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Sick Republics

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Gabriel
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All "democracies" today are actually republics... citizens don't choose on particular issue, but rather they choose representatives to choose for them, every 4 years or so.

Here in Romania, we have parliamentary, local and presidential elections comming up, and I'm sickened by the whoring of the candidates to each and every group or faction or power broker.

The debate is free from any actual ideological content, being just about a random bunch of floating opinions on concrete issues:

if I were mayor, I would first repave the 5th street, etc. (Road quality is a major issue here, so instead of putting together a coherent plan, based on privatisation and free market contract auctions, candidates squander on trying to please particular groups)

The republic system is sick and stupid. Even in the US and/or Europe... politics has long since taken over trivial concerns such as ... I don't know... making sense, or otherwise dealing with reality.

Politics today is just an orgy or power-squabling, whim-worshipping, mindless populist propaganda and appeal to pseudo-authorities.

No one is *even thinking* or speaking about the proper role of the state... their only concern is to look capable of favoring most people, when they get hold of those lucrative governmental taxation and spendings.

I don't know how any right minded individual, let alone an Objectivist, would support what today is called democracy/republic!

I don't have any simple answers, but as far as I can tell, the objectivist vision of a minimal state is in contradiction to the mod-rule of democracy/republic.

I think that the best state we can have right now is a form of parliamentary technocracy, where specialists have the final word in their fields, free from political interventionism, and all top specialits would meet in a parliament-like assembly to discuss common issues.

I'd rather have economists take economic decisions, have stem cell researchers decide where their reseach should take them, etc.

What's your thoughts on the sick and sad world of politics?

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Although I'm inclined to agree with that, what other way would one suggest to elect the government that we mandate to protect our individual rights?

The key to free elections in a constitutional republic is choice.

Candidates should differ, at least in personality. The constituent, ideally, is intelligent enough to selct whoever he/she thinks is best qualified for the job.

From an American standpoint, Romania bears watching. Romania is making a very serious transition to a capitalist-based socioeconomic system, now that it freed itself from the throes of communism.

Romania will endure growing pains as a free country, as it will have to relate to other more established 'sick republics" whose purpose is to instill caretaker and protectionist measures upon its citizens and restrict trade among nations.

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All "democracies" today are actually republics... citizens don't choose on particular issue, but rather they choose representatives to choose for them, every 4 years or so.

That doesn't make them republics; it makes them representatitve democracies. They are still ruled by the majority, only less directly: The majority of the voters determines who the leaders are, and the majority of the leaders determines the government's actions.

In a republic, the government's actions are determined by the law, which in turn is objectively derived from the individual's right to his life.

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I don't know how any right minded individual, let alone an Objectivist, would support what today is called democracy/republic!

I don't have any simple answers, but as far as I can tell, the objectivist vision of a minimal state is in contradiction to the mod-rule of democracy/republic.

I think that the best state we can have right now is a form of parliamentary technocracy, where specialists have the final word in their fields, free from political interventionism, and all top specialits would meet in a parliament-like assembly to discuss common issues.

A few historical points here as I gather from your other posts that you like history (so do I). The term 'Democracy' is a dangerous one. The United States is not and was never intended to be a 'Democracy.' Understand democracy in its historical context. Democracy arose in the setting of ancient Greek city states. For them at that time they were an excellent political innovation. They represented a break from the age-old tradition of "might makes right." They were an attempt to prevent agaisnt the corruption of absolute power. [incidentally, its not surprising that they occur in the same century, the 6th BC, as the philosphical revolution (the birth of natural science) occuring on the Ionian coast (modern turkey). The history of science and politics seems to be linked; perhaps due to the underlying epistemology accepted by any historical era.]

However, the Greeks themselves realized that democracy, if unchecked, led to a tyranny of a few rulers which they reffered to as 'oligarchy.' Athens itself is a case study in the failure of pure democracy. Read the article entitled "Carved In Stone" from a TIA issue of about 2 years ago (I forget the author). Jefferson himself said that he learned more form Thucydides than he ever did from reading the newspaper. Thucydides was the ancient Greek historian who chronicled the Peloponesian War. Jefferson knew that it was emotionalist led crowd pandering that led to the horrible political decisions that caused the fall of Athens at the hands of Sparta. Thus the model that the Framers followed was more in line with the only other ancient people who did not have a monarchy; namely the Romans.

The Roman Republic dates from 509 BC and though flawed was recognized as superior to Greek democracy even in its day. In fact, the Greek historian Polybius (who was actually a Greek slave to the wealthy Roman Cornelii family) stated that it was because Rome had a superior form of government that they were able to defeat the Greeks. The Roman Republic was thought to combine the right balance of 1) senatorial (legislative) power from the old aristocratic families (the ancients would think of this as oligarchy) 2) assembly power (from the non-aristocratic masses which the ancients would think of as democracy) and 3) monarchial power in the hands of not one but two power sharing 'Consuls' (elected to one year terms) to prevent against tyranny. [They had a provision in time of war to elect a 'Dictator' for a 6 month period or until the war was won, whichever came first at which time power was returned to the consuls. The most famous of the Roman appointed Dictators was Cincinatus who was a farmer general. He was elected to defend against a Celtic invasion in the 300's BC. After he defeated the Celts and before his 'Dictatorship' was officialy over, he returned to plowing his fields. He was the basis for the movie 'Gladiator' and also was beloved of George Washington for obvious reasons; he willingly surrendered political power.]

Even though the Roman republic was very flawed and eventually caved in to first the military dynasts (the two Triumverates) and then later to empire (first the more controlled empirial model of 'The Principate' under Agustus and then later the proto-medieval model of empire under 'The Dominate' starting soon after Constantine), it still lasted for about 400-500 years. (America is only 200+ years by comparison.) It was the Roman model that the founders sought to model. (Although they also used the better Greek City State Constitutions as examples; believe it or not one of them being Sparta.) The founders improved on the Roman model by having a two chambered senate instead of one. They also had to wrestle with the concept of Federalism (various smaller governments existing under the umbrella of a larger one) which neither the Greeks nor Romans ever really dealt with.

But the US political experiment was an experiment in a Constitutional Republic not in democracy. The term democracy is a term which has been deceptively used by the Left to undermine the original American system. It is used to smuggle in socialsim under the rhetoric of "the will of the majority." It is pure poison. If our citizenry knew (and that means were taught) their political heritage, it would make it harder for the Leftists to destroy it.

So understand that people refer to "Western Democracies" because of both negligent and deliberate ignorance on the part of educators. Objectivists might debate over the precise form of a fully rational social system, but I think most would accept the Constitutional Republican model of the American Founders with a Constitutionally enforced seperation of state and economics. (Incidently, believe it or not, the freedom of contract was once considered a 'fundamental right' with constitutional protection.)

As for what's the best we can expect politically right now, your guess is as good as mine.

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The republic system is sick and stupid. Even in the US and/or Europe... politics has long since taken over trivial concerns such as ... I don't know... making sense, or otherwise dealing with reality.

Politics today is just an orgy or power-squabling, whim-worshipping, mindless populist propaganda and appeal to pseudo-authorities.

This is more a feature of democracy - that a government is contingent upon people voting it in, makes it a slave to the free press - whom have hold of our minds. It become a vicious circle - to see through bad press, education is required; to improve education, the government must take active steps, to be in a position to make those steps it must tow the media line to allow electability.

I think that discussions about ideals/role of government would stand a better chance in a non-party system. It is harder to change the image of hundreds of prominent individuals than three parties/party leaders.

Though the problem here is the difficulty for large groups/councils to be decisive...

Im actually beginning to think that a technocracy would be preferable (Though how that is reached I dont know). In a technocracy there would however be a need for strong interelation between fields (a specilization in itself perhaps?) eg. If there are to be great scientists there are to be great educators. There are basic rules/laws which apply to all, and all subject specific institutions add to those in relevance to their own field.

There is a similar logic by which Businesses would share information about their market for mutual advantage.

In this sense the face of humanity, say an outside encounter was made would be represented by the specialist philosopher explaining the system of systems.

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