"The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a 'warm body' democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens, which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it. which for the majority translates as 'Bread and Circuses.' 'Bread and Circuses' is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader-the barbarians enter Rome."
By "pure democracy", do you mean the kind that can come up with a "Let's all vote on what everybody's favorite color is!" sort of scenario?
To that degree, I agree with you.
Democracy isn't Liberty. But people seem to have forgotten the meaning of Liberty. It ssems they prefer joining herds over being self-reliant. This phenomenon is probably the fault of that "responsibility" bugaboo. >:->
I guess it's true what they've been saying since there's been writing, Freedom ain't free.
Though it would be very nice to say this point of view is not true, I cannot, because it is. Most humans, in 2008, have not yet developed to the point where each can employ objectivity to the degree required by a truly successful democracy. In a nutshell, most people are selfish, including many of those who think they are being selfless by espousing their pet cause. This is why George Bush was dishonest about Iraq. It was not because he wanted the oil for himself [that's ridiculous], it was because he had a vision of doing something actually quite noble: bringing democracy to an oppressed people, among other things, and, strategically, Iraq was the best place to start; but if he had told the truth, had asked permission to invade on this basis, the average American would have said, "Let them suffer, not my problem, I have kids to feed". So he lied a bit.
On the matter of feedback, I am a big believer in a flat, accros-the- board, local-state-national transaction tax, where any type of exchange of goods/services whatsoever is regarded as a transaction and taxed as such. For example, labor would be regarded as simply another transaction, where labor is the service offered. There would be no unemployment tax.
Taxing would occur in real-time using computers. The IRS would be relegated to seeing that the tax machine is working and not being evaded. There would be no income tax, and no annual filing thereof.
There would be no luxury tax. All transactions, whether a $1 purchase at garage sale or $1 billion purchase of an aircraft, would be taxed at the same rate (20%). People earning $5000US/year would still pay
20% in taxes if they spend all of it, the idea being that, if they are so poor, they will be the ones most benefiting from the social programs that insure that all have the most basic Maslow needs satisfied. Selling of securities would be regarded as transactions and taxed as such, but at a significantly lower rate (< 1%). This would be the only exception. Taxes between disjoint geopolitical entities France/USA would generate an international tax, the proceeds of which would go to an international body like UN, etc.
The tax rate would be adustable, changing every 3 months. Everyone would know 6 months in advance what the tax rate is for a particular quarter. Congress would decide whether to raise or lower the tax, in extremely minute adjustments, the idea being to minimize probability that variance in required funds exceeds "what's in the pot".
Goverments would have to alter their mentality regarding budgets. Instead of trying to guess how much is needed, a small over-allotment will be targeted. System theorists would use feedback models to insure stability, which, IMO, should be the primary objective of government.
The good thing about this system is that it will force objectivity among citizens. Everyone will want taxes to be lowered, but given that there are far more people who are not-rich than rich, the not- rich people will not be able to "penalize" the rich without bringing equal suffering against themselves. There will need to be a semi- formal mechanism by which a single individual can indicate his/her approval/disapproval with whims of his/her government representative via electronic, year-round "pseudo-voting", for example, ['No, I am not interested in a Save-The-Rabbits tax increase.']
The "right" tax rate, that which would provide transportation infrastructure, education, medical care, environmental protection, defense...things that benefit the majority of us... would find itself.
ladimir Vassilevsky wrote: > "The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen > to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies > throughout all histories. > A perfect democracy, a 'warm body' democracy in which every adult may > vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for > self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of > citizens, which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of > other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each > sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety > and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own > self-interest as he sees it. which for the majority translates as 'Bread > and Circuses.' > 'Bread and Circuses' is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for > which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But > once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or > parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when > the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses > without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot > stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its > weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader-the barbarians enter > Rome." >
Is that why, in the beginning, voting rights only extended to property owners?
I have to disagree here. The events of this scale don't happen sporadically; they are always preceded by negotiations. I am pretty sure that, for example, the 9/11 was preceded by some sort of talks with Osama where they didn't reach the conclusion. As for Iraq, that was a desperate attempt to prevent the imminent crisis and solve the energy problem. Idiots and madmen do exist, of course; however they can't go that far. Every book on PR teaches: always explain any action by the noble reasons.
How about assigning the weight in the voting to the each person in the proportion with the amount of taxes payed?
Vladimir Vassilevsky wrote in news:sLoOk.6653$ email@example.com:
You evidently don't see the strategy of getting rid of Saddam and developing a more stable,reliable Iraqi government,with some measure of democracy and responsibility. It is a key to the Middle East. That is why Iran is doing all it can to stop us.
Not colonialism - domination, plain and simple. That's where the oil is, you know.
Geez, why are people so brain-locked? Educate the NIMBYS or ignore them and just start building nuke plants, or buying them OFF THE SHELF:
This would not only end "dependency on foreign oil", but with zero carbon emissions, they could solve the "global warming" "crisis" in just a few years. Or, like, tomorrow. But the warmingists don't want an answer, they want those luscious "research" grants.
Cheers! Rich  how would we know, in either case? >:->
The sad fact is that Afghanistan is/was a justified war, and it is vastly more important than Iraq was. Saddam was going nowhere, while AQ and the Taliban had, and still potentially have, the power to destabilise a nuclear armed Pakistan.
http://www.transcendence.me.uk/ - Transcendence UK