Discussion:
America is not a democracy (adapted from Yascha Mounk’s new book, "The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It".)
(too old to reply)
ltlee1
2018-03-01 14:47:24 UTC
Permalink
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/

The article is adapted from a yet to be published book,"The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It."

Some of the inter-related points on why the US is no longer democratic are:

1. US is by design not a democracy per its founding fathers.

"Only over the course of the 19th century did a set of entrepreneurial thinkers begin to dress an ideologically self-conscious republic up in the unaccustomed robes of a democracy. Throughout America, the old social hierarchies were being upended by rapid industrialization, mass immigration, westward expansion, and civil war. Egalitarian sentiment was rising. The idea that the people should rule came to seem appealing and even natural. The same institutions that had once been designed to exclude the people from government were now commended for facilitating government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

The shifting justification for our political system inspired important reforms. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment stipulated that senators had to be elected directly by the people, not by state legislatures. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act, drawing on the Fifteenth Amendment, set out to protect the vote of black Americans."


2. According to most citizens, US Democracy is a function of increasing wealth.

"That basis is now crumbling, and the people have taken notice. In no small part that’s because the long era during which average Americans grew more wealthy has come to a sputtering stop."

3. Lack of trust/soft power between the governed and the governed.

"Americans have never loved their politicians or thought of Washington as a repository of moral virtue. But so long as the system worked for them—so long as they were wealthier than their parents had been and could expect that their kids would be better off than them—people trusted that politicians were ultimately on their side. Not anymore."

4. Huge difference between direct democracy and ineffectual US ballot box democracy

"The rise of digital media, meanwhile, has given ordinary Americans, especially younger ones, an instinctive feel for direct democracy. Whether they’re stuffing the electronic ballot boxes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, liking a post on Facebook, or up-voting a comment on Reddit, they are seeing what it looks like when their vote makes an immediate difference. Compared with these digital plebiscites, the work of the United States government seems sluggish, outmoded, and shockingly unresponsive."

5. Lobbying as a cause of dysfunctional government

"Over the course of the 20th century, lobbying gradually lost the stench of the illicit. But even once the activity became normalized, businesses remained reluctant to exert their influence. As late as the 1960s, major corporations did not lobby directly on their own behalf. Instead, they relied on collectives such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which had a weaker voice in Washington than labor unions or public-interest groups. “As every business executive knows,” the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. complained in 1971, “few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman.”
“I always knew the system was dysfunctional,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “Now it is beyond broken.”"

6. Government outsourcing many of its authority and responsibility to independent and semi-independent agencies.

"In many policy areas, the job of legislating has been supplanted by so-called independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once they are founded by Congress, these organizations can formulate policy on their own."

7. Independent court

"This same tension between popular sovereignty and good governance is also evident in the debates over the power of the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court. ...

Whether you see judicial review as interpreting the law or usurping the people’s power probably depends on your view of the outcome."
ltlee1
2018-03-04 14:54:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by ltlee1
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/
The article is adapted from a yet to be published book,"The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It."
1. US is by design not a democracy per its founding fathers.
"Only over the course of the 19th century did a set of entrepreneurial thinkers begin to dress an ideologically self-conscious republic up in the unaccustomed robes of a democracy. Throughout America, the old social hierarchies were being upended by rapid industrialization, mass immigration, westward expansion, and civil war. Egalitarian sentiment was rising. The idea that the people should rule came to seem appealing and even natural. The same institutions that had once been designed to exclude the people from government were now commended for facilitating government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The shifting justification for our political system inspired important reforms. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment stipulated that senators had to be elected directly by the people, not by state legislatures. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act, drawing on the Fifteenth Amendment, set out to protect the vote of black Americans."
2. According to most citizens, US Democracy is a function of increasing wealth.
"That basis is now crumbling, and the people have taken notice. In no small part that’s because the long era during which average Americans grew more wealthy has come to a sputtering stop."
3. Lack of trust/soft power between the governed and the governed.
"Americans have never loved their politicians or thought of Washington as a repository of moral virtue. But so long as the system worked for them—so long as they were wealthier than their parents had been and could expect that their kids would be better off than them—people trusted that politicians were ultimately on their side. Not anymore."
4. Huge difference between direct democracy and ineffectual US ballot box democracy
"The rise of digital media, meanwhile, has given ordinary Americans, especially younger ones, an instinctive feel for direct democracy. Whether they’re stuffing the electronic ballot boxes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, liking a post on Facebook, or up-voting a comment on Reddit, they are seeing what it looks like when their vote makes an immediate difference. Compared with these digital plebiscites, the work of the United States government seems sluggish, outmoded, and shockingly unresponsive."
5. Lobbying as a cause of dysfunctional government
"Over the course of the 20th century, lobbying gradually lost the stench of the illicit. But even once the activity became normalized, businesses remained reluctant to exert their influence. As late as the 1960s, major corporations did not lobby directly on their own behalf. Instead, they relied on collectives such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which had a weaker voice in Washington than labor unions or public-interest groups. “As every business executive knows,” the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. complained in 1971, “few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman.”
“I always knew the system was dysfunctional,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “Now it is beyond broken.”"
6. Government outsourcing many of its authority and responsibility to independent and semi-independent agencies.
"In many policy areas, the job of legislating has been supplanted by so-called independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once they are founded by Congress, these organizations can formulate policy on their own."
7. Independent court
"This same tension between popular sovereignty and good governance is also evident in the debates over the power of the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court. ...
Whether you see judicial review as interpreting the law or usurping the people’s power probably depends on your view of the outcome."
Actually, many will point out the obvious that America was not meant to be a democracy by design. Rather, it was meant to a republic.

"To some degree, of course, the unresponsiveness of America’s political system is by design. The United States was founded as a republic, not a democracy. As Alexander Hamilton and James Madison made clear in the Federalist Papers, the essence of this republic would consist—their emphasis—“IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share” in the government. Instead, popular views would be translated into public policy through the election of representatives “whose wisdom may,” in Madison’s words, “best discern the true interest of their country.” That this radically curtailed the degree to which the people could directly influence the government was no accident."

But the question is whether America's Madisonian democracy would slide into "mass democracy" and then outright fascism.
ltlee1
2018-03-09 02:13:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by ltlee1
Post by ltlee1
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/
The article is adapted from a yet to be published book,"The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It."
1. US is by design not a democracy per its founding fathers.
"Only over the course of the 19th century did a set of entrepreneurial thinkers begin to dress an ideologically self-conscious republic up in the unaccustomed robes of a democracy. Throughout America, the old social hierarchies were being upended by rapid industrialization, mass immigration, westward expansion, and civil war. Egalitarian sentiment was rising. The idea that the people should rule came to seem appealing and even natural. The same institutions that had once been designed to exclude the people from government were now commended for facilitating government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The shifting justification for our political system inspired important reforms. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment stipulated that senators had to be elected directly by the people, not by state legislatures. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act, drawing on the Fifteenth Amendment, set out to protect the vote of black Americans."
2. According to most citizens, US Democracy is a function of increasing wealth.
"That basis is now crumbling, and the people have taken notice. In no small part that’s because the long era during which average Americans grew more wealthy has come to a sputtering stop."
3. Lack of trust/soft power between the governed and the governed.
"Americans have never loved their politicians or thought of Washington as a repository of moral virtue. But so long as the system worked for them—so long as they were wealthier than their parents had been and could expect that their kids would be better off than them—people trusted that politicians were ultimately on their side. Not anymore."
4. Huge difference between direct democracy and ineffectual US ballot box democracy
"The rise of digital media, meanwhile, has given ordinary Americans, especially younger ones, an instinctive feel for direct democracy. Whether they’re stuffing the electronic ballot boxes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, liking a post on Facebook, or up-voting a comment on Reddit, they are seeing what it looks like when their vote makes an immediate difference. Compared with these digital plebiscites, the work of the United States government seems sluggish, outmoded, and shockingly unresponsive."
5. Lobbying as a cause of dysfunctional government
"Over the course of the 20th century, lobbying gradually lost the stench of the illicit. But even once the activity became normalized, businesses remained reluctant to exert their influence. As late as the 1960s, major corporations did not lobby directly on their own behalf. Instead, they relied on collectives such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which had a weaker voice in Washington than labor unions or public-interest groups. “As every business executive knows,” the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. complained in 1971, “few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman.”
“I always knew the system was dysfunctional,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “Now it is beyond broken.”"
6. Government outsourcing many of its authority and responsibility to independent and semi-independent agencies.
"In many policy areas, the job of legislating has been supplanted by so-called independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once they are founded by Congress, these organizations can formulate policy on their own."
7. Independent court
"This same tension between popular sovereignty and good governance is also evident in the debates over the power of the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court. ...
Whether you see judicial review as interpreting the law or usurping the people’s power probably depends on your view of the outcome."
Actually, many will point out the obvious that America was not meant to be a democracy by design. Rather, it was meant to a republic.
"To some degree, of course, the unresponsiveness of America’s political system is by design. The United States was founded as a republic, not a democracy. As Alexander Hamilton and James Madison made clear in the Federalist Papers, the essence of this republic would consist—their emphasis—“IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share” in the government. Instead, popular views would be translated into public policy through the election of representatives “whose wisdom may,” in Madison’s words, “best discern the true interest of their country.” That this radically curtailed the degree to which the people could directly influence the government was no accident."
But the question is whether America's Madisonian democracy would slide into "mass democracy" and then outright fascism.
While Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard, is still not sure where will Americans turn to. Other author appears to see the situation with better clarity. For the like of Robert Riemen, the term "populism" indicates both fear and ignorance and its an attempt to deny the fact occurring to liberal democracies on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Wise men like Confucius and Socrates knew that to be able to understand something, you had to call it by its proper name. The term populism, being the preferred description for a modern-day revolt of the masses, will not provide any meaningful understanding concerning that phenomenon.
...

The use of the term populist is only one more way to cultivate the denial that the ghost of fascism is haunting our societies again and to deny the fact that liberal democracies have turned into their opposite: mass democracies deprived of the spirit of democracy." (To Fight Against This Age: On Fascism And Humanism)
Jesus Christ is a WHITE RACE monopoly Power
2018-03-09 03:10:28 UTC
Permalink
USA is a HYBRID DEMOCRACY

not full democracy

USA depends on the outcome vote
of American electorial college

just like in the Vatican

USA is a Christian white race
democracy by electorial college
ltlee1
2018-03-12 01:41:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jesus Christ is a WHITE RACE monopoly Power
USA is a HYBRID DEMOCRACY
not full democracy
USA depends on the outcome vote
of American electorial college
just like in the Vatican
USA is a Christian white race
democracy by electorial college
I bet Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard, is familiar with Madisonian democratic system well. Nevertheless, such system is still considered a "representative democracy" with universal suffrage its salient feature.

However, ballot box democracy is proved to be ineffectual in fulfilling democratic goals in the US and elsewhere. He blames the representatives.


Some other writers such as Georgetown political philosopher Jason Brennan in contrast, blames universal suffrage and suggested epistocracy as an alternative to have better representative government.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/09/03/democracy-vs-epistacracy/?utm_term=.29d0205c3e04

"In most situations, he points out, we readily assume that people should not be allowed to make important decisions for others unless they have at least a reasonable degree of competence to do so. Brennan calls this idea the “Competence Principle.” We don’t allow quacks to make medical decisions, for example. This is especially true when the medical decisions in question are extremely important, and the “patients” have no choice but to obey the doctor’s orders.

Voting, of course, often literally involves matters of life and death, and the politicians who get elected rule over the entire society, including those who voted against them or chose to abstain. Ignorant or illogical decisions by voters can easily lead to ill-advised wars, economic recessions, abusive law enforcement, environmental disasters, and other catastrophes that imperil the lives, freedom, and welfare of large numbers of people. If we refuse to tolerate ignorant medical practice or ignorant plumbing, we should take an equally dim view of ignorant voting.

Brennan does not argue that knowledgeable “Vulcans” are morally superior to others and have some sort of right to rule. He merely claims that the hobbits and hooligans do not have such a right. Like John Stuart Mill, he contends that voting is not merely an individual choice, but the exercise of “power over others.” Such power must be used responsibly, if at all.

...

The electorate might make better decisions if it were restricted to make it more knowledgeable and less biased. For most people, ideas like epistocracy sound like advocacy of government by a small elite, which could easily abuse its powers. But Brennan presents a variety of strategies by which the quality of the electorate could be improved, while still keeping it large, and demographically representative."
w***@yahoo.com.sg
2018-03-12 02:06:16 UTC
Permalink
When an American complains that the US is not a democracy, he usually meant that the country is nowhere near the ideal. But ltlee gets excited and wants you to believe America is a dictatorship like Russia or China.

Wakalukong
ltlee1
2018-03-13 10:05:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by w***@yahoo.com.sg
When an American complains that the US is not a democracy, he usually meant that the country is nowhere near the ideal. But ltlee gets excited and wants you to believe America is a dictatorship like Russia or China.
Wakalukong
The title of the book excerpt was rendered by the Atlantic.com editors. They are Americans who know America well. However, if you think the title is misleading and Atlantic.com really has no valid reason to add such a title, feel free to make you case.

Anyway, what you and I believe or not believe on whether America is a dictatorship like Russia or China is irrelevant. I had provided the link so anyone can judge it himself/herself.
w***@yahoo.com.sg
2018-03-13 11:13:17 UTC
Permalink
(1) I always feel free to make my case. (2) What I think is not irrelevant.

The subtitle of the book mentions how America can win back the faith of its citizens. So all, including democracy, is not lost.

Wakalukong
ltlee1
2018-03-14 18:01:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by w***@yahoo.com.sg
(1) I always feel free to make my case. (2) What I think is not irrelevant.
The subtitle of the book mentions how America can win back the faith of its citizens. So all, including democracy, is not lost.
What democracy is not lost?
According to the author:

"A democracy is a set of binding electoral institutions that effectively translates popular views into public policy."

To the extent that popular views could not be effectively translated into public policy in the US, democracy is lost.
Post by w***@yahoo.com.sg
Wakalukong
w***@yahoo.com.sg
2018-03-15 01:21:55 UTC
Permalink
To the extent that America's democratic institutions (eg. seperation of power) is intact, democracy us not lost.

Wakalukong
ltlee1
2018-03-15 02:07:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by w***@yahoo.com.sg
To the extent that America's democratic institutions (eg. seperation of power) is intact, democracy us not lost.
Wakalukong
Of course, one can always say people walk along a certain democratic pathway to reach democratic goal, i.e. get their views translated into public policy. When the same path no longer leads to democratic goal, it is no longer a democratic pathway.


Please remember democracy is rule by the people. It is about people. The goal of democracy is people get their expectations or views translated into public policy. Institutions, if working properly, are still just means to democratic end. They are not democracy by themselves.
w***@yahoo.com.sg
2018-03-15 09:22:26 UTC
Permalink
Democratic institutions are the instruments for rule by the people.

Wakalukong
Jesus Christ is a WHITE RACE monopoly Power
2018-03-15 14:45:20 UTC
Permalink
ir is difficult to define US
Democracy

US is a collegiate Democracy

not a one vote one person Democracy
Resty Wyse
2018-03-15 16:55:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by ltlee1
Post by w***@yahoo.com.sg
To the extent that America's democratic institutions (eg. seperation of power) is intact, democracy us not lost.
Wakalukong
Of course, one can always say people walk along a certain democratic pathway to reach democratic goal, i.e. get their views translated into public policy. When the same path no longer leads to democratic goal, it is no longer a democratic pathway.
Please remember democracy is rule by the people. It is about people. The goal of democracy is people get their expectations or views translated into public policy. Institutions, if working properly, are still just means to democratic end. They are not democracy by themselves.
Democracy has always been a meaningless word to fool others. Thomas Jefferson weote:

"All men are created equal", and yet he himself owned more than 600 slaves, and had sex with any of his slaves as he wished.

A peaceful march in Selma, Alabama were ran down by law-enforcement officers.

Just watch the daily news for the next police killing of Black-Americans. It's common practice in the U.S. today!!!
Resty Wyse
2018-03-15 16:46:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by w***@yahoo.com.sg
To the extent that America's democratic institutions (eg. seperation of power) is intact, democracy us not lost.
Wakalukong
There was never any democracy in the U.S. in the first place. Talk to any Black Americans.
Resty Wyse
2018-03-04 17:38:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by ltlee1
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/
The article is adapted from a yet to be published book,"The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It."
1. US is by design not a democracy per its founding fathers.
"Only over the course of the 19th century did a set of entrepreneurial thinkers begin to dress an ideologically self-conscious republic up in the unaccustomed robes of a democracy. Throughout America, the old social hierarchies were being upended by rapid industrialization, mass immigration, westward expansion, and civil war. Egalitarian sentiment was rising. The idea that the people should rule came to seem appealing and even natural. The same institutions that had once been designed to exclude the people from government were now commended for facilitating government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The shifting justification for our political system inspired important reforms. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment stipulated that senators had to be elected directly by the people, not by state legislatures. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act, drawing on the Fifteenth Amendment, set out to protect the vote of black Americans."
2. According to most citizens, US Democracy is a function of increasing wealth.
"That basis is now crumbling, and the people have taken notice. In no small part that’s because the long era during which average Americans grew more wealthy has come to a sputtering stop."
3. Lack of trust/soft power between the governed and the governed.
"Americans have never loved their politicians or thought of Washington as a repository of moral virtue. But so long as the system worked for them—so long as they were wealthier than their parents had been and could expect that their kids would be better off than them—people trusted that politicians were ultimately on their side. Not anymore."
4. Huge difference between direct democracy and ineffectual US ballot box democracy
"The rise of digital media, meanwhile, has given ordinary Americans, especially younger ones, an instinctive feel for direct democracy. Whether they’re stuffing the electronic ballot boxes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, liking a post on Facebook, or up-voting a comment on Reddit, they are seeing what it looks like when their vote makes an immediate difference. Compared with these digital plebiscites, the work of the United States government seems sluggish, outmoded, and shockingly unresponsive."
5. Lobbying as a cause of dysfunctional government
"Over the course of the 20th century, lobbying gradually lost the stench of the illicit. But even once the activity became normalized, businesses remained reluctant to exert their influence. As late as the 1960s, major corporations did not lobby directly on their own behalf. Instead, they relied on collectives such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which had a weaker voice in Washington than labor unions or public-interest groups. “As every business executive knows,” the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. complained in 1971, “few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman.”
“I always knew the system was dysfunctional,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “Now it is beyond broken.”"
6. Government outsourcing many of its authority and responsibility to independent and semi-independent agencies.
"In many policy areas, the job of legislating has been supplanted by so-called independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once they are founded by Congress, these organizations can formulate policy on their own."
7. Independent court
"This same tension between popular sovereignty and good governance is also evident in the debates over the power of the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court. ...
Whether you see judicial review as interpreting the law or usurping the people’s power probably depends on your view of the outcome."
Democracy for Whites.
Slavery for all others!!!!
w***@yahoo.com.sg
2018-03-05 03:16:46 UTC
Permalink
Ltlee trawls the internet for any mention that America is not a democracy. Every time he detects a whiff of this, he'd go "Aha!"

Wakalukong
Loading...