RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 135,756
Posts: 5,216,411
Members: 24,216
Currently online: 865
Newest member: kasmuruis

TrekToday headlines

Q Meets NuTrek Crew
By: T'Bonz on Apr 18

Pine In Talks For Drama
By: T'Bonz on Apr 18

New X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer
By: T'Bonz on Apr 17

Nimoy to Receive Award
By: T'Bonz on Apr 17

Star Trek Special: Flesh and Stone Comic
By: T'Bonz on Apr 16

These Are The Voyages TOS Season Two Book Review
By: T'Bonz on Apr 16

Kirk’s Well Wishes To Kirk
By: T'Bonz on Apr 15

Quinto In New Starz Series
By: T'Bonz on Apr 15

Star Trek: Horizon Film
By: T'Bonz on Apr 14

Star Trek: Fleet Captains Game Expansion
By: T'Bonz on Apr 14


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 31 2012, 12:50 AM   #136
MacLeod
Admiral
 
Location: Great Britain
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

^in one of the examples about a constitution being changed above it seemed fairly easy to do. (Australia)

A bill is presented in the house(s) (whatever they are called)
It is voted on by members of the house(s). If it passes it goes to referendum
The electorate votes on it. If it passes the constitution is changed

The process itself seems fairly easy.
__________________
On the continent of wild endeavour in the mountains of solace and solitude there stood the citadel of the time lords, the oldest and most mighty race in the universe looking down on the galaxies below sworn never to interfere only to watch.
MacLeod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 31 2012, 01:00 AM   #137
OneBuckFilms
Fleet Captain
 
OneBuckFilms's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

The fact that the people as a whole have to agree can be a significant hurdle. The Australian system appeals to me, as it ensures that both the people and the legislative body have to agree.
OneBuckFilms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 31 2012, 01:17 AM   #138
MacLeod
Admiral
 
Location: Great Britain
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Though if we have any Aussie's on here, they might be more familiar with the exact process. Rather than what I think would be the logical steps.
__________________
On the continent of wild endeavour in the mountains of solace and solitude there stood the citadel of the time lords, the oldest and most mighty race in the universe looking down on the galaxies below sworn never to interfere only to watch.
MacLeod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 03:19 PM   #139
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

MacLeod wrote: View Post
^in one of the examples about a constitution being changed above it seemed fairly easy to do. (Australia)

A bill is presented in the house(s) (whatever they are called)
It can start that way in America too., However, the process can also start with the State legislatures (two thirds) and then move to the Federal level, this can get a amendment out in the open so if the Federal government doesn't want to deal with it, it's too late, it's in the citizens view and already under public discussion by the time they (Federal) get their hands on it.


T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 04:43 PM   #140
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: State of Maryland/District of Columbia
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
RE: The Electoral College.

This to me is a counterbalance, as a way of preventing pure democracy turning into mob rule.
A system that can put into power the candidate for whom the majority of the electorate did not vote is not a "counterbalance." It's just a subversion of the will of the people. It is tyrannical, and nothing more.

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.
Hypothetically, sure. The reality of the situation is that it's very easy for power to accumulate into a single point and to end up with a president who is as powerful as any king. George W. Bush in the 2000s; FDR in the 1930s and 1940s; Woodrow Wilson during World War I; Andrew Jackson in the 1820s; etc.

Which is not to say the American system is unique -- so far as I know, every democracy has been periodically vulnerable to the accumulation of too much power in the hands of a single party and party leader. The fundamental strength of democracy over traditional monarchy is that even these periods of accumulation of power end up being temporary.

It is also heavily invested in checks and balances, where nobody can generally do anything drastic against the wishes of other branches of government.
In the modern world, however, this has come at the cost of being almost wholly dysfunctional and incapable of making necessary decisions.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
Any goverment system is imperfect. The American system is the least imperfect, and best system human beings have managed to create so far.
I rather prefer the French system, actually. It preserves the right of the people to directly elect their president (the biggest strength of the American system), preserves the necessity that the prime minister and cabinet hold the confidence of the majority of the legislators in order to hold office and enact their bills (the biggest strength of the Westminster system), and manages to have both a legislature independent of the president or a legislature that works closely with the president, depending upon how the legislative elections work out (secondary strengths of both the U.S. and Westminster systems, respectively). It's like the best of both worlds.

And this is only addressing constitutional arrangements. We shouldn't forget that, more broadly speaking, the American political system has traditionally been built upon white supremacy, sexism against women, heterosexism against LGBT persons, classism against the poor and middle class, imperialism against foreigners, bribery and domination by large and unaccountable corporations, genocide and oppression against Native Americans, and numerous other forms of tyranny. The American system as it exists in reality rather than on paper is far from perfect.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
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.
No, it is systemic. The use of first-past-the-poll voting ensures that there will only ever be two dominant parties, and that smaller parties will never be able to compete on the federal level. If we're serious about making sure that third parties have a voice, we need to start looking at alternate voting systems, because ours is systemically flawed.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
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.
The House of Lords cannot prevent a bill from becoming law if the Commons wants it to become law. That's more than a subtle distinction.

President = Prime Minister.
Votes of no confidence are also more than a semantic distinction. As is, for that matter, a Prime Minister's relative ease in passing bills through a Parliament versus a U.S. President's relative challenge moving bills through a Congress.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
I stand corrected on the ability to change a constitution, but I stand by the assertion that changing a Constitution is more difficult than changing laws.
It is true that it is easier to change a standard statute than it is to change a constitution, in general. What you are overlooking, however, is the fact that changes to constitutional conventions -- "convention" as in custom, not "convention" as in meeting -- are typically treated with the same seriousness, and reluctance to change them, as are amendments to written constitutions. It is much harder to change a constitutional convention by statute than it is to pass a normal statute.
__________________
This dream must end, this world must know:
We all depend on the beast below.
Sci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 07:24 PM   #141
CoveTom
Rear Admiral
 
Location: CoveTom
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci wrote: View Post
A system that can put into power the candidate for whom the majority of the electorate did not vote is not a "counterbalance." It's just a subversion of the will of the people. It is tyrannical, and nothing more.
You do realize that, agree or disagree, the effect of the electoral college is by design? The American system was designed from the ground up with the idea that the straight "will of the majority" should not always be the deciding factor. There is a fundamental belief that the states, as entities, should have power in the system as well. Hence the reason why senators were originally elected by the state legislators (a system to which I think we should return) rather than directly by the people. And also the reason for the electoral college. Because it was believed that the states with the most people should not automatically run the show, but that the smaller states should have an important say too.

Like I say, you can agree or disagree, but the US system of state power was definitely by design.
CoveTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 08:37 PM   #142
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: State of Maryland/District of Columbia
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

CoveTom wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
A system that can put into power the candidate for whom the majority of the electorate did not vote is not a "counterbalance." It's just a subversion of the will of the people. It is tyrannical, and nothing more.
You do realize that, agree or disagree, the effect of the electoral college is by design?
Yes. Indeed, the U.S. system of government was designed by elitist oligarchs who didn't want blacks, women, Native Americans, poor people, or anyone who wasn't a rich white land-owning male, to participate in government. That was by design, too.

The fact that it was by design does not mean it was, or is, not tyrannical.
__________________
This dream must end, this world must know:
We all depend on the beast below.
Sci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 08:59 PM   #143
iguana_tonante
Admiral
 
iguana_tonante's Avatar
 
Location: Italy, EU
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
RE: The Electoral College.

This to me is a counterbalance, as a way of preventing pure democracy turning into mob rule.
I have seen that bandied around quite a bit, but it never seen to me more than vague grandstanding. Any arguments in support to your claim?

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
Any goverment system is imperfect. The American system is the least imperfect, and best system human beings have managed to create so far.
Hardly. It's a good system, but definitively not the best there is. Germany's systems are much less antagonistic while preserving healthy (and heated) debate, the French is a good compromise between presidential and parliamentary, and even the British one has its interesting features (I would generally say that somethings as deeply undemocratic as the House of Lords is a load of crap, and yet they play a surprisingly effective role at stopping populist legislation and to provide a cool voice in troubled times). If you are curious, the Italian one is shit, tho.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
House of Commons and House of Lords = House and Senate.

President = Prime Minister.

Semantics and some finer points are really the only functional differences.
Uh. The House of Lords is unelected. The Prime Minister is not the Head of State. I'd say these are more than cosmetic differences.


CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
A cursory search reveals that, besides the United States, the following countries have amended their respective constitutions: Ireland, India, Canada, Australia (in the form of referenda), Russia, Italy, Turkey, Norway, Brazil, and I think I'll just stop looking right there because it's now become increasingly clear that you're probably wrong about this.
Yep.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
There is no constitutional protection in any other constitution I can think of.
Think again.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
MacLeod wrote: View Post
Can't a constitution be changed/ammeneded/altered etc... ?
In most cases, not without revolution. The US is different in this regard, in that the methodology to change the Constitution is part of it's design (Amendment process).

But it requires pretty monumental hurdles to be overcome, far beyond quietly changing laws via routine votes.
I'd take you are not very acquainted with other countries' constitution.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
So how many other Constitutions place significant limits on the powers of the Government?
I'll go on a limb here and say: all the Western liberal democracies, at least.
__________________
Scientist. Gentleman. Teacher. Fighter. Lover. Father.

Last edited by iguana_tonante; September 2 2012 at 10:27 PM.
iguana_tonante is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 09:38 PM   #144
MacLeod
Admiral
 
Location: Great Britain
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

CoveTom wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
A system that can put into power the candidate for whom the majority of the electorate did not vote is not a "counterbalance." It's just a subversion of the will of the people. It is tyrannical, and nothing more.
You do realize that, agree or disagree, the effect of the electoral college is by design? The American system was designed from the ground up with the idea that the straight "will of the majority" should not always be the deciding factor. There is a fundamental belief that the states, as entities, should have power in the system as well. Hence the reason why senators were originally elected by the state legislators (a system to which I think we should return) rather than directly by the people. And also the reason for the electoral college. Because it was believed that the states with the most people should not automatically run the show, but that the smaller states should have an important say too.

Like I say, you can agree or disagree, but the US system of state power was definitely by design.
But if we are talking about electing the US President by popular vote, what difference does it make in which state a voter resides? Just because you live in a state which usually votes Repbulican doesn't mean that 49.9% of the electorate are actually Democrats. Just that the Repbulican vote is large enough to make it swing that way.

Now not being an American I maybe wrong, but the electoral college system determines how many electorial college votes each state has based on population. So the larger states like Californian may say get 60 Electorial college votes while smaller states like Delaware might get 8.

So lets say the actual vote breakdown in California is 52/48 split Republicain/Democratic, then all of those electorial college votes goto the Republic party. Similar the reverse is true if Delaware voted 52/48 in favour of the Democratic Party those 8 electorial college votes goto the Democratic party. So even a victory as small as 1 vote can mean the difference between getting 60 electorial college votes and none.

So when all the states are considered as a whole, the Democratic Party candidate might have 52% of the popular vote, but only 48% of the college vote so they lose. Hardly sees fair as the losing candidate was the candidate the voters preferred.

As for the idea of the state legislative electing the representives, isn't that denying the people the change to vote for a different party which they think might be better at a national/international level than a state level.
__________________
On the continent of wild endeavour in the mountains of solace and solitude there stood the citadel of the time lords, the oldest and most mighty race in the universe looking down on the galaxies below sworn never to interfere only to watch.
MacLeod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 09:53 PM   #145
CorporalCaptain
Vice Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Now not being an American I maybe wrong, but the electoral college system determines how many electorial college votes each state has based on population.
Yeah, this is where you are wrong. The number of electors for a state is the number of Representatives in the House plus two, the number of Senators. This gives electors from states with smaller populations more of a voice, relative to population, than electors from states with larger populations. [http://www.archives.gov/federal-regi...ege/about.html]

In civics class, I was taught that this is an incentive for states with small populations to join the Union.
__________________
John
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 09:55 PM   #146
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: State of Maryland/District of Columbia
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

I actually agree with rigging the system a little bit to ensure that the interests of states with low populations are not utterly ignored at the federal level in Congress. That's why I don't object to having a Senate with equal representation for all states, even though there's a bit of a democratic deficit there. One of the goals of liberal democracy, after all, is to prevent a tyranny of a majority. (I do, however, think that the Senate needs some reform in the particulars of how it functions.)

But the idea that the state governments should get to determine who's in the U.S. Congress? No. Absolutely not. States are important, but state governments are not people, and should have themselves get to determine who's in the Senate. The people of the states should get to determine that, not the state governments. Arguing otherwise is just an attempt to take away people's rights.

And while there is a legitimate argument to be made that the people of low-population states should have equal representation with those of large-population states in the Senate, there is no valid reason for the vote for president of a citizen in Delaware to carry more weight than the vote of a citizen in California. The President is not like a Senator from a low-population state; the job of the President is to be President for everyone, and no citizen's vote for President should carry more weight than others.
__________________
This dream must end, this world must know:
We all depend on the beast below.
Sci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 10:51 PM   #147
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
The only things we know about the minimum requirements of a government to petition federation membership is that they're postwarp, represent the entire planet, and that there is no cast system presupposing leadership.

I wonder what some grounds be for expulsion from the Federation might be?
This is something I have been curious about, what gets you thrown out of the club? If they have a production problem with their ability to manufacture warp drive engines domestically, do they get suspended? What if they "out-sourced" production to the Betazed, they imported their engines?

And what if they alway obtained their warp engines from someone else, been doing this for five hundred years?

Hypothetical, after becoming a member, Bajor decides to return to their per-occupation caste system after all, the Federation is told formally that this is going to happen (the Bajorians hide nothing), and the caste system becomes a reality. Because Bajor is a Federation member would Starfleet be sent in the "save" the Bajorian people from a decision that many of them might agree with, Bajor is literally force to dissolve the system, or would they be expelled?

How about a political schism on a member world, and they lose their single government status and divide into three countries. The prospect of joining the Federation cause them to form a one world government, but that impetus is gone now that they're in. Do they sent three separate representatives to the council?

Each of their three states has a population larger than some Federation members with a one state political.

T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2 2012, 10:53 PM   #148
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: State of Maryland/District of Columbia
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Hypothetical, after becoming a member, Bajor decides to return to their per-occupation caste system after all, the Federation is told formally that this is going to happen (the Bajorians hide nothing), and the caste system becomes a reality. Because Bajor is a Federation member would Starfleet be sent in the "save" the Bajorian people from a decision that many of them might agree with, Bajor is literally force to dissolve the system, or would they be expelled?
I don't know. What would happen if the State of Alabama announced that it was re-instituting segregation?
__________________
This dream must end, this world must know:
We all depend on the beast below.
Sci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2012, 12:00 AM   #149
OneBuckFilms
Fleet Captain
 
OneBuckFilms's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
RE: The Electoral College.

This to me is a counterbalance, as a way of preventing pure democracy turning into mob rule.
I have seen that bandied around quite a bit, but it never seen to me more than vague grandstanding. Any arguments in support to your claim?

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
Any goverment system is imperfect. The American system is the least imperfect, and best system human beings have managed to create so far.
Hardly. It's a good system, but definitively not the best there is. Germany's systems are much less antagonistic while preserving healthy (and heated) debate, the French is a good compromise between presidential and parliamentary, and even the British one has its interesting features (I would generally say that somethings as deeply undemocratic as the House of Lords is a load of crap, and yet they play a surprisingly effective role at stopping populist legislation and to provide a cool voice in troubled times). If you are curious, the Italian one is shit, tho.

Uh. The House of Lords is unelected. The Prime Minister is not the Head of State. I'd say these are more than cosmetic differences.


Yep.

Think again.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
In most cases, not without revolution. The US is different in this regard, in that the methodology to change the Constitution is part of it's design (Amendment process).

But it requires pretty monumental hurdles to be overcome, far beyond quietly changing laws via routine votes.
I'd take you are not very acquainted with other countries' constitution.

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
So how many other Constitutions place significant limits on the powers of the Government?
I'll go on a limb here and say: all the Western liberal democracies, at least.
So what National constitutions have express limitations of the powers of the Government in their Constitutions?

Could you educate me by naming names here?
OneBuckFilms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3 2012, 12:12 AM   #150
OneBuckFilms
Fleet Captain
 
OneBuckFilms's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

The debate over the merits of the Electoral College seems to me to hinge on whether one believes Bush stole the elections, regardless of it being called non-democratic by some here.

MOST of the time, the Electoral College does reflect the majority.

The thing is, it still, in the end, is based on those same voters.

But the US is not a one-man-one-vote-for-president type of Democracy. It is a Democratic REPUBLIC.

Is a Republic thus non-democratic by it's nature?

How does one prevent mob rule, and protect smaller representative groups' rights?
OneBuckFilms is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
america, federation, history, science, soviet

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 10:17 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.