The Ship of Fools

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Philosophy Now
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The Ship of Fools

Post by Philosophy Now »

Anja Steinbauer explains why Plato had problems with democracy.

http://philosophynow.org/issues/101/The_Ship_of_Fools
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HexHammer
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Re: The Ship of Fools

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Plato describes how a democracy is unlikely to be a stable political solution, since it offers freedom but neglects the demands of proper statecraft. Plato therefore predicts an almost certain collapse of democracy and decline into tyranny, a total loss of freedom. Why does democracy involve a neglect of statecraft? Plato argues that in a system where political power (‘cratos’) lies in the hands of the people (‘demos’) it is not guaranteed, in fact is unlikely, that those best equipped to rule will get a chance to manage public affairs. Instead the loudest voices will dominate, irrational, ill-motivated decisions will be made and the complex arena of politics which is in need of carful ordering and management will turn into a crazy circus.
What Plato says about democrasy is purely spekulative and jumping to conclusions.

In many cases with democrasy, the good will outweigh the bad, but ofcause when humans are involved in anything there will be great mishaps. Even professionals will usually only be able to preform parrotspeeches and can't have an education that takes account for EVERYTHING in life, thus the professional will have to resort to pure guessing and spekulation, why it takes a super genious to actually being able to predict things.

Goverments very very rarely rely on super geniouses, as super geniouses may lack social skills, act eccentric etc, so it falls to well spoken people who with good rethorics can sway officials with their charm and wit, but not wisdom.

If a goverment was only of elite people, elitism will be a problem and discrimination will occur, we all know the French revolution where all the nobles was executed.

Democrasy is good because there's usually no power struggle for succession unlike in dictatorship where it easily can be a huge commonly occurant factor.
spike
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by spike »

There was another article in PN, issue 31, with the word 'ship' in its title, "The Philosophers’ Ship". It was about Lenin sending Russia’s best philosophers off on a cruise and telling them not to come home unless they wanted to be shot.

Why I remember the article is because of the Russian philosopher Berdyaec, who was on the ship, and what the authors said about him: "It is worth mentioning that Berdyaev foresaw the inevitable dangers of the attempt to build a society in accordance with a single theoretical principle. He wrote that any abstract principle inevitably contained simplification in itself and the attempt to build a society that followed this principle would finally lead to the development of a totalitarian regime."
(Plato also had the idea of building a governing system on a single theoretical principle.)

Berdyaec was talking about communism and the inevitably of it leading to totalitarian regime because as a form of governance it was based on a single theoretical principle. It qualified as a single theoretical principle because it did not allow for dissent or competition and everybody was supposed to be equal. And because the natural, physical world has never been based on a single theory, Berdyaec must of instinctively felt, why should human governance? Everything in the physical world exists in a binary, double-helix fashion, why not also human governance?

This is something that is not said about democracy, that it also is a single theoretical principle that can lead to totalitarianism. If it didn't have competition from another form of governance, and we all had to abide by its principle of equality, it could easily turn in totalitarianism. Furthermore, governance based on a single theoretical principle like communism was can stagnate and atrophy, which eventually did happen to communism. The same could happen to democracy if it didn't have competition to keep it 'alive and awake'.

Democracy is lucky in that it has competition from another theoretical principle - capitalism. It's like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said, "Democracy is impossible without private ownership because private property - resources beyond the arbitrary reach of the state [which can't be had without capitalism] - provides the only secure basis for political opposition and intellectual freedom". The combination of democracy and capitalism is known as liberal democracy, the double helix of the modern world.
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HexHammer
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Re: The Ship of Fools

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spike

What you say is pure nonsens, it's VERY importaint to keep the gov and capitalism seperated, else we end up in puppeteerd goverment, like the form of USA haves, and spreads to the rest of the capitalistic world, where very big corps can directly influence an election campaign with their fundings, thus gaining favors.
spike
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by spike »

HexHammer wrote:spike

What you say is pure nonsense, it's VERY important to keep the gov and capitalism seperated, else we end up in puppeteerd goverment, like the form of USA haves, and spreads to the rest of the capitalistic world, where very big corps can directly influence an election campaign with their fundings, thus gaining favors.
It isn't nonsense. Capitalism adds to the dynamism of democracy. It fills a void.

Democracies tend to get lazy and take themselves for granted. Corporate spending in democratic campaigns 'stirs the pot'. It is not ideal but it tends to rejuvenate things. And it doesn't always win.

Look how corporate money tried to oust president Obama in 2012. Well it didn't, even though tons of money was thrown against him. But that corporate money forced Obama's team to work harder and get out the vote. It is a perverse way of having democracy but it's a way of keeping the system 'alive and awake', by shaking it up.
Blaggard
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by Blaggard »

Hex always says that any opinion anyone other than himself has is nonsense, it's rather juvenile but apparently Hex is the only person on Earth is entitled to have any sort of opinion, philosophy or theory about anything, and if anyone else questions his supreme authoritah they are wrong and talking nonsense by mandate of Divine Hex Command Theory: ie what Hex says is good by definition and what he says is bad likewise not very nice, and hence what he says is nonsense is in fact probably very likely to be much more apposite than the following sentences that accompany the insulting slurs.

He is right that most countries have very strict laws about donations to parties, funding of ministers, bribery and overt corruption and so on, but on the other hand of course many democracies are extremely corrupt despite this. European democracies ranking as having the least corruption and Asian and Middle Eastern democracies as some of the most corrupt, along with some notable African fascist dictatorships masquerading as democracy.

Image

The scale is kinda hard to read but it's obvious that the map represents the perception of corruption by those who are voters.

Iran, North Korea and Somalia unsurprisingly at the very bottom of the list. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption ... ions_Index

Denmark have the least corruption according to the tables at least as perceived by their population, New Zealand Finland and Sweden being plucky runners up with Zimbabwe and Myanmar rooted firmly at the bottom in terms of populations perception of corruptions, not exactly a shock! :o

the UK has recently suffered major scandals about official accountability, bribery, cash for questions in the house of lords ie bribing high status political figures to ask financially incentivised questions in the legal process of certain parliament bills, and various internal funding issues, with people with 2 houses claiming exorbitant expenses and so on, hence it's low position. That said generally corruption and the resulting legal regulation and the general culture means ministers who are corrupt are quickly sacked, so it is generally not that high. Peoples perceptions of it is currently at a peak though. ;)
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HexHammer
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by HexHammer »

spike wrote:
HexHammer wrote:spike

What you say is pure nonsense, it's VERY important to keep the gov and capitalism seperated, else we end up in puppeteerd goverment, like the form of USA haves, and spreads to the rest of the capitalistic world, where very big corps can directly influence an election campaign with their fundings, thus gaining favors.
It isn't nonsense. Capitalism adds to the dynamism of democracy. It fills a void.

Democracies tend to get lazy and take themselves for granted. Corporate spending in democratic campaigns 'stirs the pot'. It is not ideal but it tends to rejuvenate things. And it doesn't always win.

Look how corporate money tried to oust president Obama in 2012. Well it didn't, even though tons of money was thrown against him. But that corporate money forced Obama's team to work harder and get out the vote. It is a perverse way of having democracy but it's a way of keeping the system 'alive and awake', by shaking it up.
On small scale it can indeed, but when big companies gain too much power and are too powerful, it will erradicate any dynamics.
spike
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by spike »

On small scale it can indeed, but when big companies gain too much power and are too powerful, it will erradicate any dynamics.
You call what happen in 2012 towards Obama 'small scale'?
Blaggard
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by Blaggard »

spike wrote:
On small scale it can indeed, but when big companies gain too much power and are too powerful, it will erradicate any dynamics.
You call what happen in 2012 towards Obama 'small scale'?
What happened to Obama in 2012?

Oh nm I see, corporate financing and big money backed political campaigns are why the US is languishing in mid table in terms of corruption. Elitocracy and or kleptocracy is a murky business, it should be a meritocracy or nothing, but it is certainly totally alien to the legal definitions and laws America was founded on. No one person no matter his wealth or power should be given a right to buy the presidency, likewise to sabotage others campaigns with shady economic dealings, commonly known as bribes or be able to buy the political process from any elected official therein or due to be elected or running to be elected, never should any man be able to exercise a mandate over who chosen by the people has a right to rule and so on and no financial person or institution has the right to corrupt political shananegans.

As they say though, only in America. You replaced monarchy with oligarchy gz. ;)

"I'd rather have the South behind me and the banks in front of me!"

Abraham Lincoln.

On financial manipulation by the wealthy statesmen in the civil war.

"To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." – 1912

Theodore Roosevelt.
Usage

The term plutocracy is generally used as a pejorative to describe or warn against an undesirable condition.[3][4] Throughout history, political thinkers such as Winston Churchill, 19th-century French sociologist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, 19th-century Spanish monarchist Juan Donoso Cortés and today Noam Chomsky have condemned plutocrats for ignoring their social responsibilities, using their power to serve their own purposes and thereby increasing poverty and nurturing class conflict, corrupting societies with greed and hedonism.[5][6]
Examples
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The neutrality of this section is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (October 2012)

Examples of plutocracies include the Roman Empire, some city-states in Ancient Greece, the civilization of Carthage, the Italian city-states/merchant republics of Venice, Florence, Genoa, and pre-World War II Empire of Japan, zaibatsu, and, some have argued, the modern day United States of America.

One modern, perhaps unique, formal example of a local plutocracy is the City of London.[7] The City (not the whole of modern London but the area of the ancient city, which now mainly comprises the financial district) has a unique electoral system. More than two-thirds of its voters are not residents, but rather representatives of businesses and other bodies that occupy premises in the City, with votes distributed according to their number of employees. The principal justification for the non-resident vote is that about 450,000 non-residents constitute the city's day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering the City's 7,000 residents.[7][8]

Another contemporary example involves the municipalities of Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Florida. Both are owned and governed by The Walt Disney Company, per state statutes. The only landowners are fully owned subsidiaries of Disney, and right-of-way for state and county roads, and the only residents are Disney employees.[citation needed]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy
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HexHammer
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by HexHammer »

spike wrote:
On small scale it can indeed, but when big companies gain too much power and are too powerful, it will erradicate any dynamics.
You call what happen in 2012 towards Obama 'small scale'?
What are you talking about?
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richardtod
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Re: The Ship of Fools

Post by richardtod »

Putting the style of presentation aside, Hexhammer is right despite the win by Obama in 2012. The mere fact that the capitalists used their power to try to warp the democratic system is evidence in itself.

Who is to say they lost? Certainly some of the decisions by the Obama administration since 2012 seem to be strange in comparison to his election rhetoric.

In the US and here in Europe we see decisions being warped by powerful pressure from companies with greater turnover than a countries GDP. In the UK's case the tobacco and oil sectors have clearly changed government direction on tobacco advertising and investment in renewable energy.

The balance between Democracy v Capitalism as a method of controlling society is a good theory but when one side has far more power and influence over the other, the balance is lost. I believe that the balance has gone too far towards capitalism to the detriment of democracy hence the growth of western poverty and the growth of western capitalist wealth. The inevitability of another failure of capitalism as in 2008 is, I am afraid, unarguable. It is too fragile, relies too much on computer computations for buying and selling decisions and is run by a myopic elite with no concern for the future other than their own profit.
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