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What drives democracy?

  1. Jun 27, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I have long had the wild notion that the essence of democracy is random chance.

    There was a time when I tried very hard to be knowledgeable about world events - US foreign and domestic policies. A great percentage of my life focused on news reports and the perpetual talking head's analysis of every news story. I read the Wall Street Journal, and sometimes several major newspapers daily. Basically, I did everything that I could to be informed. After a few years of this, I realized that I still didn't have a clue what the heck was going on. For all of my effort to really understand what's happening in politics, I realized that I knew less than ever; I had simply uncovered more uncertainty. [Although I am speaking as a citizen of the US, I am sure that this applies to any large, modern, democratic society].

    The way I see it, there is simply too much information for anyone to really know what to believe about nearly any significant political issue. Of course, morality issue don't typically apply here, but purely subjective issues aside: Should I vote, for example, to fund a school program; or to subsidize the cattle industry, or to increase or decrease taxes? How can anyone hope to be informed on more than one or two significant issues? And as for choosing candidates, well, who hasn't been disappointed by politicians?

    So I began to wonder if we are simply manipulated and if we really have no free choice. Even thought many claim this is true, I still think that differences do exist between the US political parties. I definitely see a difference between Ross Perot and George Bush; or between Clinton and Cheney. So, I then considered that money determines truth in politics, and that the richest candidate wins. But we still have the possibility of a wild card like Perot or Jesse Ventura. So, all things considered, it seems that the status quo is maintained except for the random elements that even the richest of the rich can't control.

    Since voters cannot really make informed decisions, each vote is really a role of the dice. In extreme situations, a truly informed consensus can surely come about, but typically it seems that we really don't know what we're voting for. Consider also how many votes may really be made as last second, 50/50 decisions that are made irrespective of any stump speeches, advertising, or logical arguments. Perhaps some people get elected simply because their name appears first on the Ballot.


    Edit: Really as the crux of this whole thing, I have also wondered, if it is true that random chance and wild guesses really drive democracy, is this unpredictable element of the process what actually keeps the system honest. Is absolute control of the system [an unconstitutional government] prevented by the fickle, irrational votes, and not necessarily informed votes.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2003
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  3. Jun 29, 2003 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Not one comment? LOL. Does everyone really feel that they get good and complete information when it comes time to vote? Hasn't anyone ever made a last minute decision in the voting booth?
  4. Jun 30, 2003 #3
    how about will of the majority? it is the 'will' part that i suspect doesn't really exist for the majority.
  5. Jun 30, 2003 #4
    I think what he is saying is that when the media and government are in cahoots, the will of teh people is subverted. IF we base our decisions on false information from the 'free' press, is it really our will being expressed?
  6. Jun 30, 2003 #5
    The ignorance of the majority, of course:smile:

    People are ignorant on so many issues and because of this unknowledge we don't have mass riots and such.

    You can easily keep the peace in a morgue, can't you? We are all just "dead" people on the real issues.
  7. Jun 30, 2003 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    However, given that our opinions are manipulated, and given that we typically have a complacent majority, and given that the information that we get is controlled, what about the wild card? Since we so often see margins of 10% or less for many issues and candidates, to me, the voting returns appear as much random as calculated. It seems easy to imagine that 10% of most any election could be due to random selection. Imagine evolution as an analogy. The framework is fixed less the wild [random] variant - mutation - that inevitably comes along. I guess this would make Jesse Ventura a mutation? The mutation may or may not be successful. Most are not.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2003
  8. Jun 30, 2003 #7
    I think the majority gets the filtered and manipulted information because their primary source is CNN, FOX, or MSNBC, all biased (to an extent) reporting. The informed people get the same information, but from many different sources and formulate their own opinions with all the information.

    Perhaps that margin translates to 5% on either side of educated, intelligent people?

    Hehehe, indeed a bad mutation:smile:
  9. Jul 1, 2003 #8


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