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Old March 11 2013, 05:45 PM   #60
Sci
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
The Roman and Greek republics were democracies but the wealthy controlled everything and legalized things like seizing individual lands and slavery.
We seem to be operating with different definitions of "democracy." For my money, you're not a democracy unless every adult gets a vote. So, for instance, the United States was not a democracy until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965; prior to that, either women or minorities or both (at varying points, it would be one or the other) were disenfranchised.

So, no, I don't think it's fair to call ancient Athens a democracy, even if that's what it called itself. It wasn't rule by the people; it was rule by a certain segment of the male population.
Actually, Athens was a democracy.
No, it was not -- not by a reasonable modern definition of the term. It certainly called itself a democracy, but no society that excludes women from the franchise or includes slavery is a democracy in a realistic, non-self-aggrandizing sense of the term. A democracy is a society in which every adult member of that society has an equal vote; Athens was not a democracy.

Rome wasn't, Britain isn't, France isn't, the USA isn't; in fact, I don't know of any democracies today. Democracy just means that every voter gets an equal say in every decision made.
No, it does not. "Every voter gets an equal say" is a tautology; your definition is so vague that it as easily describes how the Pope is chosen as it does how the Parliament of Iceland is chosen. The question of whether or not a society is democratic lies in the question of who constitutes a voter.

You may not like how voting was limited, but suffrage is a different thing.
Democracy is defined by suffrage. Indeed, anything other than universal adult suffrage is not democracy, but it some degree of oligarchy.

Democracy didn't, and doesn't, protect anyone's rights at all;
Oh, not this tripe.

First off, we're not talking about the protection of civil rights and liberties; we're talking about the definition of democracy. Democracy is defined by the protection of one particular right to all adults in society: The right to vote. Anything other than this universal extension of the suffrage is not democracy.

Secondly, there are two kinds of democracy: liberal democracy and illiberal democracy. In a liberal democracy, everyone has an equal vote, but there are strong constitutional protections for the rights of the individual and of minorities against abuses from a majority.

The notion that democracy is inherently "rule of the mob" is just absurd.

Every "democracy" today is actually a republic. The voters elect representatives, and the representatives make the decisions.
Oh for goodness's sake. Open up a political science textbook; this is pure nonsense.

A republic is a form of government in which the state and its affairs are considered a public concern (it is from the Latin term res publica, meaning "the public thing"), rather than being the private property of the ruling elite. A common simplified version of this definition, therefore, is that a republic is any state that is not a monarchy.

A republic may be a democracy, or it may be a non-democracy. Republics encompass everything from direct democracy ("town hall" meetings where everything is put to a popular vote), to representative democracy (e.g., the Federative Republic of Brazil), to apartheid states (e.g., the Republic of South Africa before Mandela), to oligarchical dictatorships (e.g., the Third Reich and the Soviet Union).

In other words, the term republic is unique from, but not exclusive from and often overlapping with, the term democracy.

What you describe -- the populace voting for elected officials -- is a particular brand of democracy called representative democracy. This and republicanism are, again, not mutually exclusive.

Well, no, they can't -- that's why it's called a dictatorship, because they don't get a choice!
There's always a choice. Sometimes that choice is hard, or hard to carry out, but there is a choice.
Not in a world where the government literally possesses the capacity to wipe out all life on a planetary surface while removing itself from said surface. Cardassians quite literally did not have a choice in their form of government, as the state possessed an overwhelming capacity for violence which literally does not exist in the real world.

That's why democratic mandates come with expiration dates.
Where do they do that?
Terms of office expire.

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
BTW, Star Wars had The Republic, which was called a democracy. It was sort of like the Federation, prosperous, freedom--the main words thrown around was freedom and democracy.

Ironically, that one got manipulated into turning into an Empire with a dictatorship, through the so called democratic process.
Not really. The prequel trilogy made it very clear that the Galactic Republic, in spite of its rhetoric, had long since been subverted from its democratic principles. I mean, this was a state that literally gave seats in its legislature to giant corporations like the Trade Federation. Obi-Wan Kenobi notes in Episode II that Galactic Senators are far more concerned with the will of the rich who fund their campaigns than they are with the will of the people; Mace Windu notes that Chancellor Palpatine's political influence at the end of the Clone Wars was so extensive that he controlled the entire judiciary, which is a violation of one of the principles of liberal democracy. And then, of course, the Galactic Senate -- a body that, again, represented the will of the people only in name, not in practice -- was the body that voted to declare Palpatine Emperor and to transform the Republic into the Empire -- a clear violation of the limits placed on governmental power in a liberal democracy, and of the legal limits placed on the Senate by the Galactic Constitution.

The Republic was transformed into the Empire by greed, corruption, and a willingness to disregard the constitutional limits imposed by liberal democracy. At no point do we see a popularly-elected legislature answerable to the people (rater than to campaign contributors) transform their state into a dictatorship by genuine democratic, or liberal democratic, processes.

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
You can't take anything Janice Lester says at face value. She was violently jealous of not only Kirk, but all of Starfleet, which rejected her - NOT because she's a woman (indeed, in the perfect utopia envisioned by Gene Roddenberry, it is inconceivable that sexism would be the one thing they'd leave in), but because she's simply NUTS.
I think this is one time where we just have to accept that things are ret-conned and disregard what Janice says in "Turnabout Intruder" as being no longer in continuity with the rest of Trek.

Sorry to say, but TOS was rife with sexism. Don Draper from Mad Men, with his sexist beliefs, would fit right in if he were dropped down into the TOS version of Starfleet. In the context of the episode, her lines are perfectly plausible, and there's no reason at all to think that the version of Starfleet envisioned by the creators of TOS didn't exclude women from command. That audiences and producers later recognized how oppressive such a concept is and decided to retcon it out of continuity does not mean that it is not what the producers of TOS intended at the time.

We can safely assume that, in the revised version of Starfleet's history, women have always been able to become captains. But we shouldn't ascribed greater progressivism to Roddenberry and company at the time of TOS's production than was actually present.

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
One more point about Athens - our modern definitions also mean that slavery cannot be practised in a truly democratic society. Therefore does it change our perspective if we recognize that Athens was a slave-owning democracy?
It means that we now recognize that Athens was not a democracy, even if that is what it called itself, because its self-conception was based on the decision to deny the obvious humanity and equality of most of the population. It is as absurd to call ancient Athens a democracy as it would be to call North Korea a democratic republic (North Korea having no real democracy, and having a hereditary dictatorship that would be more accurately described as a monarchy rather than a republic -- even though its formal name is "the Democratic People's Republic of Korea").

And, no, the United States was not a democracy for most of its history, either -- not when it denied the franchise first to anyone other than rich property-owning white men, and then to women and minorities, and then to women, and then to women and minorities again, and then to minorities. The United States was not a democracy until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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