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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Democracy Vs. Dictatorship
    #1017143 - 11/03/02 01:15 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

There has been an absolutely fantastic post over in "Spirituality..." forum that has splashed over into a political debate as to what works better, a democracy or a dictorship if the dictator is the right guy.

I will, breif as I can, replay the debate between me and Pinksharkmark in the "Non-Violence Explained" thread...

With an effort to really express his true philosophy Pinksharkmark believes that if you could prevent people, with force if need be, from harming others then there would be no crime.

To quote him -
The best way to end violence is to make the consequences of its initiation so draconian that only the most incorrigible will ever even ATTEMPT a violent act, and then only once.

He also said -

Imagine a society in which every member had a "destruct" mechanism implanted in their cranium at birth, with a monitoring system reporting back to an impartial central computer programmed to detect acts of aggression. Whenever an individual attempts to deliberately harm another, the computer sends a signal and the "destruct" charge goes off, turning the contents of that particular cranium into mush. How long do you think it would take to put an end to violent crime and wars? About a week?

To which I replied -

What your computer effectiviely does is takes people whom the computer deems worthy and kills them all. Replace the word computer with Hitler, and you have an explanation for a Nazi party. Believing in this is believing that the opinion of a computer (programmed by some guys) is worthy of being treated as fact and law that everyone else has to live by. A dictactorship by definition. What I mean by someone's law is that your philosophy would include SOMEONE'S definition of violence. Now obviously most everyone thinks murder is violence, however there are other matters wich some people don't agree is violence. Some people think killing a killer is justice, others think it is violence, just for one example.


And the debate about Dictatorship versus Democracy was on.


I said a one man Government would never work. He said -
There have been many one-man governments in recorded history that worked just fine. Depends entirely on who the man is and what fundamental principles he chose to govern by.

The example he gave were Julius Caesar, King Canute, Theodoric the Great, "the Chiefs of countless North American native tribes" and "dozens of Egyptian Pharaohs"

To which I replied -

Julius Caesar

He was not a dictator by definition. Rome was a democracy consisting of an executive branch with elected magistrates,a legislative branch consiting of three assemblies, lead by elected censors and magistrates and a Senate which was lead by two elected consules.

Caesar was hardly a one man government is my point.

King Canute

It is nice to see someone else with a knowledge of Scandanavian History! All right man, I am excited! We should go out for a beer man! Me and you could talk history and philosophy all night!

Oh yes, the serious rebuttle...(Serious tone)...It is funny you mention Canute as an example of a one man Government because he was a guy who didn't believe in the power of kings. There is the obvious famous qoute of "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings."

Canute himself was a believer in the opinion that a Dictatorship is hopeless.

Theodoric the Great

He was pretty much a dictator but he was a, relative to dictators, tolerant one, allowing all forms of Christianity and sharing power with the Pope for instance, very radical in those times. However, his plan to unite the people of the Mediterranean failed in a short period of time because ultimately anyone who did not agree with his plan of unity was put to death (the famous people being Boeththius and the Senator Symmachus, for example) and his the Ostrogoths (whom he was the King of to those who do not know) died out because of it, soon there after in 553, some 70 years after he took the title of King...so his system of Government worked...but not longer than 70 years. The USA's has worked for nearly 230 years. If you ask me he was just another well meaning guy, who ultimately was someone who believed his way was the only way and peace would come if everyone who he disagreed with was just murdered...not unlike the Fuhrer we have been speaking of, eh?

the Chiefs of countless North American native tribes

If these were so successful how come there were so many of them? Non of them lasted because they all got toppled in short periods of time by each other. Eventually the Europeans came in, but that was later. If you examine Native American history they did plenty of fighting and dying off and rebuilding...and besides it was commonplace for chiefs to discuss policy at a sort of town meeting where tribes members could vote, not the sort of thing that comes from a dictator.

dozens of Egyptian Pharaohs

Egypt as a soceity (with Pharaohs) lasted a long time, about three thousand years. However, no one was in control for long. The average family was in power for about 100 years (notice I said family, as in family name, not one guy), and often the first Pharoh of a family was murdered so his power could be passed to his son and then ultimately over thrown by someone else, and so it went...Egypt was a successful enough soceity but each ruler could not hold onto power (never "voted off" either I might add) and ultimately they were easily defeated by the Persians.

Also, they were not such dictators either...the Pharaohs appointed "reagional" authority to middle class individuals (not upper class because, in the Pharaohs mind they held to much power...not lower class because they were thought of as scum) who had to answer to the people of their region.


To which he said -

I provided a brief list of several one-man Governments that DID work. You are basically responding that they only worked while the head of the government was alive, which is EXACTLY what I had first said -- There have been many one-man governments in recorded history that worked just fine. Depends entirely on who the man was and what fundamental principles he chose to govern by.

Me now -

Well, here lies our difference of opinion, I believe I gave detailed information as to why they were NOT one man Governments. Having one man at the HEAD of a Government is not the same as a dictator, and I was asking for dictators (because that is my interpretation of a one man Government).

The fundamental question is....what is a better long term form of Government, a Dictatorship with the "right dictator" or a Democracy?

BTW, pinky if I have misrepresented your beliefs in any way, let me know and I shall either have you explain them yourself or have you tell me how to edit my post.


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


Edited by Shroomalicious (11/03/02 01:42 AM)


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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Last seen: 1 year, 10 months
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Shroomalicious]
    #1017193 - 11/03/02 01:38 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

With an effort to really express his true philosophy Pinksharkmark believes that if you could force people to do the "right things" there would be no crime.

That's not what I said at all. It is not necessary to force anyone to DO anything. It is necessary to PREVENT them from doing certain things -- i.e. harming others.

The fundamental question is....what is a better long term form of Government, a Dictatorship with the "right dictator" or a Democracy?

Well, the question has morphed away quite a bit from the original point you raised, but I'll answer it anyway.

A benevolent dictatorship is better than pure Democracy.

For example, if the Prez of the US had ALL power in his hands, but was of a conscientious enough nature to follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the letter (clearly this disqualifies all recent holders of the office), it would be better than having the entire populace vote on each and every issue; i.e the tyranny of the majority.

The problem is that such people are pretty hard to find, and those who have the ability to rule with such unswerving impartiality generally have no interest in doing so.

pinky


--------------------


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Phred]
    #1017213 - 11/03/02 01:49 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Sorry, I tried changing the post to better reflect your true beliefs now...

For example, if the Prez of the US had ALL power in his hands, but was of a conscientious enough nature to follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the letter (clearly this disqualifies all recent holders of the office), it would be better than having the entire populace vote on each and every issue; i.e the tyranny of the majority.

My point is that the overall will of the people is LESS likely to be corrupted and MORE likely to be applicable than the will of one man, especially since a lot of people have a way of letting power "go to their heads".

Even if it takes a long time to get everyone to vote, I think it is worth the wait.

Democracy is fallable, for sure (it once allowed slavery for instance), but I think it is better than a Dictatorship, regardless of who the man is.

The problem is that such people are pretty hard to find

True and in my opinion even if you could find the right man, he could be corrupted by his own "power tripping mind". Also, whether or not his opinion was morally "right" or "wrong", if it didn't jive with the people eventually a Dictatorship would be violently overthrown.

At least, these are my views...

Anyone else care to join it?


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Phred]
    #1017236 - 11/03/02 01:55 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I really want discussion but it would be neat to see number as well...


Democracy Vs. Dictatorship
Democracy always, it may not always be right on, but it is the best form of Government.
A benevolent Dictatorship. If you find the right guy (which is indeed possible in this voters opinion), it would work much better than Democracy.
Dictatorship always.



Votes accepted from (12/31/69 07:00 PM) to (No end specified)
View the results of this poll



--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 1 year, 10 months
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Shroomalicious]
    #1017245 - 11/03/02 01:57 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Julius Caesar
He was not a dictator by definition. Rome was a democracy consisting of an executive branch with elected magistrates,a legislative branch consiting of three assemblies, lead by elected censors and magistrates and a Senate which was lead by two elected consules.
Caesar was hardly a one man government is my point.


What you said about the structure of Roman government of that era is true -- EXCEPT for the times those bodies you mentioned voluntarily turned over their power to a DICTATOR. Cornelius Sulla was one (the first, in fact), Julius Caesar was another.

Canute himself was a believer in the opinion that a Dictatorship is hopeless.

True. However, he had absolute authority. Whether he thought a dictatorship was hopeless or not, whether he restrained his USE of absolute authority or not, he nonetheless POSSESSED absolute authority, and fitted to a "T" the definition of a benevolent dictator.

He was pretty much a dictator but he was a, relative to dictators, tolerant one, allowing all forms of Christianity... etc, etc."

Again, all quibbling aside, he DID possess absolute authority. Another example of a benevolent dictator.

...the Ostrogoths (whom he was the King of to those who do not know) died out because of it, soon there after in 553, some 70 years after he took the title of King...so his system of Government worked...but not longer than 70 years.

Again illustrating my point... the success of a dictatorship depends upon the dictator and the principles by which he governs. It worked great while Theodoric was alive. It fell apart after his death.

Re: North American Native tribes: If these were so successful how come there were so many of them?

Because there were so many different tribes. Each had a chief, though.

Non of them lasted because they all got toppled in short periods of time by each other.

Not so. Many remained in power until they died.

Egypt as a soceity (with Pharaohs) lasted a long time, about three thousand years. However, no one was in control for long.

Again, not so. Many Pharaohs ruled for decades. And, while each Pharaoh was alive, his word was law. Three thousand years is a pretty long time for a system of government to have lasted, I would say. Offhand, I can't think of one that lasted longer.

...the Pharaohs appointed "reagional" authority to middle class individuals...

But those regional governors had no power other than to carry out what the Pharaoh decreed. Ultimately, EVERY decision was made by the Pharaoh. The regional governors were not independent agents with the power to promulgate new policies or to reverse the Pharaoh's decisions, they were mere agents -- extensions of the Pharaoh, so to speak.

pinky




--------------------


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Shroomalicious]
    #1017253 - 11/03/02 01:59 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Oops! No poll end!

I can't seem to delete it either. All well, here goes another try...

I really want discussion but it would be neat to see number as well...


Democracy Vs. Dictatorship
Democracy always, it may not always be right on, but it is the best form of Government.
A benevolent Dictatorship. If you find the right guy (which is indeed possible in this voters opinion), it would work much better than Democracy.
Dictatorship always.




Votes accepted from (12/31/69 07:00 PM) to (No end specified)
View the results of this poll



--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Phred]
    #1017288 - 11/03/02 02:09 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

You raise very valid, and excellent points about those Dictators.

However, I am affraid I still have one major..."beef" I guess is the word. Even if we could find truly the right man, once he died we would have to find, another, then another, etc.

So, I still see Democracy as the best form of Government.

However, I won't lie you made a stupendous case for the argument, the right man could do the job. In fact, you have changed my mind to some extent, I can now see guys like Canute WERE the right guys IMO, to the extent at least that their Governments "worked". However, like I said...I still believe in Democracy because of the aforementioned argument, once guys like Canute die you must find another Canute...and IMO that is just not plausible for any long term Government.

Also, the only true "dictator" that I think "worked" was Canute...so it is a REALLY BIG long shot that it ever works, and when it does only once.


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


Edited by Shroomalicious (11/03/02 02:21 AM)


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Phred]
    #1017310 - 11/03/02 02:13 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Ultimately, EVERY decision was made by the Pharaoh.

They say a million slaves died building the pyramids. I think they might disagree with your benevolent dictatorship theories.

Forget about the past, give me an example of a benevolent dictatorship in the corporate world - corporations are essentially dictatorships. Can you find me a benevolent one? Say one that builds schools for children in south east asia and campaigns for massively increased wages and standards of living for the workers instead of using them as slave labour? Brutalising and killing them if they so much as talk of a union?


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Xlea321]
    #1017878 - 11/03/02 09:55 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

They say a million slaves died building the pyramids. I think they might disagree with your benevolent dictatorship theories.

Canute was a benevolent dictator. The Pharaohs were merely dictators. The request was not for BENEVOLENT dictators, but for historical examples of one-man governments that worked. Try to keep up.

... give me an example of a benevolent dictatorship in the corporate world - corporations are essentially dictatorships.

Corporations are not governments; one-man or otherwise. Corporations are businesses. Try to keep up.

As a side note, most publicly held corporations are not even "dictatorships" -- they are closer in some ways to the Democratic ideal of full participatory democracy than many governments, since the actions of the officers of the company are subject to modification by the Board of Directors and/or the direct vote of the shareholders.

pinky


--------------------


Edited by pinksharkmark (11/03/02 09:56 AM)


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Phred]
    #1017923 - 11/03/02 10:25 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

The request was not for BENEVOLENT dictators, but for historical examples of one-man governments that worked. Try to keep up.

Keeping up with you isn't a problem. Waiting for you to catch on is the hard part. What do you mean by a one-man government that "worked"? Cruel dictatorships can "work" for an awfully long time. What is your point?

they are closer in some ways to the Democratic ideal of full participatory democracy than many governments

Yes I am sure the slaves working in Nike factories have a major democratic say in the way Nike is run. Don't be silly.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Xlea321]
    #1017954 - 11/03/02 10:46 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

What do you mean by a one-man government that "worked"?

You'll have to pose that question to Shroomalicious. He's the one who defined the terms of the original request.

Cruel dictatorships can "work" for an awfully long time.

As can those that aren't "cruel". See Theodoric, Canute, Native American tribal chieftains, etc.

Yes I am sure the slaves working in Nike factories have a major democratic say in the way Nike is run.

1) Nike workers are not slaves. Slaves cannot quit, Nike workers can.

2) Nike is not a government. If you want to discuss the injustices of international corporations, you are free to start a separate thread. THIS thread is about the relative merits of two forms of GOVERNMENT. Try to keep up.

pinky


--------------------


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship [Re: Phred]
    #1017981 - 11/03/02 10:56 AM (14 years, 1 month ago)

You'll have to pose that question to Shroomalicious.

Sorry, I thought you were the one suggesting one man dictatorships worked. I asked you to provide a list of names remember?

See Theodoric, Canute, Native American tribal chieftains,

Those are three very different types of rulers. Canute spilled more than his fair share of blood and native american tribes are far from one-man dictatorships.

Nike workers are not slaves

Do they have a democratic say in the way their factories are run?

Nike is not a government

I never said it was. I said it was dictatorial in structure which it clearly is - one man says what goes and if you don't like you are sacked. Sounds pretty dictatorial to me.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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