Politics & Gov The Future Of Government

Discussion in 'Politics & Government' started by Young William, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    Thinking about the nature of democracy, I question what it means to different cultures.
    Democracy seems to be very loosely interprted in Europe and similar in Canada, Australia, etc.
    Democracy in the U.S. has evolved into a sort of bi-partisan struggle for power and influence.
    When the Soviet Bloc broke up, I remeber being amazed at how quickly the strings seemed to come untied. However, their assimilated democractic form seems to be yet another variation.
    From a social standpoint, we can't expect every culture to embrace the individual-whole type of feeling that democracy brings because different systems of government are at different points of evolution.
    The biggest question is how the Middle-Eastern nations will accept this emerging democratic invasion. Any thoughts? :o
  2. Bleys

    Bleys Phoenix Takes Flight Staff Member

    :(Good question. I just don't know how to answer it without coming off like some kind of Islam hater.

    Religion, politics and law are so intertwined in the middle east. The laws and punishments for violating those laws are a combination of tribal and religious practices - how does democracy prosper in a such culture? What happens when the rights of the individual, say a woman, comes into conflict with some of those practices? Who gets the final say - the state or the clerics?

    The only country I see that has done it right is Turkey - but at quite a cost. How many times have the military had to overthrow a government they saw as "too in bed with the extremists?" And in spite of this progress there are still honor killings and an extremely punitive criminal justice system.

    In short - I don't think religious fanaticism can exist in a democracy.

  3. kiwirobin

    kiwirobin Premium Member

    As you pointed out y.w "...different systems of government are at different points of evolution."

    I think the biggest factor is indeed the conditioning or alienation of the population supporting it.
    This often overrides the importance of policys.
    Not meaning to U.S bash but as a New Zealander I questioned the process of how an ex-bodybuilder turned actor could come to hold a position of governing a state. Surely there are more learned people suitable to fill this post.
    A democracy is as effective as the envolvement of the people in governing themselfs.
    Unfortunatly the majority are too lazy to even become informed.
    Sure they'll vote and feel dam responcible because of it. They'll donate money, attend rallies, listen to the propaganda from the one most accepted in their social circle and leave it at that for the next 4 years. Civil duty served.
    How many take the time to review the policies of all the parties and make an informed decision?
    The same will happend in the middel-east.
    Do you see a feamale in the Government there. I don't think so.
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  4. marg6043

    marg6043 Premium Member

    One thing about taking democracy to an ethnic group with thousands of years of having their own believes and way of life, is that should be done with respect.

    Second only the willing will be eagle to change, until them it will only fail.

    While other countries has embraced women in their most powerful positions as leader, here in the US we still have to see a women president or a black American president for that matter.

    So sometimes democracy is just in the eye of the beholder and believer.
  5. Mark

    Mark ♤♡◇♧ Staff Member

    Democracy means different things to different cultures IMO.

    What is right here, may not be right there.

    Even in America, democracy has different regional definitions applied.

    But anywhere else, it may mean something completely different than we are accustom to believing.
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  6. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    I agree with all the responses, however any "new" experience brings with it a sort of youthful excitement. The Iraqi women who exchanged a long embrace with the American Marine mother, was the apex of the President's presentation. With the communicative pathways of our era, I'm sure that a great number of people were able to view at least portions of this presentation. How will the optimism of this seemingly new era affect the surrounding Arab states? Can a bridge be built to assimilate?
  7. Mark

    Mark ♤♡◇♧ Staff Member

    YW,... only if both side's can begin to accept one another as they are, can we then begin to agree on a similar focus.
  8. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    They may not at first accept the changes, but with time and bending of the laws, there will be acceptions to the policy in order to maintain favor of the populace. As the world continues to grow, advance socially and technologically, so will the youth of those nations that oppress the democracies given to other nations.

    Its a long process and a costly one, but it will prevail. You can not hide forever behind old ideologies, there must be change and will so by the youth that will run those nations in the future, if not, you will see them leaving their homeland for a better and more prosperous future.

    Much like Russia, it does have its problems, but some of the issues are coming about, turning towards the good...its been a long haul since the wall fell, but it will soon transform. Got to remember you still have the elders that still have power and persuasion within the govt and the policies, once they pass on, new blood will transform, but the transformation is all dependent on the state in which it partakes.
  9. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    Good Post, but you say "good" what does that mean to someone who has not had surity for ages?
  10. Mark

    Mark ♤♡◇♧ Staff Member

    To make any real changes, both side's will need to agree a change is needed.
  11. Ikebana

    Ikebana Member

    Democracy definately means different things to different cultures. Sociology 101 covers all that and more when anyone tries to introduce a belief different than what another group believes in and practices. Democracy here? How did it start? That is not a sarcastic question or even thought on my part, however, if the truth be known and taught it obviously came to the Native People of this country with very hard lessons, such as believing what they were told would actually happen, unfortunately no treaties were ever kept. It is even more obvious in our own lifetime through the view of the USSR, which meant democracy would allow the people choices of their own as to employment, location of living and travel etc. Yes all that came with 'democracy', unfortunately those folks hadn't also counted on crime, drugs, unemployment, etc etc etc. Someone asked also about the Middle East? It appears from their protests of the past that they do know what to expect, at least from their view of western democracy, which is why most of them prefer not to have it in their country, however many people from the Middle East have unsuccessfully tried to bring it to their country, and many were imprisoned because it was seen as trying to overthrow their already established government. So many left those countries, to reside in numerous other countries that do have democracy, and by living in these countries they are able to protest and litigate, and work against their countries of birth. The problem I wonder about is...after 'democracy' has been established in one of these Middle East countries, via war or occupation as is happening currently...will these people go back to their own countries...I know personally of several who have left their country but have not applied for citizenship in the U.S. or other countries they've 'fled' to...and they have been very open that they would return to their countries if democracy was established and their country rebuilt. Lots of problems and lots of questions for everyone involved, especially for those who are willing to lose their lives to take democracy to another country. I wonder why there have not been strides forward to establish 'democracy' in Middle East countries, if the people really do want it. Maybe the majority does not and isn't that what democracy is about? Okay don't eat me and :spam: me okay? It is just more questions and observations about some of the things I read above. Really I am a very peaceful person.:saint2:
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  12. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    Ikebana, your opinion is just as important to the process as any, however, recently I believe that public opinion has become encaged in a sort of ferris wheel of emotion.
    As citizens in a democracy we have many unique rights, and how easily we forget our own history, especially when developing frustration with governmental policies.
    It's always easier to tear down then to build, I pose this question, Why do you believe that the UN has become so ineffective?
  13. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    And in 2011, what are your thoughts regarding this premise?
  14. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    The UN is as effective as the member nation states wish it to be.
  15. pieman

    pieman Premium Member

    You're right Bode, any democracy is only as good, or as bad, as the will of it's members.

    As far as I can see, there is little to recommend democracy as it manifests itself in a society who adores the members with the least virtuous traits.

    In our society we idolize the violent, the egotistical, the shallow, the self absorbed, the greedy, the selfish, the people who are most inclined to place profit or beauty above all else. We desire the glamor over the substance. Our democracies reflect this, they are shallow and self absorbed, image is placed above substance, greed is rewarded, violence is espoused as the first course rather than the last and hypocrisy abounds.

    All government is, one way or another, an expression of the values of the people. Our democracies reflect our values. The problem with inflicting western democracy on eastern countries is that it requires the infliction of western values. While we'd like to believe these values are truth, equality and justice, if we're more honest with ourselves, our values have fallen a distance since that was the case, if it ever was.
  16. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    Interesting points pieman,

    I have to disagree with your reference to the adoration of amorality primarily citing freedom of speech and expression. I would agree with you that many times expressions are grotesque and extreme, however I have to believe that what we see on television or while browsing, and even at times in society are only a small representation of the summation. For there are still people, and I know many, that work hard, follow the rules, have some sort of faith, and generally believe in the democratic process.
  17. pieman

    pieman Premium Member

    I'm not speaking in any specific sense, it's more subtle than that. It's almost an expression of zeitgeist over rational thought.

    If I can use myself as an example to try to explain what way I think it works.

    As I understand it, all our decisions are quickly made by our emotional selves in the subconscious and then assessed by our rational selves for their impact, long term consequences and so on.

    I would say that, in a rational sense, I am a pacifist with fairly strong socialist leanings. At the same time I love action packed, violence filled films. I would love to own a fast sports car. I want a big TV. I want to be rich. They speak to me emotionally. I have to rely on my rationality to keep me on the right track.

    The problem is, our understanding of risk and consequence is totally unrealistic. We all live amid massive levels of passive protection. Realistically depicted death is hidden and taboo while unrealistic depictions of death are everywhere. Quick success is lauded and failure is unremarked. We're led to believe that we can all be rich and beautiful from a young age. Our entire society attempts to atrophy any understanding of cause and effect.

    I try hard to nurture my rational self to compensate, I'm not the only one, lots of people do, but the world in which I live gives my emotional self a huge, overloading workout. My rationality often struggles to cope, and I'm not even aware of the struggle unless I constantly examine my decisions. The belief that there are no consequences is very attractive, ignorance is clearly bliss.

    When we look across society, an awful lot of people end up ignoring rationality entirely and never examine their decisions. They feel they are right and that's enough. Those of us who try to be rational are only human so we're going to be on a bell curve that adds up to a 50-50 split, at best.

    It only takes 20 or 30% of people deciding emotionally to completely corrupt a democracy.

    I'm not saying we should force change on people in our society but I think we should be aware of the pit falls and failings our system creates. Our society is corrupted in a lot of ways and it shouldn't be unthinkable to us to say that it isn't entirely desirable to people who base their values in a morality that abhors our societies inherent flaws.
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