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Debates Forum

  1. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Nov '10 16:44
    In history the 'right of rebellion' is the right, or duty, of the subjects of a nation to oppose tyranny and overthrow a government that acts to the detriment of their common interests. And, indeed, throughout history we see a long list of rebellions and revolutions by various peoples provoked into opposing governments which had become injurious to those common interests. The right of rebellion reaches its fullest expression in John Locke's 'social contract theory' and most memorably in the American Declaration of Independence:

    When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.


    With the establishment of democratic governments which can be overthrown by popular vote, the right of rebellion is said to be embedded within the political system itself. Any government which acts contrary to the common interest of the people can, in theory, be voted out of power. In democratic societies, therefore, the right of rebellion as open rebellion has ceased to hold any legitimacy. Its sole remaining expression comes through the ballot box.

    The problem with this is that the people have been effectively divested of any means of removing an ostensibly democratic political system which has become injurious to their common interests. They retain the right to replace one representative with another, but they have no means of altering the system itself. If enough of those representatives are systematically beholden to interests other than that of the common good then it may arise that that “long train of abuses and usurpations” may be locked into place perpetually.

    We find that the people have been swindled. They have effectively surrendered their right of rebellion without having received a government that acts for their common good in return.
  2. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    07 Nov '10 18:51
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In history the 'right of rebellion' is the right, or duty, of the subjects of a nation to oppose tyranny and overthrow a government that acts to the detriment of their common interests. And, indeed, throughout history we see a long list of rebellions and revolutions by various peoples provoked into opposing governments which had become injurious to those co ...[text shortened]... f rebellion without having received a government that acts for their common good in return.
    That's because rebels are now terrorists.
    Yup. Even Luke Skywalker would now be classified a terrorist... not to mention the bloody A-team.
  3. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    07 Nov '10 20:53
    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Thomas Jefferson
  4. 07 Nov '10 21:08 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In history the 'right of rebellion' is the right, or duty, of the subjects of a nation to oppose tyranny and overthrow a government that acts to the detriment of their common interests. And, indeed, throughout history we see a long list of rebellions and revolutions by various peoples provoked into opposing governments which had become injurious to those co f rebellion without having received a government that acts for their common good in return.
    This is an excellent post, but I have to say that its objective is not explicitly defined, what are you suggestions (if any) to address this perceived deficiency?

    I understand your apparent disillusionment with the democratic system but wouldn't you say that this (the loss of the right to rebellion as traditionally defined and expressed) is of little significance in comparison with the benefits of the smooth workings of the system discussed?
  5. 07 Nov '10 21:11
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Thomas Jefferson
    The reasonable observations of a bygone era, nothing more nothing less.
  6. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Nov '10 23:06
    Originally posted by generalissimo
    This is an excellent post, but I have to say that its objective is not explicitly defined, what are you suggestions (if any) to address this perceived deficiency?

    I understand your apparent disillusionment with the democratic system but wouldn't you say that this (the loss of the right to rebellion as traditionally defined and expressed) is of little significance in comparison with the benefits of the smooth workings of the system discussed?
    My point, as with several other recent posts, is that the history of western political democracies has not been one of how democracy has flourished and expanded, but rather how democracy has been swindled and kept perpetually in check. The rich elites have given the poor the right to vote, but they have managed to ensure that that vote cannot intrude in any meaningful way upon their control of the levers of power. A democracy so constructed is almost entirely for show. It allows for some minor tinkering with the balance of power, but has ensured that the basic power structure itself is unalterable. It is sufficient, however, to keep the people from open rebellion, thus insuring that the system continues to work smoothly.

    Too many of the founding fathers at the constitutional convention were concerned, not with how to expand the scope of democracy, but rather how to keep its supposed excesses in check. There were more than a few Anti-Federalists who felt that the resulting Constitution had swindled democracy. I believe they were right. Too few people today realize the extent of that swindle and mistakenly believe that they are basking in the full flower of democracy. Instead they have been cheated into accepting a stunted and stillborn version of it without even realizing it.
  7. 08 Nov '10 01:05
    Originally posted by rwingett
    My point, as with several other recent posts, is that the history of western political democracies has not been one of how democracy has flourished and expanded, but rather how democracy has been swindled and kept perpetually in check. The rich elites have given the poor the right to vote, but they have managed to ensure that that vote cannot intrude in any ...[text shortened]... ave been cheated into accepting a stunted and stillborn version of it without even realizing it.
    There can only be one solution. You must oppose ANY form of representative government. Only direct representation will due for you.

    As for the Founding Fathers, they saw inherent problems with that. Do you?
  8. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    08 Nov '10 01:49
    Originally posted by whodey
    There can only be one solution. You must oppose ANY form of representative government. Only direct representation will due for you.

    As for the Founding Fathers, they saw inherent problems with that. Do you?
    I don't necessarily see a problem with representative government. But the way elections are financed ensures that many, or most, representatives will take on the interests of their corporate paymasters over that of the people they ostensibly represent. That is how the wealthy have managed to keep their hand on the levers of power despite the poor having most of the votes.

    But if we take the main function of government to be the protection of unequal property rights and the overseeing of how a society's resources will be distributed among its people, then politics, in this case, becomes a contest to exert influence how those resources will be distributed. If the people had a fully functioning democracy (which means they have economic democracy) then they will have a direct influence on how society's resources are distributed and the need to engage in politics as a means of indirectly influencing that distribution will be superfluous. In other words, political democracy is only necessary because the people are denied economic democracy. If the people had economic democracy then there would be no need for political democracies.
  9. 08 Nov '10 12:58
    Originally posted by rwingett
    We find that the people have been swindled. They have effectively surrendered their right of rebellion without having received a government that acts for their common good in return.
    Much as I generally agree with you, the so call 'rebellion' is generally ineffective anyway. In the vast majority of cases, rebellions or coups end up benefiting a minority (whoever new comes into power).
  10. 08 Nov '10 13:02
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If the people had a fully functioning democracy (which means they have economic democracy) .....
    I have always been curious about the US's aversion to high taxes. Is this something that the people in general want?
  11. 08 Nov '10 13:21
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I have always been curious about the US's aversion to high taxes. Is this something that the people in general want?
    Perhaps it is a result of the general ineffectiveness of the US government due to the two-party system.
  12. 08 Nov '10 15:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In history the 'right of rebellion' is the right, or duty, of the subjects of a nation to oppose tyranny and overthrow a government that acts to the detriment of their common interests. And, indeed, throughout history we see a long list of rebellions and revolutions by various peoples provoked into opposing governments which had become injurious to those co f rebellion without having received a government that acts for their common good in return.
    Throughout history, I doubt you'll find very many "establishments" who believed that anyone had a right to overthrow them. Efforts to overthrow an existing government usually fail, and the establishment then imprisons/executes the leaders and their followers for acts of treason -- occasionally they succeed, but this merely creates a new establishment that's usually no better than the one preceeding it.

    Are there any examples of societies (besides some hunter-gatherer tribes) where no "establishment" whatsoever exists and everyone has roughly equal amounts of power?
  13. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    08 Nov '10 16:23
    Originally posted by rwingett
    My point, as with several other recent posts, is that the history of western political democracies has not been one of how democracy has flourished and expanded, but rather how democracy has been swindled and kept perpetually in check. The rich elites have given the poor the right to vote, but they have managed to ensure that that vote cannot intrude in any ...[text shortened]... ave been cheated into accepting a stunted and stillborn version of it without even realizing it.
    I disagree; the present US political system is structured so that widespread changes in economic policy are possible. All it would take is for voters to abandon the big money parties and vote for progressive alternatives like the Greens. That they choose not to is their own fault.
  14. 08 Nov '10 17:34
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I don't necessarily see a problem with representative government. But the way elections are financed ensures that many, or most, representatives will take on the interests of their corporate paymasters over that of the people they ostensibly represent. That is how the wealthy have managed to keep their hand on the levers of power despite the poor having mos ...[text shortened]... . If the people had economic democracy then there would be no need for political democracies.
    I reject the notion that you can "purify" those in power. After all, historically it is evident that mankind first seeks power, secures power, and then seeks additional power. One way or anther it will be achieved on the backs of those they represent. If you try to force the corporate money flowing in you still have individuals with money putting money into the system. If you eliminate all the money flowing into campaigns you will then have under the table agreements and favors being done. There is simply no way around this fact.
  15. 08 Nov '10 17:53
    Originally posted by rwingett
    My point, as with several other recent posts, is that the history of western political democracies has not been one of how democracy has flourished and expanded, but rather how democracy has been swindled and kept perpetually in check. The rich elites have given the poor the right to vote, but they have managed to ensure that that vote cannot intrude in any ...[text shortened]... ave been cheated into accepting a stunted and stillborn version of it without even realizing it.
    ???..I guess I don't understand. The rich are the few...and the elections are determined by the vote of the many. ...which are the poor and middle class...how is it that the few can retain this type of power when its about getting the electorate to vote a politicians career future?