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32Bravo
06-16-2009, 11:15 AM
I was inspired by the discussion on the WW2 books thread regarding Forgotten Soldier to ask this question.

As a young teenager (never met an old one), I was impressed by the film The Three Hundred Spartans, but then was distracted by the film Zulu.

Later and a little older, as a soldier I was discussing the three Hundred Spartans with some friends, and determined to read-up on the battle.

Not knowing where to look, I began with the Penguin Classics, and as Menelaus was of Sparta, I read the Iliad. Nothing there, so continued with a copy of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War.

Still haven’t got it. Continued with Xenophon, which was useful because Thucydides was a piece of unfinished work, Plutarch and Plato, and then, at last, I discovered Herodotus, and all was explained. In the meantime, as much as I admired the Spartans for their warrior ways, I also gained a respect for the Athenians, and have always tussled with which was the better state…

Who can fault the Spartans record with the battles of Thermopolae and Plataea. Who can fault the Spartan system which produced the warriors that defeated the Persians. The Spartan citizenry were Spartiates, Equals. The Spartans created not just a warrior society, but a model communist society.

The Athenians, well, what can I say? They defeated the persians at Marathon and again at Salamis and continued, allied with the Spartans, at Plataea. After the Persian War, they experienced what has come to be known as the Golden Age of Athens, with the building of the monuments of the Acropolis and of course developing their democratic system, their arts and philosophy.

Athens was finally defeated by Sparta after the 27 year Pellopennessian War, the first recorded war of a communist state V a democracy, but the Spartans couldn't have won without persian gold. So, which was the better state Athens or Sparta?

Rising Sun*
06-16-2009, 03:57 PM
Athens was finally defeated by Sparta after the 27 year Pellopennessian War, the first recorded war of a communist state V a democracy, but the Spartans couldn't have won without persian gold. So, which was the better state Athens or Sparta?

It's debatable whether Athens was a full democracy, given that slaves didn't have the rights of the citizens who owned them. Then again, that's judging by modern rather than contemporary standards of democracy

32Bravo
06-16-2009, 04:46 PM
Take your point, but Athens was a true democracy in that it's citizens (slaves no longer having citizen status, if ever they had it) not only had a vote, but they made the decisions by use of that vote, as opposed to a representative democracy which most of us experience. The numbers of its citizenry fluctuated at different times, but thirty thousand isn't a bad ball-park figure. Democracy, after all, comes from the ancient Greek Demos Cratus which literally means People Power.

In Sparta, at their peak, the Spartiates numbered about ten-thousand. One of the reasons that the Spartans were always so reluctant to got to war was that their numbers were so few. Ironically, if comparing the social and cultural values of the modern world with that of the ancient, Leonidas chose his three hundred from men that had already produced offspring to continue their bloodline. Today we would probably choose single men with no attachments if a choice was possible.

Rising Sun*
06-16-2009, 06:05 PM
but Athens was a true democracy in that it's citizens

If I recall correctly, the free women weren't citizens, so it was only a male democracy, as indeed was the English-speaking world until nearly the 20th century.


One of the reasons that the Spartans were always so reluctant to got to war was that their numbers were so few.

You're doomed to a small population if you're in the habit of leaving babies out in the weather to see if they survive. ;) :D


Ironically, if comparing the social and cultural values of the modern world with that of the ancient, Leonidas chose his three hundred from men that had already produced offspring to continue their bloodline.

If they had married, quite probably so. Spartan marriage had a lot to commend it, to both men and women. After the marriage night the blokes returned to their military unit and only returned now and again for a bit of nookie and to produce children.

Nickdfresh
06-16-2009, 08:12 PM
...
In Sparta, at their peak, the Spartiates numbered about ten-thousand. One of the reasons that the Spartans were always so reluctant to got to war was that their numbers were so few...

Not to mention that Sparta also had slaves (Helots) that outnumbered them several times over...

32Bravo
06-17-2009, 02:48 AM
You're doomed to a small population if you're in the habit of leaving babies out in the weather to see if they survive. ;) :D

Babies that were considered to be not of a quality to become strong Spartan citizens were left 'exposed' on the mountain to be devoured by predators or the weather.




If they had married, quite probably so. Spartan marriage had a lot to commend it, to both men and women. After the marriage night the blokes returned to their military unit and only returned now and again for a bit of nookie and to produce children.


Spartan wives were expected to have a children with any strong Spartan male that her husband might consider a good sire of children. Most of the Spartan males were in love with their mates in the barracks.

32Bravo
06-17-2009, 02:50 AM
Not to mention that Sparta also had slaves (Helots) that outnumbered them several times over...

Yes, but then the slaves of Athens outnumbered the citizenry many times over. The population of Athens with its slaves and migrant workers was much greater than the numbers of its citizenry.

The main difference in slaves, was that the Spartan helots/serfs - generally, slaves can be sold, the helots couldn't be - were greek, whereas with other states, the slaves mainly consisted of prisoners of war. However, there could be former citizens which had been enslaved due to bad debts and the like.

32Bravo
06-17-2009, 02:57 AM
Donald Kagan explains


In Athens the assembly [of citizens] made all decisions on policy, foreign and domestic, military and civil. The council of Five Hundred, chosen by lot from the Athenian citizens, prepared bills for the assembly's consideration but was totally subordinate to the larger body. The assembly met no fewer than forty times a year in the open air, on the Pnyx hill beside the Acropolis, overlooking the Agora [the market place and civic centre]. All male citizens were permitted to attend, vote make proposals, and debate. At the start of the Pelloppennessian War about forty thousand Athenians were eligible, but attendance rarely exceeded six thousand. Strategic decisions were thus debated before thousands of people, a majority of whom had to approve the particular details of the action.

'...Of the people, for the people, by the people' comes to mind!....they did make a lot of bad decisions.

Rising Sun*
06-17-2009, 08:37 AM
'...Of the people, for the people, by the people' comes to mind!....they did make a lot of bad decisions.

Perhaps including Socrates' trial and death sentence, which perhaps was imposed as a vicarious anti-Spartan punishment because one of his pupils was prominent in the post-Pelopennesian War Spartan control of Athens.

Kagan's figures suggest that only about one in seven Athenian citizens participated actively in that democracy, which is considerably worse than the roughly one in two who do now in America. Although I don't see any evidence that the much higher, but vastly more remote, participation in America produces better military / strategic decisions and results than in the ancient world.

Maybe the Spartan 'central control / no democracy' model had a lot more to commend it for a state focused on protecting its borders and aggressively repelling anyone it thought threatened its existence. Not unlike North Korea today, which has elements of the Spartan system about it.

And if it came to a contest between North Korea and America in conventional warfare on neutral ground, my money is on the North Koreans being more successful on a pound for pound basis. Whether the ideology for which the North Koreans would fight or the reasons their leadership would send them to fight are justifiable or even vaguely worthwhile are different issues.

But if we take North Korea and America as representing the current version of the differences between Sparta and Athens, which is the 'better' state?

I'm with the Athenians and Americans, not because they are the best soldiers man for man against their more robotic and more effective enemies from inhumane militaristic states but because the system they fight for in their respective eras is a better one for those of us who value individual and national life and liberty.

But the Spartans and North Koreans, as with the Japanese in WWII, would find that incomprehensible from their viewpoint.

So we end up with a debate about what ultimately are arbitrary values we support or decry, which becomes nonsensical, as demonstrated by Japan's presentation of itself as the victim of nuclear attacks as a crime against humanity while being blind to its own numerically much greater crimes against humanity, because the latter fitted in with its contempt at the time for those who weren't Japanese and the former fits in with the biter being bit and whingeing about it due to sociopathic inability to identify with its victims while being acutely aware of wrongs done it.

We risk pursuing a debate which emulates the great Oozlum bird, which flies around in ever decreasing circles until finally it disappears up its own arsehole. ;) :D

32Bravo
06-17-2009, 11:20 AM
Perhaps including Socrates' trial and death sentence, which perhaps was imposed as a vicarious anti-Spartan punishment because one of his pupils was prominent in the post-Pelopennesian War Spartan control of Athens.

No ‘perhaps’ about it, one could argue that their decision-making processes were their undoing e.g. the campaign against Syracuse; the refusal to accept peace with Sparta.



Kagan's figures suggest that only about one in seven Athenian citizens participated actively in that democracy, which is considerably worse than the roughly one in two who do now in America.

Kagan’s figures are interesting. It could be as you describe that only about 15% of the citizenry participated in the democratic processes. However, given the nature of the Athenian economy – and the resulting unavoidable absenteeism due to being overseas - I suspect that it was a case of availability to attend and that it wasn’t necessarily the same six thousand or so peopel which attended the assembly at each sitting. Also, people will naturally be drawn attend when discussing issues in which they feel they have a stake.



We risk pursuing a debate which emulates the great Oozlum bird, which flies around in ever decreasing circles until finally it disappears up its own arsehole. ;) :D

Oozlum bird sounds like a most interesting creature. However, as well as debating issues for decision-making purposes, do we not also debate issues in order to explore and ponder questions and consider other opinions? Sometimes the majority can be swayed by individual orators with charismatic personalities – as were the Athenians by the likes of Pericles and Alcibiades – but these people didn’t always get their own way.

The question may be a little ambiguous and, perhaps, ought to have been better framed e.g. ‘Which of the two societies was the better to be a part of?’ or ‘Which of the two societies contributed the most to the progress of western civilisation?’ or both...or even more.

32Bravo
06-18-2009, 06:31 AM
For thems that enjoy comparing the old with the new, this might be interesting:

I have long enjoyed the amateur study of history, finding it to be a fountain of relevant thought not only on where we’ve been but where we’re headed. The recent re-emergence of the Dark Prince, **** Cheney, into the debate on national defense and the firestorm of support it got from the right makes me realize that this topic, which I’ve wanted to explore for quite some time, is still timely—even in the Age of Obama.

We Americans like to compare ourselves, and our Democracy, to the Golden Age of Athens, where western democracy was born. Republicans particularly like to make a big show of their unending support of democracy, yet the Republican Party that has emerged out of the last two national elections seems less and less democratic than they would have us believe...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://lefteyeonthemedia.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/bachmann_witch.jpg&imgrefurl=http://lefteyeonthemedia.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/athens-or-sparta/&usg=___H2VarBNZzrXOIlpfhwZPM80QH0=&h=341&w=500&sz=23&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=cesoXIG6-yYiKM:&tbnh=89&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsite:lefteyeonthemedia.files.wordpres s.com%2Bathens%2B%2526%2Bsparta%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3 Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US%26um%3D1

Rising Sun*
06-18-2009, 07:35 AM
I was thinking about suggesting that it would be a good idea if modern democracies had to have a voter referendum confirming a decision to go to war, on the assumption that the populace might differ from government decisions and the sectional interests they represent rather than popular interests which partisan governments inevitably don't, but maybe the Athenian experience suggests otherwise.


The Athenian experience also challenges the conventional view that the rate of participation is a simple function of the importance of the decision to be taken. Leaving other issues aside, surely the choice between war and peace is critical for any society (and especially for those who do the actual fighting). Yet, there is no evidence whatsoever that such choices increased noticeably participation in the Athenian Assembly.
http://www.paltin.ro/biblioteca/Mavrogordatos.pdf

However, if modern democracies had to have popular approval for a war that would then render them vulnerable to authoritarian regimes which could strike without such processes and the advertising of intentions which go with them.

Which is just another thing which reinforces my long held view that libertarian democracies are inherently vulnerable, and have the seeds of their own downfall inherent in following and defending the principles for which they stand, when confronted with challenges from people or bodies, within or without, who don't adhere to the same standards. Which isn't without relevance to the decline of Athens.

32Bravo
06-18-2009, 07:48 AM
I was thinking about suggesting that it would be a good idea if modern democracies had to have a voter referendum confirming a decision to go to war, on the assumption that the populace might differ from government decisions and the sectional interests they represent rather than popular interests which partisan governments inevitably don't, but maybe the Athenian experience suggests otherwise.


Well, the populace can be swayed by charismatic leaders and those gifted withpowers of rhetoric. In the case fo Athens going to war with Sparta, it was Pericles that influenced the populace. Another point to consider when speaking of attendence figures, many people seem happy to allow others to make their decisions for them and then whinge about the consequences later. We like to think that our representative governments are better briefed than we 'men in the street' but then leaving these decisons can be a bit of a bummer.

Does the populace have the knowledge, experience and understanding to make the right decisions, or are their decisions emotive?

Firefly
06-18-2009, 08:10 AM
Ironically, the model of democracy we use now is more akin to Spartan rather than Athenian, as has been touched on already here.

A good modern book on the subject is by Tom Holland

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Persian-Fire-First-Empire-Battle/dp/0349117179/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245330076&sr=1-1

Everyone admires the Spartans, modern democracies for the comaparison to our own, the Nazis admired them for the comparison to a strong pure race etc and the Communists admired them for the comparison to a socialist state.

In truth, I think I have to defer to the ones that left us the most culturaly and that, without doubt must be Athens. Athens left so much Art and literature together with science and learning and its impact on the modern world far outweighs that of Sparta.

So while we can applaud Spartas warrior class and their feats of arms, the Athenians for me left a long lasting legacy that far surpasses 'the 300 myth'.

Rising Sun*
06-18-2009, 08:39 AM
Does the populace have the knowledge, experience and understanding to make the right decisions, or are their decisions emotive?

Their decisions are usually influenced by internal government propaganda, which is now called spin in the West as part of the general approach of taking inconvenient meaning out of words where politics and general bullshit like rabid feminism are concerned, put out by a government to persuade the populace to support its, as distinct from the nation's, cause.

Witness Dubya, Blair and Howard on Iraq, supported by their right wing press and commentators in the face of stunningly weak evidence as exemplifed by Colin Powell's embarrassing performance in the UN which those of us with half a brain could see was facile bullshit and which even Powell subsequently backed away from http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-09-08-powell-iraq_x.htm , but only after he'd done the damage.

As for the uninformed and emotive aspects, witness the cheering crowds in Britain as their forces left for the Falklands, compared with the shock soon after when they realised that it wasn't going to be a cake walk and people actually get killed and maimed in war.

Gilbert's interview with Goering during the Nuremberg trials sums up the conflict between leading and being led on war.


Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Goering: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Gilbert's democratic confidence that only Congress can declare war is at odds with American experience, which reflects another aspect of governments deceiving their people or people deceiving themselves about their institutions.


Although the U. S. Constitution grants to Congress alone the authority to declare war, over the life of the Republic the Presidency has come to be the principal instrument not only for the nation to wage war, as the Founding Fathers intended, but to initiate warfare, as well. In their capacity as Commander in Chief of the armed forces under the Constitution, Presidents frequently have used military, naval, and air might to accomplish the nation's ends abroad. According to one authority,1 since the late 18th century, the nation's armed forces -- at the direction of the President -- have been involved in well over 350 incidents, "police actions," and other shows of force. Between the close of World War II and the early 1990s, the United States military suffered one-half million battle casualties, even though the nation technically was never at war.2 Since 1973 and the end of America's participation in the costly and prolonged but undeclared Vietnam War, geographic locales deemed suitable by the nation's chief executive for the application of military force have included Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, the Persian Gulf, Panama, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia.3

Scholars thus can list hundreds of instances, large and small, protracted and limited in duration, of the application of armed force initiated or directed by the President, beginning even before 1800. The Congress, on the other hand, has had occasion only five times to exercise its authority to declare war under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution: in 1812 against Britain, 1846 against Mexico, 1898 against Spain, 1917 against Germany and other Central Powers, and in 1941 against Japan, Germany, and other Axis nations. http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD_Issues/amdipl_1/milsvc_I.html

Democracy, whatever that means to different people, is a great idea. But as the American experience shows even constitutional limitations on the power to declare war didn't inhibit presidents acting like dictators in committing America to real, even if undeclared, wars.

Which perhaps says more about the weaknesses of representative democracy in a two party political system and the craven obedience to party interests of elected representatives than it does about democratic ideals.

Rising Sun*
06-18-2009, 08:48 AM
So while we can applaud Spartas warrior class and their feats of arms, the Athenians for me left a long lasting legacy that far surpasses 'the 300 myth'.

There's no problem when people can distinguish between being impressed by something while objecting to the bad ideas behind it.

For example, you'd have to be brain dead not to be impressed by Leni Riefehstahl's Triumph of the Will as a spectacle, but that doesn't mean you have to support the ideology and aims of the Nazis.

The problem is when people can't separate spectacle and fluff from the cause behind them.

Which, alas, is considerably more difficult when it is one's own government which is influencing one with all the propaganda techniques and outlets available to it.

32Bravo
06-18-2009, 11:32 AM
Ironically, the model of democracy we use now is more akin to Spartan rather than Athenian, as has been touched on already here.

A good modern book on the subject is by Tom Holland

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Persian-Fire-First-Empire-Battle/dp/0349117179/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245330076&sr=1-1



A fabulous book. Basically, a modern rewrite of Herodotus, but has the pace and momentum of a good novel. A great introduction to the era for those who are interested in the topic but can't bear the old writings.



Everyone admires the Spartans, modern democracies for the comaparison to our own, the Nazis admired them for the comparison to a strong pure race etc Worth comparing the training of the Hitler Youth with the Agoge




In truth, I think I have to defer to the ones that left us the most culturaly and that, without doubt must be Athens. Athens left so much Art and literature together with science and learning and its impact on the modern world far outweighs that of Sparta.

So while we can applaud Spartas warrior class and their feats of arms, the Athenians for me left a long lasting legacy that far surpasses 'the 300 myth'.

Here's what Stobart (not Eddie) says about the Athenians... and I have to agree with your sentiments on the subject... which is why I opened the thread in the first instance:

Never in all the world’s history was there such a leap of civilisation as in Greece of the fifth century. In one town of about thirty thousand citizens during the lifetime of a man and his father these things occurred: a world-conquering power [Persia] was defied and defeated, a naval empire was built up, the drama [Greek tragedy] was developed to full stature, sculpture grew from crude infancy to a height it has never yet surpassed, painting and architecture rose from clumsiness to the limit of its possibilities in one direction, history was consummated as a scientific art, the most influential of all philosophies was begotten. And all this under no fostering despot, but in the extreme human limit of liberty, equality and fraternity. One Athenian family might have known Miltiades, Themistocles, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Socrates, Phidias, Pericles, Anaxagoras, Herodotus, Thucydides, Polygnotus and Ictinus.

No historical cause will account for genius; no historian will predict its coming…It is vain to look to politics for the real cause of the uprising of genius. But when a whole state rises simultaneously to an intellectual heat, at which masterpieces are thrown off almost daily, in almost every department of human activity, we may, and must, look for some historical and political explanation.

32Bravo
06-18-2009, 01:13 PM
As for the uninformed and emotive aspects, witness the cheering crowds in Britain as their forces left for the Falklands, compared with the shock soon after when they realised that it wasn't going to be a cake walk and people actually get killed and maimed in war.


I’m not sure what you’re saying here. I know what I think you are saying, and I know what I feel, and felt, about it at the time.

A first-term government which was probably not going to serve a second term, screwed up its foreign and defence policies ( if one can separate the two) which caused the UK to become involved in a bit of a skirmish in the South Atlantic. Fortunately for the Prime Minister of the time, the quality of the Armed Forces, regardless of how impoverished their equipment, pulled her tits out of the fire and, thus, guaranteed a second term in power.

Is it party political ‘spin’ as you state, or is it the media, with its own agenda, selling a story and maximising profits – not to mention manipulating the voting public to serve its own political interests? If the media senses that the country is pissed off with the government, they would a toss for what spin the government puts on anything, they will go with what sells and what suits them.


If modern democracies are about freedom of choice, I would take one choice away from the people and that would be the choice to vote or abstein. I think this a major problem in the UK. As far as I'm concerned, everyone that has the vote, should have to vote, regardless of how pissed off they might be with the political parties, teh sytem, the economy or their local MP - in the UK, that is, I wouldn't interfere with the democratic choices of another sovereign nation. :lol:

32Bravo
06-18-2009, 01:27 PM
There's no problem when people can distinguish between being impressed by something while objecting to the bad ideas behind it.

It wasn't all bad. You mentioned the situation of the women of Athens. The women of Sparta had it much better. In fact, they practically ran Sparta - as the boys were off playing soldiers for much of the time. Plato was much impressed by the lot of Spartan women and developed a healthy approach to the value of women - later shot down by Aristotle.

The two societies were uniquely different to any other. Sparta had two Kings, which prevented any individual getting the upper hand. It also had a council of five Ephors - not the ballocks as portrayed in the film 300 - to which the Kings had to report. The Ephors were elder statesmen, elected by the citizenry to serve for a maximum of one year and never to serve again. When a Spartan King took the army to war he was accompanied by at least three of the five Ephors. Both Sparta and Athens were societies governed by laws and not by Kings - that in itself is really something for that time. Athens was a democracy following the laws of Solon, and Sparta a Oligarchy followin the laws of Lychurgus (if ever he was?).

Bladensburg
06-18-2009, 05:26 PM
When you consider the participation rate in the Athenian democracy it's worth remembering that with the exception of the strategoi all of the public posts from the Archons to the man responsible for weights and measures were selected annually by lottery. Most citizens could expect to be ****ed for a magistracy at least once.
In addition there was also the 300 strong quasi-parliament from which the 30 strong executive was rotated - again selected by lottery.


On the other hand there was also a significant metik or "resident alien" population in Attica that fitted between the citizens and the slaves (by the way the proportion of slaves to freemen was much smaller than Rome).

Nickdfresh
06-18-2009, 06:12 PM
....
However, if modern democracies had to have popular approval for a war that would then render them vulnerable to authoritarian regimes which could strike without such processes and the advertising of intentions which go with them.

Which is just another thing which reinforces my long held view that libertarian democracies are inherently vulnerable, and have the seeds of their own downfall inherent in following and defending the principles for which they stand, when confronted with challenges from people or bodies, within or without, who don't adhere to the same standards. Which isn't without relevance to the decline of Athens.

Libertarian or liberal democracies?

I think the world of your intellect, but I think you're flatly wrong here. In fact, democracies, especially young ones, can in fact be one of the most violent forms of nation-states....

I think the US involvement in the Iraq War looms large here, in fact the "war of liberation" mythology was very popular. Democracies only need a "Pearl Harbor/9/11" to "wake them from their slumber" as Adm. Yamamoto said (very parenthetically)...

It is in fact the dictatorships -forcing their military arms to conform to every decision no matter how ludicrous- to be unquestionably beholden, such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, that each magnified the horrific decisions of their fearless leaders into defeat (or near defeat) that result in vulnerable societies..

32Bravo
06-19-2009, 02:55 AM
When you consider the participation rate in the Athenian democracy it's worth remembering that with the exception of the strategoi all of the public posts from the Archons to the man responsible for weights and measures were selected annually by lottery. Most citizens could expect to be ****ed for a magistracy at least once.
In addition there was also the 300 strong quasi-parliament from which the 30 strong executive was rotated - again selected by lottery.


On the other hand there was also a significant metik or "resident alien" population in Attica that fitted between the citizens and the slaves (by the way the proportion of slaves to freemen was much smaller than Rome).

The Strategoi were also elected on an annually.

Rome had a far larger population and empire than that of Athens its campaings spanned many centuries. If making comparisons of slave numbers, at which point in the history of Rome would one choose to make such a comparison? There was a reluctance for 'Greeks' to enslave Greeks. That is not to say that the Athenians didn't, nothing like the scale of the helots of Sparta.

32Bravo
06-19-2009, 02:57 AM
Libertarian or liberal democracies?

I think the world of your intellect, but I think you're flatly wrong here. In fact, democracies, especially young ones, can in fact be one of the most violent forms of nation-states....

I think the US involvement in the Iraq War looms large here, in fact the "war of liberation" mythology was very popular. Democracies only need a "Pearl Harbor/9/11" to "wake them from their slumber" as Adm. Yamamoto said (very parenthetically)...

It is in fact the dictatorships -forcing their military arms to conform to every decision no matter how ludicrous- to be unquestionably beholden, such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, that each magnified the horrific decisions of their fearless leaders into defeat (or near defeat) that result in vulnerable societies..

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that there was a public referendum held in the U.S. in the early months of 1941 to decide whether or not the teh U.S. should enter the war?

Rising Sun*
06-19-2009, 05:44 AM
Libertarian or liberal democracies?

Good point.

I should have said liberal. (A slip of the beer fuelled pen. ;) :D)

Although if the Facebook generation is anything to go by, we're well on the way to a libertines' democracy rivalling Rome in its declining days. :evil:


In fact, democracies, especially young ones, can in fact be one of the most violent forms of nation-states....

I think the US involvement in the Iraq War looms large here, in fact the "war of liberation" mythology was very popular. Democracies only need a "Pearl Harbor/9/11" to "wake them from their slumber" as Adm. Yamamoto said (very parenthetically)...

It is in fact the dictatorships -forcing their military arms to conform to every decision no matter how ludicrous- to be unquestionably beholden, such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, that each magnified the horrific decisions of their fearless leaders into defeat (or near defeat) that result in vulnerable societies..

I think we're singing from the same page here, but it seems I failed to hit recognisable notes. ;) :D

Rather than contrasting the aggressiveness of democracies versus authoritarian regimes, what I was getting at in the first paragraph you quoted was not internal vulnerability of a democracy or authoritarian regime but vulnerability of the democracy in a conflict between a democracy and an authoritarian regime. Using the US and Japan / Nazi Germany in WWII as examples, the US President had to get Congressional approval to declare war on those nations but the reverse wasn't true. So a democracy could be dithering in its parliament or even a national referendum while the authoritarian state was readying to attack without going through any of those processes, leaving the democracy vulnerable to external attack because it followed democratic processes. It was the democratic processes which prevented Roosevelt getting into the war with Germany until Pearl Harbor, which would not have been the case if America had been run under an authoritarian regime which allowed the President to commit America to a long war (such as Dubya’s glorious achievement in Iraq, which without consulting references has probably involved America in armed conflict about as long as its involvement in WWI and WWII combined). Meanwhile Germany under a single dictator and Japan under a more diffuse military dictatorship had no such restrictions.

In my second quoted paragraph I was referring to what I've just outlined so far as threats from outside the nation and adverting to a separate, and probably greater, threat to survival of a democracy, especially a liberal democracy, from within the nation. The latter point is essentially that a democracy which allows freedoms to those who want to destroy it risks being destroyed by them. The risks range from allowing organisations like Mosley’s British Union of Fascists to operate pre-WWII to America allowing pilot training and freedom of movement for the 9/11 bastards LATE EDIT INSERTING NEXT FIVE WORDS FOR CLARIFICATION most of whom were Saudis. Contrast that with Hitler crushing his opponents and the rigid controls exercised by the authoritarian semi-medieval Saudis in their own country while busily exporting a form of radical Islam which offends the principles in democracies which still allow people to preach the Saudi poison. It’s also worth noting as an illustration of my point that Hitler was spawned in, but not by, a democracy. There was no risk that a democracy was going to be spawned in Nazi Germany; Soviet Russia and the USSR; Peoples’ Republic of China; North Korea; and so on.

Another aspect of authoritarian regimes is that usually they have considerably less regard for human rights, legal process, individual liberty and so on than do democracies. Their inhumane outlook allows them to oppress, imprison, torture, and execute opponents while democracies assure the human rights, right to legal process, and individual liberties of those who seek to destroy the democratic state. So, many of us are appalled and outraged by things such as the US rendition program; the US Attorney General’s facile arguments authorising torture; and Abu Ghraib, yet authoritarian regimes, such as Saddam Hussein’s, utilise far worse things to preserve themselves. And usually it works very well in keeping the dictator and his cabal in power. Contrast that with what happened to Dubya, Blair (admittedly a resignation) and Howard in the democratic process

Taking this back to Sparta and Athens, it’s not surprising that the less democratic, more militaristic, and less humane Spartans triumphed over Athens which was based on opposing principles.

32Bravo
06-19-2009, 06:32 AM
What I would like to know, is whether your much admired intelect (quoting Nick) is as long as my excalibur and does it fire on all cylinders?

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.excalibur-cars.com/images/Car3/car3.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.excalibur-cars.com/1-%2520car%2520details%2520pages/car3.html&usg=__tJ4VP3vHKiX_eRM4tv_7ZAWs4Ww=&h=224&w=500&sz=74&hl=en&start=10&um=1&tbnid=OAd6mbOt100nfM:&tbnh=58&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dexcalibur%2Bcar%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26 um%3D1

Rising Sun*
06-19-2009, 06:35 AM
Is it party political Ďspiní as you state, or is it the media, with its own agenda, selling a story and maximising profits Ė not to mention manipulating the voting public to serve its own political interests?

It's both, but there is a much more highly developed symbiotic relationship between the government and the pro-government press, and especially with conservative governments (here, at least) than there was over a quarter of a century ago during the Falklands War.

But the tabloid press can always be relied upon to take a simplistic hero or villain approach to everything, and to extol what it sees as traditional virtues while observing none of them in its crass scrabble for circulation by pandering to the lowest common denominator (here, at least).


If the media senses that the country is pissed off with the government, they would a toss for what spin the government puts on anything, they will go with what sells and what suits them.

True, as theyíre a pack of hyenas which always responds to the smell of blood and loves to tear at the carcass of a downed political animal, just because they can.

But they also play their part in bringing the animal down.

Thatís something that was absent from the direct participation in Athenian democracy. It was absent to a fair degree (here at least) until even the 1950s when politicians addressed the electorate primarily through direct contact in the streets, by doorknocking, and largely through personal appearances in town halls etc. Now they are mediated through the pressís interpretation of what they say and judged on how well they perform on television, which can be misleading. We had a state opposition leader here in the early 1980s who was widely regarded as a buffoon because of his appearances on television. He spoke to a senior management group of the corporation I was working for at the time and it took about a minute to see why he had been elected as leader of the party, because he had a presence and power in person which never came across through the television camera. He became premier of the state about a decade later, but was still widely regarded as a buffoon by those who had not seen him in person. They soon found out that he was an unusually determined and effective leader who got things done, whether or not one agreed with what he did (which I didnít).



If modern democracies are about freedom of choice, I would take one choice away from the people and that would be the choice to vote or abstein. I think this a major problem in the UK. As far as I'm concerned, everyone that has the vote, should have to vote, regardless of how pissed off they might be with the political parties, teh sytem, the economy or their local MP - in the UK, that is, I wouldn't interfere with the democratic choices of another sovereign nation. :lol:

We have what is commonly called compulsory voting here, but strictly the legal requirement is only to attend the polling station and have oneís name marked off the electoral roll. Still, once youíre there, you might as well vote. I donít think that ensuring that every idiot in the country attends to vote produces any better results in electing governments in what is essentially a two party system than in the US or Britain, which is a little surprising as the tabloids favoured by the idiots are universally pro-conservative parties. It does, however, relieve us of the energy wasted in non-compulsory systems by parties trying to get people out to vote.

As a footnote, after a disgraceful piece of political chicanery got our national government dismissed in 1975 by our Governor General, the Queenís representative who holds ultimate legislative power in a country Liz has little interest in, I was so disgusted with the farcical system which let the unelected representative of a foreign power dismiss my popularly elected government that I refused to participate in the shitty system for five years. Wait as I did for the court summons for failing to vote so I could exercise (quite pointlessly as I was bound to be convicted) my right to justify my refusal to participate in a supposedly democratic system in an ultimately non-existent democracy run by the unelected representative of a hereditary monarch, nothing happened.

Rising Sun*
06-19-2009, 06:49 AM
What I would like to know, is whether your much admired intelect (quoting Nick) is as long as my excalibur and does it fire on all cylinders?

My modesty is such that I carefully refrained from responding to Nick's comment, which happens to conflict with my wife's assessment of my intellect. And she is always right! :D

My Excalibur is the traditional model. Its end is stuck in stone, so I don't know how long it is, but the length of shaft outside the stone is most impressive. This also comes from my wife, and she is always right!

No matter how much I pull my shaft, it stays attached to its base. Although it has always fired reliably on one cylinder. ;) :D

Rising Sun*
06-19-2009, 07:22 AM
How Australia's representative democracy doesn't work in deciding when we go to war.


Australia should never repeat Iraq folly

Tuesday 16th June 2009, 12:00am


Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the Prime Minister must prevent repeating the mistakes of the illegal invasion of Iraq, by supporting his Private Senator's Bill to ensure parliamentary approval for taking the country to war. The push comes as Britain's Gordon Brown announced an Inquiry into his Government's involvement in the Iraq war.

In 2003, in the absence of any checks or balances that many other democracies have, Australian Prime Minister John Howard requested that the Governor-General deploy troops to Iraq, without Parliamentary approval.

"Mr Rudd can take some real action to safeguard against this ever happening again," said the Greens' Attorneys General Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam.

"My Private Senator's Bill will subject a decision to go to war to the scrutiny of Parliament as is the case in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. In these countries troop deployment is set down in constitutional or legislative provisions. This is a subject of intense debate in the UK - where the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are both pressuring the Prime Minister to take this step."

"Deciding whether or not to take the country to war - the responsibility of sending Australian men and women into danger and quite possibly to their deaths, is the most serious decision a Government can make. Had the representatives of Australians been given the opportunity to consider Bush's War on Iraq, then Australia most certainly would not have become involved in what is now widely understood to be an illegal war."

"The legitimacy of Australia's democracy is called into question for as long as one individual has the power to take the country to war on a whim," concluded Senator Ludlam. http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/australia-should-never-repeat-iraq-folly

Our supposedly 'representative' government got us into a war when, depending upon the poll, somewhere between 60% and close to 90% of the population did not support that action. http://www.eriposte.com/war_peace/iraq/world_support/gallup_intl_2003_by_country.gif Hardly a great example of the popular will being implemented by its elected representatives.

32Bravo
06-19-2009, 07:54 AM
My modesty is such that I carefully refrained from responding to Nick's comment, which happens to conflict with my wife's assessment of my intellect. And she is always right! :D

My Excalibur is the traditional model. Its end is stuck in stone, so I don't know how long it is, but the length of shaft outside the stone is most impressive. This also comes from my wife, and she is always right!

No matter how much I pull my shaft, it stays attached to its base. Although it has always fired reliably on one cylinder. ;) :D

:lol::lol:

32Bravo
06-19-2009, 08:07 AM
...


"My Private Senator's Bill will subject a decision to go to war to the scrutiny of Parliament as is the case in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. In these countries troop deployment is set down in constitutional or legislative provisions. This is a subject of intense debate in the UK - where the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are both pressuring the Prime Minister to take this step."




I'm not conviced that this is a good thing...look what happened to Leonidas.

I agree that no one person in government ought to be able to commit the country to war, but to try to legislate for what would be acceptable conditions for going to war is a bit of a nonsense. Checks and controls, by all means. If we're speaking of democratic decisons, then perhaps it is the electoral system which should be looked at i.e. P.R.

It would be good to get the majority of the electorate involved in decisions as important as going to war but the realities of such policy given population sizes etc. Well...'Jaw, jaw...better than war, war!' But will the opposition hang around while we take a vote? Not all circumstance sof going to war will or would be the same as invading Iraq.

Of course, military operations could become war by any other name.

Rising Sun*
06-19-2009, 09:04 AM
I'm not conviced that this is a good thing...look what happened to Leonidas.

This is what comes of consulting oracles.

As an aside, an otherwise reasonably intelligent woman I work with said yesterday that she had to make an appointment with her clairvoyant. I said that this should be unnecessary, because if the clairvoyant was any good she'd know the sheila was coming. My comment was not well received. If I was clairvoyant I would have seen that coming.


I agree that no one person in government ought to be able to commit the country to war, but to try to legislate for what would be acceptable conditions for going to war is a bit of a nonsense.

I agree with that as it impossible to provide for all contingencies (who would have had the foresight before 9/11 to propose a 9/11 attack in a war conditions bill?), but it's a different matter to take the American approach that the power to declare war resides in the legislature rather than the executive. News reports (I haven't read the bill) indicate that all that Ludlum wants is that the legislature rather than the executive decides when we will deploy troops. Which overcomes the American problem (and ours by a different route) that the President can deploy troops for up to 60? days without Congressional approval, which means that in the absence of a Congressional veto the President can commit the country to a war (as in Korea and Vietnam). When the President is of the same party which controls Congress there seems little likelihood of Congress going against the President's decision, so the President (or any other leader in similar position in a parliamentary democracy) has de facto if not de jure power to take the country to war.

On the other hand a requirement for parliamentary approval brings us back to my earlier comments about the risk of the parliament dithering when decisive action is needed.

While fully participatory democracy is a nice ideal, the realities and practicalites of governing dictate that a government has to have a pretty much free hand to respond to immediate and grave threats to the nation. As happened in Australia after Japan attacked in WWII. But I don't think it should go so far as 'responding' to vague and unsatisfactorily demonstrated 'threats' like Iraq in 2003.


Checks and controls, by all means. If we're speaking of democratic decisons, then perhaps it is the electoral system which should be looked at i.e. P.R.

Do you mean proportional representation?

If so, I think it has more to commend it than the gerrymandered and disproportionate single seat electorates which elect many of our politicians. We have a mixture of both systems here, but generally not PR where it has real political clout. http://www.eca.gov.au/systems/proportional/proportion_rep.htm

32Bravo
06-19-2009, 11:12 AM
This is what comes of consulting oracles.


It was because the laws of Sparta wouldn't permit him to take the army to war during the festival... of something or other?...but I like the joke. :lol:



As an aside, an otherwise reasonably intelligent woman I work with said yesterday that she had to make an appointment with her clairvoyant. I said that this should be unnecessary, because if the clairvoyant was any good she'd know the sheila was coming. My comment was not well received. If I was clairvoyant I would have seen that coming. Don't you just like surprises. :lol:




I agree with that as it impossible to provide for all contingencies (who would have had the foresight before 9/11 to propose a 9/11 attack in a war conditions bill?), but it's a different matter to take the American approach that the power to declare war resides in the legislature rather than the executive. News reports (I haven't read the bill) indicate that all that Ludlum wants is that the legislature rather than the executive decides when we will deploy troops. Which overcomes the American problem (and ours by a different route) that the President can deploy troops for up to 60? days without Congressional approval, which means that in the absence of a Congressional veto the President can commit the country to a war (as in Korea and Vietnam). When the President is of the same party which controls Congress there seems little likelihood of Congress going against the President's decision, so the President (or any other leader in similar position in a parliamentary democracy) has de facto if not de jure power to take the country to war.

I tend to be more focussed on what is happening in the UK rather than the States, although I do try to keep an eye on what is happening with our cousins across the ocean.

generally speaking: if we are to put our trust in our elected representatives to make decisions for us instead of holding a referendum for every potentially unpopular decision - be it war or not - then surely the way forward has to be to have a system of electing our representatives which represents the majority of the electorate. Since 1979, in the UK we have witnessed two parties taking over control of the country with landslide victories in the polls even thought this is not representative of the electorate as a whole. The two major parties have, up until now, been against PR as it would dilute their power. It would also make it difficult for said parties to take us to war and, perhaps, in those circumstances the UK would not have been embroiled in Iraq. But, even it had been, at least it would have been reflecting a more representative commitment of the nation.



Do you mean proportional representation?

If so, I think it has more to commend it than the gerrymandered and disproportionate single seat electorates which elect many of our politicians. We have a mixture of both systems here, but generally not PR where it has real political clout. http://www.eca.gov.au/systems/proportional/proportion_rep.htm

Sorry, I'm in a hurry to go for my train and thought this was above my previous. Yes, I was speaking of proportional representation when I spoke of PR.

There's always arguments about the sytem of PR to adopt - well, get on with it and select the fairest - who gives a fish's-tit if the italians never agree on anything? :)

p.s. Don't you have a home to go to - it's Friday...probably Saturday where you are. :)

Rising Sun*
06-20-2009, 09:33 AM
if we are to put our trust in our elected representatives

Are you completely ****ing crazy? ;) :D

Trust those bastards?

Just look at the way your lot have been fraudulently abusing their allowances etc, across all parties.

Almost all politicians are ****s. Some are just bigger ****s than others. They mightn't start out that way, but by the time they get into office they've compromised themselves so much that they're bendy men and bendy women, beholden to various interests while obsessed with their own ambitions. A few don't fit that bill, but they're invariably independents or major party renegades who foolishly stand for principle, which is something all politicians pretend to do and which almost none do, not least because most of the bendy ambitious ****s have no idea what 'principle' means beyond being something they parrot for the TV news along with 'responsible' and 'decisive' and everything else they aren't to persuade the electorate that they are. ****s, the lot of them! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:



So on one hand we have what I think is to make decisions for us instead of holding a referendum for every potentially unpopular decision - be it war or not - then surely the way forward has to be to have a system of electing our representatives which represents the majority of the electorate. Since 1979, in the UK we have witnessed two parties taking over control of the country with landslide victories in the polls even thought this is not representative of the electorate as a whole. The two major parties have, up until now, been against PR as it would dilute their power. It would also make it difficult for said parties to take us to war and, perhaps, in those circumstances the UK would not have been embroiled in Iraq. But, even it had been, at least it would have been reflecting a more representative commitment of the nation.

The problem comes back to the fact that the size of our populations requires us to have representative rather than Athenian participatory democracies.

While PR seems fairer, it will be corrupted like all other political processes in modern democracies by things such as sectional interests funding preferred candidates who upon election will favour their funders rather than electoral constituents because the most important thing to a politician who has been elected to power is to be re-elected to pursue their personal ambition.

All our (Australian) 'pure' minor parties, such as the Greens, sooner or later do deals that shit on their electoral constituents and principles, sometimes by doing deals with the devil as represented by one of the major parties.

But, for all that, I can't think of a better democratic system in the modern world than a representative democracy. It's just a question of which one we think is most representative or, more accurately, least unrepresentative, against the one politicians think favours them most by ensuring that they aren't representative, either proportionally or by representing constituents' interests in preference to party or funders' interests. ****s! The lot of them, and I say this after long acquaintance with them as junior ****s growing into major ****s over the past couple of decades, in both major parties. I wouldn't piss on any of them if they were on fire.

Like a few other people I know I have rejected requests to stand for election for a given party, although not necessarily the same party as other people I know who have rejected such requests from the other major party, because like those who support the other side I'm not willing to compromise my principles by doing what is necessary to get through the local party selection committee up to being elected as it is all about subordinating oneself to a rigid party autocracy and spouting the party line.

As long us people like us stay out of politics nothing will change. And as soon as we get into it, we will change. So the world is doomed to have a certain sort of nasty, grasping, ambitious, unprincipled person fed up the ranks of the party into government and beholden to whatever interests helped them get there. And those politicians can be relied upon to make their decisions to preserve support from the big end of town that got them there rather than the tens of thousands of citizens whose interests the politician supposedly represents in that electorate. Even if proportionately elected.

Here is why a fully participatory democracy won't work in Australia. ;) The prospect of several million people descending on Canberra several times a year to vote on major issues is alarming. This is what happens when only a few thousand of our prime voting stock descend upon the national capital in their annual pilgrimage, all of whom are clearly of the highest intellect.;) :D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51l74YL-wvM&feature=related
And, don't forget, all of these people vote. Assuming that they know which end of the pencil to use.

This is our armyís contribution to the national capitalís festival of fuel. Itís my taxes at work, and I think itís money bloody well spent on a Land Rover, including the Corvette motor, Nissan diffs and a Chevy arse. I gather it's the Army's attempt to implement on land the naval command 'Make smoke'.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuHBWfKmRWI

This is for Nick. The first nipples appear at 15 seconds. :) Fire appears at the end. :D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Wy-U0HpEw

Rising Sun*
06-20-2009, 09:39 AM
p.s. Don't you have a home to go to - it's Friday...probably Saturday where you are. :)

I have the dreaded lurgie.

More than twenty minutes of sleep without coughing to the point I vomit ain't presently attainable, so my hours are a bit irregular.

And, No, it's not swine flu.

There is no way I could have a sleeper virus from the various bush pigs I ****ed in the 1970s. :D

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 03:05 AM
Please forgive my tardy response, have been a tad busy.



Are you completely ****ing crazy?

It has been said!




Just look at the way your lot have been fraudulently abusing their allowances etc, across all parties.

I have been looking - so, what's new?



The problem comes back to the fact that the size of our populations requires us to have representative rather than Athenian participatory democracies.

While PR seems fairer, it will be corrupted like all other political processes in modern democracies by things such as sectional interests funding preferred candidates who upon election will favour their funders rather than electoral constituents because the most important thing to a politician who has been elected to power is to be re-elected to pursue their personal ambition.

As has been happening since at least the time that a few chaps got together, bashed a couple of rocks together and named the result 'Hot'!


Even the ancients of Athens and Sparta had their spin and and worked their scams, for such is the nature of humankind. As you pointed out, the Athenians didn't have telecommunications, they didn't have the printing press, but they were literate. The bounds of their city were small and communication spread like wildfire through the Agora, which is where much of the factional lobbying took place before the assembly, so that many of the policies were done and dusted before floored in the assembly, nothing new there either.

If we complain that our governmemt commits us to war and that we didn't elect them to do so - i.e. that it isn't representative of the majority - then we have to find a better way of electing a government that better represents the majority of the electorate. In the UK reform is long overdue not just in the system of electing our governments but in the way parties present their manifestos - the fine detail. Of course that would also put a certain responsibility on the individual to actually read the manifestos.

Rising Sun*
06-24-2009, 07:28 AM
If we complain that our governmemt commits us to war and that we didn't elect them to do so - i.e. that it isn't representative of the majority - then we have to find a better way of electing a government that better represents the majority of the electorate.

PR probably goes a fair way to that in the modern world, but it will still be distorted if not corrupted by things such as trade union influence on one side and heavy corporate donations on the other.

There is also the problem, offensive though it is to some with high ideals, that a significant element of the population isn't capable of making even a mildly informed choice and shouldn't be entrusted with the vote. Or allowed to breed. But we have to allow them to do both, because that is their right in a democratic society where all people have equal rights, even if they don't have equal ability to exercise them rationally and or intelligently.


In the UK reform is long overdue not just in the system of electing our governments but in the way parties present their manifestos - the fine detail. Of course that would also put a certain responsibility on the individual to actually read the manifestos.

What's the point in any of that when as soon as they're elected the bastards renege on the promises they made to get elected?

Our last lot of national professional turds invented 'core' and 'non-core' promises, although only after they were elected on the basis of clearly stated policies which were not identified as 'core' and 'non-core'. :evil: :evil: :evil:

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 07:38 AM
What's the point in any of that when as soon as they're elected the bastards renege on the promises they made to get elected?

Our last lot of national professional turds invented 'core' and 'non-core' promises, although only after they were elected on the basis of clearly stated policies which were not identified as 'core' and 'non-core'. :evil: :evil: :evil:

That's why we ought to have reform, so that it makes it difficult in the extreme for them to renege on their promises.

Again, economies and their driving forces evolve, and their can be times when something in a manifesto becomes out of date. What we ought to do is make sure that they have a heck of a time proving that that is the situation before they can go back on their promises. If they don't then the coutnry has a vote of confidence regarding the competence/incompetence of its government which, in effect, would lead to an election. There has to be a better way.

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 07:42 AM
There is also the problem, offensive though it is to some with high ideals, that a significant element of the population isn't capable of making even a mildly informed choice and shouldn't be entrusted with the vote. Or allowed to breed. But we have to allow them to do both, because that is their right in a democratic society where all people have equal rights, even if they don't have equal ability to exercise them rationally and or intelligently.

I think I mentioned the chap in the bath previously. :)

The Athenian education system was geared up so that those that were '****ed' - as someone so eloquently put it - into forming the 500 actually had an idea of what they were doing - it all boils down to education, then the spin becomes less effective.

Rising Sun*
06-24-2009, 08:55 AM
...it all boils down to education, then the spin becomes less effective.

Assuming that you're not trying to educate a bunch of kids (whose parents are resentful, self-pitying troglodytes engaging in the odd bit of crime to supplement social security income for which they also don't work) who grow up despising education and the well-meaning and reasonably generous society which tried to give it to them, but from which they didn't benefit because they were too busy disrupting classes or slagging off or belting up teachers or damaging school propery and generally demonstrating their contempt for the institution which offered them the best way out of the shithole they were born into.

Combine that with the vastly greater resources of the government and political parties to exploit the press in all its forms to manipulate the populace and it's like shooting fish in a barrel as far as manipulating the un or poorly educated, particulary when events such as the (I thought patently weak and specious at the time) arguments for invading Iraq persuaded plenty of highly educated and intelligent people.

Rather than placing the burden on the populace to be sufficienty well educated to identify politicians' bullshit (which even the best educated often cannot do) it would be better to place the burden on politicians to be honest.

Consumer protection laws give us clear remedies against misleading and deceptive conduct from everyone except politicians. If the bastards knew they could go to gaol for gaining office by lies and deception and for not honouring their warranties, judged by a jury of those who voted them in and were deceived by them, they'd soon lift their game.

I don't see why I should have a legal remedy against someone who, even unknowingly, sells me a defective product but I have none against a lying, cheating, devious, piece of shit whose lies jeopardise my country's future just so he or she can satisfy dreams of power.

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 09:45 AM
I'm not disagreeing with that.

Perhaps, as well as legal reforms, we ought to look at cultural reforms.

I seem to recall someone mentioning doffing one's cap in the St Pat's Day procession.

Rising Sun*
06-24-2009, 09:58 AM
I seem to recall someone mentioning doffing one's cap in the St Pat's Day procession.

You could be on to something there.

I suggest a global reincarnation of St Patrick.

He expelled the snakes from Ireland, so it'd be much the same, albeit much more difficult, getting rid of the political snakes everywhere else.

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 12:20 PM
Assuming that you're not trying to educate a bunch of kids (whose parents are resentful, self-pitying troglodytes engaging in the odd bit of crime to supplement social security income for which they also don't work) who grow up despising education and the well-meaning and reasonably generous society which tried to give it to them, but from which they didn't benefit because they were too busy disrupting classes or slagging off or belting up teachers or damaging school propery and generally demonstrating their contempt for the institution which offered them the best way out of the shithole they were born into.



"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."
Socrates: 5th century B.C.
Not enough of them keep their legs crossed!

"What is happening to our young
people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They
ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions.
Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?"
Plato : 5th/4th century B.C.

Nothing is wrong with the young people, it's the society they are raised in.

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 12:29 PM
Combine that with the vastly greater resources of the government and political parties to exploit the press in all its forms to manipulate the populace and it's like shooting fish in a barrel as far as manipulating the un or poorly educated, particulary when events such as the (I thought patently weak and specious at the time) arguments for invading Iraq persuaded plenty of highly educated and intelligent people.

Did you realize, that that's quite a long sentence.



Rather than placing the burden on the populace to be sufficienty well educated to identify politicians' bullshit (which even the best educated often cannot do) it would be better to place the burden on politicians to be honest.

It is wrong to simply beat the drum for "Equal opportunity" in education. If you were present at some of the arguments I find myself in, you would either kill me or buy me a beer!

No, problems cannot be solved by simply putting a faulously whizz scool with all of the latest techno wotsits in an impoverished area. Why not? For all of the reasons which you have already stated and more. The whole fabric of society woud have to be restructured in order for that to work.



Consumer protection laws give us clear remedies against misleading and deceptive conduct from everyone except politicians. If the bastards knew they could go to gaol for gaining office by lies and deception and for not honouring their warranties, judged by a jury of those who voted them in and were deceived by them, they'd soon lift their game.

Isn't ther an element of "Buyer beware" which limits that protection?



I don't see why I should have a legal remedy against someone who, even unknowingly, sells me a defective product but I have none against a lying, cheating, devious, piece of shit whose lies jeopardise my country's future just so he or she can satisfy dreams of power.

You could be onto something there. But in the meantime, how do we go about recruiting St Pat. ?

32Bravo
06-24-2009, 12:31 PM
... against a lying, cheating, devious, piece of shit whose lies jeopardise my country's future just so he or she can satisfy dreams of power.

They're everywhere, not just in politics... it's the way of humankind!