Author Topic: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion  (Read 777 times)

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Offline the_squid

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2017, 08:04:43 pm »
Compared to 1960, 1980, 2000 ?

In Canada? 

I havenít been around to give personal testimony since 1960, but given the FLQ crisis in Ď70 and Oka crisis in Ď90, Iíd say weíre in a period of more stability since those times.

Since 2000, the issues with separatism donít seem as bad....

Can we actually conclude that our democracy might be better now? 

Dunno.    But you havenít made a case for it being worse.

Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2017, 08:21:24 pm »
In Canada? 

I havenít been around to give personal testimony since 1960, but given the FLQ crisis in Ď70 and Oka crisis in Ď90, Iíd say weíre in a period of more stability since those times.

Since 2000, the issues with separatism donít seem as bad....

Can we actually conclude that our democracy might be better now? 

Dunno.    But you havenít made a case for it being worse.

No, I haven't.  I haven't even thought about it yet. 

Ok, you said you don't know.  Let me think on it.

Offline the_squid

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2017, 08:28:17 pm »
No, I haven't.  I haven't even thought about it yet. 

Ok, you said you don't know.  Let me think on it.

https://canadianpoliticalevents.createaforum.com/stuff-you-need-to-know/thoughts-on-democracy-and-discussion/?message=12656

In the post you seem to be saying that it (arguably) has gotten worse.  Maybe you just havenít been very clear on what you think...

Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2017, 09:04:49 pm »
Yes "democracy (arguably) worked better. "

But as I said, I don't trust that this is an objective view.  I don't even trust my own memory on this 100%.  I believe it, but I am not 100% convinced.  It's actually a tricky problem. Let me think on it.

Offline TimG

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2017, 09:11:47 pm »
Yes "democracy (arguably) worked better. "
Worked better or was perceived to worked better because the people that got screwed over by the system had no voice?

Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2017, 05:33:18 am »
Worked better or was perceived to worked better because the people that got screwed over by the system had no voice?

Good question, but I already thought about that one... long ago.  The Rush song "The Trees" is a rock anthem about the social order.  If people are happy with it, then then are.  Agitation will 'wake up' the oppressed to unfairness.

The quality of politics is something about how we engage, as a constituency, our points of concern with each other mentally and emotionally.  Progress, seems to me, to mean getting better at that politics on BOTH the emotional and mental axes. 

"No voice" is hyperbolic, absolutely speaking.  Even the French had "a" voice after James Wolfe won Canada for the British.  Native Canadians too.

As I think about this question, I realize that I have thought about it in other realms of life, such as civic life or culture.  I realized it when I went back to my hometown (smalltown Ontario) and realized that it had "grown" which necessarily meant getting better AND worse, but wiser.  My town now has a sushi restaurant, a theatre (NOT a cinema) with viable presentations of touring shows, a Starbucks, quaint bookstore and record store.  It also has methadone clinics, and a problem with major drugs.  It grew up.

The model for all such "growth" was given to us in the bible with Adam and Eve.  They chose to eat the apple because they wanted to learn, and become real.  As with children who want to grow up too soon, or small towns that want to grow, or Charlie Parker's sidemen who tried heroin to try to be inspired like him... they made the leap and they learned.

I'm thinking out loud in text here now....

I am going to try to find coverage of an old political discussion from the 1980s of relevance and I suspect I will see this:

- More in-depth discussion, and more time/care to discussion of important matters
- Less fractiousness and more objectivity
- Exclusion of fringe points of view
- Naivety, or lack of knowledge of what we know now


Offline TimG

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2017, 06:12:25 am »
"No voice" is hyperbolic, absolutely speaking.  Even the French had "a" voice after James Wolfe won Canada for the British.  Native Canadians too.
In the past people primarily identified with broad, geographically compact groups. Now people are connecting with geographically dispersed micro-groups. i.e. the environmentalists in Quebec and BC who work to block pipelines are only able to do that because of the connections and support they get from the global environmental movement. Same thing with these ISIS imitators that commit acts of terror in otherwise stable democracies. It is likely that such people did exist in the past - they just would have thought they were alone. Now they no longer feel that way and often serve as spoilers with radical demands that prevent centrist politicians from crafting compromise solutions.

Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2017, 06:17:30 am »
Only 30 years ago, but I think I see most of what I talked about:


1988 free trade debate:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2653709009

1984 election debate:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2653708170

Observations:

The tone is more formal, boring, "you, sir, owe the people...", but still civil ; Turner expresses admiration for Mulroney's father (patriarchy LOLZ)
Perhaps more substance, or more reference to boring topics;
No rabble-rousing on either side;
The issues described did not all come to pass;


The idea of inflammatory YouTube videos seems absolutely anachronistic, futuristic, even advanced.

So instead of falling into the trap of moralizing, I will say that politics has taken a step towards relevance by making the debate more "entertaining".  The missing link between the 1980s and today include:

CNN Crossfire, the pro-wrestling-show equivalent of panel politics from the 1990s
FOX News
Conspiracy Politics, birtherism
Webbots, Memes, and Fake News

And then we arrive back where politics was in the early/mid 20th century in America.  I am looking fondly back at a time after that, though, which may not have actually existed because there was massive organizational change.

That, I believe, IS real.  The changes that came from the 1930s to the 1960s or so were massive and I associate that with the politics of the era.  Is it 'better' ?  I don't know, but it did set the table for such changes to come in.  By the 1970s and 1980s the pushback was under way.

Now, I think the time has come to build again, to re-engineer government.  Our discussion sphere currently isn't up to the task for supporting such a change, or maybe a complete breakage will come soon and rebuilding will have to happen.



Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2017, 06:18:43 am »
In the past people primarily identified with broad, geographically compact groups. Now people are connecting with geographically dispersed micro-groups. i.e. the environmentalists in Quebec and BC who work to block pipelines are only able to do that because of the connections and support they get from the global environmental movement. Same thing with these ISIS imitators that commit acts of terror in otherwise stable democracies. It is likely that such people did exist in the past - they just would have thought they were alone. Now they no longer feel that way and often serve as spoilers with radical demands that prevent centrist politicians from crafting compromise solutions.

Well, for sure this is true and an aspect of all of this that is central; see my reference to 'fringe groups'. 

Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2017, 08:39:28 am »
Well, my "club" is dying. 

There is some parallel with my ideas on meta-discussion, and society failing to take root... with my success at work these days.

I have influence in my company because of my status as a kind of special advisory to the VP so my ideas are listened to and implemented.  And they work.  My identity is changing, and it seems to be:

- I understand meta-patterns and abstractions very well (this is borne out by my academic history which was miserable in university, but became stellar in later-year studies of abstract maths)
- I fail to make people understand why my observations are correct, in some cases, however...
- I get better at getting people to buy into my ideas (at work) by using my influence, my quirky personality, my energy, my goodwill, and my bag of sneaky communication tricks which include my acting

Offline MH

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2017, 08:42:22 am »
A "public" web forum to discuss policy issues would be an incredible boon to democracy, as it would surface real concerns of people and allow for trade-offs and original ideas as opposed to superficial and stale ideas handed down from the ruling class.

Would you have me as mayor of your town ?  I would promise to reduce taxes, and increase services, just like the Fords did.  But I could do it.  And my top priority would be to engender real discussion on issues.

Vote for me.

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2017, 04:28:50 pm »
People are stupid.  People have very high levels of debt, people borrow on their credit cards at 20% interest.  People can't even get their own house in order which is a pretty simple thing, how are we to expect them to stay informed & make the best conclusions about policy from that information?  Look at the debt governments in the West have because people want it all now & ignore future problems caused by it.

People are rushed. They have busy lives now, especially if they have kids. They have to prioritize their time to what's important. Keeping up on the news of what this or that politician or government is doing often isn't considered important. Why not? I think part of it, a strong part, is that people largely feel powerfulness to affect anything anyway.
What's the point in getting upset over this or that absurd government or political stunt when you can't do anything about it? You get a vote once every four years? Big whoop. There's millions of morons out there so your vote is essentially meaningless. Whatever happens happens. You have kids lunches to make.

Quote
What good is majority rule when the majority are idiots, and the minority who have their shit together are made to suffer by the tyranny of the majority?

Yes, this is an old theme of mine. I've speculated about maybe making voter registration harder. Instead of sending people to your door make you go to a central place to register. Maybe make you answer a few questions to determine if you at least basic knowledge about what the hell is going on. Hell, maybe go back to the old days when the only people who got to vote are those who pay taxes and thus have skin in the game. Something which might (or of course might not) improve the quality of voters.
]
"When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won't do." David Frum

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2017, 04:31:47 pm »
I agree with your post, except for this last bit.  I think we're saying the same thing, but we DID have the ability to engage deeply far in the past, when there was a smaller scope of knowledge required to understand policy.  We now have too many facts, and too many policies and haven't needed to deal with any of it for a long time.

In the past we had just a couple of major news networks, and they took their jobs seriously. We had one, or maybe two newspapers, and then we had encyclopedias. The first two sources basically were responsible and conservative in how they reported things (most of them) and didn't inundate us with stuff like who was sleeping with whom, even if they were politicians. Now every moron can go on the internet and set himself up on a blog with unknown sources that 'prove' whatever they want to prove. Then someone reads that on Facebook and next thing you know is repeating it in outraged comments to other people.
"When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won't do." David Frum

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2017, 04:37:42 pm »
I disagree. In the past you had no choice but to accept what you were told by the media because there was no other way for people to know otherwise. Now we have choices and the bias of the traditional sources has been exposed. It did not suddenly start and there was no 'golden age' of trustworthy media. We were just naive.

I don't know about there being unbiased media but I think everyone trusted Walter Cronkite would not tell you a lie. Same went for Harvey Kirck and Lloyd Robertson, Peter Kent and Knowlton Nash. As for newspapers, sure you know the Star was on the Left and the Sun on the Right, but you didn't think either would actually lie about anything, just slant the story a bit. So you read both.
"When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won't do." David Frum

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2017, 04:39:59 pm »

Great question.  One thing that the Liberals and Conservatives BOTH did federally - which is great - is reduce the amount of 'big money' in the system.  How did they do it ? By reducing Corporate donations AND Union donations. 

So change is possible.

I hate to be a downer. But neither did that because of any care in honest government. Chretien did it to screw over Paul Martin, who was pushing him out, and Harper did it to screw the Liberals, who had always gotten most of their donations in big dollar amounts from a few rich donors (the conservative tended to get theirs in small dollar amounts from many donors).
"When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won't do." David Frum