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What's the cornerstone of democracy?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Steph, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. Taliesin

    Taliesin Puttin' on the Ritz

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    I would define democracy as rule by legitimate public discourse characterised by constant spiritual striving and rebellion. To equate democracy with voting is like equating parenting with the sex act.

    Furthermore, I think a public education system of some kind is the most important institution of democracy, aside from Parliament.
     
  2. Ayatollah So

    Ayatollah So the spoof'll set you free

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    :worship: Finally some sanity.

    Democracy as a moral ideal fits the etymology of "democracy": demos kratia, the people rule. Freedom of speech is vital to the ability of people to actually rule via voting. Of course, this doesn't immediately extend to the right to wear religiously mandated clothing/symbols/etc. in school. But in a broader sense, the values necessary to make democracy flourish do require broad liberty rights for each citizen.

    The denial of a right to all citizens does not make it OK, although it might make it more tolerable to Muslims if Christians are also prohibited from wearing the clothing in school that their religion dictates them to wear. But then, to my knowledge, few if any Christian sects get burned by such a rule, because they do not have any special religiously mandated dress code. And somehow, I doubt that the happy compatibility of mainstream Christian religious requirements and the rules of "secular" French schools is 100% coincidental.

    There are plenty of institutional arrangements that are optional, that have multiple democratic solutions. This isn't one of them. There are institutional features, like money in politics, that France manages more democratically than the US. This isn't one of them.
     
  3. cgannon64

    cgannon64 BOB DYLAN'S ROCKIN OUT!

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    The cornerstone of democracy is relativism.
     
  4. amadeus

    amadeus The Choice of a New Generation

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    A sound economy; it seems like poor countries tend to do poor jobs with democracy.
     
  5. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    An armed citizenry is the cornerstone of any free society, whether you call it a democracy or more properly a republic (as a true democracy would mean everyone voted on everything directly).
     
  6. Drewcifer

    Drewcifer Agent of Karma

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    The cornerstone of democracy is having a military that swears it's allegiance to the institutions of a popularly elected government rather than the individuals who hold the power currently. This is the thing that seperates democratic nations from popular regimes.

    Think about it. As Mao said power resides in the barrel of the gun. It is still true today. Bonapartism had it's moment in the west. That time is past. In modern democracies militaries pledge their allegience to the institutions that govern countries rather than the individuals that govern countries.

    To use the US as an example the military oath is to the constitution rather than the President. It is an oath that everybody in the military takes seriously. As a result the President at their worst could never be more than a temporary autocrat. If they tried to launch a Presidential coup a la Fujimori they would find the mechanisms of power to be non-cooperative.

    Edit: a friend of mine was a minor officer in the Brazilian military when Brazil was in the process of abandoning the old style and becomming a full democracy. This was how he described the change in the Brazilian military mentality in embracing democracy. I think it works as a basic necessary mentality needed for the beginning of real democracy anywhere.
     
  7. Stylesjl

    Stylesjl SOS Brigade Member

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    So places like Britian, France, and Austrailia are not real democracies?
     
  8. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    An informed, caring, debating populace. (TV is destroying all three.)
     
  9. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    I didn't say that, I just said the cornerstone of one is an armed citizenry. Any nation without that is more at risk of losing its freedom.

    But then again there is no real and true democracy in the world if you want to be really technical (hey, I get blasted for calling the USSR communist ;) ).
     
  10. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I'm broadly in agreement with this, but the people having the power to change the bodies without a basic level of free speech/free press is a bit like the right to own firearms while ammunition is banned. People having the power to change the bodies in a systemic organized way having a full awareness of current events and the candidate positions, is how I'd amend your democracy cornerstone definition. :) And despite various countries chipping at free speech and free press in their own special ways, I'd still label the US, France, UK, and Australia democracies at this point.
     

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