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Why representative democracy is evil

Aldarion

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In political relations within the society, things matter because people believe they matter. Feudalism was a system based on honour, and while this ideal was not always respected, promises and oaths were generally upheld because breaking them had massive negative consequences. Honour mattered - it was literally the social currency that feudalism was based on. Dishonourable behavior of the type seen from Westerosi nobles was exceedingly rare for the exact reason Martin has us believe Westerosi system is not functional - it was almost always self-defeating. In Middle Ages, lords and nobles did indeed believe themselves to be above the common man - and they were, thanks to their education, training and experience. But with this status and privileges also came duties, to their superiors and inferiors alike. And everybody watched everybody else for any breach of code of honour - a person who was not honourable could not be trusted, and would thus be abandoned and left to rot. King who did not respect his promises did not remain a king for long.

Nor was this system limited to lords and nobility. It was, in fact, based around corporations - groups of people who acted as a single entity. Each city was a political entity of its own, and within a city there were political entities - guilds and similar, who acted in a manner not unlike today's unions. Church too was important - but it was also fragmented, with different bishops having different policies and opinions on everything except religious dogma (and oftentimes even on that). As a result of this situation, the principles described above applied across the society as a whole. There was no tyranny in a feudal monarchy, simply because tyranny was impossible. Oppression did exist, especially in regard to serfs - but serfs were much better off than slaves in every way, and while slavery existed, it was rare when compared to situation in more centralized states.

But representative democracy is a system that is not based on honour. It is a system based on promises, which have to be repeated every four to five years. And the side which makes more convincing promises wins the elections and is free to steal and rob for the next mandate. And then onto new campaign of lies. As a consequence, the entire system of elections is antithetical to honour. At the same time, government is (pretending to be) given the mandate of the people. Whereas in the feudal or a federal system (e.g. Roman Republic) the periphery had very good reasons to resist and limit the authority of the center, in a democratic system the periphery is hoping to benefit from the center. Every regional, ideological, interest or other group is aiming to take control of the central government and then utilize its authority to impose authoritharianism. Instead of a danger, large government has become an opportunity.

And large government is evil. Humans are inherently flawed and thus cannot be relied on to make good decisions. This requires measures to limit the negative impact of any single decision, which means political decentralization and subsidiarity. Need is that much greater because, while even good people cannot be relied on to make good decisions, any concentration of power automatically draws in bad people. And in a democracy, for reasons already discussed above, there is little incentive to limit the powers of the government, making it in a massive asshole ascquisition device. This then leads to a downward spiral, where democratic nature of government leads to its growth, growth of the government leads to greater power, and its greater power leads to further growth. And along the way, any such government sucks in assholes like nobody's business. Ultimate outcome is obvious: regardless of its form (a democracy, a republic or a monarchy), centralized government always becomes a tyranny.
 

Buba

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But representative democracy is a system that is not based on honour. It is a system based on promises, which have to be repeated every four to five years. And the side which makes more convincing promises wins the elections and is free to steal and rob for the next mandate. And then onto new campaign of lies.
Although I don't agree with you on the honour thing I agree on the bribing of the electorate thing. At a certain point the voters are beholden to whoever holds power as they depend upon holdouts. Hence my belief that universal EQUAL suffrage is the problem.
IMO the better off - hence smarter/harder working/lucky whatever - should get more votes. They do not need Gov't handouts - and for which they pay with their taxes.
And there best be a Monarch with veto power above all that - a person with no need to sweat over popularity polls and re-election chances.
Hmm - I'm warming to the idea of single-term Head of State and/or Government, as floated about several times in the USA (last - 1912) and actually included in the Confederacy's constitution.
 
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Aldarion

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Although I don't agree with you on the honour thing I agree on the bribing of the electorate thing. At a certain point the voters are beholdedn to whoever holds power as they depend upon holdouts. Hence my belief that universal EQUAL suffrage is the problem.
IMO the better off - hence smarter/harder working/lucky whatever - should get more votes. They do not need Gov't handouts - and for which they pay with their taxes.
And there best be a Monarch with veto power above all that - a person with no need to sweat over popularity polls and re-election chances.
Hmm - I'm warming to the idea of single-term Head of State and/or Government, as floated about several times in the USA (last - 1912) and actually included in the Confederacy's constitution.
Or if you have to have elections, use draw-of-the-straw. Literally.
 

ParadiseLost

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I don't really agree with much of your hypothesis... but lets assume your criticism of democracies is all true for a second.

The problem, of course, is that democracies outcompete monarchies systems very consistently. What powerful monarchs remain primarily remain because of a combination of controlling the entire national economy and being propped up by foreign democracies.

Absolute monarchies themselves outcompeted feudal systems massively.

Getting back to reality, though, you're just going to the opposite extreme as Martin and being overly optimistic about the feudal system.
 

Aldarion

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The problem, of course, is that democracies outcompete monarchies systems very consistently. What powerful monarchs remain primarily remain because of a combination of controlling the entire national economy and being propped up by foreign democracies.
That is true. But that is actually in favour of monarchies offering more freedom: generally speaking, a society where government is able to better control resources will be better in mobilizing for a war. Of course, it is not a hard rule as there are many other factors beyond just government's ability to mobilize resources (such as motivation of the people in general and so on).

Absolute monarchies themselves outcompeted feudal systems massively.
See above.

Getting back to reality, though, you're just going to the opposite extreme as Martin and being overly optimistic about the feudal system.
I am not that optimistic about feudal system. The system I actually like (and advocate) is that of the Holy Roman Empire before feudalism took over:

But I do dislike how premodern monarchy in general is looked upon today, and that includes feudal monarchy. There is simply too much misunderstanding due to people looking at it through the lens of a) a modern state and b) an Early Modern (absolute) monarchy.
 

Hastur of Carcosa

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That is true. But that is actually in favour of monarchies offering more freedom: generally speaking, a society where government is able to better control resources will be better in mobilizing for a war. Of course, it is not a hard rule as there are many other factors beyond just government's ability to mobilize resources (such as motivation of the people in general and so on).



See above.



I am not that optimistic about feudal system. The system I actually like (and advocate) is that of the Holy Roman Empire before feudalism took over:

But I do dislike how premodern monarchy in general is looked upon today, and that includes feudal monarchy. There is simply too much misunderstanding due to people looking at it through the lens of a) a modern state and b) an Early Modern (absolute) monarchy.

how do you know it's everybody else misunderstanding the system and not you over-romanticizing it. you've mentioned in the past that modernism makes you feel dirty, how do you know your not falling into a "Grass is greener on a different side" mentality?
 

DocSolarisReich

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Representative Democracy will always devolve into plutocracy.
In the end the only real options are the rule of the one or the rule of money.

Sure there are islands of stability at Aristocracy and even Oligarchy, but sooner or later the appetites of the elites grow over large without the one ruler to keep them in check... and then, Plutocracy.
 

Lord Sovereign

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The problem, of course, is that democracies outcompete monarchies systems very consistently.
That's not entirely true. Britain's Parliamentary Monarchy has proven vastly more stable and competent than any of the French Republics. Indeed, it could be said that one of the big problems in British politics at the moment is that we have "too much" democracy; the House of Commons has amassed too much power for itself, when it actuality it is meant to be a check on the crown's power, alongside the Lords and the Courts.

Even disregarding that, before Gavrilo Princip and his god awful country fucked everything up for everyone, the great imperial monarchies of Europe weren't doing that horribly. Imperfect to be sure, but functional.

To the subject at hand though, I don't believe democracy is inherently evil. Indeed, when it comes to matters of a lower house in government it is very useful. Via votes, the upper house (and the crown, if it's there) can more accurately discern public will. Also, as was in the case of our House of Commons, when that body controls taxes it's only fair for the public to have a say.
 

ParadiseLost

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That's not entirely true. Britain's Parliamentary Monarchy has proven vastly more stable and competent than any of the French Republics. Indeed, it could be said that one of the big problems in British politics at the moment is that we have "too much" democracy; the House of Commons has amassed too much power for itself, when it actuality it is meant to be a check on the crown's power, alongside the Lords and the Courts.

Even disregarding that, before Gavrilo Princip and his god awful country fucked everything up for everyone, the great imperial monarchies of Europe weren't doing that horribly. Imperfect to be sure, but functional.

To the subject at hand though, I don't believe democracy is inherently evil. Indeed, when it comes to matters of a lower house in government it is very useful. Via votes, the upper house (and the crown, if it's there) can more accurately discern public will. Also, as was in the case of our House of Commons, when that body controls taxes it's only fair for the public to have a say.
Just because something survives doesn't mean its not generally outcompeted.

You're putting too much importance on Gavrilo Princip and Sebia. They gave everyone else an excuse, but everyone else was looking for an excuse. If it wasn't Gavrilo Princip and Serbia, it just would've been someone else.

I'm still surprised how many people in this forum seem to be Catholic Monarchists.
 

Lord Sovereign

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Just because something survives doesn't mean its not generally outcompeted.
Imperial Germany was quite handily outcompeting the United States for the majority of its history.

I'm still surprised how many people in this forum seem to be Catholic Monarchists.
And I'm not a papist, thank you very much.

As for the Serbia thing, it played a huge part in how the conflict panned out. Something else could well have caused a perhaps smaller and less destructive war.
 

ParadiseLost

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Imperial Germany was quite handily outcompeting the United States for the majority of its history.
That very much depends on how you define outcompeting and how you define Imperial Germany.

If you're comparing Germany and the US from say 1850-1914... then yeah, I can sort of see it. But even then, if Imperial Germany outcompeted the US, it wasn't by much.

Its an especially unfair comparison because Imperial Germany at the beginning of that period had just formed as a country and was facing decades of strong nationalism and excellent national moral, whereas the US was about to go through its most deadly war ever, a Civil War that would tear the country apart and result in significant national upheaval.

And I'm not a papist, thank you very much.
I'm glad to hear that. I think the Catholic Church is a pretty poor institution.

As for the Serbia thing, it played a huge part in how the conflict panned out. Something else could well have caused a perhaps smaller and less destructive war.
Maybe. I don't think Austria-Hungary would've survived either way - ultimately a part of the collapse was a lack of cultural unity. Similarly, I think the war between Germany and France would've been just as bloody.

The really big question is whether the war taking place later on would've avoided what happened in Russia.
 

Aldarion

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how do you know it's everybody else misunderstanding the system and not you over-romanticizing it.
Because I am somewhat of an amateur historian, and I have studied Byzantine Empire, medieval Hungary and ancient Rome rather extensively, and also examined somewhat less extensively Holy Roman Empire (I am in the process of looking for more literature on that topic, in fact), medieval England, Ottoman Empire and ancient Greece. And in all of those, when reading comments by people who had only surface knowledge of these systems - and in few cases even with actual historians - I have noticed a tendency to look at them through modern lens ("that is bad/evil because it does not agree with my values"), or to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of those systems ("this wouldn't work / would lead to tyranny if done in a modern society, so that is what must have happened back then as well"). Often both at the same time.

you've mentioned in the past that modernism makes you feel dirty, how do you know your not falling into a "Grass is greener on a different side" mentality?
I cannot know that, not for certain. But it is much more likely than the opposite, for several reasons:
  • First, my personal political-ideological history. I changed ideologies like socks overall to fit what I learned through my research. There were phases when I was a full-on socialist, social democrat, left-wing anarchist, right-wing anarchist... I danced through literally the entire political spectrum as I was trying to figure out what is the best and also what fit me.
  • Second, human psychology. People tend to be optimistic about their own ability: remember how as a five-year-old you thought you knew the best? But in reality, our ability to make decisions depends on our knowledge. And our knowledge depends on how and where we got it. Most dangerous characteristic of brainwashing is that, most of the time, you won't even notice you are being brainwashed.
  • Third, modern Western psychology. Related to general human optimism, we are basically brainwashed to believe that progress is something inherently positive and that always leads upwards. Progress itself is seen as an inherently positive value. Consequence of this is the tendency - noticeable even in many trained historians (just look at polemics between Warren Treadgold and John Haldon) - to see premodern societies as necessarily inferior to our own. Basically, "we live in a modern society, therefore we are better". There is also a tendency to see modern Western values as universal, universally good and universally true, and then to judge past societies through those values with scant regard for their own values and for conditions which created values in question. And God forbid someone suggests modern Western values are not all they are cracked up to be.
  • Fourth, human tendency towards generalization. Because modern society is superior to medieval one in some significant aspects, we assume that it must be superior all of them, or at least vast majority of them. Which simply isn't the case: Roman Empire was far superior to medieval Europe in terms of organizational abilities, yet any early medieval European society blew it out of the water as far as technology goes (and not just technology, but that is whole another discussion).
 

Hastur of Carcosa

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Because I am somewhat of an amateur historian, and I have studied Byzantine Empire, medieval Hungary and ancient Rome rather extensively, and also examined somewhat less extensively Holy Roman Empire (I am in the process of looking for more literature on that topic, in fact), medieval England, Ottoman Empire and ancient Greece. And in all of those, when reading comments by people who had only surface knowledge of these systems - and in few cases even with actual historians - I have noticed a tendency to look at them through modern lens ("that is bad/evil because it does not agree with my values"), or to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of those systems ("this wouldn't work / would lead to tyranny if done in a modern society, so that is what must have happened back then as well"). Often both at the same time.



I cannot know that, not for certain. But it is much more likely than the opposite, for several reasons:
  • First, my personal political-ideological history. I changed ideologies like socks overall to fit what I learned through my research. There were phases when I was a full-on socialist, social democrat, left-wing anarchist, right-wing anarchist... I danced through literally the entire political spectrum as I was trying to figure out what is the best and also what fit me.
  • Second, human psychology. People tend to be optimistic about their own ability: remember how as a five-year-old you thought you knew the best? But in reality, our ability to make decisions depends on our knowledge. And our knowledge depends on how and where we got it. Most dangerous characteristic of brainwashing is that, most of the time, you won't even notice you are being brainwashed.
  • Third, modern Western psychology. Related to general human optimism, we are basically brainwashed to believe that progress is something inherently positive and that always leads upwards. Progress itself is seen as an inherently positive value. Consequence of this is the tendency - noticeable even in many trained historians (just look at polemics between Warren Treadgold and John Haldon) - to see premodern societies as necessarily inferior to our own. Basically, "we live in a modern society, therefore we are better". There is also a tendency to see modern Western values as universal, universally good and universally true, and then to judge past societies through those values with scant regard for their own values and for conditions which created values in question. And God forbid someone suggests modern Western values are not all they are cracked up to be.
  • Fourth, human tendency towards generalization. Because modern society is superior to medieval one in some significant aspects, we assume that it must be superior all of them, or at least vast majority of them. Which simply isn't the case: Roman Empire was far superior to medieval Europe in terms of organizational abilities, yet any early medieval European society blew it out of the water as far as technology goes (and not just technology, but that is whole another discussion).

For all my problems with the internet I owe a lot to the current timeline. I have cerebral palsy and my mom is a type I. neither of us could have prevented our conditions. We wouldn't have made it in the past. I'd probably have not been born and mom would have died giving birth. I imagine there are some who probably think I'm an abomination because of that, but I'm here and I will live whether I have the right to or not, and I've seen what happens when people try to "Bring back the glory days." and I refuse to give up my life or lifestyle just so a stranger on the internet can feel happy. that's my view.
 

Hlaalu Agent

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Which is why the old form of Republics are better. You had virtue and you had liberty and when the two were wed you had some of the greatest societies in the world. As I always tend to think, we need a system that encourages everyone to work together and allows all interests to be heard. And all forms of equality should be considered and deployed appropriately, and people can be equal in one way or another, but be fundamentally unequal in others. Or can be unequal in many ways, but in the end those inequalities end with them being equal. Though this is just me going on about classical philosophy. I don't think monarchy is the answer, I do believe a virtuous form of mass rule would be good or a system balancing the common people and the elites would be best (especially if virtuous)...or a system that empowers the virtuous elements throughout society over those elements lacking...

I definitely agree that centralization is a problem, democracy as we practice it devolves (though all systems devolve as we know from Aristotle and others if not attended to and especially if not virtuous or ruled through laws), and monarchism has its advantages. Mixing governments probably is the best solution, and contra the popular conception there are multiple forms of mixed government.

In the end, we have different beliefs, but see many of the same problems. But I definitely agree that subsidiary and decentralization are good ideas, though I am not sure to what extent we agree. I want distrubistist ideas (and social credit too probably- I mean the one that was big in the British Empire not the ChiCom system) to be alloyed into a market system (mixing Rhine and Anglo principles) and perhaps with some good socialist (mostly market socialism and other less noisome ones) ideas stolen for good measure (the Reds can have good ideas too from time to time).
 

DocSolarisReich

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In the end, we have different beliefs, but see many of the same problems. But I definitely agree that subsidiary and decentralization are good ideas, though I am not sure to what extent we agree. I want distrubistist ideas (and social credit too probably- I mean the one that was big in the British Empire not the ChiCom system) to be alloyed into a market system (mixing Rhine and Anglo principles) and perhaps with some good socialist (mostly market socialism and other less noisome ones) ideas stolen for good measure (the Reds can have good ideas too from time to time).
So a rebooted Holy Roman Empire with Mondragon style shared ownership cooperatives instead of join stock limited liability parasites and corporatist (in the European sense) representation of sccio-economic classes/guilds via a tricameral parliament of the three estates (Fighters/Priests/Producers)?
 

Hlaalu Agent

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So a rebooted Holy Roman Empire with Mondragon style shared ownership cooperatives instead of join stock limited liability parasites and corporatist (in the European sense) representation of sccio-economic classes/guilds via a tricameral parliament of the three estates (Fighters/Priests/Producers)?
Not what I am looking for, but that would nicely enough. My own ideological beliefs preface me towards maximizing individual power and also the power of family units/communities. A system with a mixture of small to medium privately (or family owned or maybe even community owned) businesses, co-ops, private companies and crown corps, but with more of the former two.

I tend to slant libertarian-ish, but don't drink their kool-aid. Liberty is vital, but it is only one of the pillars (such as say authority) that is needed for society. Ideally liberty is paired with virtue, and limited in that way, and that other ways of limiting liberty such as say authority are used sparingly. Though it is best to say that liberty should be tempered, people should have vast latitude to do what they want, but be able to not do it... but liberty is truly liberty when it is tempered as such. Because one is not free when they are enslaved by their passions, or is too indecisive to be able to choose.
 

Basileus_Komnenos

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That's not entirely true. Britain's Parliamentary Monarchy has proven vastly more stable and competent than any of the French Republics. Indeed, it could be said that one of the big problems in British politics at the moment is that we have "too much" democracy; the House of Commons has amassed too much power for itself, when it actuality it is meant to be a check on the crown's power, alongside the Lords and the Courts.
The Parliamentary Monarchy of the modern day is a vastly different beast than it was a hundred years ago. The monarch had actual power/authority in the state. Now its basically a Crowned Republic. The monarchy is a powerless figurehead unable to use its constitutional powers. The Queen now has to sit helplessly watching while the incompetent Parliament runs continues the country into the ground.

While I'm not really a monarchist, I'm partial to the idea of an executive Constitutional monarchy where the King/Queen actual governs with the government actual is HER Majesty's government.
 

Aldarion

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For all my problems with the internet I owe a lot to the current timeline. I have cerebral palsy and my mom is a type I. neither of us could have prevented our conditions. We wouldn't have made it in the past. I'd probably have not been born and mom would have died giving birth. I imagine there are some who probably think I'm an abomination because of that, but I'm here and I will live whether I have the right to or not, and I've seen what happens when people try to "Bring back the glory days." and I refuse to give up my life or lifestyle just so a stranger on the internet can feel happy. that's my view.
Which is perfectly legitimate. But as I wrote:
Because modern society is superior to medieval one in some significant aspects, we assume that it must be superior all of them, or at least vast majority of them.
Fact that modern society has significant advantages over medieval one does not mean we should be blind to the fact that it has significant disadvantages as well.

And BTW, you are not the only one who owes to modern technology - while I don't have it anywhere as bad as you, I was born prematurely, and also lost twin brother in the process. Luckily, no permanent consequences except maybe for poor short-term memory (nobody else in my family has it, so I suspect it might be connected to either that or the brain bleeding I had just after birth). But I'll again refer you to what I wrote in the first paragraph of this post.

EDIT:
In the end, we have different beliefs, but see many of the same problems. But I definitely agree that subsidiary and decentralization are good ideas, though I am not sure to what extent we agree. I want distrubistist ideas (and social credit too probably- I mean the one that was big in the British Empire not the ChiCom system) to be alloyed into a market system (mixing Rhine and Anglo principles) and perhaps with some good socialist (mostly market socialism and other less noisome ones) ideas stolen for good measure (the Reds can have good ideas too from time to time).
Personally, I think monopolies should be prevented first and foremost - be it political, economic, intellectual, informational... but that again circles to my ever present advocacy of subsidiarity.
 
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