Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is democracy impossible?

Sometimes when you keep trying to solve a problem and can't, what is holding you back is an assumption. If that assumption is basic enough, it's really hard to see.

What are some of our assumptions in this modern age? I'd look toward our most basic values:


  • Equality

  • Democracy

  • Consumerism



Did I miss any?


Politics in a democracy is rough because people do not react to anything but immediate problems. If it can be put off, it will be — because solutions cause inconvenience, cost and most of all, uncertainty. - Amerika


That's a novel idea: supposing it was democracy holding us back. But problems take a long time to arise in democracy, so only a historian would see that.


The Spearhead and its commenters have come under fire from the usual suspects for being too strident, uncompromising and angry, and for not behaving like obedient little boys. Of course, this is a typical political ploy — point out your opponents’ anger as proof that they are the bad guys. Never mind the fact that many, many men have every reason to be angry; that doesn’t matter. What counts is how slick you are and how reasonable you can appear, even if what you’re proposing is unconscionable. - The Spearhead


That's quite a huge problem there. If the method in which you say something is more important than whether it's true, good-sounding B.S. is going to trump truth every time. But that's kind of what democracy rewards. Someone goes on TV and sounds good, or says things we want to be true, and we elect them.

Laura Wood contributes another valuable viewpoint:


We are a democracy, which means that the people themselves have great power. To say that all immigration is good no matter how much, and no matter how culturally distinct the immigrants may be, is to say that it is not important for those who must join together to shape government to forge a common identity and purpose. That is a recipe for political friction and dissolution.

There have been major economic consequences of this great wave of immigration. What we are addressing here are the cultural effects. - The Thinking Housewife


One of the more insightful bloggers to come from popular culture, Jeff at Plague Haus, got into a discussion of democracy with one of his musical subjects, who then said:


It’s down to the individual what they do. Not everyone has the aptitude for certain acts, nor do they necessarily have the need to commit them. One rather obscure gnostic sect back in the early days of christianity believed that (to put it simply) because creation was a mistake, manmade/god-given laws must also be wrong. Therefore they should endeavor to live their lives breaking as many laws as possible. - PlagueHaus


Without a clear purpose, life does seem to be an accident, and rules arbitrary impositions that should be broken. Does democracy cultivate this idea in us? If our societies respond slowly to threats, and discourse becomes a bog through which few which to slog, then we slowly sink into paralysis and give up on the rules having any meaning.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The real progressives

Progressive, n. Someone who thinks beyond the conventions of the time for what is best for humanity. While traditionally considered a leftist genre, this may merely be a conceit of leftists. In a decadent leftist society, like the Soviet Union or 2000s America, the progressives are the conservative realists.


  • Children shouldn't play videogames. They should be outside until dinner time. Unsupervised. - allamericanapplepie


  • I think people should have to earn the right to procreate. - lobotomatic


  • as a student of philosophy, my studies have led me to believe and support the notion that democracy is a really bad idea

    it undermines the concept of expertise in a field, weights invalid and informed opinions equally, and - as Plato said - is an 'induglence of unnecessary appetites'

    don't get me wrong, democracy does a lot of good i just think it's inherently stupid, and that we can do better - ArkelianSage


  • i think a majority of teenage pregnancies are a result of parental failure. - cbfw86


  • I'm not racist, but I'm sick of most of the college scholarships and extra governmental benefits require you to be of a minority. Just like they didn't choose to be black or hispanic or whatever, I didn't choose to be white. When I pick up a scholarship application form and can only apply for 1/15 because the rest require me to be of a specific ethnicity, but there are no "For whites only" because it would be considered racist, I feel discriminated against. - livefox


  • Immigration should be highly regulated. - UnknownTales1


  • I believe that Eugenics could be a great thing, and could seriously advance human evolution. It could wipe out diseases, birth healthy children, increase life expectancy along with the average persons strength and intelligence. - trogdor1134


  • I don't believe a person should be allowed to vote unless they can pass a high-school level civics test, and have at minimum a high school diploma. - daywalker84


  • The only truly workable solution of government is benevolent dictatorship. - fistorobot


  • Do not let retarded/mutated/disabled kids to be born. Terminate as soon as possible. Keeping them does not help parents nor society. - Fuco1337


  • That God may exist and he probably thinks we are all fucking idiots. - presetVolume


  • Woman's Liberation helped to create the economic climate wherein two full-time employed adults cannot live comfortably. The movement also helped to flood the marketplace with overpriced/luxury/beauty/household items whose sole value was branding and the ability to cause jealousy. - vt_pete


  • We spend entirely too much money on special education. It makes zero sense to spend the majority of the money on those least likely to contribute to society. - EdjamacatedToss


  • i think that the death penalty should be used much more liberally, and i would support using it on anyone who opens fire on police officers who are trying to apprehend them for a minor crime. that to me is just an indication that the person is willing to die anyway.

    i also support other forms of corporal punishment, i think our system of locking people up for extended periods of time as punishment for crimes is totally ass backwards. i just dont know how exactly to find a good alternative. - Bucketlesshead


  • Hard determinism. Not so much an opinion but a corollary of other beliefs. I can't find room for free will in a law-driven universe. - expfcwintergreen


  • I believe religion is the most important aspect of civilisation and is the number one reason we moved on from hunter gatherers or low level farmers to what we are today. I think it is necessary, healthy, and important. - burketo


  • I think liberals are too emotional making them irrational and unfit to govern. - Benny


  • I really don't think that people should be inherently granted the right to voice their opinions. I feel that perhaps if you had to earn this right, people would think about what they are saying/doing/expressing more fully before they open up they speak/act/express. - Nidhogg


  • I think the vast majority of people (ever? or usa only?) are in denial about the realities of their life. Anything bad is attributed to an external source. I believe almost every problem or outlook can be changed positively by facing truths and working hard and being prepared to be hurt (or put in a vulnerable position). - aweso


  • "equal opportunity"/affirmative action is completely racist, when an employer tells you to put your race on your resume if you are a minority they are discriminating against someone and even if it is white men that racism the argument that they were dominate before doesn't matter to have equality you have to treat everyone the same if you start treating one group better it's not equality... - tsahandjob


  • I think Americans, for the most part, are so afraid of getting sued that we've lost our "Get shit done" mentality. And this is the real reason for the decline of American power and influence. - thcobbs


  • People should stop impeding social Darwinism. - Moregunsthanpatience


  • Severely mentally handicapped people are a strain on society and their families and have very little to offer, and should be subject to euthanasia. - GuiltiestThought


  • I think censorship is okay. -


  • That we almost completely eliminated natural selection in humans. That stuff is not just about evolving - it does a fairly good job of preventing the perpetuation of more and more unfit genes.

    Try modeling modern humanity with a really crude genetic algorithm. It's pretty scary stuff in the end... - narancs


  • I believe that with a good leader, dictatorships are more effective than democracies. I believe there is something to giving power to elites. - Mr24601


  • As a woman, I choose to follow a lot of traditional gender roles in relationships. I think that choice makes me a feminist. - touchyfeely


  • I don't believe in showing pity to people who are incredibly poor yet have children. Do you really think the slums of India are a great place to raise a child? - mobbotx


  • Stupid people are what make this world the ball of shit it is today. Sadly, they are the grand majority and will be swayed by fear and ignorance. Hence eugenics and not be able to vote unless you can defend your standpoint in a logical manner. - BrokeArtist


  • Democracy is like design by committee: instead of using great colors we can only agree on grey. A dictatorship could be good thing for a country if he or she were able to rule for a really long time and if we would be able to somehow pick the right person for the job.

    But since we are not able to make the right decision and of course the dictator will turn out to be the next hitler we are stuck with democracy and all the stupid political power-games that come with it plus the fact that it is not possible to really plan ahead. - yurigoul


  • I believe that some people are so destructive in their relationships and attitudes and actions that they need a good getting killed. - staircase


  • I would like to see a worldwide governing body that had the ability to take on megaprojects like heavy space development and climate change neutralization. The human race could do some amazing things if everyone pushed in the same direction. - TJ11240


  • We need to seriously discuss population control now because we are rapidly reaching the point at which the resources of our planet are insufficient to sustain the amount of human life. - canks


  • I wish they would forcefully abort children born with serious physical deformations, diseases, mental problems, etc.

    Nothing is worse than stupid parents keeping a child that will just coast through government paid day care eating up 600 a month in SSI benefits wasting tons of money until the day they die young or the parents die and they are put in a home to await their death. - Rooster_Illusion


  • I believe strongly in traditional gender roles and patriarchy and the nuclear family as the most efficient sociological system to increase quality of life for all, including women and children. - rustoof


  • That democracy isn't really that good and that some people's opinions shouldn't count. - Kytro


  • Breeding should be a privilege, not a right. Same with voting. - MunchToast


  • There actually is no such thing as a moral "right" or "wrong". There is only the consequences of your actions. The entire concept of morality was invented and continues to be re-invented by those who simply wish to influence the behavior of the general population. - solinvictus21


  • people should be allowed to discriminate in who they hire and fire. - kaptaincangaroo


  • Having politicians who are constantly thinking of how they will look to voters on every issue does not necessarily work in the best interests of society as a whole. - fox2319


  • Processed vegetable oils and fats, rather than being the way to healthy living and longevity, are poisoning people and should be completely banned, leaving 'bad' natural fats to pick up the pieces. - eastkent


  • If you tax the upper crust of society as high as we are >~50%, they aren't going to give very much money to charities that could really use it. The money gets tossed in to the government coffers and a very lower percentage goes to places that could really use it. Tax them the same % as a middle class person and if they are good people they will donate to charities with all the extra money they want to. - vuryser


  • Eugenics - im not really sure what solution i support, but the fact is that the world's population is growing way too fast, and as a result there is an enormous lack of resources to sustain it, causing extreme poverty aswell as destruction of our ecosystem - i almost feel like quoting Agent Smith from the Matrix. "You humans spread to an area and multiply and multiply..until every natural resource is spent...at which you simply spread to another area". Unfortunately, to fix the overpopulation, extreme solutions are probably required. I dont like it, i doubt anyone does. But either we do it now in a 'controlled' manner, or nature will do it somewhere in the future in an uncontrolled, catastrophic manner that could lead to the collapse of all society and maybe even the virtual extinction of the human species.

    Democracy - as Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried. The solution is to set up what basically amounts to a dictatorship by a capable dictator/dictators. Ofc, i have no idea how we can select such persons. - OmegaStar19


  • I believe in creation... I think both creation and evolution (including the big bang) require a leap of faith to believe - and I see more evidence for intelligent design than I do for a random series of mutations creating the world we live in over millions of years. - jdrake90


  • We should end the gender integrated military and women shouldn't serve with men. Just too many problems. -


  • My controversial opinion is that I think the idea of racial separatism isn't exactly bad. I'm not now, nor was I ever a racist. I think it's awesome when people race mix. I do not agree with the hate that is involved with most racial supremacists. However, the idea that one day we will all be one race is kinda depressing to me. I love seeing the beauty in the differences of the brown white and black races. So long as there are people who are not willing to race mix, then there will (hopefully) continue to be many people of many different distinguishable races. To be clear, I am someone of mixed race. I do not condone hate or violence. I just love seeing the difference in the races, and I don't want them to ever disappear, or blend into one race worldwide. - ThrowawayRacism


  • If you insist your little boy can wear lipstick/dresses/etc because it's fun, you are giving him wrong messages and you are doing your revolution to society's stereotypes behind & on your kid's back. - lemonaki


  • This is extremely polarizing: The world should be equitable, not equal. - patrickpdk


  • As a community, Reddit is often incredibly biased and often no more enlightened than the groups that it likes to make fun of. - Israfel