Plato maintained that democracies were doomed to collapse into tyranny. In brief, he believed people would demand greater and greater freedoms and become less and less tolerant of anything that stood in the way of them achieving their desires. In turn, this would necessitate ever more authoritarian government to maintain order. History provides both examples and, until now, counter examples. German and Italian democracy collapsed into facism. British and American democracy survived.
Whatever you think of Plato's hypothesis, it seems unwise to assume that a democracy is stable simply because it has survived a couple of centuries. The most desirable, and probably the most stable, form of democracy is when the people elect capable leaders and allow them to lead. Great democratic leaders make unpopular decisions in the best interests of the nation. Weak democratic leaders make decisions based on opinion polls and their own ambition. If we rated the leaders of western nations on that basis from the end of world war 2 to the present day the trend line, towards ever weaker leaders, would be clear.
In the US, the easily manipulated and deluded see Trump as a capable leader. Others see him, in fulfilment of Plato's prediction, as a potential tyrant. Still others, probably correctly, see him as a weak populist who will be driven by public opinion and his own ambition. In the UK the leadership was so weak that it allowed a plebiscite on an issue fraught with risk for the economic future of the nation, which will now suffer the consequences. In Australia we have a prime minister so weak he has handed over policy to the most extreme members of his coalition without so much as a whimper of disapproval and a population so easily manipulated that their voting intentions are sensitive only to personal interest.
In his analysis Plato could not have anticipated the corrosive influence of both mass and social media on public debate. The ease with which vested interests manipulate public opinion stands as the greatest threat to democracy. Complex issues are reduced to simplistic binary polarities with the weight of the media moguls and their corporate sponsors thrown behind the pole most conducive to increased profit. Fact free analysis is given the loudest voice in the land and our spineless politicians grovel to whatever mouthpiece hack the corporates have hired. The result of this is idiocy. All policy is hostage to the short term benefits of the corporations with the loudest voice and the deepest pockets. We no longer have politics, we have a form of collective insanity.
In the idiocracy all opinions are created equal. The person who has based his views on the morning headlines in some Murdoch rag better suite to wiping arses than to the dissemination of factual information, believes their view has as much validity as that of someone who has first hand experience of the issue and decades of study in the field. Emboldened, the voice of the easily manipulated moron is loud in the land and echoes in the chambers of parliament.
We hope that our bridges are designed by an elite who have studied engineering and architecture. We similarly hope that surgery is performed by an elite who have studied the art. It is only when the opinions of an elite challenge the prejudices of the wider population or, more often, the interests of those who manipulate them, that we hear condemnation.
There is an elite whose power threatens us all. It has ruthlessly increased its share of the national wealth in every western democracy since the 1970s. It is that class which is born to great privelege and whose sense of entitlement is so great that it sees no problem in war or poverty as long as profit is steady. It is the class that diverts the education budget to the provision of sandstone gates and Olympic pools at private schools. It is the class that continually attempts to shift the tax burden away from corporations and the wealthy. It is the class that cuts services to the disadvantaged and reduce overseas aid. They are the behind the scenes rulers in the idiocracy they have worked so long and had to create.
A darker view
You know Blindboy , I fully agree with a lot of what you said.
Not all, but a lot.
But you've got to realise that you've undermined the entire credibility of your post by linking to an article that takes the unbounded leap of faith in placing Trump as Hiltlers replacement just cause he talks some shit....as all politicians talk some shit.
It's just that the other more " elite " politician's lies are often more polished because they are professional liers and have oftentimes never had any other vocational experience to temper this trait.
The longest bow drawn to present Trump being imminently Hitleresque as fact rather than opinion is as much fake news as anything to have come out of Trumps own mouth.
The fact that the irony of this is lost on the journalist presents the question - How is the New York Times held in such high regard if it puts its name to this garbage ?
PS Was I mistaken in my belief that an expert or elite journalist built their craft upon the fundamental ability to provide facts unencumbered with defamatory bias ?
Well written bb. They also ignore obvious signs from the planet to change their life style ways because they believe it will impact monetary profits. This humanity insanity neglects the fact that it is the planet that supplies all of the natural resources to actually get that profit. Until the species fully embraces its connection to each other and the biosphere, it will act from a survival consciousness that ultimately reveals it's limitations.
The planet loves us Dave !
Can't you feel it ?
Gaia wanted you to have the resource depleting computer you're typing on.
idiocracy , hope it doesn't transform from what you read or what you are told in these times
For those who think there is no comparison between Hitler and Trump, a respected historian of that period disagrees.
The mention of Plato in Blindo's piece reminded me of this very recent speechifying which also involved a lot of 'Greek' references. Have a read if you can. Let us know if it strikes a chord.
Actually Blindboy, the historian does not once say that Trump is like Hitler in any substantial regard whatsoever.
The closest that he gets is the manner in which Trump describes Islamic State which is not much removed from Turnbull describing Daesh or anyone , anywhere discussing those murderous animals.
Bush was talking about an AXIS OF EVIL for christs sake . How Old Testament do you want to get ?
And then he invaded Iraq. Which the journalist doesn't find to be a crazier thing to do than talking shit about a terrorist organisation that was responsible for roughly 30,000 deaths last year.
Despite the ridiculously leading questions and attempted predetermination of the " journalist " there is zero correlation between Trump and Hitler in this article.
Loved the way the choice for the journalist came down to Trump was either Hitler or clinically insane ......because he tweets at 3am !
Read the answer beginning " When you look at President Trump's statements, I'm afraid you do see echoes ......" He makes a very clear and explicit comparison between Trump's demonisation of Muslims and the Nazis' demonisation of Jews.
Trump demonises Islamic state, not Muslims and the United States is currently at war with Islamic State.
With full congressional backing existent since before Trump's time.
This demonisation is not unique to Trump.
its not really that clear BB. he brings up islamic state and trumps "extreme reaction" as the pertinent example. only problem with his logic is that the jews werent running around decapitating people back in 1930.
Of course the planet loves us blowin or we would not be here. But even a loving grandma does not allow its loved ones to burn down the house. Everything has consciousness blowin but the level of awareness differs as even demonstrated here on Lennox net. Oops.
BB, tell us you are joking - "Nazis demonisation of the Jews" ( by Trump).
"...only problem with his logic is that the jews werent running around decapitating people back in 1930."
Minor detail that one happyas,
The irrationalocracy by blindboy
After alternative facts we have alternative history. So OK absolutely no Jewish terrorism in the 1939s and 40s, not true, made up by the media!
So there were jews running around cutting peoples heads off?
That hitler guy wasn't so bad after all.
Come on Blindboy.
The US is officially at war with ISIS.
30,000 dead with a similar number injured in a few thousand seperate attacks by Islamic ideologues in a single year with comparable figures for preceding years.
Attacks in over a 50 seperate countries. Separatist movements ie the usurpation of sovereign soil by religious driven bigotry :
Muslim separatist groups in the Philippines (Mindanao and other regions: Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf), in Thailand (see also South Thailand insurgency), in India (see also Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir), in the Peoples Republic of China (Xinjang: East Turkestan Islamic Movement), Tanzania (Zanzibarian separatist movements), in the Central African Republic (Regions who inhabited by Muslims: Séléka), in Russia (in the Northern Caucasus, especially in Chechnya: Caucasus Emirate), in Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina: Alija Izetbegovic espoused an Islamic inspired separatism)
Not to mentioned hundreds more failed terrorist plots worldwide .
But yeah , exactly like Jewish terrorism during the war.
As exactly as Trump is like Hitler anyway.
Which seems close enough for hyperbole to some.
Talk about your alternative facts. Now we have alternative relevancy and alternative scales of proportion.
So Blowin, let's get it out in the open. Do you agree with Trump's ban?
actually BB, im kind of sympathetic to your plight. I do think Trump has similarities to Hitler in terms of narcissistic personality (or so ive read), and it would be a mistake to ignore a historians viewpoint. though it [is] a different era and particularly the ability for trump to hide facts and generate propaganda the same way as hilter did is limited. so i find it hard to believe that trump could rise to that level of power without being pulled into line or voted out. I guess we just wait and see.
.......the approach taken by the majority of Europeans in the 1930s and that didn't end well.
Not to mention people being a just a little more smarter now.
But blindboy doesn't see that, he thinks everyone is is stupid, idiots, ignorant
Except himself of course...
Agree happyas re. narcicism, but I think most leaders are narcicistic/sociopathic eg. rudd, turnball....clinton!
So many comments missing the point, allowing waffle which the idiocracy love, the message is one of joining the revolution, dont be scared of the idiocracy, this is the fear cycle they have the younger generation in, "dont complain"," everything will look shiny and new", but the idiocracy will own it all and the profits will go there way while you watch your future decline, your wages and value of your work slip while they play off generation against generation, returning to lanlorded aristocracy, and big brother will slowly watch your fear grow and your learned helplessness rise. Dont fearfully vote for the idiocracy or secretly try to become one, you never will and you will never be in there class. The big three are there for balance. Government, business and unions, the balancing triad, to weaken any one will collapse the balance. Dont allow this to happen, bring back the balance , relearn to STRIKE with your labor removal. Monitor and out the most sophisticated manipulators and double players/ agents. Come together, face the green revoluton, thats where saving the earth and humanity lies, including profit for all and a love for all beings.
Good comments blamey,
But I'm confused, is it trump or clinton you're referring to?
Trump is the trigger, not the solution
"Don't hate the media, BECOME THE MEDIA" - Eric Reed Boucher
Fair article TT, but already our dear Fact Check (ABC) has been caught out. So where to from here when Fact is Fake.
Thanks Barbie, I was wondering how Rupert would spin it.
Very clever turnaround there turkeyman,...but rupert does have a point
Elsewhere, the ruse is up, even the abc's gone all trump.
About ten years late, but a good article stating the bloody obvious
There are two ways to answer this question, neither of which address the issue that Trumps 12 week halt on visas from 7 countries in any way equates to Donald Trump being Hitler incarnate .....which is the topic we are discussing.
But if you'd like to digress in an attempt to paint me as an evil bigot who has a seperate place in hell preordained in waiting , then I hope I don't disappoint.
1: An objective account that you'd allude to as diversionary.
The US is a sovereign nation and its President is allowed to protect its citizens in a manner that he sees fit - with the permission of congress or whoever the fuck acts as moderator on the POTUS' power.
All seven countries are represented globally as providers and harbourers of Islamic terrorists - who the USA is officially at war with , enemy combatants etc etc - so whilst zero , or very few , terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by nationals from these countries on US soil , that does not mean they will not.
The president has a mandate to protect citizens of the US. This is not an intrusive foreign policy projected on an external sovereign nation.
This is a domestic decision regarding US borders and foreign nationals that if in need of a visa, have zero entitlement to entry .
Why the apparently subjective application to suspect nations is beyond me . You and I can speculate , but we will not know unless the POTUS tells us....
Good luck with that.
2 : My personal opinion on the topic.
Apart from wholeheartedly agreeing with answer 1 , that it is the prerogative of the US to let in whoever they want and reject whoever they want , I think that the fact is that the US is at war with an extreme interpretation of a religion that is transnational and trans societal.
In fact the only unifying premise of those opposed to the US - apart from the fact that they've more than likely had the shit bombed out of them by the US - is that they are all Muslim.
Now you and I know that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceable and just wish to exist. But there is a quantifiable sentiment that allows for the furthering of the Muslim world at the expense of the western world.
Again , I must state that this is a slim percentage.
But why would the US expose itself to this slim percentage unless entirely necesssary.
And this is where our opinions truly diverge . You as a globalist that sees the Earth as a vast vista of utopian ideals where all of the worlds diverse cultures can unite into an amalgamous mass without friction or conflict.
Whereas I see the human slavishness for power continuously using the fault lines of cultural disparity to enact divisions that will lead to the subjugation of the minority.
See , I expect the US to curtail the rise of Islamism because I know it's in their best interests.
If they don't , then Islamists or Hindu or Chinese or Russia or Eskimos or whoever has the capability and opportunity will do it to them .
As has happened time and time again throughout the world and throughout history.
Sound hyperbolic ?
Well the US has done it to whoever they've wanted to for the last 70 years , not because they are inherently evil, but because they could.
Why grant a slated enemy of your culture even the slightest opportunity to undermine your society ?
Yes, you will need reminding about now that I don't hold the entirety of the Muslim world to be evil or incompatible with western society - I had lunch at a Muslim restaurant in the worlds most populous Muslim country about an hour ago - but that doesn't mean that Western society should not remain vigilante to less friendly segments of this religion that are as real as the Earth under our feet.
As to the individuals that suffer under such measures as the US introduces....who gives a fuck. They are entitled to nothing, it's not their country.
I'd love to buy a huge slice of the Sumbawan coastline , but the Muslim majority society doesn't give a fuck and denies me.
As is THEIR right as sovereign rulers of their nation.
Well it might be the topic you were discussing Blowin but I only suggested that there were similarities.
Mate if you want to pretend that you haven't laboured the fact that you see Trump as the new Hitler then I'm more than happy to oblige.
What is your opinion on the Trump bans ?
Mate if you want to pretend that you do not consistently distort and exaggerate my views.......sorry I am not ready to oblige. Don't worry someone will come along to chat with.
"For those who think there is no comparison between Hitler and Trump, a respected historian of that period disagrees." .....Blindboy - a few hours ago.
".......the approach taken by the majority of Europeans in the 1930s and that didn't end well. " ....
Jeez, I was hoping we'd made some progress and we're having an actual discussion.
You know , the middle ground between your melodrama and my relentless piss taking.
But if your position is as indefensible as you make it appear then I guess it's back to no platforming me as a means of resisting an alternative opinion.
Hey , you could call this technique The Resistance.
Ohh, wait a minute....
Blindboy, you don't need anyone to exaggerate your views, they're hysterical enough as is.
Oh look, over there interesting polite people are chatting in a civilised manner without insult or abuse! What the fuck am I doing in this well of ignorance?
Most frequent comment I hear about these forums from other Swellnet users. " Why would you contribute when the entire comments section is dominated by a few loudmouth know nothings who apparently have nothing better to do than stay online all day trolling."
BB I tend to agree with you , as Trump just seems to have little regard for the Institution that he now represents , to the point of banning the travel of muslims from the 7 countries who have no record of any terrorist attacks or their refugees killing American citizens .
The 4 countries that are responsible for more than 3,300 including 9/11 , being Egypt/Turkey/Lebanon and Saudi Arabia ,left alone , he has business interests in those countries and not in the 7 , that he tried to ban !
he wants to challenge the courts , because he is the supreme power , and fails to understand that the courts interpret the constitution , and he cannot change the constitution , more narcissistic behavior , more to come!
Honest Abe stated that when banks take over the economy , democracy ceases to exist!
just on a side note wasn't democracy in the time of Plato and Socrates , a democracy for the elite , as only the elite were allowed to vote?
Sun is shining. Swell is up.
Life is good.
Hmmm, anyone heard of The Gish Gallop (also known as proof by verbosity and the Trump Tirade)?
Of course, we all know this one, hey?
How about 'optimism bias'?
Rational Wiki is looking for 'real life' examples of these to add. New or old. Plenty to choose from! Have a go! There might be a buck in it!
Interesting thread topic blindboy although it has taken a more extremist turn in recent comments!
The point about the pollies becoming media whores in this day & age is extremely relevant to democracies, as I don't think this system of government bodes well for the 24/7 news cycle. Having said that, the only alternative is a press that is not free and an elite that are not/ cannot be held to account. Fact free analysis is given as law in non-democratic nations - is this preferred? We are at least lucky in Western societies that we get to hear both sides of the spectrum regardless of how "fake" or "alternate" it is.
I can't help but notice that in the idiocracy all voices are created equal, but are you then suggesting the alternative should be that some are more equal than others? Very animal farm but I see the paradox you place yourself in, but to then suggest that the UK leaving the EU is a result of weak leadership completely removes the citizens from the democratic process so I don't agree with that statement at all.
The substance of our leaders is definitely always up for debate, but I actually think the opposite is true regarding strength/weakness etc but only to a point. This point is that I wouldn't want KRudd as a wartime PM but I would want him in charge of a blank cheque book that never had to be repaid. The 24 hour news cycle would just eat these historical beer swillin/womanizin leaders of the past ten times faster than today's slick fatcats. Perhaps they had more conviction, however education standards are also much better now than in 1930 so I'd like to believe we can smell propaganda from the other side of town. I guess the point I'm making is that in this day and age do we judge a leader by the sound of their voice or what they deliver? A large demographic seems to not care less about whats actually delivered and just love the "alternate facts".
Looking at history fascism has died out but don't also forget that a lot of countries (Germany & Italy for a start) had recently had a gutful of communism too which led them to try something different before eventually landing on democracy. Africa is riddled with fake democracies that restrict facts & news after a coup. A few generals running the show tho, so I guess you'd consider that a strong leader for the uneducated? I know you're speaking of the overlords pulling the strings and ruling in their favor etc but this demographic exists in every type of society we're just lucky we don't get thrown in jail for bitching about it. Historically it was often a civil war that would flush out the cronies but isn't the point of democracy so that we can kick the establishment out before we reach for our pitch forks?
If you want a textbook example of a failed democracy then look what happened to the Ukraine when they kicked out the Oligarch running the show. I can tell from your posts that you've got more faith in the people than the establishment but its a sad fact that absolute power corrupts.
I'm gonna agree with plato to a point that all democracies are doomed to failure, but I believe all "societies" are doomed to failure once the gap between the rich & the poor widens by too much and the middle-class get sick of being treated like a punching bag. Failure is probably a fairly alarmist term too.
I'd like to think Trump is a symptom of this, but more so in the way that future Presidents will need to pull their finger out & remember the silent majority. Trump cleverly eliminated the "us vs them" in 2 party preferred terms and turned it into "us vs the establishment". This is huge for future elections & government accountability, personal accountability be damned. Trump is probably only a seat warmer, but perhaps future presidents will also remember that ALL opinions are equal regardless of how dumb they sound.
Gazza, have a squiz at 'manufacturing consent'. It's an old book but a goodie.
Definitely still relevant too Turkey. The propaganda machine never sits idle.
The book's concluding words:
"The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided [as they have been until now]. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are ... essential to survival."
"The driving force of modern industrialized civilization has been individual material gain. It has long been understood that a society based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, [and] is an infinite garbage can."
"At this stage of history, one of two things is possible: Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others, or alternativ ely there will be no destiny to control."
"As long as some specialized class is in position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interest it serves. But, the conditions of survival and justice require rational, special planning in the interest of the community of the whole (and by now that means the global community)."
"The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely to impose NECESSARY ILLUSIONS to manipulate and deceive [whom THEY believe are] the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena. "
"The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may be essential to survival."
Speaking of 'idiocracy', with what's happening in WA (and the Libs preference deal with One Notion over their COALition partners the WA Nats), I find this quote from the Federal Libs 'throat-slitter-in-chief' Steve Ciobo quite telling:
"If you look at the way, for example, Pauline Hanson has gone about putting her support in the Senate, you’ll see that she’s often voting in favour of government legislation [I'd change that to "always voting in favour of this government's legislation"].
There’s a certain amount of economic rationalism, a certain amount of an approach that’s reflective of what it is that we’re trying to do to govern Australia in a fiscally responsible way. One Nation has certainly signed up to that much more than Labor."
One for the One Notion 'drain-the-swamp' brigade. Same same but...same.
It's a bit of a conundrum to be supporting the party that threw her in jail but I guess she just still can't bring herself to vote with the refugee importin, Muslim lovin, Halal Snackpackin red coats!
No doubt someone from her party will be back in jail before too long there seems to be an awful lot of dirt surfacing on one nation these days. The Liberals would be squealing like bbqd pigs about all the seats she's snaring too.
Gaz I am in the camp that believes democracy is the process of. electing leaders who are prepared to make unpopular decisions rather than follow opinion polls. In the case of Brexit, leadership would have been shown by not having the plebiscite. The people are not disenfranchised in this process. They elected leaders who should have had expertise to see that it would be a bad decision and so should not be put to a popular vote. If you believe governments should just follow the majority opinion on all issues this leads to instability. The recent Australian experience of both parties trying to do just that is a good example. Instability, of course, slows economic growth as investors seek secure rent seeking options above true enterprise. The Australian housing market, for example.
And yet the English housing market is just as overheated as the Australian even after the " destabilising " affect of Brexit.
Are you an expert economist , Blindboy or is this an example of the moron that screams the loudest that you referred to in your original post ?
Well, if we're gonna get crazy here...
Blowin if you wonder why I find you so frigging irritating read my comment and then yours again. You totally misinterpret what I have said. I said that instability causes rent seeking in the housing market. You give another perfect example of what I am saying, as evidence against it. No doubt you will come back with some long winded, cognitively challenged, load of your usual insults and put downs.