Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Point?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Captain Shatner, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    One thing that is unique to the US implementation is the limitations inherent in the Federal Constitution.

    The Federal Government has specific rights that are enumerated in the Constitution, and anything else is literally reserved for the States and the People.

    This means that the people will never be subservient to the Federal Government.

    Old Blighty doesn't have that feature.
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Well in some ways both the Republican and the Democratic parties are political coalitions. Compromise is necessary to hold the parties together.

    :)
     
  3. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Yea, but, what they compromise on is Gaming the System, to keep others locked out, and you have to bow to the Establishment to get in.

    Plus, when it comes to donors, many of them are the same donors on both sides of the aisle, so they serve those masters, rather than "We The People", because we have no choice but those two choices (True, it's better than no Choice, but, an Environment friendlier to Indpendents' chances would be an improvement, IMHO)

    A Bi-Partisan Bill is often one that provides a Sweetheart Deal for a Corporate Interest who donates to Both Parties
     
  4. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    There is no way to ever avoid deal making or bargains in any system where negotiation or compromize is involved.

    It's part of the price we pay for freedom.

    It is also a byproduct of the fact that the House or the Senate have to get agreement on something for a law to pass.

    Either representatives have the ability to argue and bargain to hopefully arrive at a good solution to a problem, or we have a dictatorship.

    The failings and virtues of any representative government are inherent in the freedom of choice.
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Really, just because they don't exist in the form of a written consitution doesn't mean they don't exist in some form or another in one of the many laws that have been passed throughout the centuries.
     
  6. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    If they are not written into the constitution, they can theoretically be changed.

    There is no constitutional protection in any other constitution I can think of.

    The protections in law, and external to the constitutional framework, are a happy evolution of the democratic process, rather than a feature of the system in place.
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Can't a constitution be changed/ammeneded/altered etc... ?
     
  8. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    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.
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    ^But the point is constitutions like a law can be changed, the exact mechanics of how it can be changed is a different issue. My point was that a constitution should not be set in stone and should grow and evolve to allow for changes in soceity/technology over the decades and centuries since it was written. After all what was acceptable 200 years ago might not be acceptable today.
     
  10. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    That's funny.

    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.
     
  11. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    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.
     
  12. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    I won't argue with that.
     
  13. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    So how many other Constitutions place significant limits on the powers of the Government?
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Perhaps how easy or hard it is depends on the constitution in question. Some might be easier to change than others. So yes some specific consitutions could be harder to change whilst others are easier to change.
     
  15. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    If it's too easy to change a Constitution, then that Constitution becomes too vulterable to mob rule, or political fads of the day.

    It SHOULD be hard, but it should be possible, ideally, when it really matters.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  17. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  18. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    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.


    :devil:
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    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.

    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.

    In the modern world, however, this has come at the cost of being almost wholly dysfunctional and incapable of making necessary decisions.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.