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Not having followed any of the links, nonetheless I'm sure none will particularly surprise or shock me - but I'm sure if the Internet had existed in the 19th century, we#d be saying exactly the same about British Imperialism, or even today, about Russian Imperialism.I am afraid that as nasty as such things are, they are probably the inevitable consequence of human nature and international power politics, whoever happens to have the power to do such (Machiavelli had a lot to say about all of this 500 years ago).
With the law everything is lawfull, without it, nothing is.
I would just like to say that ultimate power really has to reside in the rule of law and justice. Which ultimately has to come from consensus.
The world is not the same today as it was in the past, it was a lack of legal frameworks that allowed would be empires to roam free.
I also take issue with the human nature statement, some may be driven to suppress and control others but I would argue that the vast majority of people really just want to live and enjoy there lives freely.
The trick really is to stop the bad guys getting to the top in the first place. But then isn't democracy itself designed and meant to stop that? To rule by the consensus of the people.
Some would argue that it could never really work or that it has failed, or that it is too weak, I would just say that really all other options would be far worse. Really the only people that argue that democracy is weak are the same people that want tyranny(normally with them as the tyrant).
It is desire that makes the world go round, and fortunately the vast majority want happiness and freedom, democracy with the rule of law is the only real system that can provide that.
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 00:14:37I would just like to say that ultimate power really has to reside in the rule of law and justice. Which ultimately has to come from consensus.Is law and justice synonymous? Not really (although justice itself can be subjective, whereas law seeks to be absolute).The real problem is when one group seeks to apply its law, which may have some degree of consensus within that group, upon an alien group who has never been involved in the consensus that created that law, and who have a different cultural heritage.
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 00:14:37The world is not the same today as it was in the past, it was a lack of legal frameworks that allowed would be empires to roam free.There were technological differences, but humans were not that different.It has always been one of the justifications of many major empires that they sought to impose the rule of law upon barbarians beyond its borders (this was certainly the justification of Roman empire, and the British empire). One aspect of this was to seek to portray those beyond their borders as barbaric and lawless, and so provide justification for subduing them in order to impose what one saw as civilised values upon them.
Ofcourse, in some ways, this is also a self fulfilling policy, in that part of the consequence of empires extending their power is that they undermine other sources of power, and so actively create lawlessness along their boundaries, and so create the need to subdue those lawless elements.
In that respect, America sees itself as the policemen of the world, and seeks to justify its imposition (by military means where appropriate) on foreign peoples by suggesting that it is bringing civilised (i.e. American - since that which is not American is clearly barbarian - just as the term barbarian itself originally described all that was not Roman) values to these peoples. Nothing has changed.
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 00:14:37I also take issue with the human nature statement, some may be driven to suppress and control others but I would argue that the vast majority of people really just want to live and enjoy there lives freely. I don't think there was anything I said to the contrary.You are correct that the vast majority of people do not wish to impose their control upon others, but those people do not seek political power, so they have little influence on matters of power politics. While I do accept that there are a small minority of accidental politicians, those who never sought power, but had power thrust upon them; the vast majority of politicians have power because they sought power, and those people (whether they be kings or presidents) are people who seek power because they do wish to control the lives of other people. This is not to say that all who seek power seek to do evil upon others, for the most part they justify their actions by claiming to seek to do good for others, yet nonetheless they still seek to disempower others even as they justify that disempowerment by claiming to do good.
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 00:14:37The trick really is to stop the bad guys getting to the top in the first place. But then isn't democracy itself designed and meant to stop that? To rule by the consensus of the people.On the contrary - democracy (or, to be more accurate, representative democracy - the same is not true for direct democracy) only allows those to the top who desire power, and desire it desperately enough to commit their lives to the acquisition of power.Ofcourse, there are ways you could design a representative democracy that did not fall into the hands of a self selecting group of power hungry people, but to achieve that you would have to thrust power into the hands of those who do not thirst for power, and one has to ask whether we are ready to do that.
The ideal democracy is one that spreads power so thinly that so individual has any substantial amount of power, and those who thirst for power have no position they can attain where enough power resides to satisfy their thirst. The reality is that such a dilution of power often creates a political system that is incapable of making rapid decisions, and that creates its own weakness. It is also the case that even small concentrations of power can become a magnate for those who thirst for power, and they can use that position of even slight concentration of power to accumulate more power (this is how the modern parliamentary system developed - parliament started as merely a means to limit the power of the King, but as it ever more achieved this aim, so it accumulated ever more power to itself, and all the powers that were once vested in the monarch, the very powers that parliament was designed to apply limits to, are now themselves vested within parliament, and there is no significant counterbalance that is able to apply limits to the way that parliament uses these powers - which, in reality, are vested in the party leaders - so the system has shifted power from one place to another, but men who thirst for power then merely have to place themselves in the place where that power resides).
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 00:14:37Some would argue that it could never really work or that it has failed, or that it is too weak, I would just say that really all other options would be far worse. Really the only people that argue that democracy is weak are the same people that want tyranny(normally with them as the tyrant).But representative democracy has also been described as an elected dictatorship.Representative democracy is not weak because it is far from an ideal democracy.One of the countries with something closer to a direct democracy than most is Switzerland. One thing one can say about Switzerland is that it will never have an empire (maybe some would regard that as a sign of weakness?).
But Switzerland is also the most conservative country in Europe, and was the last (by a wide margin) country in Europe to give women the vote in all elections in all cantons.Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 00:14:37It is desire that makes the world go round, and fortunately the vast majority want happiness and freedom, democracy with the rule of law is the only real system that can provide that.Many people would argue (I am not saying I agree with them, only that if one believes in democracy, then one has to take into account their argument) that democracy undermines the rule of law. Many in Russia are now arguing that their brief flirtation with Western style democracy only brought lawlessness, and they would rather have the rule of law without democracy than democracy without the rule of law. Many, particularly in the Middle East and Far East have tried democracy, and saw it brought into power corrupt politicians, and so many now are looking towards other systems of power (in some cases they see religious theocracies as being less susceptible to corruption than democracies).
Democracy is not a panacea, and this is particularly the case when one is only trying to sell one particular model of democracy, a representative democratic model that has arisen in Europe and some of its colonies out of various accidents of history, but which in no way can be said to have been designed to be robust enough simply to be slotted into any foreign culture and immediately solve all of their problems.
Personally, I am not arguing against democracy, and am myself a believer in democracy; but I am very much arguing against a narrow minded notion that equates democracy with the particular implementation of it that we have inherited in the West. Our democracy is far from ideal, far from robust, and very vulnerable to corruption - and if we are to look to introduce democracies in other parts of the world, we should be more imaginative about how we do it. Ofcourse, the underlying problem is that the people who are in a position to implement change are the very politicians who have benefited from our own 'democratic' system, and so inherently regard that as the gold standard by which other democratic systems should be judged, despite the acknowledgements of its limitations.
Well there is a problem, those that are affected by the law, have to have a say in its implementation and arrangement. People have to know where they stand and what the law is trying to enforce; laws in which citzens have had no say in, can never work.The law is an evolutionary process therefore those involved have to be considered.
Things have changed we today have the UN, NATO, and many other international bodies, ICC etc.
If the laws that stand today were applied as they should have been, alot of the propblems we are currently going through wouldn't be happening.
The parties themselves should work to screen those that would run for election.
Well that is where the rule of law has to take it's position. Politicians keep finding ways around it and often seek loopholes or work to keep themselves from prosecution. That is the main problem there, if the law was enforced properly they wouldn't be able to. Again I would say it is a failure of the rule of law, that allows politicians to gain more power.
I disagree, I would argue that democracy wasn't really implemented, and that democracy has been blamed for the actions of the market.
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 15:08:08Well there is a problem, those that are affected by the law, have to have a say in its implementation and arrangement. People have to know where they stand and what the law is trying to enforce; laws in which citzens have had no say in, can never work.The law is an evolutionary process therefore those involved have to be considered.So how do you implement this when the law of the land effects people who are not nationals of the land (e.g. asylum seekers)?
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 15:08:08Things have changed we today have the UN, NATO, and many other international bodies, ICC etc.How is the UN and other international bodies any better?Firstly, while these bodies may be supra-national, none of them are actually democratic (when did you last vote for your UN representative?).
Secondly, these bodies are political bodies, no different from any other political body. They are political bodies with only limited real power, and that limitation on their power makes them fairly benign, but if they had the amount of power vested in them that most national governments would have, they would be very dangerous bodies indeed. This is not to say that the bodies should not be there, but their value lies particularly in the fact that they have little real power, and so since they are to a substantial exert unable to exert their will by force, so they are obliged to exert their will by consensus; but they would be very dangerous bodies indeed if they were given sufficient power that they no longer needed to obtain that consensus (not least because, as I indicated above, they are not actually democratic bodies at all).
Quote from: JOLLY on 30/12/2007 15:08:08If the laws that stand today were applied as they should have been, alot of the problems we are currently going through wouldn't be happening.that requires the co-operation of the very politicians against whom the law might be applied. How do you do this?
If the laws that stand today were applied as they should have been, alot of the problems we are currently going through wouldn't be happening.
As far as most politicians in the West are concerned, they use the term 'democracy' to mean anything that contains multi-party elections; and so as long as there are elections in which two or more parties take part, and each party has a fair chance of winning, then it satisfies their claim for a democratic system. Whether this is really a good way at all to define what democracy should be is open to question, but that is the package that is being sold as democracy.