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9
13
Yes, because... No, because...
Debate Score:22
Arguments:30
Total Votes:23
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 Yes, because... (8)
 
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Mack(119) pic



Is democracy a good thing the way it is in the USA?

Read this link before answering the question, it says everything for me: http://www.thebookoflife.org/why-socrates-hated-democracy/

Democracy can be defined as: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.  

Democracy is generally accepted as a good thing, but perhaps there are some flaws with it.  Is it good to let almost anyone vote, or should there be higher standards?  This question is more about the type of democracy present in the US right now, so if you think there should be change, but democracy should still exist, you could answer in the "No, because..." section.

And no, I'm not implying anything about the results of the most recent election in the US.


Yes, because...

Side Score: 9
VS.

No, because...

Side Score: 13
1 point

Hello Mack:

but perhaps there are some flaws with it.

Yes, there are.. It's manipulable, and self correcting at the same time.. For example, one manipulable flaw is gerrymandering. It causes bumps in our democracy. But there are mechanisms in place to fix it, and we are. The problem is, democracy works slowly..

We've been through rougher patches than this before and our democracy survived.. I think it'll survive Trump.

excon

Side: Yes, because...
BellaSmella(171) Disputed
1 point

If it can survive Obama, $20 trillion in debt, a poor excuse for a healthcare bill as is possible, and the intentional treason by a President against the United States, Trump will be a cakewalk. He actually likes this country. That ups our odds.

Side: No, because...
1 point

Democracy in any form is the worst type of government, apart from all the rest that is.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

When I think about this issue the words of George Carlin come to mind: "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of them are stupider than that." Perhaps there should be some sort of baseline test people must pass to vote - it could involve basic economic concepts and things like that? It can't be good if a bunch of idiots are voting, right. I'm not very certain of my position though, so a good argument might change my mind easily.

Side: No, because...
Jace(4422) Disputed
1 point

The problem with intelligence examinations for voting is that there is not equal opportunity in education and cognitive development. The result would therefore be the disenfranchisement of the most marginalized groups, who most need access to the political system. There's also a reasonable amount of research suggesting that IQ tests tend to disadvantage people of different racial background or lower economic class by presuming certain cultural knowledge that isn't pertinent to intelligence; there's no proof that that's deliberate, so imagine how pronounced the effect could become if the tests became politicized in the way you're suggesting.

Of course, all of this presumes a certain significance to voting in the first place. I'm not especially convinced its a very effective political recourse, so the real impact of my objection above might be rather limited in effect. At the same time, real gains in women's rights and racial equity were made after enfranchisement so something might be said for broader demographic enfranchisement even if the individual vote is without substantive impact.

Notably, the US isn't actually and never has been a democracy but is instead a republic founded upon strong distrust of the average resident's intellect. What you're suggesting is rather how government used to exist in the US at its founding. Originally, only landed men were permitted a vote and that generally corresponded with education (which was not by accident). And those votes did not directly determine the election, but informed the decisions of the electoral college which was designed to further remove governance from those the founders regarded as too inept to influence governance.

We want an educated voting constituency, but curtailing voting isn't a particularly effective way to get there because those who would get the immediate power from such a system have a vested interest in not improving education. It's something of a Catch-22, though, because without education the voting constituency isn't likely to produce good educational systems either. But at least there's the opportunity with broad voting powers, I guess? I don't know. I'm not sold on democracy overall. I think it's greatest merit (and only real difference) is that it most allows for some people to raise themselves up if they're really determined to do it (as opposed to a the fixed hierarchy of monarchy, etc.).

Side: No, because...
1 point

A well put argument. I agree with you about pretty much everything now. As you kind of said, the best thing to do would be to try and improve education overall, but as you said, " It's something of a Catch-22, though, because without education the voting constituency isn't likely to produce good educational systems either."

Side: No, because...
1 point

Democracy is the best system we have I think , although not perfect it seems to work .

The piece about Socrates was interesting but what we are looking at here is an ' intellectual Democracy ' and assuming that such a democracy may be better ; because one is well up on how government works , economic policy , social justice etc , etc once again assumes these people will make right choices and do the right thing .

Traditionally in my country anyway a fair proportion of people vote exactly the same way as their parents voted and anything else is seen as a betrayal , is the US any different ?

This to me sounds like a bad idea .

Side: No, because...
1 point

I think it is more likely that an intellectual democracy would make the right decision than a normal type of democracy, at least if their motives were beneficial. I wouldn't assume that they will vote in the best way for the country, although I would argue it's worth a try.

Now that I think a little more, splitting the population into these two groups could cause problems as the people allowed to vote might vote for things that favor them rather than the people who aren't allowed to vote. For example, I would predict that the average salary of voters would be higher than non-voters in an intellectual democracy. This might lead to votes towards lower taxes to the rich, due to self-interest of the voters, and that certainly wouldn't be fair. (Unless lower taxes to rich somehow benefited the poorer people as well, but this is just an example, you get my point).

"Traditionally in my country anyway a fair proportion of people vote exactly the same way as their parents voted and anything else is seen as a betrayal , is the US any different ?"

I wouldn't know about the US, seeing as I live 'down under' in New Zealand. Here in NZ it doesn't seem much of an issue, at least in my own experience. If I made a guess about the US, I might expect this to be true, at least for the more traditional, conservative families, because (by definition) they tend to be more traditional, and therefore less willing to accept change. If that's true then it has the consequence that it is easier to become a conservative then it is to stop being a conservative, which is interesting. The number of conservatives might be lower if this were not a factor?

Side: No, because...
Dermot(2572) Disputed
1 point

I don't know if that's true Mack self interest will always be there and the so called intellectuals are normally top tier anyway aren't they ?

Most working class British men who fought and died horrendously in world one had no right to vote a lot of these people would not be what's termed intellectuals .

A little piece from The Times ,

We vote because we care about the issues, but we also vote because we’re in the habit. And voting in those early elections has a strong correlation with developing a longstanding habit. Which brings me back to my early — if slightly indistinct — memory of being taken to the polling place and introduced to the idea that Election Day was a big deal, and that voting was an important ritual and a badge of adulthood.

“Parents have a tremendous influence on the interest people have in politics, the values they bring to politics, and the habits they have with regard to citizenship,” said Bruce E. Cain, a professor of political science at Stanford.

It’s about seeing your parents vote, as you’re growing up, and it’s also about political discussions in the home, so those family dinner routines that pediatricians like to recommend may contribute as well. And it’s even about participating in political activities — rallies, protests, student government elections — as part of growing up.

Side: Yes, because...
Jace(4422) Clarified
1 point

Partisan loyalty in the US corresponds strongly with familial upbringing. I think that's especially true for Republican households because group loyalty tends to be a stronger component to moral cognition among conservatives, but its not limited to them by any means.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

....we have a democracy being choked by an abused republic situation. It was fine until politicians started gerrymandering voting districts to gain an advantage. If they would lay out voting districts in squares or rectangles, as near as possible, we could get our democracy back!

Today, with internet technology a REAL democracy where every vote can count is possible. It never was practical before in such a large country. We are stuck with a largely dysfunctional republic abused by its political parties. Lobbying would be pretty much useless in a real democracy. A handful of wealthy oligarchs couldn't shape the country to their benefit!

Republics have a dismal record anyway: The Republic of N. Korea, the Republic of Cuba, the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics, the Republic of Iran, etc.etc.. Make America greater! Make it a REAL Democracy where THE PEOPLE choose, NOT the scientifically shaped voting districts!

Side: No, because...
Jace(4422) Disputed
1 point

Before gerrymandering there was direct disenfranchisement, so there's never really been a democracy to go "back" to.

Why would lobbying be useless in a "real" democracy? That presumes a good deal about the average intelligence of people and their ability to see through bribery and corruption, as well as to not be influenced by lobby advertising itself. Why do you think voting would be so significant anyways?

Government has a dismal track record. Why believe in it at all? How, exactly, is America great in the first place? And how, exactly, do you propose to make it better? Idealistic rhetoric is all fine and well, but at the end of the day it doesn't get results.

Side: Yes, because...
AlofRI(1487) Clarified
1 point

Technically, your first statement is correct, however, before we grew so large and let ourselves open to lobbying, we were much more of a democracy. The government listened to the people. There was far less "purchasing" of laws and regulations. If everyone could vote on all important bills what good would it do for a lobbyist to purchase a vote from a Senator or Rep.? The people would ignore him/her and vote for what THEY wanted. The people would not have to "see through" the bribery and corruption, they would vote for what they want. THAT would be "significant", screw the corrupt lobbyist and Senator!

Government has a dismal record all over the world. There ARE NO "true democracies", they weren't possible before now, but now they are. This country's government has (had) a better track record than most. That has been slipping away since Nixon and it took a giant leap backwards with Reagans destruction of the power of America's middle class, and later Gingrich's "Contract with America" REALLY destroyed government as it used to be!

Make it better? Give government back to WE, the People, with a TRUE democracy! At the end of the day THAT would get results! Take the government away from very well paid lobbyists and you'll see that "track record" improve!

If YOU can find a better country with a better track record you should go there, otherwise, support ours AND the Constitution. Giving government "back to the states" simply multiplies the corruption by a factor of 50! That's not a "result" I want to see.

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

We do not have democracy in the USA, we have a republic. Democracy is majority rule and it always turns to fascism/tyranny. Our nation was established as a republic, not a democracy, as a safeguard against tyranny. Your school system is a flop.

Side: No, because...
Mack(119) Disputed
1 point

I'm pretty sure it's both a republic and a democracy, either way , you could read the question as is the current way in which the US elects leaders a good thing? And yes, my school system (in NZ) is a flop, they never taught us the difference between a democracy and a republic, and I don't know much about them, but having done some research, (I won't link anything, but you can google it if you like) I'm still pretty sure that the US is both a democracy and a republic, they aren't mutually exclusive.

Side: Yes, because...
Jace(4422) Clarified
1 point

Federal elections are not determined by either popular or direct vote. In a federal election, the popular vote determines the assignment of electoral votes to candidates (with winner take all in most states). This had led to discrepancies between the popular vote and the appointed candidate. Moreover, the electoral votes themselves do not determine the candidate but constitute a recommendation to the electoral college which is Constitutionally permitted to vote against that recommendation (which has occurred). The electoral college is popularly appointed, but there is a serious lack of transparency and accessibility to those elections. But the real issue is that the electoral college rep can actually directly go against the popular and electoral vote. Personally, I think that all makes for a rather weak case in claiming that the US is a democracy rather than just a republic. (Especially if you compound that with the disenfranchisement of felons.)

Side: Yes, because...
NowASaint(1128) Clarified
1 point

A democracy is majority rule. If you study U.S. History you will see the U.S. was founded as a Republic, which is a representative form of democracy designed to guard against democratic rule which is simple majority rule. A republic protects individual rights against the majority opinion.

The United States is not a democracy, it is a republic. The democratic party is trying to change it into a democracy, and democracy (majority rule) always leans toward and eventually becomes fascism.

Your school system is not teaching you the difference between a republic and a democracy because they do not want you to know the difference, they want you to be passive while they consolidate power in an elite ruling class which will become fascists if they are not stopped.

The US elects it's leaders in the way spelled out in the U.S. Constitution which established the Republic of the United States of America. The U.S. became the greatest and most powerful nation on earth because it followed the U.S. Constitution which is designed to protect individual rights and individual freedom. Those things are slipping away as our school systems try to change history and teachings of government. I do not need to google the definitions of democracy, republic, communism, fascism, dictatorship, theocracy, kingdom......I was taught those things in public school ....8th-12th grade, over 40 years ago, when public schools had some slight measure of truthfulness in teaching history and government. The junk you get on google is likely to be the same misinformation junk you get in modern school. You have to dig a little deeper to get a real education these days.

Side: Yes, because...
AlofRI(1487) Disputed
1 point

Well, Saint;

Here is the story of a Republic.

The Republic of Iran (also a single religion Republic)

The "People's" Republic of N. Korea

The Republic of Cuba

The Republic of Iraq (also a single religion .. or else)

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,

The "People's Republic of China.

"Safeguard against tyranny"???????

I could go on and on. I'll take a Democracy of religious freedom, thank you.

Side: Yes, because...
NowASaint(1128) Clarified
1 point

If you don't know the difference between the Republic of the United States of America and the Republic of North Korea, or Iran, or any of those others you name which are dictatorships, theocracies, communist/fascist..........

Are you really that dumb that you think that North Korea is really a republic? Or Cuba? Maybe you need to get an old dictionary and look up the definition of "republic".....or try reading the US Constitution which establishes our country as a republic.

How in the world did you become so ignorant of history and government?

Side: Yes, because...
1 point

US democracy is rotten to the core. Big money owns it, gerrymandering and lobbyists make sure it stays that way, and the voting public absurdly keeps voting for either "giant doosh" or "terd sandwich" (deliberate misspellings) just like in the South Park spoof. We're hacked, we're compromised, we're getting robbed from within and robbed from outside. Is it technically possible for us to redraw it all and make the voting process safer and put in people not already sold out? Yes. Will we do it? No. We're too busy hating each other and throwing social media meme bombs back and forth.

Side: No, because...
1 point

Sadly, you are ri ....er...correct. But , this is America, and there is always hope. Not sure for how much longer, but, I keep hoping. If it keeps up for much longer, I'll let YOU worry about it. As long as I'm here, I'll keep looking toward democracy.

Side: No, because...