Dylan Juhasz

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Why should Democracy be the accepted method?

The intentions of democracy are built to serve a united vision of equality. The majority of people living under its impression tend to consider themselves fortunate. However, it is most certainly run by an elite group which control your finances, your data, and most importantly - your choices. Also, those who consider themselves 'neutral' to the debate simply propel it.

I was born, raised, and educated in an Australian democracy. I am atheist (to the extent i believe in no such divine creator) and understand that democracy has a power of existence... and so we discuss.

The issue may be that, each person (regardless of correctness) is given equal chance (regardless of actuality) and so, does democracy simply serve only the ideological, and not the practical?

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    Jun 14 2011: Democracy as a system promises more freedom and liberties to its citizens than any other we have known, and as long as other forms threaten it, Our outlook will be limited to settle for what is safe.

    Democracy has its flaws as the collective opinion of many will continue making the wrong choices until we give power to those who have earned the merit to influence such a choice. The right to choose or influence a collective decision should be earned.

    If I feel the need to change something about our policies, rules or regulations with regards to say agriculture as an area, I must show awareness of the subject, prove altruism in my intent and sound rationality to make a choice. Only when people like that are given rights to decide for us will we achieve a better democracy.

    Democracy as it is, may be flawed but it is most definitely the right direction.
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    Jun 12 2011: Also, you say "it is most certainly run by an elite group which control your finances, your data, and most importantly - your choices", and this is VERY true in most cases, America is a great example of this, however many would argue that it's not democracy at all, in fact a lot of people, myself included, consider America to be a Mediaocracy, which is a system with the facade of a democracy, however the decisions made by high finances, not the people. For instance, the media can twist elections any way they want, because they have control over the opinion of the masses, and this happens for many reasons, one reason is the fact that so much of the country is so uneducated on so many facts, so the let the media tell them what those facts are. Another thing that causes this is lack of independent media, most media is owned by certain corporations, in fact ALL major US media can be traced back to a hand full of large corporations, and they can twist the info the media gives in any way this wish. For a society to have a TRUE democracy, they must also have an educated population, and many independent media sources, so that the people can get many different sides of a story (and don't try to say the major media DOES give different sides to a story, because they don't really).
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      Jun 12 2011: Your opening paragraph is precisely my point. Thanks for sharing this view.
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        Jun 15 2011: Democracy today has a great chance to work because of internet and efforts of many transformers like TED, and we of our course as Tedsters or Tedsterians. I believe many of our leaders are tying to transform and right our democracy but we also need to help many people (http://bit.ly/TrueLegacy) to wake up out of this matrix of confusion and transform our world. Top and bottom approaches will accelerate our transformations. (http://bit.ly/SimpleIdeas). Let us Tedsterize and transform our world!
    • Jun 12 2011: Luckily because of the Internet the traditional media has much less impact than in the past. We now have blogs, twitter and independent networks like Aljazeera with a different perspective?
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        Jun 12 2011: You are wrong. SO very wrong.

        The influences have been extended and more time given by the individual to select their brand. The term 'less impact than in the past' is not substantiated. The meta-issue is the filtration which these media undergo. Look at who influences the news, and who edits the content. Mainstream media is not so different from blogs and networking which is again only moderated by its subjective coordinators.
        • Jun 12 2011: I see fewer and fewer people consuming only the typical media outlets. I see more people reading independent blogs, independent news and independent twitter reports. That is at least my impression from seeing what is happening on the Internet =)
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        Jun 12 2011: Why do you think that Wikileaks had such an impact? No mainstream media dared to publish what was being hand delivered to it - let alone bother to dig for facts having to do with what government and corporatons were really doing.
        • Jun 12 2011: Thanks Debra. Wikileaks is a great example of independent groups trying to make certain information public. At first I saw many news outlet taking on reports from Wikileaks but then over time I saw fewer and fewer wikileak news, probably because of US pressure on governments and news outlets to not publish anything. Very sad story.
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          Jun 13 2011: If ive put forward the notion of 'people only listen to mainstream media' then i appologise... but i dont think i have done such a thing...
        • Jun 14 2011: Dylan, I think we have many people that listen to mainstream media and then we have others (esp. the younger generation?) that don't watch TV as much or at all.

          It will be interesting to see what happens when Google TV comes out.

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    Jun 12 2011: Personally I think democracy is the best form of government humans have developed, however there are a lot of different flavors of democracy, some countries are far more democratic than others. The one thing, however, is for a democracy to TRULY work, the people MUST be educated, otherwise they will not be able to vote for their own best interest, and they will be to easy to manipulate. However democracy also can NOT be forced onto nations.

    Also, when saying "all people are equal", that can be interpreted in many ways, for instance it can sway towards communism OR democracy. However in an idealistic democracy, all people ARE equal, as in all people have equal rights and freedoms, however that does not mean all people get equal pay, equal food, equal opportunity, etc., because some people have much more difficult or dangerous work, and those people should receive more pay, so that they have more incentive to do their more difficult work better.
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      Jun 12 2011: Agreed.

      Although, if all people were educated we come into a very harsh ego driven environment. People by nature need power to rule over something (no matter how minor or major)... and so a ruling class of all educated people means some interrelationship between crafts, but argumentts which hault progress constantly.

      The issue with democracy is that (as we now have in Australia) is.. a government which is made up of minority parties to form government. People voted 50 50 on the issue... and I for one, would rather a dictatorship thats 100 percent wrong (just knowing it has some direction) than a democracy which then puts our country backwards as others move forwards....
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    Jun 11 2011: I think some form of deep democracy or technocracy can be better... (I might elaborate later)
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    Jun 11 2011: Hi Dylan!, What are you drinking in your picture? Just curious. Democracy can work, we just need to make it work. We rally our fellow citizens to deliver the right mandates and have our political leaders hold to account. Our political system is our voice strengthened by the principles of justice, freedom and truth. If we don't give our voice, in elections or in the living digital world, we surrender our powers to somebody else. http://bit.ly/ThePowerInfo
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      Jun 12 2011: Mountain Dew.. lol
    • Jun 12 2011: @Joe yes I think democracy is a tool and framework where people can make a difference by voting and engaging in political life. They can even create their own political party. However if people choose to ignore politics and ignore what is happening around them then democracy will fail.

      A good example is Britten where people went to demonstrate against bankers that caused so much havoc and even were given bonuses. Government had to act because of these demonstrations.
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        • Jun 12 2011: Thanks for the examples. Yes I am sure more will follow =)
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        Jun 15 2011: You are right Zdenek, the key is the word "ignore" to be turned around to "participate". We might need grassroots movements to rally people to exercise their right and power to right our nations. One problem is confusion and disunity that's why we need clear and simple ideas to understand our world. (http://bit.ly/SimpleIdeas) and contribute our own power and influence however small and contribute in leaving a true legacy to our world. (http://bit.ly/TrueLegacy)
  • Jun 14 2011: Well, a machine in our HR department already manages my withholding, which is most of the money used to pay my taxes, and I have income if I'm unemployed through no fault of my own. I prefer income tax over sales tax, personally, but there's no escaping payment to your government unless you can demonstrate need, which I can't.

    What's your ideal form of government, Richard? Algorithms?
  • Jun 11 2011: I was wondering about this myself today, as I got a layoff notice from my State where I work because the elected officials can't balance our budget. One of our former govenors recommended having an independent group solve our budget problem, but then what did we elect these guys for? To assign teams of problem-solvers? Why should someone who can get elected be given such authority over other people he may not care about? No one has to prove they can govern before running for office.

    But my question to you, Dylan, is if not Democracy, then what alternative?
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      Jun 12 2011: Well this is why I have come here.... I can not give a true solution (only a solution which meets my needs..lol). The honesty is that I would most likely adopt sections of each ideal and end up with something ridiculous.
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      Jun 12 2011: Beth, the question is not exactly 'if not Democracy then what is the alternative' but rather - what the heck is this mutated and ungodly thing we have in place and how to we get a true form of democracy back?

      I personally think it is time to have people vote on far more than just electing some empowered and unaccountable person for 4 years (or whatever the term.) We all take the responsibility back! If people can vote effectively and efficiently by the millions every week for the American Idol why can't people vote for the 'American IDEAL'?

      We started sending one person to 'go' to Washington, Ottawa or where ever at a time when it was too far for the community to travel because we all had roles to fulfil to keep the community alive and could not take the time,
      Now there is no need for travel and no need for one guy to guess what we think or to assume what we think- we have the technology for each of us to vote! Are there some issues to be considered to secure a system of voting electronically- of course but any flaw in that system is minor compared to the flaws that are rending our nations into the disfunctional mess that we are enjoying today.
      • Jun 13 2011: Debra,
        I see what we have in place as an extension of where we started- we directed ourselves here, all working towards the things which are important to us. When a more representative government is in our interests, we will work towards it.

        Personally, I think people paying taxes should be able to decide how they're spent, so if I pay in $10K, I get to decide how $10K of the budget is spent, so we don't have the these "I don't want MY tax dollars going towards (something I don't support.)"

        But that kind of individual tracking is expensive, and security, of course, would be a concern. If we can't get voting kiosks to work, how can we expect anything more sophisticated to get rolled out broadly, like text messages to American Idol?
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          Jun 13 2011: Dear Beth, I think that's brilliant (within limits).

          I do think that there are many unsexy programs that are needed by society that few people would vote for or know about while others would get massive funding to no real overall benefit but maybe your point is correct in that if we all went a few years without certain services we would value them more highly.
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    Jun 11 2011: Democracy is not built to serve equality. That men are created equal and should be treated equally under the law is an underlying assumption of the enlightenment philosophy that lead to modern democracy, but that's not the same thing as actively promoting equality as an end product. Democracy as I understand it is designed to promote individual liberty, not equality.

    As for the rest of the question, I think you need to be a little clearer. For instance, I have no idea what "democracy has a power of existence" means. Also, maybe some concrete examples of the elite controlling your choices would be helpful.
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      Jun 12 2011: So you are arguing that democracy does not wish for the outcome to be 'equal'? Getting to the heart of what is equal?

      "power of existence' meaning, it is the already accpted value and so it already has its own power .. if people want change from this, they must fight the system that exists.

      Elite... ok... I can not walk down the street by being held in place by... fuel companies and their greed, government initiatives, government expenditure, instituionalised values (which because they are accepted by a majority) impose themselves to any 'out of box' thinking... the role of philosopher being made somewhat redundant by the masses.

      If i work, I'm sure to pay tax for a service i wont use... if I'm on social welfare payments.. then i double dip in my cash in, and how cash will be spent. Its set up so i need food/fuel/internet... so the government pays me to pay the corporation.
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        Jun 12 2011: I'm not arguing that democracy doesn't 'wish' the outcome to be equal, I'm arguing that equality is not the goal. Equality and liberty are often in tension with each other. Democracy is designed to treat people equally but not ensure equality.

        I'm still having trouble understanding your argument about the elite controlling your actions. Your example of walking down the street doesn't really resonate with me—I find it quite easy to walk down the street. I guess I was hoping for something a bit more concrete.
  • Jun 11 2011: Thanks for raising an interesting topic.

    "However, it is most certainly run by an elite group which control your finances, your data, and most importantly - your choices."

    Who is that elite group? I don't know of any. I know that in democracy people elect their local, provincial and national representatives. People have means to recall those representatives, to demonstrate and to initiate a change. Anyone has that opportunity to participate.

    I also know that government to some degree controls and influence nation's economy through national bank. Certain individual have then responsibility to establish policies and how the bank controls nation's currency etc. It is their job to ensure our economy is doing well. They can loose that job as anyone else.

    Of course democracy is not a perfect system (but the best we currently have) and it has its problems. People are also not perfect and some are corrupted and have only their own interests in mind.

    However I see positive trend in increased transparency of the government (more information is now available online) and people are better informed (except certain national security related areas).

    At the end, it depends on how active and politically educated people are in each democracy because if people do not care then those elected official can easier undermine economic systems to their advantage.

    We all need to engage in local and national matters and be active participants =)

    Is there any other good alternative to a democratic society?
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      Jun 11 2011: I agree with you Zdenek. We should push our democratic system to live in a digital information system being guided by the living digital voice of people.
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      Jun 12 2011: The elite group does not have a human face. The group is the company who is allowed by government to advertise botox for 5 year olds, or a president/prime minister who is led by the secret service (without any knowledge)... Actually that gives me another question (look out for the posting soon), or the price of bread, or the cost of rent.

      It is comical to suggest they sit around together at a bbq on a sunday afternoon and discuss which string to pull this week.... but its not far off.

      There is an ambivalent feeling at my end, trust to the degree of needs creation, but no further than use. For this reason i have opted out of many 'social requirements' (networks, apps etc).
      • Jun 12 2011: In a democratic society we have laws and regulations that help the government to regulate behaviour of businesses to ensure that businesses abide by law, pay taxes, make safe products and do not cause harm to the environment. Again, these laws are not in any way complete or perfect but they do help ensure that businesses are regulated. One problem is that people want to pay less taxes and thus government has less resources to regulate and oversee companies and enforce laws.

        The big problem I see is with lobbies. Companies use lobbies to exert power and influence over politicians and government agencies esp. in USA.

        In terms of advertising botox for 5 year olds, you could talk to your local representative or report it to a government agency. Responsibility also lies with parents to ensure their kids are not exposed to TV advertising or are educated about what they see?
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          Jun 12 2011: And you feel that such provisions are working?