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#144720 - 02/24/18 10:07 PM It needed said and bears repeating.  
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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/22/opinion/free-speech-discomfort.html

I'm genuinely considering making this article a sticky and mandatory reading for people who want to post here. I'm not going to actually do it, but hopefully I got everyone's attention as to how important I think the content of this particular article is.


For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)
#144772 - 02/25/18 05:35 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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I think this quote should be adopted as this forum's slogan:

"We are not an advocacy group, a support network, a cheering section, or a church affirming a particular faith — except, that is, a faith in hard and relentless questioning."


#144925 - 03/04/18 04:55 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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Democracy

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So with a colleague, Roberto Stefan Foa, I started to look at whether citizens really were as satisfied with democracy as everyone assumed. And the results were pretty shocking. In the United States, for example, over two-thirds of older Americans believed that it was absolutely essential to live in a democracy; among millennials, less than one-third did.


Where did we go wrong?


#144966 - 03/07/18 11:17 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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Pretty simple. Old people talk about the "American Experiment" as if it were an irreproachable success, young people realize the results are mixed and there's no obvious way out. Authoritarians are therefore able to exploit this easier than any other alternative.

Mounk is right about the necessity for technocracy, but he frames it as if it must live within today's broken representative democracy. I propose we do away with general representatives completely. They made sense before the telegraph, and I guess at hyper local levels. We should elect cabinet-level officials directly and individually grant them domain authority based on direct democratic vote. Or something similar to this.

Portland has a city commissioner government, where commissioners are elected at large and then assigned by the mayor to specific domains which they may or may not be expert in, and may or may not have campaigned for. Completely backwards.


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#144976 - 03/08/18 10:54 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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I am with you on directly voted-on issues, I too would like to see a system like that. However, how can one not end up with government-by-marketing or with a bunch Boaty McBoatface?


#144979 - 03/09/18 12:22 AM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Sini]  
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The star of the Apprentice is in the white house, we have already arrived there.

People mostly don't care about stuff, they hardly vote as it is. In a more direct democracy, people are just going to abstain on most issues, leaving the people who actually care about them and who are less swayed by generic marketing to decide.


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#144988 - 03/10/18 12:21 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: rhaikh]  
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Originally Posted by rhaikh
The star of the Apprentice is in the white house, we have already arrived there.


Yes, but that isn't intended consequence or even expected outcome. Current system has flaws, but it isn't designed to crank out Trumps. I am afraid if we turn Government into like-farming with direct issue voting it will produce Trump-like results.

What I would like to see is issue voting by objective, engaged, and educated voters. That would disqualify too many people, and short of impartial AI, I don't see how qualification process can be made impartial.

For example, Bob is a farmer. He knows a lot about farming. He gets to vote on farming issues. Bob doesn't know much about financial system. He doesn't get to vote on finance issues that don't impact farming. However, Bob really wants to have a say in financial issues. He take a combination of community college and online courses about finances. He now can vote on finance issues.




#144989 - 03/10/18 11:02 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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Boaty McBoatface is even the exact reason the Founders gave for the original system, though they certainly framed it more 18th century terms. Founders deeply distrusted democracy, which is why they founded a republic, even if many insist day in and day out that we are a democracy. There is a difference, and the difference is important.

Something I find humorous though, is that some people actually call our founding system as a mixed bag and not an absolute success. While it is true that change to some aspects may in fact be very beneficial, when you consider the normal state of humanity and governance that existed almost universally prior to the USA, and continues to exist everywhere except Northwestern Europe and the Anglo countries, the USA experiment can be considered nothing but the most resounding governmental success in human history. At least if basic human rights, and standard of living are the metrics you use. While imperfections certainly exist, the degree to which so many take the successful aspects of the USA for granted is rather frightening, and also a source of current illiberal trends.

When I see calls for a technocracy, I can only shake my head. When has that worked ever? Technocratic government that governs in a manner to determine end results - which is what people typically mean when they refer to technocracy - has worked well exactly when and where? One case scenario is failure due to world being far more complex than some people appreciate, and the technocracy running into that hard wall we call reality, causing things to mostly not go as planned and create huge unintended consequences. Typical case scenario is capture by interested parties, and that segment of society being run in the interests of said parties. Sometimes this ends up carrying benefits to the larger body politic to one degree or another as a sort of fait accompli, but shouldn't be confused with good governance.

Fundamentally, our downward spiral can only be reversed if people somehow, on a large scale, realize the inherent dangers of directing government to work towards certain ends - as opposed to simply determining the rules of just conduct in terms of regulating and enforcing the means people might use to achieve their own ends. The more power government has to manage society, the higher the bar becomes in terms of the people you need to operate it successfully - including the voters themselves.

On a rare occasion, certain programs or aspects of technocratic governance may work. Just like certain Kingdoms and Empires occasionally benefitted from enlightened and capable rulers, that combined with favorable circumstances and luck, ushered in temporary periods of prosperity. But just like those Kingdoms and Empires typically were not successful, so too will technocracy fail in the long run, and to mostly the same ratio and for mostly the same reasons.

The danger here, is modern technology has given those who wield power far more control over the lives of the masses than that enjoyed by your typical medieval monarchy in a great many ways. This is frightening, and ensures that once the path of human history falls off the path laid forth by our ancestors and the disciples of the Enlightenment, turning back will difficult if not impossible. The future is a very dark dystopia, that we are heading towards with the best of intentions.


For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)
#145003 - 03/11/18 05:16 PM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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I disagree Derid, USA project stagnated and set humanity back many generations. We could have easily got to Mars now, and/or had 100% clean nuclear energy and so on. Progress has to be directed toward these ends, or our civilization will run out of runway and there won't be second chances. Natural resources are finite, and once they start running out it will be civilization-destroying war, and not rationing and sustainable living like some flower children imagine it would play out.

Instead, inordinate amount of resources wasted on conspicuous consumption by 0.01%s and bread and circuses for the rest. In 60s US landed astronauts on the moon. It is almost 2020 now, where the fuck is our sustainable Mars base and push for the asteroid mining expeditions? With a long view it doesn't really matter if masses are oppressed or not, the humanity project can move forward either way. United States worked for some time, just like Rome worked for some time... but it isn't working anymore in pushing us ahead.

If real life was Civilization game, whoever is driving this thing fell asleep on the next turn button sometime around mid last century.


#145011 - 03/12/18 06:35 AM Re: It needed said and bears repeating. [Re: Derid]  
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https://www.economist.com/news/brit...an-populist-wave-it-could-happen-Britain

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One threat to the liberal order comes from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Mr Corbyn is a classic left-wing populist, convinced that life is a never-ending struggle between the virtuous masses and the wicked elites. Some of his main advisers are Marxists who regard political institutions as instruments of class power. Mr Corbyn became leader by bypassing Labour MPs and appealing to party activists. He has warned right-wing newspapers that “change is coming”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, called for a million people to take to the streets to protest against the result of last year’s general election. High among Labour’s priorities is repealing legislation that prevents co-ordinated strikes.

A second threat comes from the incendiary right. Brexiteers invoke the “will of the people” to suggest that anything but their own maximalist interpretation of Brexit is illegitimate. Theresa May has revived an ugly 1930s trope about “citizens of nowhere”. The Daily Mail has described judges as “enemies of the people”. In a recent tweet Nadine Dorries, a Tory MP, labelled Sir John Major, the leader of her party in 1990-97, a “traitor”.

Such extremism is self-reinforcing. Angry people feed on each other’s anger, sensible people retreat into private life, and institutions are weakened in the tussle. This is already beginning to happen. Political activists are increasingly willing to bully their way to power. MPs—particularly moderate ones—report an upsurge in threats and smears. Intimidation is becoming routine on university campuses. On March 5th a group of masked protesters invaded and disrupted a talk at King’s College, London, put on by the college libertarian society.

The cycle of extremism could get worse very quickly. Imagine that Mr Corbyn wins the 2022 election—the most likely outcome—and starts putting into practice his policy of encouraging the democracy of the street as well as the debating chamber. The Conservative Party might well respond to this by embracing British nationalism and unleashing its own street warriors. An epidemic of strikes and demonstrations could have the British public crying for a blond beast to restore order.


For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)

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