Thursday, November 10, 2016

On modern elections, especially Trump's

The German comment was that we were "damaging democracy," the implied assumption of that comment being that there was something to damage.

We have always considered ourselves a "Republic" and not a Democracy.  Democracy is what we as a Republic practice not what we are.  Just as the EU is composed of Welfare States and not Democracies and yet practice democracy to some extent.  We all in the west practice it enough to fit into Francis Fukuyama's definition of "Liberal democracy." 

We began here in the United States as a collection of states and so states rights are never far from view.  No one here is proposing that we get rid of state governments and have just one centralized government.  

As background, we began our "United States" mistrusting a strong centralized government and many (most?) of us still do.  Although if you look at a map of how we voted you will see that the largest cities, being used to the necessity of large bureaucracies to manage their complicated needs favor the EU type centralized government and welfare-state socialistic laws and regulations; whereas the outlying smaller cities and towns tend to let people do more things for themselves.  These people and I count myself one of them tend to resent centralized government interference.   We favor more state's rights and less government interference. 

Our voting system, using the electoral college, is one of the means we have for protecting the rights of smaller states to exist without being overruled by the larger ones.  I'm seeing a future when smaller towns and cities are going to wish they had a similar right to prevent their being overruled by the larger cities.  

Is it absurd NOT to allow the majority to over-rule states rights?  We feel the large more populous cities and states breathing down our necks and would be appalled at the idea of abandoning our Republic for a Democracy and so risk (as I believe Plato argued) some crowd pleaser making an empire or dictatorship of us. 

Our system requires a peaceful transference of power every eight years (or four if a standing president is defeated in an election).  I read recently in which a reviewer describes one of the causes of Germany's 20th century ills as their having no experience in transferring power peacefully. 

We've made it difficult to change our constitution or Bill of Rights in order to prevent some current majority from easily changing laws to suit current fads and opinions.

Is there a standard of democratic government that we need a defense for not adhering to?  I certainly don't assume that.  Francis Fukuyama has used the term "Liberal Democracy" to encompass any of the mostly western states who have a variety of governmental forms all of which practice more or less modern economic techniques which require considerable freedom to achieve the maximum amount of success.  The idea of a centralized government dictating to its citizens has been curtailed in these governments to a considerable degree thanks to lessons taught them by German systems of government. 

One of the reasons for Trump's success is his argument that our government needs to place fewer restrictions upon our corporations and businesses in order for them to be willing to do their work here rather than outsourcing it to foreign nations.  One of the methods he proposes for doing this is lowering taxes, which an administration which believes in smaller government is willing to do because it has fewer ambitions regarding the dictation to and administration of its citizens.  A large Welfare-state type government will need more tax money in order to manage the needs of its people.  Thus, here in the United States the Democratic Party, favoring the welfare state to a large extent, also favors higher taxes.  The Republican party on the other hand has traditionally favored smaller government and so needs (or ought to need) less money from taxes.

Are any Germans criticizing the rioting some of our malcontents are engaging in over here?  The reasons the rioters give for these riots is a hatred of the person elected.   We didn't vote their way and so they riot.  What are we teaching our children that they think this acceptable?  Maybe we need to lay this off on Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.  Demonstrations and or riots seem to be a modern addendum to our Liberal-Democratic forms of government.

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