Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]
Hinermad

Diana,

I thought you said you were going to quit arguing with crazy people. (grin)

I’ve generally understood democracy to mean that the people participate directly in their own rule. I guess that would be a pure democracy, right? But I also assumed that when someone says that the U.S. is a democracy, what they’re really saying is that we have a democratically elected government. The poeple don’t participate directly in ruling, but they create the government that they expect to rule in accordance with their wishes. (That government is a constitutional republic, as you’ve noted.)

So if your definition of democracy is that everybody participates, then the U.S. fits that description. But if your definition of democracy is that everybody rules, then no, the U.S. doesn’t fit. (If it did, then California’s Prop 8 wouldn’t be facing court scrutiny.)

I’ve heard it said (on talk radio, so a bias to the right is expected) that in the nation’s early history democracy was equated to mob rule in the minds of most other nations’ governments. Thus West Point cadets were taught to answer that the U.S. government was a republic, not a democracy, when asked by foreign representatives. I’ve tried to locate references to confirm this story, but so far I haven’t found any.

Dave

10/11/12 @ 10:54
Comment from: diana [Member]

Hi, Dave! :)

This is a good summation of what the word “democracy” means (to most people):

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows people to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

We are a democracy, of which a presidential and constitutional republic is a further specification/subset.

That definition is more than mine, though; it is the generally accepted one, which is why the word is meaningful to us at all. The problem I have with Ben is that he has his own definition (special to him and a few other crazies out there) which he is attempting to foist upon the rest of the world. (I think you meant “the definition I’m working with,” but I just had to say that anyway. &#59;) )

Today, he wrote to say that if I were to use a “real” dictionary–not Wikipedia &#59;)–I’d probably find that the definitions are far more specific. I find his response interesting in a couple of ways, not the least of which was the fact that I’d already told him I checked several dictionaries and none of them listed his definition of the word. And why didn’t he go to any of the dozens of online dictionaries to find the definition which prove him right? And when I wrote back with a link to onelook.com (a meta-dictionary) and invited him to choose the “real” dictionary of his choice to make it point, he ignored me.

Why? He knows that his definition is special to him, pretty much, and that he will not find it in a dictionary. Essentially, he’s arguing against what he wishes the word meant (which I pointed out to him), which is just weird.

d

10/11/12 @ 15:18
Comment from: diana [Member]

Obviously, I pursued the discussion today, and made it a point to ask why he so passionately denied that we are a democracy, because I seriously don’t get it. He responded as follows:

“The real problem with using a word inappropriately, e.g. democracy to describe the US, is in perpetuating an attack on our actual government type. The Constitution prescribes limits on what laws can be made; in an actual democracy, the will of the majority rules. Those principles are antithetical, and using the word “democracy” is an attempt to break down that difference, to smuggle in a principle to destroy the idea of constitutional limits. This started about 100 years ago, when the intellectuals of the day wanted to inculcate majority rule. They gave us the 17th and 18th Amendments and other such legislation. They knew they could not win the argument that the Constitution should be abolished, so they attempted to do it by stealth. Using a package deal which obliterates a good concept by attaching an anti-concept to people’s understanding is how it was done. I encourage you to recognize the fallacy and the motives behind it all.”

(I pointed out to him that when he says “actual democracy,” he really means “pure democracy,” and I never claimed to be arguing for such a thing to begin with. But seriously…once you point out that a word doesn’t mean what someone thinks it means AND HE IGNORES YOU, REPEATEDLY, what is there to do? Quit arguing with the crazy person, is what. :D )

d

10/11/12 @ 15:38
Comment from: diana [Member]

WOW. A friend on Facebook just dug this up. It sounds like exactly what Ben has been arguing. Take a gander: http://www.stopthenorthamericanunion.com/NotDemocracy.html

d

10/11/12 @ 16:37
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]
Hinermad

Diana,

Both Ben’s response and the article at that link sound like a lot of the rhetoric I hear on the gunny boards. (Especially that dig at the “intellectuals of the day.") I don’t think you’re going to change any minds there; they’re already made up.

There’s one argument I’d make against the idea that the U.S. isn’t a democracy. It is possible to amend the Constitution, if you can get enough people to agree to it. It’s hard to do, sure, but it’s possible. So the claim that the Constitution prevents the majority from taking away the rights of the minority isn’t completely watertight. (Or am I missing something? My education in Government is pretty thin.)

Dave

10/11/12 @ 17:45
Comment from: Rog [Visitor]
Rog

First, Pen Island is a corruption. Put the words together and re-split them after the “s". (actually from the worst possible domain names), unfortunately, Wiki can be changed by any goof-ball with a sense of humor. Kinda like “drifting", in language. Second, we are a Democratic Republic,similar to the Congo, By definition and also statement: “and for the Republic for which it stands".

I just love this.
Rog

10/26/12 @ 04:19
Comment from: Peachy [Visitor]
Peachy

And here I thought we were “an anarcho-syndicalist commune . . ..”

10/30/12 @ 13:29


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