset" for all laws and regulations: after a certain amount of time (say, 7 years for laws, 3 years for regulations) the law/reg must either be reaffirmed by Congress or allowed to lapse. (I'm not sure whether the President should be allowed to veto a reaffirmed law. Probably he shouldn't). No changes to the law/reg would be allowed as part of the reaffirmation. If Congress wants to change it, they have to let it die and have a completely new law to replace it. This helps reduce the bad effects arising from the Politicians' Syllogism: "Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, we must do it." (See: "PATRIOT Act").

    Another idea would be to eliminate the seniority system in Congress. Chairmanships should be settled by drawn lots. Horsetrading could take place afterward, perhaps.

    Also, the Congressional pension plan should be eliminated entirely. Let the states support their congressional representatives as they each see fit. The compensation retired Congresscritters receives is breathtaking and leads to careerism that allows elected representatives to live in a bubble.

    I also believe the 17th Amendment should be repealed, and the selection of Senators returned to the state legislatures. This has a couple of benefits. The first is that it restores a voice for the states in the federal government; senators could no longer pander to the people. (That's the House's job, dang it!). The second is that all the campaign contributions that currently go to Senators would be spread across all the various legislators in the states. This would dilute the power of lobbyists, without eliminating it entirely (because lobbyists can/do play some good and useful roles).

     

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    Bignumone, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 7:01am

    A fourth branch has merit, and danger!

    As an idea, having a BRANCH of government with people contributing ideas for laws has merit.
    As long as the house of representatives and senate balance it, and technology is available to allow all access to vote on ideas, and the presidency is still in place as a third check on all ideas passed, it could work. After all, the house and senate don't always seem to represent what we want, do they? This "people's voice" could be skipped for laws passed by the other branches. But it would give us the opportunity to "strongly suggest" how we would like our country run. The other branches, being elected, would think twice before totally ignoring the people's voice.
    On the other hand, as was mentioned by others, this could also lead to people voting themselves welfare at the expense of others. Or it could lead to organizations such as Unions or very large businesses "high jacking" our government. I live in a city where the poor (up to 2X the poverty level) voted themselves a health plan at the expense of property owners. What am I supposed to do, sell my house so I don't have to pay for their health plan? It can happen the other way as well. What if GM said they needed billions of dollars in federal aid or they will lay off every worker...and the unions bought into it and all workers voted for it? Essentially taxing all of us to keep bad business practices afloat.
    Wait a minute, that is already happening!

     

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    ImpatientGirl, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 7:53am

    Democracy

    Democracy is 3 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner... We're a constitutional republic for that reason.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: A fourth branch has merit, and danger!

    I have always thought that a useful adjunct to our legislative process would be to have all members of Congress voting on a legislative proposal sign a legal instrument under penalty of perjury that each has actually read the legislation, each understands the import of each and every provision contained in the legislation, and that each believes that such legislation is in the best interest of the nation.

     

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    Cheddar, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 9:22am

    You DO know that this country isn't a true democracy, right?

    We are a democratic republic, and that is very important to understand. It prevents emotion and sales-pitches from making quick and devastating changes to the country. The founding fathers understood this principle, and that's why our government exists as it does to this day. It's good and necessary for an elected representative to get input from as much of his/her constituency as possible, but that layer of isolation also leaves representatives free to do the right-but-unpopular thing at times. Abolishing slavery, for example, female suffrage, the civil rights success, none of these would have happened under mob-rule free-form democracy, because the majority of the people at the time had a selfish - and incorrect interest to protect.
    Anyways, just my 2 cents. Vote for somebody that represents you correctly, and you won't have to worry about our country. The hard part is taking the time to make sure we do OUR homework, or run ourselves.

     

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    kiba, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Hardly. It is not "naive" and hoping for the best. It relies on following a line of economic reasoning. That economic reasoning could have lead us to conclude that we're all going to die in some terrible market crisis. Thankfully, it lead us to conclude certain actions are benefical to society and that this world is not a zero-sum game. We can all live better lives if we want to.

    Optimistic you said? It is just being realistic according to our logics. Because on the other side of the coin, we're some of the most cynical critics of practically every government intervention ever made.

    Our theory said that the government is flawed because of a fundamentally different incentive structure than of that of a free market. It cannot be restrained by silly things like profit and loss. Without the price system, the government cannot even calculate.

    Based on that, all government are doomed to fail. I didn't even acknowledge the fact that government bureacract are often evil and in it for the power.

    You think government can be engineered. That's naive from our point of view. Every government is prone to grow in power and devour the wealth of society. It cannot be stopped by some democractic process or any other system of check and balance.

    If a de-facto governments do indeed arise in a free market society as you said, with all of its check and balance, than it suggest that even in anarchy, humans are doomed.

    But I don't particulary based my political preferance on "what work best" but whether if the system is denontological ethical. Obviously, all governments, including democracy failed that basis.

    Even for government policies like patent and copyright, which often have strong emperical evidence against it, I would use denontological arguments as a strong component if not in its entirely to argue against such policies.

     

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    snowburn14, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re: Some other ideas...

    Almost completely off the original topic, but as far as congressional benefits... How is it we're not all screaming hypocrisy when politicians decide against universal healthcare while being provided some of the best health insurance in the country by the government? Does that make sense to anyone outside DC? Personally, I think we should all be entitled to the same perks given to our elected representatives. And yes, I know that would require a significant tax hike, but it's not like we weren't already paying it to insurance companies anyway, or a helluva lot more out of pocket for those who took a gamble and lost. And anyone who's had enough experience in dealing with health insurance companies knows that's the one portion of the private sector that will actually manage to screw you over worse than the government.

     

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    kiba, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Also by "we" refer to me. It is fallicious to attribute my opinions to entire group holding the same opinion even if it is mostly true.

    These reasoning are entirely mine, althoughly of course strongly influenced.

     

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    snowburn14, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: You DO know that this country isn't a true democracy, right?

    "Vote for somebody that represents you correctly, and you won't have to worry about our country. The hard part is taking the time to make sure we do OUR homework, or run ourselves."
    You know, that and often times there's nobody on the ballot that actually will represent you correctly. Though I suppose the obvious solution to that one is to run yourself... But then you don't get to rail against the government in quite the same way anymore, so what fun is that?

     

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    Kiba, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    And I am not debating anymore. Just to let you know. I'll let you have the last words.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Re: Our government was never meant to be ENABLED to legislate this way.

    If our forfathers, that wrote our Constitution saw today what Society is today, they would role over in thier graves.The way the gov't is run today, is a travesty, our so called elected officials, probably/most likely, a 85/15%,w/15% that actually want to do something good for us, us being(The People).The other 85% being corrupt and only in it for HISTORY'S sake, and the money, they think they're making good decisions and we're believing those decisions.We (The People) are the ones that put them in those positions, after a set time in office we should be able to have them removed if they are not doing the job they were seated to do.This probably sounds unjust to some of you, take a look at what Big Corp.America and Corrupt Gov't., have gotten us into, the Banking system is in a toilet The People have lost Faith in a system that was not supposed to fail but did because of those that are supposed to be in charge.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    I guess you still have a job and a home, or you haven't noticed how the free market has been performing lately. As the last decade has shown, without regulation it becomes take from the poor and give to the rich.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Some other ideas...

    I've thought about that sunset on laws idea before, wouldn't work. After about 4-5 cycles, there would be so many laws coming up for renewal that things would crawl to a halt.

     

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    Jeff (profile), Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Change.gov is the correct site for the context of this article.

     

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    Kiba, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    There were hardly much deregulation going on for the past few years or even decades.

    Last time I check, we lived in a system where the federal reserve have power and government can just print money as much as it like. That's not features of a free market.

    Failure is a feature of the free market though. It is simply a check and balance mechanism to keep the idiots in line by making them lose their shirt.

     

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    Dana Conover, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Where's That Line Between True Democracy And Mob Rule?

    That line, fortunately enough for us, is the Bill of Rights. The bill of Rights effectively limits the ability of the majority to impose their will on the minority, at least when it comes to infringing on those basic rights specifically addressed therein. Without suchn provisions democracy is mob rule and our founding fathers had the foresite to recognize that fact and make provisions to limit that possibility.

     

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    Dana Conover, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Democracy

    Beautifully stated ImpatientGirl, and unchecked free market capitalism is the same three wolves fighting to the death to decide who gets to eat the whole sheep.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 5:02pm

    Peoplocracy Extended

    Your Peoplocracy concept lead me to the approach below. Since I haven't visited the websites of many of our esteemed Congressional representatives, some may already be doing what I am suggesting. The few times that I have written in, has usually resulted in a meaningless response letter that they share my concerns and will take it under consideration. Of course what they are really saying, politely, is go take a hike.
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    The new Peoplocracy
    Each Senator and Congress person would have on their page a list of all legislation. For the pending legislation, the voters who reside in the district could "vote" (really a pole). The voters would hopefully see how their fellow citizens feel and would also be able to compare how the Congress person actually voted in Congress when compared to the webpole.

    As a slight twist, the Senate/Congress person should be required to post a position paper a couple of weeks before a scheduled vote to disclose how they intend to vote.

     

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    DebbieKat, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    Direct Democracy can work

    There is actually a constitutional amendment that you can vote for NOW if you want to be able to directly participate in lawmaking in the US. I think there are issues in both directions (retaining our current representative system or adding a branch for the people to directly vote on initiatives), but overall I would trust the bulk of the citizens more than I currently trust our representatives. As has been mentioned above, our current representatives can be bought by corporate interests, don't necessarily have all the practical knowledge necessary to understand ALL issues fully and don't necessarily represent all the people in their constituencies.

    I think we need to do a few things:
    1) Modify our current voting and election system so that we have a more representative congress, similar to how it works in the UK where it is proportional based on vote totals rather than winner takes all.
    2) Change our voting from plurality vote to either approval voting or instant runoff voting (also called ranked choice). I would prefer approval voting overall as it is more fool-proof.
    3) Vote for the National Initiative (www.ni4d.us) so that the people have a direct say in legislative matters that affect them. Please take a moment to read this website. You can vote for or against it, but if we do get enough votes this WILL BECOME AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION.

    I didn't read all the posts, but someone early on said we don't have an example of direct democracy working. That isn't actually true. Switzerland has direct democracy and it seems to be working fairly well for them. In fact, the National Initiative was modeled after their system.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    Anglo-saxon customary laws?
    The same ones that prevented the original establishment of slavery in the U.S.?

     

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    ray kennedy, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    mobrule

    This thought might hold water were it not for the fact that i voted for President Obama as much for his intelligence, as I did his ability to govern. If I thought that decisions were to be made independently upon the way a vote over the internet finishes, then I would have voted for a Panda Bear(or any other cute, cuddly animal), and keep my finger on the "vote now" button.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Some other ideas...

    I also believe the 17th Amendment should be repealed, and the selection of Senators returned to the state legislatures.
    You should research the historical reasons for 17th Amendment. Before that, wealthy people could and did simply buy senate seats with campaign contributions to state legislators. That's why the constitution was changed: to stop that practice.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    "The same ones that prevented the original establishment of slavery in the U.S.?"

    More like the ones that condoned and supported it. Majority rule supporters often seem to like to deny its history.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Direct Democracy can work

    You can vote for or against it, but if we do get enough votes this WILL BECOME AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION.


    Yes it will.

    Well, except of course for those silly, nasty requirements that are outlined in Article V. of the U.S. Constitution. Contrary to what that website is trying to say, it really wouldn't matter if 65+ million citizens voted in favor of it, or even if the 131+ million that voted in the last election voted in favor of it, it still WOULD NOT become an amendment. You still have to deal with the pesky 2/3rds vote in Congress or national convention of 2/3rds of the states to approve an amendment and send it to the states for ratification. And then the necessary 3/4ths ratification by the states before it becomes part of the Constitution.

    So, yeah, other than legal requirements for passing an amendment, voting on a website will absolutely change the way the government works...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 11:14pm

    When we forgot the principle of you don't work, you don't eat, we gave up our democracy for socialism. Pole taxes/owning land/paying taxes before you can vote are a requirement for a democracy to work. If you don't force most to contribute to society, they won't.

     

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    Alex, Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Re:

    Congratulations, you've just discovered Victorian morals! Next step, introduce the workhouse! That'll show them!

     

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    Alex, Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    Actually this is pre-Victorian. Political rights for landowners only? What a load of balls.

     

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    Gary Pighetti, Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Re: Mob Rule

    Anonymous Coward 7:49 p.m All I can say in response to this daft idea is: You are the best Troll I've encountered in recent memory. While you set up the typical "Straw Men" to pummel and flog typical Reaganesque targets [what? no welfare bimbos in Cadillacs? You're slipping] and dubious [some would say outright, possibly maliciously false] statistics,the one that really p***es me off is your implication, so widely charged, that teachers somehow have jumped to the front of the gravy train. Your ignorance on this subject cannot be exceeded. First, I cannot speak for major metropolitan areas, but given the hopeless underfunding in most [Did you know that in 1965 EVERY public school in NYC had a more than adequate library? Did you know that they were all defunded? Do you know that ONLY wealthy areas of NYC have school libraries? Do you care?] my guess is that the salary:Cost of Living ratio is rather low. I began teaching in 1979. I took a 40%+ paycut to be given the extraordinary opportunity. My private sector job paid $13000; teaching paid $7500. I didn't make the equivalent salary until 1985, after a Masters Degree, and attendance at a significant number of self-funded professional workshops and seminars.In 1982, my roommate's electrical engineering salary was 250% higher than mine. By 2004, my inflation-adjusted salary had gone up 24%. That's a whopping .85% a year. I worked between 60 and 70 hrs/wk AT SCHOOL, as well as working at home. The majority of weeks I was IN SCHOOL 7 days/wk. After 28 years teaching I qualified for a work-related disability. Because of Federal law, I cannot receive social security, medicare, or medicaid; even though I qualify otherwise. Your comments, Sir, exhibit your abject ignorance; the wholesale projection of your own inadequacies on populations with minimal impact on the taxes you pay; and your extraordinary ability to confuse being a blowhard with being an informed, passionate, and admirable US Citizen. As I said, a remarkable Troll. I encourage you to say "Gotcha!" GP

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Tyrrany of the Minority

    The minority are not necessarily without blame in obstructing the will of the people.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Wrong Comparison

    Socialism is an economic system.
    Democracy is a political system.
    You can have a democratic socialistic state.

     

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  61.  
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    Gary Pighetti, Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Democracy vs. Mob RUle

    Ballot initiative is available in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which is one of the original colonies.

    Your comment about many Founder's fear of Mob Rule was definitely part of the conversation until Andrew Jackson was elected.


    Two points to make:


    1] "The Mob" were all those who didn't belong to the reigning krypto-aristocratic elite who had been running things for generations; Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams and Tom Paine are exemplars of The Mob;

    2] Exemplars of the opposing viewpoint: Alexander Hamilton [whose First Federal Bank parceled out money to the elites]; Aaron Burr [who tried to set himself up as "king" of the Louisiana Territory]; John and JQ Adams; and George Washington. Not a shabby bunch to disagree, certainly.


    But remember: The Mob was constantly taking it on the chin: worthless government bonds [until A. Hamilton's buds bought them all up at 5% of par when A.H. convinced the federal government to pay them off at 100%]; nonpayment of veterans' back pay; wholesale foreclosure on soldiers' homes when mortgages or taxes couldn't be paid [because they were fighting the Revolutionary War]; debtors' prisons; and on and on. Once unlanded mechanics and factory workers from large cities came on the scene, the Gentry had a collective case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

    Another stellar example of "What goes around, comes around."

    GP

     

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  62.  
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    DS, Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Is not there already enough stupid people voting? That's why we're in the mess that we're already in. (Not a slam against Bush, but really, a slam against everyone from Dog Catcher to President). We already are given the chance to change things, but we keep voting the same robber barons in every time.

     

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  63.  
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    TX CHL Instructor (profile), Jan 3rd, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    Direct democracy

    Direct democracy == mob rule

    Which is what we are coming to. As soon as the unfettered Liberal (communist) administration can neutralize the 2nd amendment, the COTUS is a Dead Letter.

     

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  64.  
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    B, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 2:02am

    Re: Re: Suggestion: Free Market Anarchism

    "Bad idea. Already we're seeing the affects of what deregulation can do. Hint: the global economy has taken a huge blow if you hadn't noticed. Free Market, as in Libre, is a great idea but you HAVE to set boundaries."

    I sure hope you realize that it's the government's meddling that has lead us to our current economic state. Maybe not the boundaries part, but certainly coddling and bailouts have been a disaster.
    If it were a truly free market, the banks would have been too interested in self preservation, and we would not be in our current situation. Instead, the banks felt safe with the plethora of safety nets and fallback plans the government provides.

    I don't align with kiba's anarchism beliefs, but it pains me when people point to our current predicament and blame the 'free market'.

     

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  65.  
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    Mojo Bone, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    I think many are ignoring the fact that we already have an effective "peopleocracy" branch, unofficial and informal though it be. Our representatives know perfectly well what the people want, because they have polls and statistical sampling, which they generally use to determine exactly how much thwarting of the will of the people and toadying to special interests they can get away with.

    As to the current financial crisis, it's clearly the fault of the poor; they're poor because they're lazy, and don't work enough hours to make the balloon payments on their mortgages, and these foreclosures are the very root of the problem. If only there were a way we could force them to work off their debts while being fed a subsistence diet, I'm sure we could turn this whole thing around in a jiffy, and the poor would be healthier and less obese, which would surely bring down the cost of healthcare for everyone; a real win-win! Sorry, I forgot to hold up my SARCASM sign. ;-)

     

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  66.  
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    Alex, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Re: Direct democracy

    "the unfettered Liberal (communist) administration"

    Learn basic politics, then join the discussion.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    An anarchistic Capitalist system would rapidly turn into one single, massive corporation owning and controlling everything.
    Libertarianism has some nice bits but allowed full reign libertarianism leads to slavery for all but the most wealthy and connected.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    I now see why Obama got elected from the posts on this blog. It appears that at least 52% of the country is slightly retarded. Also, being proud of having our first "African American (aka black)" President is in itself racist. I thought our founding fathers said not to judge a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. So far Obama has done nothing, so everyone who believes in this "milestone" is in fact a racist. Obama is glad you are all racists, because he got to become president.

     

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  69.  
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    Kiba, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 2:57pm

    Re:

    MLK said that, not our founding father.

    I agree with your sentinment though.

     

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  70.  
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    Accountant, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 3:50pm

    Government not by the people

    I do not think many of you have worked for government, inside the beast. Well, I can tell you that most of the electorate, especially the ones at the podium of most local governments are either into it for themselves or just plain ignorant. Straight democracy would be an unmitigated disaster; the representatives are bad enough.

     

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    Kevin, Jan 4th, 2009 @ 5:23pm

    Silly Hypocrit!

    Quoted from Anonymous Coward Jan 1st, 3:01pm

    "Really there are a LOT of bad shit that comes with your suggestion. It's pretty obvious you didn't think it through at all. All this is just off the top of my head."

    Does anyone else see the irony in this statement from the ignorant hypocrit? His criticism of another post's thoughtfulness is "off the top of my head"? This makes me giggle!

     

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    Traaxx, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    We already have a counterbalance to Federal system

    As I said they is already a counter weight to the Federal government which we seem to dismiss it's called the "State Government". Each 'State Government' is a soverign state within the United States with rights and protections. It's time to regain these righs and balances to both our country and idenity. If we continue on the current path then we will loose our idenities and freedoms beneath a over powering Globalist Dictatorship.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 6:54am

    If Obama wants to run the country based on the polls he will be just as lousy a president as Bill Clinton was. Being president means making hard choices that may be unpopular choices but are necessary for the greater good, and the results of those decisions may not be visible for twenty or thirty years. Harry Truman was openly despised for integrating the military, yet who now would not agree that it was the right thing to do? Bill Clinton had a chance to do the same thing with gays in the military but he lacked the moral conviction to do so because he was too busy governing via media polls with the sole objective of getting reelected.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    Crabby (profile), Jan 5th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: Democracy

    Nice analogy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    Crabby (profile), Jan 5th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re:

    I think the problem is that the media is so focused on the presidential elections that nothing else is ever written about or put on TV. Most of the population (unfortunately) relies on the media to provide information about candidates. Well, they fail us every time.

    We need to do our own research (as others here have noted) and we need to ask the difficult questions of our representatives and would-be representatives. Since most of us don't have face time with politicians, we need the media to do that. I wish they'd stop playing favorites and do some real investigative reporting -- and not just for some candidates, either. The Fourth Estate, as journalism likes to refer to itself, is dysfunctional. And an uninformed electorate can't make informed decisions in the voting booth.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Re:

    If Obama wants to run the country based on the polls he will be just as lousy a president as Bill Clinton was.
    Yeah, Clinton really screwed up the economy, didn't he? Good thing Bush came along and fixed it all up for us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Mob Rule

    .In 1982, my roommate's electrical engineering salary was 250% higher than mine.
    And brain surgeons make even more. So what?
    After 28 years teaching I qualified for a work-related disability. Because of Federal law, I cannot receive social security, medicare, or medicaid; even though I qualify otherwise.
    I notice how you conveniently fail to mention that teachers don't pay into those programs to begin with and instead are covered by other programs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
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    EDGAR LEFEBVRE, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 6:05am

    TRUE DEMOCRACY

    I AGREE ! I THINK TRUE DEMOCRACY is People voting directly on Bills. Becasue we all know, too many Bills are passed but are not in the best interest of the People !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    EDGAR LEFEBVRE, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 6:13am

    Re: Bush

    Yeah, Bush really fix the "problems" ....deficit is out-of control.

    Have a great day !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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