Now is the time ...

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AuthorTopic: Now is the time ...
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #0
... for all good political scientists to explain to us what political parties are all about.

Why do we have parties? What do they do? Why do we have the numbers of them that we do? What makes them grow or die?

I don't think any constitutions define explicit roles for political parties. Even the Soviet constitution was vague in stipulating the 'leading' role of the Communist Party. The American Constitution was drafted in hopes that no political parties would ever form. In parliamentary systems, the head of state is generally free in principle to appoint anyone to head the government. It is the requirement that the government retain the confidence of the legislature that makes it impractical to appoint anyone but the leader of a legislative party.

As far as I can see, formation of parties is a natural process that follows from the principle of majority rule. If I vote alone, I will probably not command a majority on any topic, and nothing I want will come to pass. But if enough people can agree on a compromise platform, they may be able to get it approved.

Clearly there is a tendency for people to support larger parties, and for smaller parties to merge, since that increases the chance of achieving things by force of majority vote. As a party approaches majority size, its incentive to compromise to bring in more members grows sharply; but once it achieves majority size, that incentive quickly drops. So a super-majority party is bound to fragment. A pair of nearly equal parties, jostling fiercely for narrow majorities by courting the swing vote, seems like the most stable situation.

Most democracies do seem to possess two major parties. But most do also have some minor parties, which are able to win concessions from major parties in return for supporting them.

And it is only at this point that the real question of political parties seems to be raised. All the members of any single party are presumably winning concessions from the other party members, in return for supporting them. So just what is the real difference between a minor party which supports a major party temporarily, and a political wing within a party?

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 8
Profile #1
There are many similarities, I agree, and in fact in certain countries like Japan factionalism overshadows the party system itself.

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"Names is for tombstones, baby." -Mr. Big
Posts: 699 | Registered: Thursday, September 20 2001 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #2
Politics were always the bane of civilization...

Personally, I think the world would be a better place if places like the United States would have 3 major parties instead of two.

Take the past 2 presidential elections for example. If we had 3 major parties instead of 2, then we could've had a 3rd incompetent fool to have the option of voting for. Then it would be the "least of 3 evils" instead of the "lesser of 2" thing we've had in the past. Kinda helps give us more of an illusion of choice, ya know

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #3
I do wish we would have listened to George Washington.

But I also wish that Aaron Burr had succeeded in establishing an Empire in Latin America, then maybe people wouldn't take democracy for granted.

In conclusion, I wish we still settled things with duels.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #4
Living in Canberra, I've gotten a few insights into the political process (a good friend of mine is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the ACT), and I gotta say it stinks. Trying to construct a better one is a tough job, though, because by the nature of politics any system WILL be abused, frequently, by very many different people. I've toyed with some ideas of systems that may be improvements, but not rigourously thought them through, so they'd probably end up even worse.

That said, I'm fairly confident that mandatory voting should be scrapped here.

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SupaNik: Aran, you're not big enough to threaten Ash. Dammit, even JV had to think twice.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #5
quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

Politics were always the bane of civilization...
You are essentially saying "civilization is the bane of civilization."
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 1705
Profile #6
quote:
Originally written by Drew:

quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

Politics were always the bane of civilization...
You are essentially saying "civilization is the bane of civilization."

And who wouldn't disagree with that!

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Posts: 9 | Registered: Saturday, August 10 2002 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #7
quote:
Originally written by Drew:

quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

Politics were always the bane of civilization...
You are essentially saying "civilization is the bane of civilization."

Pretty much

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #8
Who posited that democracy was the final step in the evolution of governance? It seems, rather, to be an introductory step. It should be teaching cultures the basics does/don'ts of how to run an entity, so that they can evolve into a more progressive form.

For example, with technology as it is today, our current system of checks and balances could easily be replaced with instant recall balloting. Just log in to Intarnit and call out the leadership. Duel through the blogosphere. Of course for this system to live up to its merits, there will be a downside to failure to demonstrate good cause.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #9
quote:
Originally written by Spent Salmon:

Who posited that democracy was the final step in the evolution of governance? It seems, rather, to be an introductory step. It should be teaching cultures the basics does/don'ts of how to run an entity, so that they can evolve into a more progressive form.
What does this mean? The US hasn't employed true democracy on a national or state level in any meaningful way pretty much ever (statewide propositions, perhaps, being the biggest exception), though to be sure, particular aspects of our system have become more democratic in nature.

Democracy is a process, a governmental "mean" by which some "end" is upheld or pursued. In the US, that end was and theoretically still is liberty. For governmental purposes, everything that we in the US theoretically value stems from that end - liberty - and not the mean - democracy - that we employ (sort of) to safeguard it.

I think the truly salient question is: Is liberty the best end for government?

[ Tuesday, March 27, 2007 09:26: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #10
No matter the system, the end result is always the same: Oppression.

In every system of government that was, is, or will be will exist on some form of subjugation. There will always be those select few who will dominate the masses.

Even if there is a revolution that replaces the existing corrupt government with a new pure one, that new idealistic government will become just as corrupt as its predecessor.

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #11
quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

No matter the system, the end result is always the same: Oppression.

In every system of government that was, is, or will be will exist on some form of subjugation. There will always be those select few who will dominate the masses.

Even if there is a revolution that replaces the existing corrupt government with a new pure one, that new idealistic government will become just as corrupt as its predecessor.

Which is a convenient argument to make if you're an oppressor or benefitting from the current oppression, to be sure.

PS: Corruption is the opposite of oppression. It will probably surprise you to learn that the storied corruption of the political machines in the late 19th century US was an integrative mechanism - new immigrants were given jobs, cheap housing, and social/networking services in exchange for their votes. Most of the movement against the political machines was based in nativist contempt for Catholics and other filthy immigrants.

Thomas Nast, the famous editorial cartoonist, made a number of cartoons viciously attacking Catholic and Italian immigrants. While those might seem insane and unfortunate to us, to him they went part-and-parcel with his fight against the like of Boss Tweed.

[ Tuesday, March 27, 2007 11:19: Message edited by: Protocols of the Elders of Zion ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #12
quote:
Originally written by Protocols of the Elders of Zion:


PS: Corruption is the opposite of oppression. It will probably surprise you to learn that the storied corruption of the political machines in the late 19th century US was an integrative mechanism - new immigrants were given jobs, cheap housing, and social/networking services in exchange for their votes.

Yeah, if you can call run-down slums, dangerous life-threatening industrial jobs(and prostitution), and the small possibility of getting to do thug work for a boss the exact opposite of oppression

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #13
'Thug work'? The bosses hardly need 'thugs' when they exercise executive power, do they? :P

And at the very least it allowed them a position in the system at all. The alternative, and what the 'anti-corruption' activists wanted, was their being ridden out of the country on a rail and sent back to drudgery in a homeland that they wanted desperately to escape.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #14
Yes, no thug work at all. Voter intimidation never happened at all. Nope. Not at all. The bosses got their votes solely by being really nice to everyone. Yep. That must be how it went down.

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #15
Thug: You there, did you vote yet?

New Citizen: Yes, sir. Three times!

Thug: Only three times? And you call yourself an American?

*throws immigrant back into voting booth*

I liked the way things worked back then better than today...

Average Voter: Who should we vote for?

Another Average Voter: Whoever has the most dirty money with which to run a campaign, of couse!

Or...

Average American: Vote?

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Too Sexy for my Title
Member # 5654
Profile #16
Heh, Tully's post reminds me of that South Park episode,Douche and Turd, where P-Diddy goes around with his Vote or Die campaign.
Posts: 1035 | Registered: Friday, April 1 2005 08:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #17
good episode

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #18
quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

Yes, no thug work at all. Voter intimidation never happened at all. Nope. Not at all. The bosses got their votes solely by being really nice to everyone. Yep. That must be how it went down.
Why risk having the law come down on your head by using the stick instead of the carrot?

Intimidation did occur, but was a pretty minor part of the political boss's arsenal. Bosses spent 20 to 23 hours a day shipping around gladhandling their consistuents - going to weddings, funerals, the occasional bris, what have you. They tried to be among the first people present at home fires, during rehabilitation from accidents and diseases, and generally whenever they were in need.

Beat some dude up and his family will probably vote against you. Make nice with him when he needs nice-making and people who've never even heard of you will start liking you better.

Look up the history here. It's actually quite fascinating to look into the tactics typically used by the bosses; they made themselves extremely visible, and their time was pretty regimentedly documented. Intimidation existed, yeah, but it was a risky move for minimal payoff.

[ Tuesday, March 27, 2007 14:26: Message edited by: Protocols of the Elders of Zion ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #19
quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

No matter the system, the end result is always the same: Oppression.
Making a change in degree is making a change nonetheless.

—Alorael, who doesn't think idealism is required for improving the world. It's okay to be cynical as long as you're not defeatist too.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #20
quote:
Originally written by Protocols of the Elders of Zion:


Look up the history here. It's actually quite fascinating to look into the tactics typically used by the bosses; they made themselves extremely visible, and their time was pretty regimentedly documented. Intimidation existed, yeah, but it was a risky move for minimal payoff.

Look up the history... Okay... between the history channel and actual history books, I'm pretty sure I did that already...

And I still stick with my statements. The bosses, for the most part, got into power by intimidating and oppressing the poor. I don't deny that they did do some petty favors for the immigrants, but those favors usually had pretty price tags attached.

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #21
quote:
Originally written by Ktgsvgnfgn:

No matter the system, the end result is always the same: Oppression.

In every system of government that was, is, or will be will exist on some form of subjugation. There will always be those select few who will dominate the masses.

Even if there is a revolution that replaces the existing corrupt government with a new pure one, that new idealistic government will become just as corrupt as its predecessor.

No kidding! But what's the alternative, pal, and is it better?

I have a feeling we have a pitch for "enlightened anarchy" coming soon. :rolleyes:
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
Profile #22
Anarchy is a short-live entity that will always give way to new organization.

Anyway, a government where everyone gets a vote and gets a say in everything is only as strong as the weakest members of that society. In all reality, not everyone should have a say in every aspect of life. Some people don't meet the moral and ethical requirements to make decisions that effect countless others, while others simply don't want to do it.

Ultimately, the book "1984" had the right idea, but of course it was done for the wrong purpose. Aptitude test. Test people when they hit a certain age to see what they should be doing and what their role in politics should be.

Truthfully, that's how career should be selected too, but that's probly something for another debate.

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Canned
Member # 7704
Profile #23
Can we trust politics? should we take care of administrating are our communities?
And we should stop believing in leaders.
And act like adults.
Can't we build communities and talk about stuff, instead of beating up people.
And when a fight rages can't we talk and have a glass of water in stead of using violence like police does?
Can't people stand together?
I wonder.

[ Wednesday, March 28, 2007 07:00: Message edited by: upon mars ]

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You can jump off a bridge, fire a gun in your mouth, drink poison,or going in to the tiger's pit but you will still end up dead it's a mater of time and how .
Posts: 312 | Registered: Sunday, November 26 2006 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #24
quote:
Originally written by LF:

Aptitude test. Test people when they hit a certain age to see what they should be doing and what their role in politics should be.
You just enunciated Henry Chauncey's most fantastical dream and my — as a good Princeton Review teacher and earnest devotee of John Katzman — worst nightmare. Aptitude tests are a dangerous thing, especially when test prep exists (and it is an inevitable consequence of the existence of these tests).

As a standardized test teacher, I am acutely aware of the limitations of standardized tests, and I wouldn't want to throw the fate of a society into the hands of ETS any more than we already have.

Besides, why should people be forced to do only things that they're good at, not things that they enjoy? And what do you do about people like me, who are good at many things?

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00

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