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Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 10:08 AM
Democracy is an important achivement of the political developement. However, it became a buzz word and viewed is panacea from all problems. As a result, everybody today claims to be a democracy.

My question is:

What is a definition of a democracy? Not would sort of society would you like to see, or what would you like democracy to lead to, or what is good or bad example of democracy, but what is a democracy itself?

To me democracy is a power of majority. I'll be glad if someone can present more precise definition.

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 10:11 AM
Translation from Greek is: "the rule of the many (or people, or the mob)".
Proponents of democracy like to call it "the rule of people", critics "the rule of the mob", but it's just the emotional loading of the term.

ER
22-06-2007, 02:05 PM
Translation from Greek is: "the rule of the many (or people, or the mob)".
Proponents of democracy like to call it "the rule of people", critics "the rule of the mob", but it's just the emotional loading of the term.

This is the most ridiculus translation for the word "DEMOCRACY" I have seen in my entire life! :doh: The person who translated it as such from Greek, needs some mob treatment (Especially from Olympiakos supporters)!!!:lol:

Cheers and good luck!!!

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 04:48 PM
This is the most ridiculus translation for the word "DEMOCRACY" I have seen in my entire life! :doh: The person who translated it as such from Greek, needs some mob treatment (Especially from Olympiakos supporters)!!!:lol:

Cheers and good luck!!!
Check wikipedia

ER
22-06-2007, 04:55 PM
Check wikipedia
I don't even look at that rubbish, let alone checking something on it! ;)
Cheers and good luck!

PS nothing personal, just their translation of DEMOS as "mob" or even "people" does not allow for serious criticism. Obviously they have confused modern with classical terminology! :)

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 05:17 PM
In my view democracy is characterised by some form of majority (or sufficient majority) rule under a system of free, fair and credible elections (indirect democracy) or referenda (direct democracy).

By free, fair and credible I mean that:

* There is universal adult suffrage, excepting those who have forfeited the right to vote (prisoners etc).
* Voting and enrolment are free and easy to do.
* More or less anyone can run for parliament (if it exists), relatively cheaply.
* Elections and political life generally are not marked by intimidation, violence or fraud.
* The election system used translates the votes cast into a result with reasonable accuracy.

A democracy becomes a liberal democracy if in addition to the above there is an effective system of basic individual rights. But a democracy is not necessarily liberal (some are more so than others), and a liberty is not necessarily democratic.

One problem in modern debate (a typical case being firegoat7 on this board) is that people are so accustomed to using the term "democratic" to describe the whole western political system, that they then use the word to refer specifically to questions of liberty or procedure that have nothing to do with elections or voting. When these claims are even extended to pushes for new procedures that actually have nothing to do with liberty or elections or voting (eg claims that if governments do not implement certain procedures in environmental enquiries they are "undemocratic") the term "undemocratic" just becomes a meaningless slur and "democratic" just comes to mean "doing it the way we want you to".

I think the distinction between liberty and democracy - which often go together but need not always do so - is one of the most fundamental conceptual tools in understanding modern politics.

Axiom
22-06-2007, 05:32 PM
THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE ! :lol:

What a sad black joke that is.

Democracy should be a system representing the majority of people.

Now how many examples can we think of ,where this is totally contradicted, in our supposed democracies?

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 05:54 PM
THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE ! :lol:

What a sad black joke that is.

Democracy should be a system representing the majority of people.

Now how many examples can we think of ,where this is totally contradicted, in our supposed democracies?

This is another point I should have covered in my previous post. In indirect democracy a democratically elected government makes decisions that may or may not have been democratically supported if a referendum was held. Such a system is no more or less democratic than a direct democracy, because:

(i) It is a result of a democratic decision by voters to accept a system of delegation (under which politicians may sometimes override the will of the people then face the music at the next election). If it was not the will of voters to grant politicians this power then they could have organised a referendum to remove it.

(ii) Direct democracy on all matters in large systems is not practical.

That said, I do believe that in indirect democracies, politicians sometimes abuse their ability to go against the will of the people, and do so in cases where there is no clear argument for doing so. The most severe cases of abuse of this power typically occur when support for doing so is more or less bipartisan.

arosar
22-06-2007, 06:11 PM
What is so hard about these 2 concepts? One tells you who gets to vote. The other tells you how. Easy.

AR

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 07:11 PM
What is so hard about these 2 concepts? One tells you who gets to vote. The other tells you how. Easy.

Indeed. What's hard about them for Axiom is he wants to portray the government as in conspiracy against the people, and the concept of indirect democracy gets in the way.

arosar
22-06-2007, 08:26 PM
The most severe cases of abuse of this power typically occur when support for doing so is more or less bipartisan.

Oh you mean like fed polies giving themselves another pay rise.

AR

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 08:38 PM
Oh you mean like fed polies giving themselves another pay rise.

I don't think our politicians are overpaid. Top government bureaucrats are paid much more, and have much safer jobs.

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 08:40 PM
Oh you mean like fed polies giving themselves another pay rise.


The public don't seem to care that much about that one. I meant things like the NT euthanasia override, which had about 75% public opposition and was a matter that could be argued either way.

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 08:44 PM
Translation from Greek is: "the rule of the many (or people, or the mob)".
Proponents of democracy like to call it "the rule of people", critics "the rule of the mob", but it's just the emotional loading of the term.

All the same, the founders of the USA did not want a democracy but a republic. They argued that pure democracies would be tyrannies of the majority, and vulnerable to quick changes in passions, as in some Greek city states. That is why the President is not elected democratically, but by a vote in the Electoral College. So it is somewhat crass for the current Republican president to have so much faith in the power of democracy in the middle east. The Hamas (Hebrew for violence, how appropriate!) victory in "Palestine" seems to support the misgivings of the American founders.

Axiom
22-06-2007, 08:58 PM
Indeed. What's hard about them for Axiom is he wants to portray the government as in conspiracy against the people, and the concept of indirect democracy gets in the way.
my question is , how indirect does a democracy have to be, before its not a democracy at all?
and if the govt does not govern for the people ,in a democratic sense, ie. for the will of the people,rather than in favour of more special interest concerns,then it could be said in essence to be a 'conspiracy'* (your term!) 'against the people'.


*meaning to act in concert with others to subvert truth or justice(my defn.......but pretty close i think)

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 09:15 PM
my question is , how indirect does a democracy have to be, before its not a democracy at all?

I'm not sure there's any limit except that if elections were too infrequent then they would cease to have any impact.


and if the govt does not govern for the people ,in a democratic sense, ie. for the will of the people,

In an indirect democracy, the "will of the people" is determined at election time. If both major parties are capo conspiracist pigdogs solely serving specialised interests, and the "will of the people" is very strongly opposed to this, the people will vote Green, DSP, CEC, One Nation (sorry, Pauline's United Australia Party now) or form new parties to oppose it in a more credible fashion. They generally don't, even in systems where those parties have a chance, so the "will of the people" is that the two-party system continues.

Axiom
22-06-2007, 09:27 PM
I'm not sure there's any limit except that if elections were too infrequent then they would cease to have any impact. so you think elections are the crucial element here? (see election fraud usa, diebold voting machines )




In an indirect democracy, the "will of the people" is determined at election time. If both major parties are capo conspiracist pigdogs solely serving specialised interests, and the "will of the people" is very strongly opposed to this, the people will vote Green, DSP, CEC, One Nation (sorry, Pauline's United Australia Party now) or form new parties to oppose it in a more credible fashion. They generally don't, even in systems where those parties have a chance, so the "will of the people" is that the two-party system continues.
do you think the people are adequately informed so as to be able to form a discerning and educated will?
if such a man/woman came ,who is from ,of, and for the people, do you think the political framework/structure in place would enable them to garner sufficient support, to attain positions of real power?(see ron paul)

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 09:43 PM
so you think elections are the crucial element here? (see election fraud usa, diebold voting machines )

I already covered the necessity for elections to be credible in my definition.

The USA, being 50 years behind us in electoral sophistication sometimes struggles just a little in this regard! That only tends to matter when it's close, however.


do you think the people are adequately informed so as to be able to form a discerning and educated will?

That is utterly irrelevant.

Democracy is the measure of that will, not its discernment and education level.

As soon as you argue that the will must be "discerning and educated" to be valid you are not a democrat any more, but an elitist.

In my view, while some people are more clued-in than others, very few people know enough to be sure their vote is "discerning and educated". Perhaps nobody does. I don't. Most of those who complain that people are inadequately informed are themselves no better.

The problem with the whole "the public are deluded sheep" critique of democracy is that of course the public are sheep - that's not the point. The purpose of democracy is not enlightened government but civil peace, because every system that does not appear to give roughly equal power to everyone sooner or later resorts to internal violence.


if such a man/woman came ,who is from ,of, and for the people,

Many politicians pretend that they are that, and all of them are wrong, especially the populists who proclaim it most loudly.

The interests of different sectors of "the people" often conflict. No one can be "of" the entire populace, or even more than a fragment of it.

So the rest of the question is irrelevant, as the pretext is not credible.

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 09:59 PM
PS nothing personal, just their translation of DEMOS as "mob" or even "people" does not allow for serious criticism. Obviously they have confused modern with classical terminology! :)

Nothing personal, but how would you translate DEMOS? Cheer and good luck:D

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 10:00 PM
In my view democracy is characterised by some form of majority (or sufficient majority) rule under a system of free, fair and credible elections (indirect democracy) or referenda (direct democracy).

By free, fair and credible I mean that:

* There is universal adult suffrage, excepting those who have forfeited the right to vote (prisoners etc).
* Voting and enrolment are free and easy to do.
* More or less anyone can run for parliament (if it exists), relatively cheaply.
* Elections and political life generally are not marked by intimidation, violence or fraud.
* The election system used translates the votes cast into a result with reasonable accuracy.

A democracy becomes a liberal democracy if in addition to the above there is an effective system of basic individual rights. But a democracy is not necessarily liberal (some are more so than others), and a liberty is not necessarily democratic.

One problem in modern debate (a typical case being firegoat7 on this board) is that people are so accustomed to using the term "democratic" to describe the whole western political system, that they then use the word to refer specifically to questions of liberty or procedure that have nothing to do with elections or voting. When these claims are even extended to pushes for new procedures that actually have nothing to do with liberty or elections or voting (eg claims that if governments do not implement certain procedures in environmental enquiries they are "undemocratic") the term "undemocratic" just becomes a meaningless slur and "democratic" just comes to mean "doing it the way we want you to".

I think the distinction between liberty and democracy - which often go together but need not always do so - is one of the most fundamental conceptual tools in understanding modern politics.

Exellent:clap: :clap: :clap:

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 10:00 PM
Oh you mean like fed polies giving themselves another pay rise.

AR
I wish it was our biggest concern and worst problem

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 10:02 PM
Democracy is the measure of that will, not its discernment and education level.
Good point.:clap: :clap:

Axiom
22-06-2007, 10:06 PM
The problem with the whole "the public are deluded sheep" critique of democracy is that of course the public are sheep - that's not the point. The purpose of democracy is not enlightened government but civil peace, because every system that does not appear to give roughly equal power to everyone sooner or later resorts to internal violence.ok, so we agree a democracy for sheep.
this violence of which you speak, may well come, if present trends continue unabated.




Many politicians pretend that they are that, and all of them are wrong, especially the populists who proclaim it most loudly.this seems an odd absolutism from you kb.


The interests of different sectors of "the people" often conflict. No one can be "of" the entire populace, or even more than a fragment of it.

So the rest of the question is irrelevant, as the pretext is not credible.
ok, but you understand the sentiment or elemental meaning of that famous phrase? ie. one acting on behalf of the general will of the people, not part of a staged tag team ,dog and pony show,punch and judy,bought off puppet circus, allied by a controlled media.......you know the one!

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 10:16 PM
ok, so we agree a democracy for sheep.
this violence of which you speak, may well come, if present trends continue unabated.

It has often been prophesised but has not happened. The marxists were the original prophets of internal contradiction, but in general, the proletariat do not revolt when their conditions are reasonable and they are bought off with little pay rises as the market grows.


this seems an odd absolutism from you kb.

I'd file it under "sociologically obvious". :D


ok, but you understand the sentiment or elemental meaning of that famous phrase? ie. one acting on behalf of the general will of the people, not part of a staged tag team ,dog and pony show,punch and judy,bought off puppet circus, allied by a controlled media.......you know the one!

Except on complete no-brainer issues, there is no "general will". The public are diverse and too divided. Government by opinion poll results in constantly having to change one's position.

ElevatorEscapee
22-06-2007, 11:42 PM
"Seek not the favour of the many, for it is seldom gained by lawful and
honest means. Seek instead the counsel of the few, and number not the
opinions, but weigh them."

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). :)

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 11:49 PM
I weigh most of Kant's opinions at zero. :hand:

That would be one of the few I'd have some time for. But minorities are often wrong too.

ER
25-06-2007, 11:20 AM
Nothing personal, but how would you translate DEMOS? Cheer and good luck:D

Hi Igor

DEMOS (Classical definition) = sovereign body of free citizens.
DEMOS (Modern definition) = municipality

PS the first definition refers to a ruling minority, so its modern interpretation as component of Democracy is rather inaccurate.
Also note that in ancient as in modern times the word LAOS is used for "people".
In modern Greek the word LAOCRATIA (ΛΑΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ) = people's power is being used by conservative sources in order to describe "mob rule"
Also in Modern Greek the above word is being used by the extreme left/ anarchist / movements to describe a political alternative.
The official Communist Party (KKE) avoids the term LAOCRATIA in modern times although they used it widely during the German occupation and the civil war (late 40s) in Greece.
Cheers and good luck :)

MichaelBaron
25-06-2007, 11:48 AM
I weigh most of Kant's opinions at zero. :hand:


Wow! :hmm: :doh:

Igor_Goldenberg
25-06-2007, 12:06 PM
Hi Igor

DEMOS (Classical definition) = sovereign body of free citizens.
DEMOS (Modern definition) = municipality

PS the first definition refers to a ruling minority, so its modern interpretation as component of Democracy is rather inaccurate.
Also note that in ancient as in modern times the word LAOS is used for "people".
In modern Greek the word LAOCRATIA (ΛΑΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ) = people's power is being used by conservative sources in order to describe "mob rule"
Also in Modern Greek the above word is being used by the extreme left/ anarchist / movements to describe a political alternative.
The official Communist Party (KKE) avoids the term LAOCRATIA in modern times although they used it widely during the German occupation and the civil war (late 40s) in Greece.
Cheers and good luck :)

Thank you, it's quite intresting. But as far as know there is a huge difference between modern greek and ancient greek. So, what is the translation of DEMOS from ancient greek? And how does it impact the definition of democracy?

ER
25-06-2007, 12:25 PM
Thank you, it's quite intresting. But as far as know there is a huge difference between modern greek and ancient greek. So, what is the translation of DEMOS from ancient greek? And how does it impact the definition of democracy?

Hi again Igor,
the translation is
DEMOS ( ancient re classical definition) = sovereign body of free citizens.
Now to the political connection.
The sovereign body of free citizens in ancient Athens, consisted of representatives of 30 powerful, wealthy and, as such, infuential families.
They voted amongst them to elect the members of VOULI (parliament). Government and Opposition were reperesentatives of different opinions but same interests.
So the name impacted the definition in true terms as "Democracy" could be used in arithmetical terms as majority, but that majority did not represent the entirety of people of Attica.
I think Engels (in socio - historical terms) and Lenin (in ideological) provide interesting analysis of the terms Democracy, Social Democracy etc.
Very important analysis of the term and its application can also be found in works of Kropotkin, Bakunin, Sartre and Proust.
Cheers and good luck! :)

Igor_Goldenberg
25-06-2007, 02:54 PM
As there seem to be no disagreement on the following definition:
"majority rule under a system of free, fair and credible elections",
let me ask two questions:
1. When two wolfes and a sheep vote what to have for a dinner, is it still a democracy?
2. More general - if 51% of the population vote to completely enslave another 49% of the population - is it still a democracy?

Capablanca-Fan
25-06-2007, 03:07 PM
As there seem to be no disagreement on the following definition:
"majority rule under a system of free, fair and credible elections",
let me ask two questions:
1. When two wolfes and a sheep vote what to have for a dinner, is it still a democracy?
2. More general - if 51% of the population vote to completely enslave another 49% of the population - is it still a democracy?

Yes. As I said, this is why the US Founding Fathers rejected a democracy and formed a republic, because pure democracies can produce such tyrannies.

eclectic
25-06-2007, 03:27 PM
democracy is the freedom to choose the color of the crayons with which you draw your votes

ER
25-06-2007, 03:42 PM
As there seem to be no disagreement on the following definition:
"majority rule under a system of free, fair and credible elections",
let me ask two questions:
1. When two wolfes and a sheep vote what to have for a dinner, is it still a democracy?
2. More general - if 51% of the population vote to completely enslave another 49% of the population - is it still a democracy?

Answers: Nothing wrong with having lamb for dinner, and again nothing wrong if the main election topic is "winner enslaves loser". Only difference is in the second case there will be another election in three of four years! :D
Cheers and good luck!

Capablanca-Fan
25-06-2007, 08:41 PM
Answers: Nothing wrong with having lamb for dinner, and again nothing wrong if the main election topic is "winner enslaves loser". Only difference is in the second case there will be another election in three of four years! :D
Cheers and good luck!

OK, what about a democratically elected leader who then makes it almost possibly to defeat in an election, e.g. by banning speech against the government and closing down a TV station that airs criticism of the government. E.g. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, admired by some key Labor and ABC (same thing really) figures.

ER
25-06-2007, 09:01 PM
OK, what about a democratically elected leader who then makes it almost possibly to defeat in an election, e.g. by banning speech against the government and closing down a TV station that airs criticism of the government. E.g. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, admired by some key Labor and ABC (same thing really) figures.

Top example Jono, I was only talking tongue firmly in cheek before! :) hence the huge laughing smiley in the end of the phrase... Senor Chavez and democratic rulling are two concepts with no connection with eachother!
Cheers and good luck!

Kevin Bonham
26-06-2007, 12:13 AM
As there seem to be no disagreement on the following definition:
"majority rule under a system of free, fair and credible elections",
let me ask two questions:
1. When two wolfes and a sheep vote what to have for a dinner, is it still a democracy?
2. More general - if 51% of the population vote to completely enslave another 49% of the population - is it still a democracy?

Not really on my definition in either case, because it interferes with the rights of the minority to an extent that violates: "* Elections and political life generally are not marked by intimidation, violence or fraud."

You can't have a viable political life while being completely enslaved.

Another alternative is to consider such a system as an ultra-illiberal "democracy", but it rather defeats the point.

Igor_Goldenberg
26-06-2007, 10:28 AM
Not really on my definition in either case, because it interferes with the rights of the minority to an extent that violates: "* Elections and political life generally are not marked by intimidation, violence or fraud."

You can't have a viable political life while being completely enslaved.

Another alternative is to consider such a system as an ultra-illiberal "democracy", but it rather defeats the point.

At the beginning of the thread I asked about definition of democracy, not what we would like to see. While elections "not marked by intimidation, violence or fraud." can be excepted as part of definition, why "political life in general" should not be "marked by intimidation, violence or fraud." if it's a will of majority?

Kevin Bonham
26-06-2007, 07:21 PM
At the beginning of the thread I asked about definition of democracy, not what we would like to see.

Yes, but I think some of the more extreme forms of "dictatorship of the majority" so quickly cease to resemble democracy that it is borderline whether they should really be considered such. Maybe a more accurate way to look at it is that a decision to enslave almost half the population would itself be a democratically taken decision, but as a result of the decision (once implemented) that society would cease to be a true democracy.


While elections "not marked by intimidation, violence or fraud." can be excepted as part of definition, why "political life in general" should not be "marked by intimidation, violence or fraud." if it's a will of majority?

My reason for that is that the fact that something is the will of the majority proves nothing about the merit of the view they hold. At times majorities believe sensible things on some issues and at other times they believe things that are later proven stupid (and sometimes already known to be stupid at the time).

Ideally there would be no need for democracy at all and a system of liberties would exist that explained what everyone was able to do, and the majority could not interfere with that. However, there are many issues that are too unclear for agreement to be reached on what rights should be implemented, and democracy is the only method yet found to generally resolve these issues peacefully in the long term.

It is not really in many people's interests to support a society where the majority can do whatever it likes. People generally have more to risk from such a system (the risk that they may be oppressed) than they have to gain from the alternative (being the oppressor). The latter is not as much of a benefit as the former is a loss.

bergil
28-06-2007, 09:14 PM
http://www.geocities.com/televisioncity/8889/python/peasant1.wav
http://www.geocities.com/televisioncity/8889/python/peasant2.wav

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 09:54 PM
Hello,




What is a definition of a democracy? Not would sort of society would you like to see, or what would you like democracy to lead to, or what is good or bad example of democracy, but what is a democracy itself?


This whole thread is a tautology. It is impossible to define democracy wiithout talking about society. It is ridiculous to say future meaning is irrelevent. And it is unwise to define the meaning of a word without real life empirical examples. I cannot believe that seemingly intelligent people would even attempt to define, let alone debate 'democracy' within the contextual constraints imposed by the questioner.

cheers Fg7

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 09:59 PM
I weigh most of Kant's opinions at zero. :hand:



Personally I would prefer more Kant and less of Bonham's opinions.:hand:

cheers Fg7

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 10:05 PM
OK, what about a democratically elected leader who then makes it almost possibly to defeat in an election, e.g. by banning speech against the government and closing down a TV station that airs criticism of the government. E.g. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, admired by some key Labor and ABC (same thing really) figures.

I am amazed the censors at chesschat allowed you to get away with such off the cuff comments. Why don't you print who those Labor and ABC admirers name. Why don't you tell us why they admire him, instead of making us rely on your hearsay for the evidence.

By the way how is a democratically elected leader 'almost possibly to defeat in in an election'? What does that mean?

cheers Fg7

Kevin Bonham
01-07-2007, 10:17 PM
Personally I would prefer more Kant and less of Bonham's opinions.:hand:

Of course, because you've got yourself traumatised by picking lost flamewars with Bonham, while Kant's a bit too dead for you to use him to inflict self-harm.

How about you name a specific issue on which you prefer Kant's view to mine, and say why.

That's assuming you know anything much about the overrated gentleman in question, of course. :lol:

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 10:35 PM
How about you name a specific issue on which you prefer Kant's view to mine, and say why.

Thanks for the invitation, but like I have said many times before I am not really interested in talking to you. You understand that I believe you are incapable of 'talking' to people civilly. I might change my position if you register on the ACCF *******, but don't count on it. I am sure I have better things to do.

cheers Fg7

Kevin Bonham
01-07-2007, 10:55 PM
Thanks for the invitation, but like I have said many times before I am not really interested in talking to you.

Rarely stopped you before, so cut this silly game.


You understand that I believe you are incapable of 'talking' to people civilly.

I talk to most people civilly. I sometimes make an exception for uncivil people.

Capablanca-Fan
02-07-2007, 12:42 AM
I am amazed the censors at chesschat allowed you to get away with such off the cuff comments. Why don't you print who those Labor and ABC admirers name. Why don't you tell us why they admire him, instead of making us rely on your hearsay for the evidence.

See for yourself at http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org/?q=node/21


Dear President Chávez,
We, the undersigned citizens of Australia, would like to extend a warm invitation for you to visit our country.We have watched developments in Venezuela with great interest. We have been impressed by the great effort that your government has taken to improve the living standards of the majority of Venezuelans.We have also noted with keen attention the moves that your government has begun to make to create a society based on popular participation in all spheres of society—from the workplace up to the national government.
Although we are on the opposite side of the globe we feel that our shared ideals of social justice and democracy bring us close together. Every country has its own traditions and culture and has to find its own solutions, but what Venezuela has been able to achieve in so little time will be a source of inspiration and ideas for many in Australia.

In this light we believe that a visit to our country by yourself would not only help to improve the awareness of the Australian people of developments in Venezuela, but also be an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the ties of friendship and solidarity between our two peoples.

Among the signatories are ABC's Philip Adams, lots of unionists, Democrats, Labor people ...


By the way how is a democratically elected leader 'almost possibly to defeat in in an election'? What does that mean?

Hitler was democratically elected, for example. And Chavez has stacked the judiciary and army with his sycophants, and taken control of a TV station that dared not to toe his party line http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN2723008820070527?feedType=RSS&rpc=22

Igor_Goldenberg
02-07-2007, 10:04 AM
Hello,



This whole thread is a tautology. It is impossible to define democracy wiithout talking about society. It is ridiculous to say future meaning is irrelevent. And it is unwise to define the meaning of a word without real life empirical examples. I cannot believe that seemingly intelligent people would even attempt to define, let alone debate 'democracy' within the contextual constraints imposed by the questioner.

cheers Fg7

Thank to fg7 for a valuable contribution to the thread.

Quite a few people during the debate use "definition hijacking" technique, where a loaded term is used to mean whatever that person wishes to mean.
Democracy is one of those terms. If you are not happy about particular country, just say it's not democratic. If you are not happy about particular political figure, say he is undemocratic, and so on.

Understandably, having to clearly define the term instead of juggling it makes those people uncomfortable.

The purpose of this thread was to get the clear definition of democracy to make sure empty accusations lose their appeal. A minor goal (which I am happy to have achived) is to show that democracy by itself is not necessary good or bad and that pursuing just a democracy as a goal (without freedoms it's suppose to make easier to guard) might be a recipe for disaster.