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The key question to consider today. Can we have a workable democracy in a world of vast disagreement on what's true and no authority beyond ourselves? It's the actual "freedom" struggle of our age.
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@wjmaggos

in Ireland we have a simulacrum of the culture wars you have in the US but our mainstream is broadly centrist - socially progressive, economically conservative (i.e. corrupt) - and we haven't seen the extreme polarisation you've seen.

maybe this is because our history is as the oppressed rather than the empire.

US problem seems to be the frustration of the thwarted "big man" + nostalgia for a repressed era. same with the brits.

manifest destiny gone sour is pretty ugly.

@wjmaggos something that doesnt treat a 70 iq drug addicted moron as equal to a 150 iq history professor

@spiritsplice

a representative democracy averaging out at a 100iq should be able to reliably elect one over the other.

@wjmaggos look around pal. it doesnt. democracy aims for the bottom and gets it. and 100 iq is stupid af. nobody under 120 should be asked their opinion on anything.

>implying the drug addicted moron should get any say in policy of any kind whatsoever

@spiritsplice

I don't think it's an IQ problem but more about citizens taking their role in governing more seriously. and improving journalism etc. but again, what's the alternative? just add an IQ test to vote?

@wjmaggos there are lots of alternatives: monarchy, national socialism, tribalism. we would need to add more than just an IQ standard though.

of course IQ is a problem, someone who cant understand abstract concepts cant process and grasp political issues.

@spiritsplice @wjmaggos Or even worse people who have a say in government. Those who make excuses for druggies.

@wjmaggos

The real questions is can we have a workable democracy when intelligence agencies have coopted every seat of power

@SirDHSlammer

having so much information locked off from public contemplation and members of our government possibly being subject to blackmail does completely destabilize the system.

It wouldn't matter so much except that you have the largest, most powerful, most all encompassing, and most universal state ever throughout the world.

If the state can basically leave people alone, then it doesn't matter if people agree on most things. Bob can stay in Bob's yard, and George can stay in George's yard. As the size of the state increases, it could still not matter as long as Bob and George are treated the same and the state isn't sticking its fingers into arguments between the two. Eventually, the state starts sticking its fingers into arguments between the two, but for the most part it doesn't have the capacity to do much about it. As the postmodern age arrives, the state suddenly is fully capable of micromanaging their lives, but maybe Bob can move away and George likes what the local state is doing. Then George forms a world government, and Bob and George are inseparable, and their arguments must play out on the global stage and it suddenly matters very much that they both agree exactly the same things because the all encompassing state will directly enforce one person's view or the other.

The state that requires every man, woman, and child to believe the same thing mandated by the state by democratic vote and be subservient to a centralised leadership of mega-elites is not a liberal one, no matter how big the plastic smile on the plastic mask it wears is.

@sj_zero

Liberalism requires a state, but it has to be under control of the people and properly limited. There's many ways to manage that, and being composed of humans, it requires a sense of legitimacy to be maintained, meaning it can be attacked through appeals to reasoning and empathy. Libertarian framing sets it as a separate malevolent being that isn't borne out over time. Most people under democracies have lived under governments that have done more good than harm for them over time.

I agree with the first half.

Governments are made up of people, and people can be better or worse. They can be more moral or less (and those morals can be different between people so two very moral people may act in opposite ways, or two immoral people may act in much different ways based on what they consider immoral), and they can be more competent or less competent, or more corrupt or less corrupt and self-serving.

A group of people can be either aligned with the people they rule over or they can be opposed to them. People with political power can be a smaller group or a larger group. The Greek democracy and Roman Republic of antiquity were built on the scarred backs of slaves, and ultimately the number of slaves was much larger than the number of citizens.

The benefit of democratic republics and constitutional monarchies over despotism or dictatorship or absolute monarchy is the peaceful transfer of power. When a government is particularly bad under dictatorial regimes, the nation must be bathed in blood, whereas under a republic the nation can be bathed in ballots. Constitutional monarchies can last quite long as well because the monarch is a figurehead compared to the legislative or executive bodies who can then be replaced if they are incompetent or hated.

The distinction between good and bad governance is important, and the fact that they can both exist is important. A badly run democracy is for a time much worse than a well run totalitarian dictatorship. That's one reason why the Roman empire rose out of the Roman Republic, but then the list of Roman emperors starts to look like a stock ticker for how often they were offing heads of state...

In a lot of ways, current western governments reflect our societies, and both are in a state of imbalance. Wise governance considers many factors, foolish government pretends only one thing matters at any given moment. That imbalance inevitably leads to poor governance and a pathological society.

Some of that is a total rejection of good ideas that need to exist because those same ideas can become tyrannical if taken to an extreme. It's not sustainable, and there needs to be some balance. Part of the problem is the decadence of the elite and semi-elite classes. Over time, they become disconnected from the reality of the world by a padded cell that is a comfortable and safe state. They don't realize that you can be hurt, you can die, you can starve, wars can start and things can happen in your homeland, and in that disconnection they make decisions that are objectively harmful which ultimately results in a new secular cycle...
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