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Old November 8 2012, 02:43 AM   #16
Sci
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

RPJOB wrote: View Post
What do you do with a potential Federation member who is peaceful prosperous, the people are educated, well fed and happy yet they have no concept of democracy?
No such thing. Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
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Old November 8 2012, 04:43 AM   #17
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

RPJOB wrote: View Post
What do you do with a potential Federation member who is peaceful prosperous, the people are educated, well fed and happy yet they have no concept of democracy?
Say like a royal government system (planet Brunei), or a communist government system (planet Bolshevik ), or a corporate government system (planet Microsoft)? But with the addition of all the things you listed?

If inclusion of that world is to the existing Federation's best interests, then sure.

For all we know, planets with a democratic government system are a minority within the Federation.

Do you totally upend their culture to let them join or let them select their representatives by some other means?
Upend their culture? I would say no, take them in as they are, or reject them.

Even with a democratic planet, the representative wouldn't necessarily be select by a election.

What if it's ritual combat to the death?
If the traditional form is single combat to the death for the privilege of being the planet's representative (or one of the representatives really), then that's their business.

Sci wrote: View Post
Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
Unlike in America, where we have democracy?

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Old November 8 2012, 04:52 AM   #18
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
Unlike in America, where we have democracy?
Do we have democracy in America?
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Old November 8 2012, 09:01 AM   #19
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

The body Kirk speaks of may just be the council.
It would be a bit odd to refer to the entire nation as a "body" - political bodies in general parlance are parties or governmental organizations.

It would also be a bit odd for Kirk to consider the Council to be "us", though. But Starfleet does appear to play a major role in UFP internal and external affairs; perhaps Starship Captains (in the exclusive TOS sense) actually hold significant voting powers exceeding those of mere mortals?

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Old November 8 2012, 09:06 AM   #20
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Historically, Democracy was not necessarily a guarantee of freedom, only that "eligible" citizens have a say in what a government does or can do.

The ancient Greeks had both democracy and slavery side by side.

The Klingons are a good example.

The Klingon government, as already pointed out, has a funny idea of democracy too. A couple of candidates are selected from a few of the most powerful houses, and then they slug it out to see who leads.

Or you can challenge a current leader to a fight to the death, and if you win, you get the leadership no matter what your views or qualifications are.

Oh yeah, and on top of all that, women cannot serve on the council, or lead a house, though they are considered equal otherwise.

Go figure
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Old November 8 2012, 10:40 AM   #21
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
Historically, Democracy was not necessarily a guarantee of freedom, only that "eligible" citizens have a say in what a government does or can do.
Democracy may not be a sufficient condition for freedom, but it is a necessary condition for freedom.

The ancient Greeks had both democracy and slavery side by side.
Depends on your definition of "democracy." I for one would contend that the ancient Greek system was just another form of oligarchy, and that there is no real democracy until you have universal adult suffrage. By that standard, there were no democracies until the 20th Century.

The Klingon government, as already pointed out, has a funny idea of democracy too. A couple of candidates are selected from a few of the most powerful houses, and then they slug it out to see who leads.
There is nothing democratic about the Klingon system, and there's no evidence the Klingons have ever even claimed it to be democratic. A believer in Klingon feudalism would no doubt claim that democracy is illegitimate because political office should not be conferred upon a leader by his inferiors.
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Old November 8 2012, 11:52 AM   #22
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Universal adult suffrage is just oligarchy of another sort, since "universal" and "adult" are mutually exclusive terms here. The Greek had certain limitations on who can vote; we today have limitations of our own liking. If we want standards of democracy that would stand the test of time (something desirable in a discussion involving both history and pseudo-future), we probably have to consider absolutely universal vote where criminals, infants, lunatics and people-in-potentia have their say, too.

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Old November 8 2012, 11:59 AM   #23
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Sci wrote: View Post
RPJOB wrote: View Post
What do you do with a potential Federation member who is peaceful prosperous, the people are educated, well fed and happy yet they have no concept of democracy?
No such thing. Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
Pretty definitive statement for a universe we haven't explored yet. There may be folks out there who have different concepts of what freedom is. It's not our job to go out and change them, just to attempt to bridge the gap.
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Old November 8 2012, 09:09 PM   #24
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
RPJOB wrote: View Post
What do you do with a potential Federation member who is peaceful prosperous, the people are educated, well fed and happy yet they have no concept of democracy?
No such thing. Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
Pretty definitive statement for a universe we haven't explored yet. There may be folks out there who have different concepts of what freedom is. It's not our job to go out and change them, just to attempt to bridge the gap.
If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
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Old November 8 2012, 09:34 PM   #25
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

neozeks wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post

No such thing. Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
Pretty definitive statement for a universe we haven't explored yet. There may be folks out there who have different concepts of what freedom is. It's not our job to go out and change them, just to attempt to bridge the gap.
If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
What I described isn't even about values, per se. I described an inevitable, objective scenario -- that when not made accountable to the full society in the form of a democratic mandate, any ruling class will become corrupted by power and begin oppressing the masses, who will in turn become resentful. A lack of democracy will inevitably produce class conflict.
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Old November 8 2012, 10:29 PM   #26
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Sci wrote: View Post
neozeks wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

Pretty definitive statement for a universe we haven't explored yet. There may be folks out there who have different concepts of what freedom is. It's not our job to go out and change them, just to attempt to bridge the gap.
If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
What I described isn't even about values, per se. I described an inevitable, objective scenario -- that when not made accountable to the full society in the form of a democratic mandate, any ruling class will become corrupted by power and begin oppressing the masses, who will in turn become resentful. A lack of democracy will inevitably produce class conflict.
But democracy is every bit as vulnerable to class conflict.
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Old November 8 2012, 11:01 PM   #27
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
neozeks wrote: View Post

If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
What I described isn't even about values, per se. I described an inevitable, objective scenario -- that when not made accountable to the full society in the form of a democratic mandate, any ruling class will become corrupted by power and begin oppressing the masses, who will in turn become resentful. A lack of democracy will inevitably produce class conflict.
But democracy is every bit as vulnerable to class conflict.
Indeed, any system that lacks genuine freedom for the masses will lead to class conflict. As I said before, democracy is a necessary condition for freedom, not a sufficient condition.
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Old November 9 2012, 12:57 PM   #28
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Free masses will tend to gyrate towards class identities or identities in general; humans just aren't interested in becoming a homogeneous whole, not beyond a comfortable community size of a couple of hundred people (perhaps to be multiplied somewhat through things like mass media and fast long-range communications and transportation, but still).

Draconian rule sounds like the more probable way out of class conflict than freedom, then. At the very least a common foe to hate would unify a number of factions that otherwise would prefer to find and emphasize any "identifying" differences.

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Old November 9 2012, 01:57 PM   #29
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Sci wrote: View Post
neozeks wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

Pretty definitive statement for a universe we haven't explored yet. There may be folks out there who have different concepts of what freedom is. It's not our job to go out and change them, just to attempt to bridge the gap.
If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
What I described isn't even about values, per se. I described an inevitable, objective scenario -- that when not made accountable to the full society in the form of a democratic mandate, any ruling class will become corrupted by power and begin oppressing the masses, who will in turn become resentful. A lack of democracy will inevitably produce class conflict.
What if the ruling class must preserve a facade of democracy? What if you have a corrupt oligarchy composed by people too smart to provoke the people by openingly oppressing it?
This may well be the situation in several professed "democratic" countries, but current politics aside, in this situation you can well have neither democracy nor oppression: the oligarchy damages the economic and social systems, sure, but does not reach a "point of non-return" where the economy collapses or a revolution starts. In such a country, also, people know democracy is a lie but accept it because the actual situation makes it better than a revolution. We can then talk about a well-educated, maybe even science-oriented, etc. country without a democracy - only, with a weak concept of active participation in the "res publica".

This said, rewatching TOS I feel like the self-improvement centered, value-oriented Federation just can't stand such a situation. Just imagine Kirk living under such a lie and not denouncing it, risking his life to make his galaxy better... and with him, many others, both in the Starfleet and outside it. If I'm interpreting well the psychology of a (human, at least) citizen of the Federation, few there would stand a government which is uncapable to deeply and truly reflect the values stated by the Constitution.
But this point of view also leads to be extremely diplomatic towards planet who make a different choice, thus considering their situation case-to-case.

I haven't watched DS9 though, I guess I'll get a better informed opinion by watching it.

EDIT: completed the sentence "I feel like the self-improvement centered, value-oriented Federation" with "just can't stand such a situation."
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Last edited by Awesonne; November 10 2012 at 11:50 AM. Reason: I left a sentence uncompleted. No harm to the rest of the post, but I felt like correcting it!
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Old November 10 2012, 08:35 AM   #30
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Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Awesonne wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
neozeks wrote: View Post

If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
What I described isn't even about values, per se. I described an inevitable, objective scenario -- that when not made accountable to the full society in the form of a democratic mandate, any ruling class will become corrupted by power and begin oppressing the masses, who will in turn become resentful. A lack of democracy will inevitably produce class conflict.
What if the ruling class must preserve a facade of democracy? What if you have a corrupt oligarchy composed by people too smart to provoke the people by openingly oppressing it?
No such thing. Any system of unaccountable, autocratic elites will eventually see that elite class revert to corruption, incompetence, and oppression. It is the nature of power that it corrupts and seeks to ever-expand, and it is the nature of unaccountable power to produce lesser and lesser competence. It may take more time or less, but eventually that "point of non-return" will always be reached.
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