America is the only Democracy where minority rules

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by farraday, Aug 9, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    maybe not but "10 million show up in Washington for moderate gun control laws" is a headline, now isn't it?
  2. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    farraday,
    That's what the "great debate" is all about! The essence of good, pure spirited and informed debate.
      "Don't hate the playas, hate the game."
    It's not the responsibility of interested parties to give the whole truth.

    But, it is the responsibility of the politician to make sure he's got the whole truth.

    You cannot have the whole truth if you ignore parts of it, even the ones you feel are the most extreme. If you ignore what you feel are the most extreme points, you're no better off in spirit than if you ignore what you feel are less extreme ones.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    While I don't speak for Genghis, but I think the point he was trying to make( or at least part of) was that special interest groups should form the basis of one's decision making, but they are not an ends in themselves.

    Remember, the process of politics is one of debate and compromise. Very rarely does a bill get passed into law in its original form. I can't think a of politican in recent memory who thought one way, but voted a completely different way because of interest money.

    "Hmmm, I'm really pro-gun, and ran on the pro-gun ticket, but Handgun Control Inc. just gave me 40,00$, so I'll vote anti-gun." This type of politican would not remain elected for long.

    There is nothing inherently corrupt about having a pro-choice group give campaign money to see that a pro-choice candidate is elected.

    Ideally, a politican should listen to both sides of an issue, and in reality, makes his decision based on information from the group that he supports. Of course, a politican is going to listen to the pro-choice group to get infromation on the pro-choice stance.

    Then, through committee and debate, the final decision is made.

    Look at the "arming pilots" issue.

    One group wanted pilots to be armed all the time.

    One group did not want pilots armed at all.

    The current compromise is to have some qualified pilots armed with guns after they are trained, and have the others carry non-lethal weapons such as Tasers.

    Special interest groups played a huge part in the ultimate decision, but they did not wield undiluted power in determining the outcome.

  4. jedi-girl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 4
    "America is the only Democracy where minority rules. "

    I guess that explains how George W. got elected :p
  5. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Ghengis said: Hopefully, you agree that Ashcroft stepping down because of a presumed conflict of interest is a good thing!?!

    No, I feel it shows that even before evidence was examined, he had already decided against finding Enron guilty of anything. What other conflict could there be now? They didn't fund him into his current position, since one doesn't campaign for a nomination. And their funding of his last senatorial race didn't even result in a win. So the conflict comes from his true impartiality, not a perception of impartiality. And given his mistreatment of Ronnie White and other ethical lapses Ashcroft has shown over the years, I question his character just as much as I question that of any politician I can recall.

    [b[Ghengis also said: [/b]If you ignore what you feel are the most extreme points, you're no better off in spirit than if you ignore what you feel are less extreme ones.

    That's true. I would just add that I wish the politician also has some responsibility to at least attempt to determine how many people are represented by each of the views he's hearing, and then attempt to represent either the majority or a compromise among 2 or more views. Unfortunately, this isn't how it's done - the guy runs on a platform, then no matter how narrowly he's elected, he sticks to that platform even if it means ignoring 48% of his constituents.

    I'm pro-choice, legally speaking, but when I lived in TN, where the vast majority of voters claim to be pro-life, some of our congressional reps tried to find a position in between the more extreme TN position and the more moderate DC one. I didn't feel that was representative - if TN people want abortions only in cases of saving the mother's life or possibly rape/incest, then the politicians should have voted that way, much as I personally disagreed with them.

    TenorJedi, point taken. We'll need a mighy big bus. ;) Seriously, though, someone must have a good bit of money or not need to work for a living to organize something like that. Unfortunately, neither I nor anyone I know of fit that description - most of the people I've known who used to do volunteer work can't even afford to anymore. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I do think it always ends up coming back to money.

    LOL @ Jedi-Girl. The issue of the small states having more say than they should via the Electoral College is a whole other topic (literally - there's a thread) but it does lead to occasional minority presidents.

    Getting back to the issue of special interest groups, I have an opinion that may spark some debate, unless no one else cares: I think the worst special interest law signed into the books in recent years is the Family Medical Leave Act.
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm pro-choice, legally speaking, but when I lived in TN, where the vast majority of voters claim to be pro-life, some of our congressional reps tried to find a position in between the more extreme TN position and the more moderate DC one. I didn't feel that was representative - if TN people want abortions only in cases of saving the mother's life or possibly rape/incest, then the politicians should have voted that way, much as I personally disagreed with them.

    Edmund Burke (a member of the British Parliament) once said:
    A representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgement, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.
    A representative is elected to represent the interests of his people, but they elect him along with all of his opinions. If he is not allowed to make his own judgements on issues, but instead should only do what the majority of the people want all the time, what is the point of having hime there? Why not just make the US a true Democracy instead of a Democratic Republic?

    Kimball Kinnison
  7. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Kimball, you're exactly right, and that's why I said "I wish they had the responsibility of" representing the breakdown of ideology in their districts. Of course, you're right that in such an event, representatives wouldn't be needed.

    Why not just make the US a true Democracy instead of a Democratic Republic?

    This would be my preference. I think we could do away with Congress and vote everything on referendum. Let the people be the third branch of the government.

    This IS a little scary - after all, the normally reasonable California voters have voted a ban on something that doesn't exist (gay marriage) into law, which is to me a bizarre waste of legislative space. I fully realize we'll get things just as stupid from referendum voting as we do when Congress votes on things. But at least we'd know this is what the people voted for, no matter how foolish their criteria for choosing was. As it is now, most of us doubt our representatives are even attempting to rep us OR the platform they claim to support. And Congress' lack of concern about our distrust doesn't help - they stalled and stalled any sort of campaign finance reform bill, and they've wasted time dealing with non-issues like an amendment against flag-burning while all the time voting themselves pay raises.

    Of course I'd also like to see the Electoral College done away with. After 2000, I realize it was never possible to accurately count votes down to one, and probably never will be, so we'd get just as accurate results having a poll on the internet as our vote. :)
  8. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    That vision is positively frightening, TC. The countermajoritarian structure of the Constitution is what maintains our freedoms, and prevents tyrranny of the majority.

    The founding fathers were positively frightened of that, and so should you be.
  9. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    TreeCave:

    I have some problems with a pure democracy. the system we have now has struck a very good balance between allowing the majority to rule, and protecting the rights of a minority. It has worked quite well most of the time. The fact is, we've got a system that has clearly stated what the government MAY NOT do. It's brilliant, really.

    I'll pass on a couple of quotes from an article Tom Clancy wrote for Izvestia. It might put this system into a better light:

    The first quote, from an article titled "Principles" that we wrote for Izvestia: "Your government has taken action to outlaw communism. That is a bad thing, not a good one."

    The atrocities of communism are well-known. Over 100 million dead, and it's pretty safe to assume that Mao and Stalin probably killed more people than Hitler did (not to lessen the impact of Hitler's evil). So why not outlaw it?

    Because even the nastiest creeps have certain rights, among which is freedom of expression. The U.S. government can't tell people how to think. It can't take away the right to own a gun, nor can agent of that government search your home without your permission unless they have a warrant.

    As Tom Clancy also said in that article, titled "Principles", "I am contemptuous of communism and all who believe in it, but neither I nor my government has the right to tell my people that they cannot be communists."

    Each of the provisions placed into the Constitution were put in so that the majority's rule could not trample the rights of a minority that might not be politically correct. Even the Electoral College does that to an extent, by giving the more rural states a bit more of a voice in selecting the one person who is elected to represent ALL Americans, the President of the United States.
  10. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Red-Seven, interesting that you say that, since I read nothing but "majority rules, screw everyone else" from about 70% of the pro-US posters on these boards. I very much agree with you that the majority cannot always be allowed to have its way - not when what it wants conflicts with any individual or minority's Constitutionally protected rights. I've spent hours on here arguing with posters who feel the majority rules and that's the end of it. The idea that the majority can be "wrong" has been completely lost on a lot of modern "conservatives" and distorted beyond recognition by a lot of modern "liberals".

    My problem with your statement is, I don't see how the system we have is necessarily protecting the rights of minorities in practice. Now, I guess when you get down to "in practice" v. "in theory" arguments, it becomes clear that no system of government can be any better than the quality of individuals running it. If they are corrupt, then no matter if they're democracy, theocracy, monarchy, communism, etc., the government they comprise will not be of much use to anyone, except perhaps other corrupt people.

    I honestly don't see that it would make any difference whether we have Congress or not. If Congress understood the Constituion or Bill of Rights at all, would they ever have wasted months debating amendments to prevent flag-burning and abortion? No, this was stuff their majority constituents wanted, so they made a big show of trying to get it for them, knowing if they DID pass either bill (which would never have happened), even the most similarly-minded USSC would knock it down in 10 seconds flat.

    To be clear, I really agree with you that the majority can be wrong. I just don't see that this belief has ever enjoyed more than a passing trendiness over the history of the country. It wavers in and out of favor, always for considerably less time than the belief that minorities should simply accept the inconvenience of not getting their Constitutional rights. Humans have a herd mentality, as evidenced by their constant need to conform to things they don't even like. The idea of majority being wrong was one of the noble concepts in founding the US, but the idea that the majority rules and everyone else should go to hell is human nature.

    Despite all the rhetoric, there are very few individualists out there.
  11. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    see my first post in this thread at 6:05 AM on 8-10


    "I very much agree with you that the majority cannot always be allowed to have its way - not when what it wants conflicts with any individual or minority's Constitutionally protected rights."

    But that's not the job of Congress or the people to decide. That is the precise reason we have the Judiciary, and their ability to declare unconstitutional laws, well, unconstitutional. As you yourself have stated.

    I have read the rest of your post, and am confused. You are giving good lip-service to the principles of the possible tyranny of the Majority, yet you still oppose the Electoral College, and even the Legislature!!! I find this a rather spectaculiar leap of reasoning.


    "Now, I guess when you get down to "in practice" v. "in theory" arguments, it becomes clear that no system of government can be any better than the quality of individuals running it. If they are corrupt, then no matter if they're democracy, theocracy, monarchy, communism, etc., the government they comprise will not be of much use to anyone, except perhaps other corrupt people."

    Not true. Governments with checks and balences, and limits to their power, will fair MUCH better despite corruption.



    "I just don't see that this belief has ever enjoyed more than a passing trendiness over the history of the country."

    See my link on Page one.

  12. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    In regards to your earlier post, what "structural protections against tyranny" is it referring to as being more effective than the Bill of Rights?

    yet you still oppose the Electoral College, and even the Legislature

    How does the Electoral College support a minority? For that matter, how does the legislature? These are the specific questions I'm posing, and unless I'm misunderstaind, I'm getting only poli-sci theory in response. No offense. It's just not obvious to me that either of these protect against tyranny by the majority. For example: How many states have legislatively passed the same stupid ban against non-existent gay marriage as the voters of California? What difference does it make?

    As for the Electoral College, I will wait and see how you say it protects minorities before responding.

    Not true. Governments with checks and balences, and limits to their power, will fair MUCH better despite corruption.

    If you only mean in terms of failing to become tyrannical, I agree this is most likely true. But corruption has caused even the US govt to become ineffective through roadblocks and stagnancy. This is not an immediate danger in and of itself, but it opens the door for someone to come in who can "break down all these roadblocks" and get the US back on track! Such a figure could be merely incompetent, or another Hitler. Now, here I must point out I'm talking in theory, not practice, and if anyone accuses me of making "wild accusations" that Bush is Hitler or something equally silly, I will vomit. :p I don't think a Nazi-US type situation would ever happen - for one thing, we're simply too big and there are too many places for groups opposed to fascism to hide and wreak havoc. But it's still a good idea to keep in mind extreme possibilities, as they help us hone plans for the future.

    I'm going on about 2 hours of sleep, so I'm sorry if any of this makes no sense.

    I do admit I've been extremely disillusioned with govt in general ever since I realized politics functions almost exactly like high school cliques do - that simply CAN'T be a good thing. :D But I'm not apathetic - I simply have more faith in the use of art and knowledge to persuade people to do right than the government to make them do it. But that's a whole other topic. :)
  13. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    I will attempt a response at this.

    The Electoral College protects minorities by preventing a single populous area of the country to dictate who the president should be. Granted, this isn't the sexy type of minority, but the Electoral College allows a regional minority to have a say.

    The legislature does the same thing by allowing Wyoming have the same say in the senate as California.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.