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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 15 2012, 01:25 PM   #106
Timo
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

No the heart of democracy is that it is as fair as it can be.
Which means the minority has no say. That's the only way to play fair.

If it's pre-loaded so that one side is always in dominance than it's almost a dictatorship.
Indeed - so if any pair of two-bit planets is given the power to vote down a single world with trillions of people, it's not much of a democracy.

Again, members aren't sides. Members cannot fairly represent sides. Members are just... Dunno, useless figureheads. Okay, it's plausible for Vulcan to vote with one voice, because the people are religiously obligated to accept that logic reveals the single right solution to everything. But thankfully we haven't heard of any other member casting a single vote so far.

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Old August 15 2012, 02:04 PM   #107
Pavonis
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Timo has made all the arguments I would've. MacLeod, what's fair to you doesn't have to seem fair to others.

One member, one vote is unfair to larger populations - they're underrepresented. Proportional voting is unfair to smaller populations - they're underrepresented!

Do we even know what the definition of a UFP Member is? Is it by planet? By government? By species? Is Earth a Member, with all people on it, human and alien voting as Earth's population? Or is it that all Humans are Federation citizens, voting as humans whatever planet they might reside on? If Andorians were feeling unfairly underrepresented in one system, they could move to Earth and be represented there, despite not being Human. But if it's by species, then they're just going to have to suck it up and face the fact that they're a lower population species. That's not fair, but that's life.
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Old August 15 2012, 03:37 PM   #108
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

All the above suggests there are voting blocks or political parties of some sort. But even parties are unfair, as they may represent their members well on one issue but fail to do so on another. This is easily solved by the voters voting for the party that gives the best representation - but only if they can hop from party to party in real time, choosing the best party for each new issue at hand.

It is possible that the Federation populance democratically votes on issues, leaving the representatives out of job. Or this particular job, at any rate. We have never seen Council Members vote on anything, I think. (A bunch of Ambassadors were fuzzily related to the voting process in "Journey to Babel", but we never quite learned what was going on there and whether this had anything to do with regular UFP governing procedures.)

But if the UFP is a representative democracy, then it is pretty likely that the representatives act as a sanity filter of sorts: they may listen to the popular vote, and then choose how to pass it on. The real question then goes, do Bajoran representatives only listen to the Bajoran popular vote, or do all representatives bow to the UFP-wide popular vote? The latter would make quite a bit of sense: Bajor sends in five representatives for its five billion people, not to get five Bajoran votes, but to get five Bajoran-minded people to process the popular vote as they best see fit. Muscae Minor sends in one representative for the same purpose, while Ursa Major sends twelve.

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Old August 15 2012, 04:10 PM   #109
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci wrote: View Post
I'm sorry the thought bothers you, but they fit the definition just fine. They were wealthy, land-owning white men (many of whom, like Jefferson, had inherited their wealth and status), who had attained their roles in colonial governments by being "elected" by other wealthy land-owning white men, and who designed a government that only gave a voice to wealthy, land-owning white men. Hell, they even designed the Constitution with the specific intent of making sure one particular man (George Washington) would become the first president. They fit the definition of oligarchs to a T.
Of course, while they certainly shouldn't be deified and mindlessly worshiped today, it should be noted that even with all the flaws they and their Constitution were still very progresive and revolutionary for their time.

Pavonis wrote: View Post
One member, one vote is unfair to larger populations - they're underrepresented. Proportional voting is unfair to smaller populations - they're underrepresented!
Right, and that's why bicameral legislatures exist. Maybe the Federation Council is bicameral too, which would solve that problem. We don't really have any firm evidence either way, even though it seems most accepted (in the novels as well) that it's unicameral.

One way to combine "one member, one vote" and proportionality in a single-chamber legislature would be to add a second requirement for something to pass - it's not enough that a majority of Councillors vote for it, they also have to represent a majority of the population. Something like how the Council of the EU will work under the new Lisbon Treaty. The Council of the EU is a rather special (quasi)legislative body that isn't really elected in the way I imagine the Federation Council is, but the voting mechanism could still work. If we also want to include the line about Bajor choosing multiple councillors we could say every member gets more than one, but still an equal number of Councillors. That would allow the members' populations to be represented by more than just one voice in the Councill. And a legislature of just 150-ish councillors strikes me as a bit small for something as huge as the Federation.

Do we even know what the definition of a UFP Member is? Is it by planet? By government? By species?
Seems most logical and workable that it would be by government. Though I could imagine a parallel structure of species-based councils/institutions existing for matters related solely to a single species, mostly those matters connected to a species' biology - say, age of consent and so on. Sort of like how Belgium has parliaments for both each of it's federal regions AND for each of it's language communities (for matters relating to culture, language, etc.). Not that Belgium is exactly a shining example of a stable and functional federal state...
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Old August 15 2012, 11:38 PM   #110
MacLeod
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Timo has made all the arguments I would've. MacLeod, what's fair to you doesn't have to seem fair to others.

One member, one vote is unfair to larger populations - they're underrepresented. Proportional voting is unfair to smaller populations - they're underrepresented!

So both systems are unfair in some respects. What is Winston Churchill once said "Democracy is the worst form f government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time"
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Old August 16 2012, 06:33 PM   #111
T'Girl
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

neozeks;6805958[quote wrote:
Do we even know what the definition of a UFP Member is? Is it by planet? By government? By species?
Seems most logical and workable that it would be by government. Though I could imagine a parallel structure of species-based councils/institutions existing for matters related solely to a single species, mostly those matters connected to a species' biology - say, age of consent and so on. Sort of like how Belgium has parliaments for both each of it's federal regions AND for each of it's language communities (for matters relating to culture, language, etc.). Not that Belgium is exactly a shining example of a stable and functional federal state...
But if representation is for the individual citizens of the federation, and not by planet of birth, planet of residence, or species, then a citizen could vote for any politician running for the council from any species and planet in the federation.

It would be like myself (who lives in Seattle) voting for a representative in the federal government, who is from say florida, because I feel that that person would best represent my personal views, more so that any of the politician running in my home state or district. just as I can vote for anyone for American President, I can vote for anyone to be my senator.

He wouldn't so much represent my state, as my country.

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Old August 16 2012, 06:52 PM   #112
Pavonis
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

So, Councillor Spunk of Vulcan could represent all the like-minded individuals of the Federation, while Councillor Growl of Tellar represents another faction of individuals in the Federation, whether or not they all happen to be from Tellar or Vulcan. So, basically, political party representation, rather than geographic or cultural representation.
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Old August 16 2012, 09:08 PM   #113
Timo
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Indeed. And "Vulcan" voting in the Coridan issue as one planet might be an artifact of all Vulcans being so bloody single-minded about everything, lest somebody think that there's a fault in their common logic. Quite possibly Tellar would have been split on the issue even after Ambassador Gav reported on his Babel findings, and there would be no "Tellarite vote" - indeed, such a thing might be a contradiction in terms, considering how argumentative the Tellarites are supposed to be as a species.

...Although admittedly the episode does not literally feature a "Vulcan vote". Gav just asks how Sarek will vote personally, and Sarek says that "we" will vote for the admission, supposedly indicating that all of Vulcan is behind him on this.

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Old August 17 2012, 12:54 AM   #114
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Timo wrote: View Post
Indeed. And "Vulcan" voting in the Coridan issue as one planet might be an artifact of all Vulcans being so bloody single-minded about everything ...
In Journey, Ambassador Sarek does say at one point, "My government's instructions will be heard in the council chambers on Babel." It's interesting that when Sarek refers to "my government," he was obviously not talking about the Federation Council, but (apparently) the Vulcan government.

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Old August 28 2012, 10:26 PM   #115
OneBuckFilms
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

I remember reading somewhere that the Federation was intended to be similar to the United Nations.

Each world has it's sovereignty.

Kirk: Your world is yours.

That being the case, then each world would have it's own political systems for electing or choosing representatives for the Federation Council.

This means one Government/Planet/Member, one vote, with founding members possibly having veto power.

Starfleet would then take on the roles of both exploration and peacekeeping, similar to the peacekeeping forces the UN currently has.
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Old August 28 2012, 10:48 PM   #116
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Journey to Babel also seems to play into the UN type model, where the Federation is a union of sovereign worlds, hinting that admission of new members requires a vote from existing member governments.

Some general thoughts on the merits of the US political system:

The US is a democracy in a general sense, technically a Democratic Republic.

If the US is seen as a model for the Federation, then it fits that each world would be analagous to a state, with it's own sovereignty, but signed up to the "Union", with a limited central government for regulating commerce, treaties and mutual defense.

RE: The Electoral College.

This to me is a counterbalance, as a way of preventing pure democracy turning into mob rule.

From having 2 houses in Congress, the 3 branches of Government with distinct duties and relationships, and the limitation of federal and state powers, it seems the US was built on the principal of avoiding a single point of power, such as a King.

Term limits are also an extension of this.

It is also heavily invested in checks and balances, where nobody can generally do anything drastic against the wishes of other branches of government.

This is a good thing, IMHO.

Any goverment system is imperfect. The American system is the least imperfect, and best system human beings have managed to create so far.
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Old August 28 2012, 11:03 PM   #117
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

While I do agree that forms of Democracy are the best we've got, I hate to be so absolutist about the American form being "The Best".

Our infrastructure locks us into a two party system, it is just about impossible for a 3rd party to get much influence, or even enough influence to make a difference.

It's not at all uncommon for a single Party (either Democrat or Replubican) to have control over both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, and with that, there are really little checks and balances, other than The Supreme Court (YMMV on wether you believe they play Politics or truly vote in their best conscience, it's my hope most of the time it is the latter). Locked into only a two party system, there is often no need for compromise or coalitions.

I'd have to know more about other Democracies' multi-party system to know if ours actually is the best, but, I'd certainly like to see the two party stranglehold broken with a viable 3rd and/or 4th party having the ability to have influence
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Old August 28 2012, 11:22 PM   #118
MacLeod
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
Journey to Babel also seems to play into the UN type model, where the Federation is a union of sovereign worlds, hinting that admission of new members requires a vote from existing member governments.

Some general thoughts on the merits of the US political system:

The US is a democracy in a general sense, technically a Democratic Republic.

If the US is seen as a model for the Federation, then it fits that each world would be analagous to a state, with it's own sovereignty, but signed up to the "Union", with a limited central government for regulating commerce, treaties and mutual defense.

RE: The Electoral College.

This to me is a counterbalance, as a way of preventing pure democracy turning into mob rule.

From having 2 houses in Congress, the 3 branches of Government with distinct duties and relationships, and the limitation of federal and state powers, it seems the US was built on the principal of avoiding a single point of power, such as a King.

Term limits are also an extension of this.

It is also heavily invested in checks and balances, where nobody can generally do anything drastic against the wishes of other branches of government.

This is a good thing, IMHO.

Any goverment system is imperfect. The American system is the least imperfect, and best system human beings have managed to create so far.

Two of the main forms of democracy in use the world today the Westminster (British) or Presidential (US) have their pros and cons.

It doesn't mean that one is better than the other.
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Old August 28 2012, 11:49 PM   #119
OneBuckFilms
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

The two-party system is not designed as such. It evolved into a system with 2 parties. We have other parties, but it is not a systematic flaw, but an evolutionary/historical one.
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Old August 28 2012, 11:53 PM   #120
OneBuckFilms
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

MacLeod wrote: View Post
OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
Journey to Babel also seems to play into the UN type model, where the Federation is a union of sovereign worlds, hinting that admission of new members requires a vote from existing member governments.

Some general thoughts on the merits of the US political system:

The US is a democracy in a general sense, technically a Democratic Republic.

If the US is seen as a model for the Federation, then it fits that each world would be analagous to a state, with it's own sovereignty, but signed up to the "Union", with a limited central government for regulating commerce, treaties and mutual defense.

RE: The Electoral College.

This to me is a counterbalance, as a way of preventing pure democracy turning into mob rule.

From having 2 houses in Congress, the 3 branches of Government with distinct duties and relationships, and the limitation of federal and state powers, it seems the US was built on the principal of avoiding a single point of power, such as a King.

Term limits are also an extension of this.

It is also heavily invested in checks and balances, where nobody can generally do anything drastic against the wishes of other branches of government.

This is a good thing, IMHO.

Any goverment system is imperfect. The American system is the least imperfect, and best system human beings have managed to create so far.

Two of the main forms of democracy in use the world today the Westminster (British) or Presidential (US) have their pros and cons.

It doesn't mean that one is better than the other.
I'd agree with that, though I view them as subtle variants on the same basic system.

House of Commons and House of Lords = House and Senate.

President = Prime Minister.

Semantics and some finer points are really the only functional differences. At least on the Federal level.
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